Seventy-five percent of readiness in a crisis is making sure you have accurate contact information.
I learned this quickly working as a spokesperson for a major police department. I needed to be able to quickly reach colleagues within the city. I also need to reach out to other spokespersons whose organizations also might be involved in the situation. And I needed to reach out to reporters.
The key to any crisis situation is readiness.
It also helps to recognize that your response will be criticized by people who weren’t at the scene and that the media will quote people who were not involved so you need to get your information out – and quickly.
“Speed beats smart every time,” said James E. Lukaszewski, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA, during a webinar on crisis management.
His recommendation is to brief continuously through frequent dispersals of 75 words rather than press releases, which he says only generate more questions and require approvals.
“Silence is the most toxic strategy you can choose,” Lukaszewski said. “You have to be able to communicate immediately.”
Are you ready?