Crisis communications for Human Resources

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About Mark Macias
Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with WNBC, Senior Producer with CBS and Investigative Producer with King World Productions. His career has taken him places few publicists and crisis communications consultants will ever see. He’s worked inside the legal departments of the television networks, NBC and CBS, and the nationally syndicated tabloid programs, American Journal and Inside Edition. He’s discussed with corporate counsel and news managers why stories should be killed, aired or altered. As a media insider, Macias knows tactics and strategies that can get nearly any story derailed from the spotlight. He also wrote the book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media, which teaches business owners how to proactively spin the message and manage negative news.


What you will learn from this crisis communications seminar.
Not every company has a corporate communications department. And, even if you do, the media is clever and will often consider calling the organization's human resources department to get a comment on a newsworthy event. As an HR professional or senior manager in your organization, do you know how to respond to a reporter’s tough questions? How would you handle reporters if they discovered a financial or personal scandal was brewing inside of your corporate halls? The call that shakes up your business is guaranteed to happen when you least expect it, and it can damage your reputation for eternity if not handled correctly. This crisis communications webinar will give you a practical, step-by-step guide that will help you understand how to handle the media from day one. You don’t get any second chances when the media calls. What you say is on the record, so make sure you’re prepared to answer the calls before the unexpected happens.


Agenda

1) Interactive Challenge: What would you do in this crisis situation?
2) How to handle the initial reporter’s call.
3) Why perception matters and how it will help you influence the story.
4) Defensive Tactics to better position your negative story.
5) Offensive Tactics to put you on even footing with the media.
6) Interactive Challenge: What would you do in this crisis situation? Applying what you learned.


What previous students have said about Macias’ crisis communications course?

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Crisis communications for Human Resources

  1. 1. Presented by Mark Macias, 3M Media Group 3MMediagroup.com Sponsored by “Leaders of action in a crisis almost always act subconsciously and then think of the reasons for their actions.” —Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India © 2011 3MMG
  2. 2. Today’s Agenda 1. Interactive Challenges: What would you do in a crisis situation? 2. How to handle the initial reporter’s call 3. Why perception matters and how it will help you influence the story 4. Defensive tactics to better position your negative story 5. Offensive tactics to put you on even footing with the media
  3. 3. Quick Poll #1 • Please respond to the poll displayed in the right panel.
  4. 4. Real-Life Crisis Communications Scenario • Your company will be closing a plant/office in two years. • 30-50 people will lose their jobs. • Employees are already spreading rumors and fearful their jobs will be eliminated. • Your company doesn’t want this plant closing news released just yet. What are you going to do? Quick Poll #2 • Please respond to the poll displayed in the right panel.
  5. 5. Analysis • Get on the phone and find out what the reporter wants • Send the call to the CEO or legal department • Ignore the call • Ask an office assistant first to find out what the reporter wants
  6. 6. Why YOU Want to Avoid the Taking the Call • Everything you say is on the record. • You are at a disadvantage by being forced to think on your feet. • You can’t take something back or go ‘off-the-record’ because a reporter’s job is to break news quickly. • What you say will be used against you. • If you give any impression that you are hiding information or not telling the truth, the reporter will dig deeper.
  7. 7. Why YOU Don’t Want to Send the Call to the CEO • Same Story: Everything is on the record. • CEO is at a disadvantage by being forced to think on his/her feet. • CEO can’t take something back or go ‘off-the-record’ because a reporter’s job is to break news as quickly as possible. • What the CEO says will be used against him/her. • If the CEO gives any impression of hiding information or not telling the truth, the reporter will dig even further for the story.
  8. 8. Why You Need to Have a SCREENER • The screener must be someone without significant accountability, like a secretary or assistant. • Acts as a spy without accountability. • Screener won’t be interrogated like you. • Screener is allowed to “not know,” which gives you time to reassess what to say.
  9. 9. Why HR Professionals Make Poor Screeners • You are in-the-know of sensitive personnel issues. • You have authority for speaking on the record. • You are accountable whether you like it or not. • You are perceived as the expert. If not, you better explain thoroughly why you are not proper person.
  10. 10. Questions the Screener Should Ask the Reporter • May I ask what this call is about? (Get specifics) • May I get the spelling of your name and your title? (This allows us to research the reporter. Tells us how big of a fight you face). • When is your story deadline? (This tells us how pressing the story is).
  11. 11. What the Screener Discovers in the Process • The reporter has credible information that the plant is closing. • The source(s) of the story’s information thus far. • Reporter’s information is accurate. • Story deadline is 48-hours (or some timeframe). • The reporter is asking legitimate questions, like what is the company doing next and what will happen to these employees?
  12. 12. Quick Poll #3 • Please respond to the poll displayed in the right panel.
  13. 13. Analysis • Say, “we have no comment.” • Issue a statement. • Talk to the reporter for about the story after discussing your communications strategy. • Have your screener call the reporter and • schedule a time for an in-person interview.
  14. 14. Real-Life Crisis Communications Scenario A reporter is questioning the pay disparity among your employees. Fact: your CEO and other executive-level employees make huge bonuses while workers at the bottom earn modest incomes. Plus, it’s rumored that lower-level jobs are being eliminated in the company sometime soon. What are you going to do? Quick Poll #4 • Please respond to the poll displayed in the right panel.
  15. 15. Analysis – Issue a statement. In can go either way. Just NEVER say, “No comment.” – Talk to a reporter. Issue a statement if you answer ‘yes’ to the all of the following… • • • • Your company is ‘guilty’ Your company will continue engaging in this practice/behavior Your company did not learn from its mistakes Your company can’t find anything positive to say …otherwise, talk to the reporter.
  16. 16. Video Critique Let’s watch a short video and discuss the defense of the CEOs as presented by... Steve Bartlett, President, Financial Services Roundtable: • “Their [the CEOs] pay was reduced because their companies’ earnings were reduced. They [the CEOs] put these companies back on their feet in 2008— and thank goodness to the American people that they [the CEOs] did that.”
  17. 17. Wrap Up Questions & Comments TODAY’S WEBINAR IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY, Mark Macias 888.660.0956 917.438.6985 careerminds.com 3MMediaGroup.com The leader in affordable, webbased outplacement services. Serving North America. Save up to 70% over traditional providers. BeatThePressBook.com 1375 Broadway, 3rd Floor New York, NY 10018

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