Communicate always and all ways!
August 15th, 2015 by Mary Kay Hyde-Bohn
Example of not wanting to have the conversation about Continuity or Disaster planning.
These 3 Buddha’s are sitting back, covering their eyes, mouth and ears. Just like an otherwise savvy business person … who does not want to have the critical conversation about Continuity or Disaster planning.
The last two months have been a flurry of webinars with similar themes – you have to communicate during a Crisis to your employees, your customers, vendors, suppliers and local/regional community! The right words and the right media for individual audiences or public/strangers will fill the void with inaccurate misinformation – in other words, info-trash that will ruin your business or your reputation!
The after-event internal reviews have consistently brought up communication omissions or shortfalls to all audiences. The clean-up work due to misinformation or false information may take months to correct.
To summarize the main points of the discussions/webinars (not in any order):
- Define your audiences (internal & external)
- Define the best method to reach each audience in times of crisis (may be different by audience)
- Have draft texts ready for use by audience, type and severity of event(s)
- Respect the gravity/severity of each event
- Create checklists for each phase of crisis & decide communication actions
- Create, train & exercise the team doing the Crisis Communicating; create team structure (authority or approval levels) and backups.
- Make sure Communication team has IT authority to update media formats (add & remove)
- Have plan for press/media conference room, if appropriate; all else is electronic if power is available.
- Inform and train the employees on where to receive and send information
- Communicate with Customers with media they normally use, if possible.
- Engage with Emergency Response Team for ‘go/no go’ decision; confirm with internal Crisis Management team for severity level to work with.
- Monitor other media outlets for information or misinformation
- Post only most current information; remove old/dated information
- Keep a running total of team time & effort
- Log any IT issues for immediate and deferred correction – don’t try to fix a minor problem in the ‘heat of moment’.
- Have a plan for power outage scenario.
- Forget the Communication checklist
- Use one message for every audience; tailor each message for each audience & delivery media
- Select only one media; use them all!
- Create new accounts during crisis (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
- Make the media only one way; give opportunity to send feedback
- Expect your company is the only one involved; share connections.
- Expect for power to be available at all times.
- Forget to keep a list of all messages sent, to what distribution list and what media.
The organizations that hosted these webinars have materials on their web sites for further reference:
FIRESTORM WEBINARS: http://www.firestorm.com/learn/form-download-brief-six-stages-of-crisis-for-communication-planning.html
Agility Recovery: http://www2.agilityrecovery.com/assets/slides/Agility-Social_Media.pdf