COM562: Crisis Communication in Global Contexts

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Reflections on Risk Analysis

Being prepared to handle a crisis must include a plan to communicate effectively with all those affected. Without it, an organization and the people it serves can suffer even greater consequences. A consistent and coordinated approach to crisis communication strategies is critical. It is equally important to take into account the varying concerns and needs of clients and stakeholders, available resources and potential liabilities when developing a crisis communication approach.

The nay-sayer has an important role to play in identifying the potential pitfalls and half-buried stumbling blocks  to organizational success. All too often, though, people with this skill set are seen as persnickety gate-keepers (at best) or granite-hewn road-blocks (at worst). A strong organization, however, will benefit by bringing this perspective to the planning table early on, to identify problems and solutions.

Risk is a “tradeoff factor to be balanced with cost and performance”  (The Role of Risk Management in Maximising Organizational Value, Risk&Compliance Quarterly, Jan-Mar 2014). Rather than shutting down your critical thinkers, engage them in planning ahead for any number of scenarios. Pay attention to your line staff, and folks on the ground. Their experiences and perspective matter when it comes to planning ahead.

“The keys to crisis communications success are anticipation and preparation. It’s important to take the time to think exhaustively about what could go wrong, before it goes wrong.”

George Regan
Regan Communications Group and blog contributor for PR Week

As part of my COM562 Crisis Communication Planning class summer semester 2014, I developed a user-friendly tool to help guide state level organizations in developing flexible crisis communication protocols that meet statewide needs as well as specific local and regional needs: The Building Blocks of Crisis Communication Planning

When it comes to the health and safety of children and families, thoroughness matters. Considering all perspectives counts. Tailoring approaches, tools and training to unique community needs and situations takes time up front but saves time in the end. I fancy it can also help save lives.


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