Crisis communications planning – attack is the best form of defence

  • People illustration

There is no ideal time to prepare or update your crisis communications plan, so the most sensible thing to do is make sure you (and ideally colleagues with a range of different skills and responsibilities) read it now and then diary a meeting so you can discuss where and why it needs updating/overhauling.

Because, like homework,if you don’t do it now,it won’t get done in time and then you’ll suffer for it big time when it’s needed.

How often have you heard from business coaches that effective leadership calls for decisive action at important times? Well if your comms plan is gathering dust in a virtual or tangible way then it’s your job as an effective or would-be leader, to act. And if your position in the company doesn’t allow you to make such executive decisions find the right person who will take truth to power and bring the matter to his/her attention.

Of course it is highly likely to be rebuffed with a ‘Not today’ response but keep being a nuisance, you’ll thanked for it when it’s next needed.

Although companies often add ‘health and safety’ and ‘crisis plan’ to their regular management agenda how often are they seriously discussed as people get ready to move onto their next appointment?

There are quite a few things that you’ll need to tackle if nobody has taken a fine tooth-comb to your crisis communications management systems for some time.

Here are few crisis communications points you’ll need to consider for starters.

  • There’s the obvious stuff like ensuring all the key contact details are up to date – phones, e-mails and home addresses, next of kin details where appropriate.
  • Ensure that your website and social media platforms can be accessed remotely and quickly and that you’re not at the mercy of one or two people who may be away for the weekend or actually working to the hilt on the crisis when it is in full throttle.
  • You may discover that an urgent training requirement emerges when reviewing, say, your IT security procedures. Make sure that any training requirements are swiftly followed by ‘action’.
  • How robust are your off-site arrangements should you be required to vacate the current building and set up a communications centre to handle the media?

Once the ball is set in motion for an emergency comms review it will be difficult to stop as it gains momentum but it will need the backing of a strong and respected individual to ensure that people deliver and that the stress points are tackled and remedied however many difficult conversations you might have to face.

The good news is that once it’s been thoroughly managed and emerges into the full light of day, is signed off and communicated to staff the initial grief will have been more than worth it.

Until next year, that is.