March 25, 2011

Recap of Crisis Communications Presentation

For those of you who were unable to attend the meeting, here is a recap of the notes given by Lisa Rau, Herschend Family Entertainment, on Crisis Communications. The video will not be posted.

• What is your institution/organization’s reputation/image – how is it viewed by others

• Remember: the press is not the enemy

• Everyone has a job to do – the press included, and if you don’t provide information/help, you’re opening your org up to a BIGGER crisis

• Rumors love a void.

• Crisis of the day

• Constant barrage of information coming to us

• The first 48 hours are critical used to be the norm, but now the first 48 minutes are the most important.

• There is an incredible need to be first. Release information first before the media or anyone else.

• You can’t stop the news

• You have to know the people in your industry and the agencies who service you

• You shouldn’t be surprised when a story hits

• It is not ok to say “No Comment” There are ways to say something without saying anything.

• Having 3-5 message points is a good start – more than that, you’ll forget some. If you stick to these, you’ll have a concise, clear message.

• #1 the Media will find out

• #2 the Media will show up at your property

o where will you put them, where will they plug their equipment in

• #3 the media will expect you to talk

• #4 the media will have the last word

• We have to be ready for the tough questions

• You can’t turn bad news into good. But you can handle with honesty.

• Get on your own web sites, social networking site. Place your own messages and videos

• You have control today that didn’t used to be there. You have your own vehicles of distribution

• Play the drills

• Play the “what if” game

• Practice your message out loud – get used to the wording – otherwise, you might stumble over the phrasing, which makes you appear less prepared (and nervous).

• Don’t “wing it.” It never comes out right

• Preparation is critical

• Off the record is not off the record

• If there is a microphone near you assume its always on

• Save your jokes for later. When it comes to your company and a crisis, there are no jokes

• Vet your words

• Watch your body language

• If you don’t know your weakness – find it

• Watch your back

• “Microphone is not a verbal vacuum cleaner”

• Think in threes

• Say what you need to say and stop

• You don’t have to tell everything you know but you do need to tell the truth

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