4 Key Elements of a Crisis Communications Team

Sandra Coyle
Sandra Coyle

In assembling a communications team to successfully guide your organization through a crisis, there are certain qualities that should stand out among candidates.

Sandra Coyle, founder of Coyle Communications and featured speaker at PR News’ Crisis Management Boot Camp, taking place on Sept. 15 in New York City, shares some of the principle items on her checklist of crisis team member attributes.

  • Connection. How vital are they/their division to the crisis outcome? For example, if you are facing a threat to your technical operations, your CIO or CTO would be an essential member.
  • Skills. What skills do you need to bring to the team for it to function well? Typically, I would choose the HR director or chief talent officer, CIO/CTO, CCO and legal counsel, keeping the team to a maximum of five or six. The skills you will need depend on the crisis you face, and the selection will have a considerable impact on the outcome. Choose wisely.
  • Leadership. The most effective crisis team I have worked on had a chair appointed by the CEO to represent him and to report back. Having an independent chair to help negotiate and move the discussion along while considering all options can be essential to a positive outcome.
  • Experience. Are there staff who have had previous crisis experience? If so, you may want to have them on the team to help guide and advise the chair. They can serve as an auxiliary member and not as part of the official crisis team.

To learn more about building a crisis management dream team, join PR News for the Crisis Management Boot Camp, taking place on Sept. 15 in New York City.

Follow Sandra Coyle: @coylecomms

Follow Richard Brownell: @RickBrownell