Crisis Management and Effective Messaging - New England


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Crisis Management and Effective Messaging - New England

  1. 1. Crisis Management andEffective MessagingDr. Robert C. ChandlerDirector, Nicholson School of Communication
  2. 2. Do you know what you willsay during a crisis?
  3. 3. Incident communication challenges pushpeople, processes, and tools to the limit• Incidents are complex with many facets Duration• Each incident changes Frequency Frequency and evolves over its Severity duration, requiring you to adapt your approach Type• There are many types Complexity of incidents
  4. 4. Crisis Lifecycle Analysis:What do we communicate, when, and how do we say it?
  5. 5. Every stage of the crisis dictates your audience’sinformation requirements and your response 1. Warning 2. Risk Assessment 3. Response 4. Management 5. Resolution 6. Recovery
  6. 6. 1 Warning• Communication is often precautionary and intended to heighten awareness• Certain incident types have very distinct warning phases Examples: Hurricanes, snowstorms• Other incidents have no warning periods or very subtle warning signs that often go unnoticed Examples: Power outages, workplace violence, earthquakes
  7. 7. 2 Risk Assessment• Communication is geared toward assembling the right people to determine how to handle the situation• Focus on “internal” communication – your team, your people, and your resources• In the moments after an incident occurs and/or is reported, the crisis response team activates the organization’s emergency response plan• Communications are sent only to decision-makers during risk assessment. “Public” communications occur during the response phase
  8. 8. 2 Risk AssessmentPart 1: Six Stages of a Communication Crisis Emergency communication pitfalls Communication processes Information flow Communication Psychological dimensions Messages Perception and interpretation
  9. 9. 2 Risk AssessmentPart 1: Six Stages of a Communication Crisis Communication shifts in low to high-stress situations Low Stress High Stress Recipients process average Recipients process average of 7 messages of 3 messages Info processed at average grade Info processed at level of about 10th Grade (general 6th-grade level or below population) Focus on competence, Focus on listening, caring, expertise, knowledge empathy, compassion
  10. 10. 3 Response• Once the emergency response plan is activated, crisis team members call first-responders into action and begin to notify the “masses” about the incident• Focus is geared toward making constituents aware of the incident, providing instructions and seeking confirmation of response• Includes emergency notification messages
  11. 11. 3 ResponsePart 2: Six Stages of a Communication Crisis Convey complex information and instructions using the 3-3-30 rule “ Pandemics will occur in waves of about 7 weeks each over a period of time. Outbreaks may occur in different places at different times. Different people may be affected differently. ”
  12. 12. 4 Management• Crisis either moves toward resolution or gets worse with deepening layers of complexity• Organizations must respond differently according to the progression of the crisis• Organizations must provide regular status updates to their various audiences, change or add to previous instructions, control rumors, and conference with leadership and responder teams• Course correction may be needed to respond to changes in the situation
  13. 13. 4 ManagementPart 2: Six Stages of a Communication Crisis A crisis complicates conventional communication Technical, industry-specific jargon may confuse and intimidate an audience already under stress “ A railcar containing anhydrous ammonia is breached as the result of a large rupture forming a gaseous ammonia cloud 27km east of Denver, Colorado. The nearest residential structures are 1 km (0.62 miles) downwind. Wind speed is estimated to be 1 meter/sec. We don’t know whether a liquid pool form will continue to evaporate or how long the ammonia cloud might last or exactly where it will go, however the emergency instructions are for you to remain indoors, shut windows, and shelter-in-place. ”
  14. 14. 4 ManagementPart 2: Six Stages of a Communication Crisis “ A railcar has ruptured that has released dangerous gas east of Denver, Colorado. Please remain indoors, shut your windows. Turn off your air conditioning and wait for further instructions. ”
  15. 15. 5 ResolutionPart 3: Six Stages of a Crisis • Once the crisis has been resolved and is drawing to conclusion, crisis team members communicate that resolution to all audiences in the form of all-clear alerts and messages of reassurance. • Indicate status return to “normalcy” • Closure • Indicate transition to “recovery” • Recall or demobilize emergency response or management protocols and procedures • Change (transfer) of command authority or structure
  16. 16. 5 Resolution• Who to communicate with: Target audiences who have been actively impacted by the management of the crisis; constituents and stakeholders; emergency responding personnel; assigned individuals, agencies, and teams that will take charge of the operational recovery phase• Critical factors to consider: Psychological and cognitive issues; lingering confusion and misinformation “pockets”; sequential communication delays, breakdowns, and “information ripples”• How to communicate: both PUSH and PULL measures; multiple (direct and indirect) channels; both PUSH and PULL measures; multiple (direct and indirect) channels; and source credibility (authority)• What to communicate: Simple declarative closure measures; change of status, transition; information on anticipated recovery steps; how to obtain resources or additional information – reassurance, confidence, and stability are all important meta-message aspects to communicate
  17. 17. 6 RecoveryPart 3: Six Stages of a Crisis • Goal of this stage is to convert this turning point into opportunity • Focus on healing and getting back to normal • Communication revolves around post-crisis counseling, a return to pre-crisis policies and operations • Offer relief, celebration, acknowledgement for getting through the event • Instill trust and confidence with your audience • Acknowledge short comings and how they will be rectified in the future • Damages, losses and costs are examined and analyzed, and planned recovery strategies are evaluated, modified and executed
  18. 18. 6 RecoveryPart 3: Six Stages of a Crisis • Who to communicate with: • Affected target audiences • Constituents and stakeholders • Assigned individuals, agencies, and teams in charge • Critical factors to consider: • Coordinated communication management • Prevention of rumors and misinformation • Avoiding inefficiencies and breakdowns and • Getting thing back to “business as usual”
  19. 19. 6 RecoveryPart 3: Six Stages of a Crisis • How to communicate: • Use both PUSH and PULL measures • Use multiple (direct and indirect) channels • What to communicate: • Focus on operational (pragmatic) information • Keep alert for changed circumstances and people • Explanation and post-event analysis • Beware of blaming or negative focus • Communicate changes in policies, procedures, and facilities that are being implemented
  20. 20. CommunicationContact information resources White papers, literature, case studies C. Chandler, Ph.D.rcchandl@mail.ucf.edu1.407.823.2681
  21. 21. CommunicationContact information resources White papers, literature, case studies Willett of Services Delivery Peters Ellen RollinsTraining & Education Service Manager Senior Account ellen.rollins@everbridge.com818.230.9755 760.644.8403Marc Ladin Patrick StruverChief Marketing Officer Senior Account patrick.struver@everbridge.com818.230.9733 818.230.9724