Crisis communication is the art of planning ahead. One of the most effective ways to manage a crisis is to create a Crisis Communications Committee proactively.
Crisis Committee Responsibilities
The initial responsibility of your crisis committee will be to triage the immediate response; this includes creating a timeline, designating a spokesperson, and deciding on an audience. Depending on the nature of your crisis, your audience may vary. It could be the legislature, media, investors, or the general public. Defining your target audience is a crucial first step and will help guide the rest of your strategy.
Once the initial assessment is complete, the committee is tasked with ensuring effective messaging tactics (press releases, interviews, briefings, etc.) are in place for deployment.
Tips for Successful Crisis Comms Committees
Leave messaging to the professionals.
The phrase “too many cooks in the kitchen” tends to apply to crafting messaging during a crisis. In some organizations, crisis messaging is created by a committee rather than an experienced communications professional, and the result tends to be disjointed, overly technical or legal, or fails to address the questions media are bound to ask.
If you are a non-communications person on a communications committee, rather than rewriting or offering edits, provide a quick background summary or context that could help the communications team message complex issues.
Pick a spokesperson based on talent – not seniority.
One of the first responsibilities of the Crisis Communications Committee is to pick a spokesperson. In many cases, they may not have a CEO who is adept at public speaking or responding to media but put him or her forward nonetheless to show they are taking the crisis seriously at the highest level. In these cases, organizations are better off appointing a less senior spokesperson who has more experience in crisis communications.
In a crisis, it’s about putting out the fire. When our crisis communications committee is overly cautious about who may feel a drop of water, the fire could spread. Act fast and use the best tools available to deal with the emergency, then rebuild.
The Mach 1 Group specializes in helping organizations establish a robust, effective plan of action. For more information on how we can help before, during, and after a crisis, CLICK HERE.