Exploring The Relationship Between Crisis Management And Public Relations
Crisis management is something that every business owner needs to think about, as a crisis could arrive at any time and could come in many forms. How you deal with a crisis might be the difference between success and failure, in terms of containing the damage to the business. Of course, public relations has a very important role to play in crisis management.
This is the department that is responsible for all exterior communication and when a crisis occurs, this is obviously the avenue for your response to the world, which means PA must be a stakeholder in your crisis management planning. We all know how difficult it can be to say the right thing at the right time, and when you consider that the response to a crisis has the potential to be very good or very bad, it is critical that your spokespeople are fully on board. When you begin crisis communications training, several departments need to be actively involved and that includes your PA, as they will be the people that convey the official response.
Timing Is Everything
When responding to a crisis, it is critical to do it in a timely manner, as hesitation tends to make people assume things, so when you do issue a statement, make sure it is prompt. You should always be honest when responding to a crisis, and if you do not know why, you should say that at that time, the reasons are still unknown. Lies tend to lead to more lies, and while we can be conservative with the truth, we should not say anything that we know to be untrue.
Questions The Media Will Ask
We all know how the media work, journalists and reporters are trained to ask the right questions, and when reporting on a crisis, the following questions will likely be asked.
- What caused the crisis?
- How did it happen?
- Who is to blame?
- Has the crisis been contained?
- Who are the victims?
- What is being done to prevent a repeat?
Knowing these questions in advance can really help you to prepare a response, and this is part of crisis management training, which is something you can have your management work on with an experienced crisis management expert.
Positive Elements To Be Included
When responding to a crisis, the following elements should be included in any communication:
- A brief and clear explanation of what happened and the initial responses that were implemented.
- The processes put into place to contain the crisis.
- A commitment to return to ‘business as usual’.
- Expressing empathy.
Most companies do have a crisis management plan in place, as it might take many years to build a good reputation, yet it can be destroyed in a matter of minutes if you mishandle a crisis. If your company has yet to put a crisis management plan together, you can call in a specialist who will help you navigate the various steps, and once the plan is in place, the expert will help you to simulate a few crisis, which will give the stakeholders a chance for some hands-on experience in the plan implementation.