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Communicating During the Six Stages of a Crisis
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Communicating During the Six Stages of a Crisis


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  • 1. audio dial-in access code note1-323-417-4600 673-516-683 slides are currently available on the Everbridge blog
  • 2. Communicating Duringthe Six Stages of a CrisisRobert C. Chandler, Ph.D.Director, Nicholson School of Communication
  • 3. About Everbridge• Leader in incident notification systems• Fast-growing global company with more than 1,000 clients in more than 100 countries• Serve the Global 2000, healthcare systems, state and local government, federal government, military, financial services firms, and universities• 100% focused on incident notification solutions that merge technology and expertise 3
  • 4. AgendaPart 1: Presentation• Introduction to the crisis lifecycle• How and what to tell people during the six stages of a crisisPart 2: Q&A 4
  • 5. Note:Q&A slides are currently available to everyone on Use the Q&A function to submit your questions. 5
  • 6. Communicating DuringBracing Thethe 2010 of a Crisis for Six StagesHurricane Season Dr. Robert Chandler University of Central Florida
  • 7. 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
  • 8. Crisis Lifecycle Analysis:What do we communicate, when, and how do we say it?
  • 9. 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
  • 10. 1 Warning Waring• 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
  • 11. 2 Risk Assessment Emergency communication pitfalls Communication processes Information flow Communication Psychological dimensions Messages Perception and interpretation
  • 12. 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
  • 13. 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
  • 14. 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
  • 15. 3 ResponseConvey 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. ”
  • 16. 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
  • 17. 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. ”
  • 18. 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. ”
  • 19. 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
  • 20. 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
  • 21. 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
  • 22. 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”
  • 23. 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
  • 24. Incident NotificationMarc LadinChief Marketing Officer, Everbridge 24
  • 25. Incident notification solutions addresscommon communication challenges• Communicate quickly, easily, and • Reduce miscommunications and efficiently with large numbers of control rumors with accurate, people in minutes, not hours, making consistent messages sure that the lines of communication are open • Satisfy regulatory requirements• Receive feedback from your with extensive and complete messages by using polling reporting of communication attempts capabilities and two-way acknowledgements from recipients• Ensure two-way communications to get feedback from message • Deliver refined, prepared , timed receivers messages to each pre-designated audience group, by scenario 25
  • 26. Key evaluation criteria for anincident notification system• Experience and expertise• Ease of use• Ease of integration 26
  • 27. Missed anything?Q&A Slides are currently available on Use the Q&A function to submit your questions. 27
  • 28. Visit Everbridge Booth 608Meet Dr. Chandler and be entered Monday, March 28th 3:00pm – 3:30pmto win a signed copy of his latestbook Emergency Notification DRJ’s Spring World 2011 March 27-30 |Orlando, FL Booth | 608 Monday, March 28th 3:00pm - 3:30pm 28
  • 29. CommunicationContact information resources Upcoming webinars: • System Demo (April 5) C. Chandler, Ph.D. White papers, literature, case Follow us: Ladin Reminder Everbridge Insights webinars qualify for Continuing Education Activity Points (CEAPs) for DRII certifications. Visit to register your credit. Item Number (Schedule II): 26.3 Activity Group: A 1 Point for each webinar