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August 29, 2011
Crises In a Nutshell
 
Here's possibly the most succinct guidance we've seen on communicating in a crisis. Executives should put this on a card and hang it around their necks. They'll be well-served should a crisis strike. Prompt, honest, relational communication is what's called for. With this "tip sheet" on hand, you won't go wrong. And you won't have to plow through a procedure manual.

"Crisis Communications: 5 Tips for Effective Communication" is by James Harper of Insignia in Great Britain. His five paragraphs are headed:

Respond quickly
Show you care
Be honest and transparent
Train your spokespeople properly
Give your company a face.

James has a sentence or two on each, and he's got it right. Of course, for press conferences, you'll still need a procedure to insure that you'll have press kits (with background material) and other implements of the trade on hand, including electrical outlets and seats for the attending media.

Media centers require a procedure; what's said in them does not — just good instincts and succinct guidance on being open and honest.

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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