Crisis Communication Tips

1. Speed is key. Lasting perceptions are set in the first 24-48 hours.

2. People are self-interested. They want to know how the company is acting to protect them from risk; this includes disclosure of the risks.

3. People are not rational. Facts don’t dominate perceptions, emotions do. Facts are necessary, but not sufficient, when resolving a crisis.

4. Communications without concern will fall on deaf ears. Recognize and acknowledge the human dimension of the problem. Defending company honor is not the first priority in the midst of a crisis.

5. Credible third parties can be your best allies.

6. People know zero-risk is a myth. Still, they want options and controls available to them, and they need information to make risk-benefit judgments.

7. Every action elicits a reaction. Constant monitoring of the situation is essential to keeping control.

8. The symbolism of a company leader being involved and appearing in control is critical to successful crisis communications.

9. Clear, positive, decisive actions are required to convince audiences that the company is responsive and in control.

10. Consistent communications are important. Determine your position and stick to it. If you must change your position, be prepared to explain why.

This is from Waggner Edstrom, an influential PR Company