I was interviewed yesterday about what type of crisis management strategies Assistant Coach G.A. Magnus and University of South Carolina should employ to rebound from Magnus July 26 arrest for public nuisance when caught urinating outside a bar at 1:30 a.m. in Greenville, SC. Click on link below to view segment.
Posts Tagged ‘Crisis communication’
Contrary to popular belief, crisis communication training shouldn’t only be reserved for executives at AIG and the like. Its methods and tools can be helpful to any small business owner who may be in a pickle. Here are my three favorite communication “ripcords” to ensure that your reputation won’t free fall when your company is facing an issue that will bring on media and public scrutiny.
1. Understand that news doesn’t necessarily break in newspapers anymore. Thanks to the wide world of consumer-generated news, citizen journalists and social media, companies no longer have the luxury of waiting to respond to bad news. So in the immutable words of one of my crisis communication idols, Tori Clarke, “Deliver bad news yourself, and when you screw up, say so – fast!” This advice has never been more important as it is today, when a picture and a sound bite can travel across the world in a nanosecond and put your reputation at risk. Understanding this fact will help you to develop the sense of urgency you need when responding in a crisis.
2. Tell a story. Here’s a tip for the more advanced students of media training. When your back is against the wall and you’ve run out of key messages to convey your point, always have a “story” in your back pocket. Think of it this way – when you go on vacation and you return and your neighbor asks you how it was, you don’t list the facts, “We boarded the plane to Orlando. We checked into the Disney Resort. We picked up our park tickets. We headed to dinner.” You tell a story. “The funniest thing happened after we arrived at the hotel, they said they didn’t have our reservations! So we waited in the lobby for two hours while they scoured the reservations to find us a room. It was all worth it in the end because they ended up picking up the tab at the Resort’s four-star restaurant!” See the difference? You can do that in an interview too. A good, funny or heartwarming story may take the focus of the negative aspects of the story. So, work hard to become a good storyteller and you can essentially become a good interviewee too.
3. There’s a difference between “no comment” and “I don’t know.” Never say, “no comment.” It is the number one thing you can say to imply guilt. Now, if your lawyers have told you expressly to not comment on an issue to the media, you can say, “On the advice of our legal team, we cannot address that question at this time, but what I can tell you is that we’re working diligently to solve this problem and when we do, you will be the first person to hear about it.” Conversely, always say, “I don’t know,” if in fact, you don’t know. Never speculate or respond to hypothetical answers. The trick to this method is being accessible to help the reporter get the answers he or she needs in a timely manner. So respond, “I don’t have that answer, but let me put you in touch with our Director of Quality Control; when is your deadline?”