Infographic: Communicating During a Crisis

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In the event of a crisis, what should you do? How do you communicate? Should you communicate at all? 

Recently, President/CEO and Co-Founder of Firestorm, Jim Satterfield, teamed with the ALICE Training Institute to present a 3-part, armed intruder training session. His presentation addressed crisis communication questions to a live audience. Joining Jim for the event was Firestorm Co-Founder, Suzy Loughlin.

Related: Download an infographic detailing Suzy’s presentation: How to Spot the Warning Signs – Connecting the Dots.

During Jim’s session, he discussed the do’s and don’ts of crisis communication. The following infographic summarizes the key points in Jim’s presentation and addressed strategies to use when a crisis strikes.

VIEW THE FULL INFOGRAPHIC

The Do’s

During a crisis, rumors begin to circulate and false information spreads. Do not act upon inaccurate facts, subsequently creating a secondary crisis. Instead, ask yourself ‘why’ five times before every communication. “Why now? “Why contact the media?” If you can answer the question ‘why’ five times, proceed with communication. Understand, however, that not all crisis situations will require communication with external audience members, particularly the media.

In the event of a crisis, determine who is in charge. Whether that person is the CEO or a Board Member, ensure they are given clear direction. Employees must know there is only one spokesperson. Providing employees with a talking point will help decrease the spread of misinformation:

“I am not an authorized spokesperson for the company. I would be happy to take your information and pass it on.”

When your school or organization is hit by a crisis, stick to themes, home bases and message maps:

  • We will not be defined by this event
  • We will invent the future
  • We will embrace the victims

The Don’ts

In the event of a crisis, a few recommendations include:

  • Don’t talk through the media or communicate through a third party.
  • Don’t fall victim to the numbers game; don’t give phone numbers, dates or times.
  • Don’t put anything in writing. Meet face-to-face or via telephone if possible. Note this recommendation is not applicable to life-safety situations.
  • Don’t explain. When you are explaining, you are losing.

View the full list of actions to avoid by downloading the infographic summarizing Jim’s key points.

Related: Watch Jim and Suzy’s training sessions with Church Mutual

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