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Communicate always and all ways!

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):

DO’s

  • 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.

Do Not’s

  • 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

Everbridge; http://www.everbridge.com/control-communication-throughout-the-lifecycle-of-a-crisis/