In the event of a crisis where there is a threat to person, company, or population, a crisis communication strategy is key to being able to successfully manage the event and mitigate any unforeseen damage that may occur. In order to properly manage the situation, one must first develop a communication strategy for anyone to follow in a crisis. Here are some steps to help formulate such a strategy to help reduce the amount of stress and harm caused by a sudden crisis:
Prepare in advance to develop a communication strategy
There is almost nothing worse than being ill-prepared when it comes to a crisis. The planning of your communication strategy should happen well before any indication of a threat as it would be almost impossible to create a viable strategy on the fly. Having a step-by-step process to follow in your crisis communication strategy will only make managing a crisis easier.
Create a crisis team in your crisis communication strategy
First things first. Who will be responsible for managing the crisis? To develop a communication strategy that will work in a crisis, the first step is to identify the managers who will be in charge of executing and carrying out said strategy. It is essential to have a designated team in place who know what needs to be done and who you know can keep their cool during an emergency. It is also important that you include members of each facet of your organization so as to ensure that you have a diverse team with expertise in all aspects of the crisis.
Determine who you need to communicate with
Once you have established your crisis communication team, you must decide who your stakeholders are that need to be made aware of any potential crisis situation. All effective crisis communication strategies have their stakeholders clearly defined. For example, you may want to immediately notify any employees in your organization to advise them to evacuate or not come in. Then you may want to alert any appropriate authorities to the crisis and request assistance from them. Finally, should there be cause to, you may wish to alert the public of the ongoing situation so they may take every precaution required.
Employ a mass notification system
Now that you know who you need to communicate with, you must decide how you're going to do so. By investing in a mass notification system, you are able to disseminate important information quickly and easily whenever you need to. A good mass notification system will allow you to communicate with your contacts using multiple communication methods, such as email, SMS messaging, and phone calls, and will allow you to send notifications automatically to all contacts at the push of a button.
Develop notification templates
It is beneficial to have some pre-created message templates on hand to make communication even easier during a crisis. These messages should be written with the mode of communication in mind – for example, SMS and social media messages must account for character limits. It is wise to keep these message templates generic enough so that they can quickly be tailored to any crisis without much modification.
Practice, practice, practice
Perhaps the most important thing to remember when creating your crisis communication strategy is that practice makes perfect. The more often your crisis team runs through the strategy, the more efficient they will be when a crisis actually happens. Practicing also allows your team to discover any aspects of the strategy that need to be improved upon or changed. There should be no chance of flaws being discovered during a real-life event as it could disrupt the strategy, reduce efficiency, and hinder mitigation efforts.
When you develop a communication strategy that can be applied to any emergency in a pinch, you are taking an important step in dealing with a crisis a much more manageable task, reducing unnecessary headaches and improving team confidence and efficiency. Check out SimplyCast's EmergHub website to learn more about a selection of communication tools that were developed especially for dealing with crises and emergency events. You can also get a free one-on-one demo by clicking the button below.