July 28, 2016


A key leader leaves, a fire starts, someone gets hurt. Small or large, these disruptions can tarnish reputations and balloon into larger problems if mismanaged.

Books have been written on what makes a good crisis communication plan, but for a quick readiness check, ask yourself:

1. Does the plan provide case scenarios and templates?
You can’t predict everything, but buy yourself critical time by thinking through likely scenarios and creating pre-approved first statements that can be quickly adapted for real-world use. This also allows you to work through questions of transparency with leadership before a crisis arises.

2. How will staff be informed? 
Crisis communication is often outward focused, but employees are your informal spokespeople. Make sure they get accurate, timely news direct from the source. For example: When needed, big hospitals can send texts to thousands of staff members. How will you communicate with your team?

3. How will social media be handled?
Plan how you will respond to questions and criticisms on social sites and how you will use social media to tell your story.
  • If you don’t already monitor social media mentions of your organization, identify a resource that allows you to see and, when appropriate, respond to comments in real time.
  • Make sure your social media policy covers if, when and how to respond to comments about the organization.
  • If there is sufficient risk, consider creating a “dark” emergency webpage or website that can be activated in a crisis to provide a better platform for emergency communication.
4. Can key leaders be reached in a hurry?
Compile—and maintain—detailed contact lists for internal leaders, government officials, media or even large customers to save time in a crisis. Make the lists part of the crisis plan itself, not an afterthought.

5. Is everyone trained?
Whether it’s media training for key leaders or making sure staff know who to contact in an emergency, training is as important as developing the crisis communication plan. Remember to cross-train staff.

Crisis communication planning is never done. Review and revise at least annually and practice

What would you add to this list? Tweet us at @JayRayAdsPR.