- Prepare for the worst: Plan ahead by assembling a crisis team of credible individuals you can trust. With a plan in place, if a crisis hits, you can spend crucial time implementing the plan rather than trying to figure out where to start.
- Make sure you have the facts: Gather as much information about the situation as rapidly as possible. Investigate quickly to establish if the story is true.
- Consider your key audience: Customers, clients, shareholders, and employees should hear the facts directly from you instead of a from third party. Make sure you communicate with them on a personal basis. Show those affected by the issue that you care.
- Do the right thing: Put public interest ahead of the organization’s interest. Value people over property.
- Lie: Instead, communicate quickly, often, and clearly. While it may sound strange, the best-case scenario is when the company in crisis reports the bad news itself. This makes for a proactive strategy that prevents your business from falling into a weakened, defensive position.
- Think it will disappear: Never try to minimize a serious problem in the hopes that no one will notice and your crisis will go away. Burying your head in the sand won’t do you any favors.
- Assume you’re bulletproof: Your reputation alone won’t save you in a crisis. The court of public opinion is often harsher than the court of law.
- Ignore the media: If you don’t supply the information, the press will look elsewhere and could get the information (perhaps inaccurately) from other sources. Answer their questions to the best of your ability.