In Crisis Communications Trust Your Instincts

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When we hear the word “crisis” we often think of some catastrophic event, but that’s not always the case. A better definition of the term is an unexpected event that could negatively impact your customers, your employees and your business. The key word is “unexpected” because it’s easy to panic when something arises for which you’re unprepared. In these situations you need to suppress any emotions you’re feeling such as panic, being overwhelmed, feeling unprepared and worrying about what impact this will have on your company’s or your client’s reputation.

Giving into your emotions during a crisis will get you nowhere.

Take a deep breath and start relying on your instincts. If you’ve done the right amount of crisis planning you already know what you have to do. You have to have a clear head to make sure you’re thinking around all aspects of the event.

Here are some questions to begin asking yourself:

  • Have you let all of your internal stakeholders know what’s going on?
  • Have you begun monitoring traditional media and online sources?
  • Have you set up clear communication channels with decision makers?
  • Have you put yourself in the media’s shoes to begin media preparation with the spokesperson?
  • Have you started drafting internal communications to keep your company’s employees updated?

As a public relations professional who has experience in these situations, I’ve learned time and time again the importance of trusting your instincts and what you have learned from past experiences to get you through crisis situations.

Written by

Maria Nelson

Maria Nelson has extensive experience in media relations, crisis communication and internal communication. An employee of Red Shoes PR since 2009 and a public relations practitioner for more than a decade, Maria specializes in strategic health care communication. Maria graduated from Marquette University and is on the board of directors for Emergency Shelter of the Fox Valley and Fox Cities Community Health Center, and is on the board of trustees for Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Green Bay. She also volunteers for St. Therese Church.

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