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Building a Crisis Communication Plan... Before the Crisis

I recently spoke to a friend at a local water district about a potentially deadly algae bloom outbreak in the Utah Lake State Park. I had thought about the effects on boaters and fishermen who are not allowed to use the lake for recreational purposes, but I had not considered the impacts on farmers that water crops with the lake water, ranchers who use it to water livestock, or cities that use the lake water as a secondary water source.

The bad news is that this crisis affects many more stakeholders than I originally considered, but the good news is that local authorities have done a great job of communicating information to those who could potentially be affected.


How well is your organization equipped to handle communication for a crisis such as this one? Do you have a plan in place? If not, you might want to consider using the following steps to create a plan:


1. Identify your audience. Are they customers? Employees? Local residents?

You will need to have their contact information collected and accessible before the crisis occurs. Also consider the best way to reach your audience quickly and efficiently.


2. Who will deliver the message? Who in my organization is authorized to deliver the message?

This person should be credible, knowledgeable, calm and experienced.


3. What will my message be during the crisis?

Each organization should perform a risk assessment to identify possible crisis that could occur, and then pre-script messages for each crisis. Every member of the audience will want to know how the crisis will affect them personally, so messaging should address that question.


4. Manage a strategy to overcome the incident.

As the crisis matures, the messaging will evolve from initial information to providing a strategy that demonstrates that the organization can and will recover.


It should be obvious that the most critical part of a crisis communication plan is to prepare and practice before a crisis occurs. If you don’t have something in place, start with an initial meeting to discuss possible risks, identify audiences and craft messaging.


If your organization needs a little kick start, Jacques & Associates can facilitate the risk assessment meeting, help identify the audience, or assist with strategy.


4 Steps to Radiating a Positive Influence By Sydne Jacques


Each month I teach a one-hour class on “Creating High Performance” to a group of realtors. Last week the session was on how to “influence” others. One of our main responsibilities as a leader is to positively influence others. Who do you want to influence? Your team? Your kids? Your customers?


Think of someone upon whom you would like to have a positive influence; here are a few ideas that you can use to achieve it:

1) Focus on always being interested, not on being interesting. Keep your energy and focus upon listening and learning about the other person.

2) Teach new ideas to others. Open their minds to things that they don’t already understand. Don’t assume they already know about a given subject, instead be willing to share your thoughts and insights

3) Challenge them. People grow when they are challenged. What can you do to challenge your kids or your team to accomplish more than they would if left on their own?

4) Be a role model. If you want to influence others, model the behavior you are looking for. The attitude and energy that you bring will set the tone for the culture that you want to create.

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