Communicating During a Crisis

Internal and external communication is paramount for surviving any media-based image crisis. Scott Farmelant, a principal with Mills Public Relations in Boston, suggests these five ways of communicating to people inside and outside the organization.

Be direct. You might not always be able to divulge all the details, but say as much as you can within the context of the situation.

Be clear. “The more you’re able to be clear, the better you’re going to be able to move forward,” Farmelant said.

Be quick. In a world where things go viral quickly, it’s critical that organizations reply immediately. Strategizing ahead of time by holding planning sessions can shorten response time by having a legal-approved concept of how to handle a media problem.

Always connect the context. This is especially important when government or law enforcement investigations are involved and can clarify what happened, what standard processes are and how the organization will move forward to address the issue.

Keep thinking. “Don’t be cookie-cutter,” Farmelant said. “Put your thinking cap on, keep it on and be nimble in your response.” 

— Kate Everson