Remember those monthly fire drills from elementary school? They served as a teaching moment for all students in how to act should there ever be a real fire emergency.
A similar procedure should be in place at work – not a fire drill, but a plan should your company ever face a crisis.
Having a crisis plan to rely on could save you a lot of time should things get chaotic and turn sideways. It could also help to save your business reputation.
Here’s how it works:
Anticipate anything that might go wrong and identify the issues in advance.
What will your stance be on these issues and what will you say? Be sure to stick to your message.
Could you have been more proactive in preventing the crisis? Cover your bases and consider the ‘what-if’ scenarios.
- Assess the risks
Be proactive and identify potential crises for your company. Always listen to what your clients and customers are saying and pull from those comments any red flags.
- Communication is key
What will you say? How will you react? The public is watching. Identify your main speaking points and responses to any such crises. Stick to them.
- Listening is learning
Public perception versus truth.
Listen first and then speak. Gain an understanding of the issue that is hitting people hardest and then offer your response.
Tip: Your messaging should defend the interests of the people you serve.
- Be informed
Stay on top of the media reports, read the comments online and listen to the conversations on the airwaves to gain a better understanding of what people are saying and how it impacts your brand.
- Who needs to know?
Should a crisis hit, there will be questions coming from a variety of angles.
Engage your employees and shareholders first to let them know the course of action. It’s your responsibility to share the messages with them so that they’re in the know should they be approached with questions.
- Practise, practise, practise
Now that your plan is in place it’s time to give it a test drive. This will ensure your bases are covered and it could also reveal holes that need to be addressed.
Keep in mind that this plan is not set in stone. It can always use a refresher.