Three Tips To Make Crisis Communications Easy


Damage limitation is defined as, “all efforts made to minimize the negative effects of a crisis on reputation and/or business.” And to PR professionals everywhere, crisis communications is one of the most challenging aspects of their day-to-day work-lives.

We see it far too often where companies and organizations aren’t prepared for crisis situations (see United Airlines). One major obstacle to executing an impactful crisis communications effort is timing.

Here are three tips to help your team save crucial minutes when responding to a crisis situation.

Put time into your preparation

Having a contingency plan for most situations can prove to be very effective in how well your organization responds to crises. While this process can be daunting and time-consuming, it will pay off if and when a crisis occurs.

A contingency plan can take several forms, but generally usually includes a strategy for nearly every imaginable situation that could occur.

Monitor for situations that could turn south

Use the tools you have at your disposal to monitor situations and trends that could spell trouble for your organization. This step is simple and can easily be done alongside daily media monitoring.

Keep your response quick and considerate

Time is of the essence during a crisis. When outlining your response plan, it is important to keep timing in mind. No crisis is the same and neither is the expected response time. Having a clear understanding of your audience’s expectations can make the process for issuing a response clear and concise.

Your answer to a crisis can’t just be quick – it must be considerate. Companies often receive additional backlash for seeming “unconcerned” in how they respond to crisis situations. Taking the necessary time to understand your organization’s position can help you avoid an additional crisis from forming.

Additional tips:

·      Don’t forget who your audience(s) is – make sure your responses are clear and understood by your stakeholders.

·      Leverage social media to take the message straight to those who are affected by the crisis.

·      Keep a budget set aside for these situations to ensure that adequate amounts of time and resources can be used to reach a resolution.

Any crisis situation makes it easy to jump to conclusions, but it’s important to avoid doing so. When a crisis does strike, ensuring that the appropriate plans and personnel are in place will make executing a response much easier.

Perhaps the best crisis communications practice is what your grandmother used to tell you as a child, “honesty is the best policy.”

For help defining your crisis communications strategy, visit

X-SageJim McIntyre