Organizations are prone to crisis, and this requires them to be internally prepared on how to respond to their challenges. Therefore, institutions are required to develop, revisit, and test their disaster plan to ensure that it is useful when calamities strike.
Here are eight steps to consider when developing a disaster communication plan:
1. Anticipate Disasters
Business should hold meetings and deliberate on every feasible problem that could arise from your organization. After recording all the possible challenges that can face the company you and your team should have a detailed plan of action attached to every possible crisis.
2. Form a team and assign roles
A crisis management team in any business should include the external legal counsel, department directors, vice presidents, PR and communication directors, HR director, COO, and CEO. The primary function of the team is to meet during the disaster, deliberate on issues regularly, and decide on the messages to be distributed internally and externally.
Communication is an essential factor of crisis management, and the entire team should be publicly seen to be speaking with one voice to avoid creating uncertainty among stakeholders.
3. Select a Spokesperson
The spokesperson should be a communication or PR expert who can handle the tough questions from the media. The appointed spokesperson should further be coherent in their speech to avoid creating doubts among the listeners.
Finally, it should be an individual known for credibility and authenticity to convince the audience about the issues being addressed.
4. Develop a Holding Statement
The company executive should compose a few sentences and send to the press and all stakeholders as soon as the crisis hit. The message should acknowledge that you know that something has or is about to happen and you are taking all the necessary steps to acquire all the relevant information on the issue and make an informed decision.
This technique enables you to establish an effective communication method that individuals can count on for updates.
5. Act quickly to Minimize the Damage
Acting fast creates an impression that you care and concerned about the situation. Moreover, you should have constant communication with the press and stakeholders. This technique assists in hindering the spread of rumors and the development of numerous narratives that may adversely affect crisis management.
All the teams should be cooperative to avoid the creation of more mistakes. The legal team should be able to advise on the issue and help the team develop an informed decision that does not have legal complications. The other members should show compassion when communicating with the public.
7. Establish Real-time Monitoring
Social media platforms should not be underrated. The communication experts should monitor the conversation and questions asked about the disaster on the social sites and provide real-time answers to avoid the destruction of your reputation.
8. Schedule a Post-mortem
Evaluating your performance during a crisis is essential because it enables you to understand what went right and issues that should be worked on to improve. This process ensures that you improve in communication management in case of another disaster.
These eight steps are interdependent and need a collective approach among all the teams for the crisis to be managed effectively.
Interested in more tips on preparing for natural disasters? Check out 7 Tips for Preparing Your Business IT for a Hurricane