Martina Beranek, Consultant
If a company unintentionally becomes the focus of public attention, a communications crisis is often not far away. Those who prepare for such challenging situations and take five tips to heart when communicating are often better equipped in an emergency.
Companies that are fortunate enough never to have encountered a crisis situation before often see no reason to prepare for one. True to the belief that "nothing like this can happen to us," they leave the management of a possible crisis to their improvisation.
But anyone who has survived a crisis situation knows how valuable crisis prevention and trained crisis management are. After all, those who continuously monitor potentially problematic issues can still intervene in time in the event of minor disruptions or internal problems in order to prevent a negative momentum from taking hold. Moreover, those who have structured processes for managing crises and have trained for a possible emergency are more likely to keep a cool head at the decisive moment.
Since a crisis usually arrives unexpectedly and is usually immediately visible, it generates acute massive pressure to make decisions and take action. Not only are normal business processes severely restricted. Crises are also often a feast for the media. The focus of a broad public is unfortunately certain. As public and media pressure increases, the company's freedom of action decreases. Depending on their extent and duration, crisis situations can have serious consequences for the image and existence of the affected company in the medium to long term.
Anyone who finds themselves in a crisis despite taking appropriate precautions would do well to heed the following five principles in their communications.
Speed before completeness: In a crisis, rapid information is one of the most important principles. Even if not all the background information is known, it is important to communicate quickly. However, if information is lacking, never allow yourself to be carried away into speculation!
First-hand information: Crisis communication is the responsibility of top management and specialists who have been trained for this purpose. This is because communication from the top demonstrates a sense of responsibility.
Steady flow of information: In a crisis, it is important to ensure a steady flow of information. This demonstrates your willingness to act and shows that you take the situation seriously. From the beginning to the end.
Human dimension has priority: If something has gone wrong or if people and the environment have even been affected, it is important to demonstrate appropriate emotional concern. Show your dialog groups your human side!
Honesty: Anyone who glosses over or even fibs in a crisis often stumbles over their own statements in the aftermath. Therefore, tell it like it is. Even if it hurts.
Have you already been through a crisis? What were the biggest challenges in dealing with the situation? Write to us, we are curious about your experiences!