Crisis Management and Crisis Communications

I am often approached to help an organization with their
Crisis Management Plan and when I get further into their ideas, I find they are
calling their CRISIS COMMUNICATION PLAN a "crisis management plan".    Here's
the explanation of what is what on this subject:

  1. Crisis Communication is the public face and voice for a Crisis Management Team for the organization.
  2. The Crisis Management Team assesses the situation, determines the plan of action, assigns strategic leaders to action
    items, authorizes resources to support the plan of action and sets deadlines,   agendas and timelines.
  3. Crisis Communication is a core function of the Crisis Management Team.   The function is   responsible for the communications plan to all audiences: internal, lateral and external; and pro-actively communicates before, during and in the recovery or follow-up times.
  4. The primary messages are determined by the Crisis Management Team.   These messages are endorsed and approved by the executive leadership.
  5. The SPOKESPERSON is the best face, voice and fast-thinking on the feet communicator who either represents the organization or is the primary authority for the organization.   It is best to keep the same one person or persons as the Spokesperson throughout the incident (unless they are doing a really bad job – then replace and replace quickly).
  6. For every action/task on the crisis action plan, the question is asked, "How will this be communicated?     Who needs to know this?   What do they need to know?   And how will we track who has been told what, when, by whom?
  7. Crisis Communications is also responsible for pro-active messaging through social media, press and media releases, public
    postings on websites, and other "broadcast" channels.   All messaging contains the core message and agenda of the organization in the response – there is no such thing as "ad hoc".
  8. Crisis Communications must have an "incoming" portal to monitor public sentiment, response, inquiry and a net to "catch" any rumors or statements that directly or indirectly impact the organization.
  9. Crisis Communications is based on a functional multi-incident or threat plan that provides the steps, protocols, templates and guidance for the communications function.
  10. This plan is integrated with and a subset of the organizational Crisis Management Plan.
  11. There is always a communications function activated on the Crisis Management Team, even if it is to send out the message, "there is currently no significant threat or impact to the " organization" from the "statement of condition".

Jan Decker – consultant – Crisis Management Consulting – (253) 261-2704     jan.decker@comcast.net

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