Plan for Crises Like a Basketball Coach
While a detailed “checklist-style” crisis plan can seem comforting, communicators are much better served emulating an agile, well-prepared basketball team. Take some of these steps to develop crisis resources, increase flexibility and hone core skills:
✔ Ditch the plan and opt for a process. If you can quickly assemble your key decision-makers and arm them with the tools they need to decide, act and communicate, you will be prepared to respond to almost any type of crisis.
✔ Practice makes perfect (or at least better). Once you have a crisis process, key contacts and some tools in place, there is no substitute for practicing your response.
✔ Cultivate relationships with partners and the community. In a crisis situation, nothing adds credibility to your messaging like support from your customers, suppliers and other partners.
✔ Build rapport with functional peers. To help avoid friction with functional peers (legal, HR, security) in your organization during the heat of a crisis, take time to establish a relationship with each of them.
✔ Sharpen your spokespeople. High-stress situations are amplifiers—they bring out the best in skilled communicators and the worst in those that are unprepared. Make sure you help your spokespeople stay sharp with periodic public speaking engagements and on-camera interviews.
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