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Effective Crisis Communication Planning: What Do You Do Before Everything Goes Wrong?

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Before a crisis occurs, every organization should have a working, well-trained, well-communicated crisis communication plan. If a disaster were to occur, what steps would your employees, customers and managers take to communicate with each other? Without such a plan, many companies falter and flounder through a recovery effort that is too expensive and hard to manage. This type of plan ensures highly efficient communication, but it is only effective when there is prior implementation of it.

How do you create such a plan? Here is where to start.

Identify

The first step is identification. Identify who needs to be included in this plan. It should include any individual who could be impacted if the company cannot operate or is at risk. This includes employees and the public. Then, identify the spokesperson to be the go-to person to handle communication. This is not necessarily the business owner. He or she needs to focus on recovery efforts.

Be Honest

Ensure that honesty is at the heart of any event. Be open about what is happening, why it is happening and what is being done. Honesty helps to hedge negative media coverage before it starts. It can also help ensure better transparency through communication. You can communicate news through interviews with reporters and through internal methods.

Monitor

It is important to have methods in place to ensure you can always be listening. That is, monitor what people are saying online, in groups or even locally about your company and brand. Consistent monitoring helps to ensure you see a crisis coming before it hits.

Assess

Using social listening and other advanced tools, assess any brewing storm for how impactful it can be to your company. You also want to ensure that you are identifying potential risks as quickly as possible and then acting on those risks. If an event does occur, you need to monitor and assess changes.

Inform

Providing information helps to keep fears controlled and rumors to a minimal level. Providing ongoing and frequent updates is an important part of this process. You should provide any new information as soon as it becomes available to ensure there is an opportunity for people to gather more information. News operates on a 24-hour cycle now. You need to be ready to keep people informed.

Use Social Media

The other important factor your organization has to manage today is social media. Social media provides a communication tool, and it helps you to monitor what is being said in the early phases of a crisis. A good crisis management plan will allow for social media use for communication as well as provide next steps to those involved.

High-level management is all about creating plans to avoid the worst possible outcome. There is no way to avoid every crisis, but with the right tools, it is possible to steer through each one easily so that the company gets back on steady ground as soon as possible.

Learning how to communicate effectively through a crisis situation is one way the education you receive from an Executive MBA degree program can pay off for you in the long run. To learn more about the Executive MBA program and the Jindal School of Management at The University of Texas at Dallas please fill out this form or email pamela.fosterbrady@utdallas.edu.

Keypath Education

Keypath Education is the Digital Marketing Consultant to UT Dallas. Read more articles

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