Tips to Crisis Management

There will come a time in every person’s career when they will have to deal with a crisis. The goal in public relations is to keep a crisis from happening. The first part of the life cycle of a crisis involves issue management when the crisis is first discovered. The second part of the life cycle of a crisis is the crisis plan that’s used to handle the situation. The third part of the life cycle is post crisis; this is when you can evaluate how you did, what went wrong and what you can do to next time.

Immediate Crisis

There are three types of crises.  An immediate crisis is happening right now.

Emerging Crisis

An emerging crisis is one where you can foresee a problem coming.

Sustained Crisis

A sustained crisis is one that will be ongoing to the company. For example, the tobacco industry will always have a sustained crisis because its product causes health risks to users.

Be Prepared

Every company should have a crisis management plan in place. If it doesn’t, it will appear unprepared and possibly make the situation worse. The plan acts as an umbrella that also holds a number of crisis communication plans. The different parts of a crisis plan include an introduction, rehearsal dates, a goal that you want the plan to achieve, objectives to follow, key publics and publics to target, a crisis team, key media, a list of emergency personnel and their contact information, the key messages you wish to convey and a thorough evaluation that is based on the results you got.

Evaluate the environment.

It is important to rank a crisis on a scale of one to six on what will actually occur and what may cause damage. Successful crisis management depends on the public and political environment the crisis took place in. If the environment and public are more forgiving and if the crisis is not a hotly debated issue in politics then the plan has more of a chance to succeed. The most important thing to remember is to tell everything you know and tell it quickly.

Common Mistakes

Some common mistakes people make are hesitating; don’t waste a single minute. Get your plan in action. The blame game is not one to play in time of crisis. Do not retaliate, solve your problem and move on. Never lie, always tell the truth because it will come out eventually.

This post was based off of a lecture given by Pat Curtin.