Practical advice on dealing with crisis situations from experienced professionals

We’ll work with your Comms Team or PR consultants to create a believable, relevant crisis situation. This will then unfold realistically over a morning, a day or even a couple of days. As with all our training courses, the exercises are followed by detailed feedback on how your teams performed and advice for further action. Operating under strict NDAs we have worked with airlines, food companies, hotels, pharmaceutical groups, hospitals and others to help test and improve their crisis situation communications. Many organisations wait until after a crisis has hit them to test their crisis response. Come and talk to us about how you can do it beforehand.

Meeting around table with laptops and drinks. One man standing up/presenting.

Course objectives

We work with senior managers of a wide variety of organisations and their Comms teams and PR consultancies to create a practical and effective crisis communications strategy. We’ll help you to ensure that your senior management are able to cover every aspect from alerting relevant people within the organisation of a problem to knowing what to say and how to say it. We also ensure that your spokespeople are well equipped to put across this message in any medium.

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Working under strict Non-Disclosure Agreements we regularly run crisis communications courses at our clients’ premises.  This might be at a hotel where our camera operators who work for the BBC, Sky ITV and others, can doorstep course participants as they arrive in order to subject them to an essential element of the crisis experience.   We work at clients’ factories and workshops to make the experience more authentic.   In other situations, the Comms teams, PR consultancies and business continuity departments who often commission our crisis communications courses would rather that participants are removed from the distractions of their offices.  An unfamiliar environment can also make the situation even more authentic. We therefore use a variety of high quality training venues around the country.

People sat around long desk looking towards woman at the end in glass building.
Radio interview behind glass wall.

Course content

The course that we design and deliver for you will identify and test the following elements of your organisation, all of which could be affected by a crisis:

Testing your crisis communications operation

Your message might be spot on but let’s take a step back. What happens if an incident takes place at 3am on Thursday or 2pm on Sunday? Who would inform whom? Do your switchboard, customer service people and security staff know what to say? What happens to your website in a crisis? One holiday company, for instance, which was struggling with the death of customers was, according to its site, still sending people to the country where the incident took place. We’ll work with you and your PR consultancy to develop your internal crisis communications strategy.

Identifying spokespeople

We’ll put your senior team through a series of realistic crisis interviews – the kind that our experienced media trainer/journalists do regularly during their day jobs. We’ll then help you to assess who might be best for each situation and each medium.

Developing and testing your message

Saying the right thing is essential during a difficult event. One wrong word or a mis-judged phrase can turn a difficult incident into a crisis. Remember Tony Hayward, CEO of BP after the Gulf of Mexico disaster? He gave a decent interview about the situation to waiting reporters but then added that throwaway line: “I’d just like my life back.”

A casual comment but it was devastating, nonetheless. During our crisis communications courses we work with organisations to develop and test key messages, statements and lines to take when things go wrong.

Handling media enquiries.

A key part of our crisis communications courses involves helping the Comms team, the PR consultancy and the senior management to handle the avalanche or media enquiries that they might well be subjected to in the event of a crisis. Our media trainer/journalists are used to ringing press offices and switchboards as well as camping outside organisations’ head offices and even the homes of their senior managers. We help clients to handle this intrusion and aggressive behaviour. We’ll look, too, at the increasingly important role that social media plays.

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