Crisis Communication Seminar
Keynote Speaker: Bruce Hennes
Crisis Communication &Reputation ManagementforPublicOfficials,Attorneys&Their Clients
The Damage Control Playbook
1 – Tell the truth.
2 – Tell itfirst.
3 – Tell itall.
4 – The mediafilters.
5 – Fundamental role of reportersisnottoinformor educate.
How do you go around the mediafilterand talk to your sub-audiences?
Withineverymassaudience,youhave sub-audiences(teachers,school boardmembers,city,
Everyone has10 to 20 sub-audiences.
Get yourwordsand “pierce the mediafilter”sothateveryone hearsyourmessage withoutall of
the filtersfromthe media.
How can you reach people and go around the media?
POTS – PlainOldTelephoneService
The criticismoutside meanslesswhenyoudiscreditthe mediaandgetthe truthout firstand quickly.
Three V Framework:
1 – It is triggeredthe minute the accusationismade.
2 – The onlythingthatcounts isthe speedof your reply.
Issue iswhena reportercallsa companyand thenthree hourslaterthe phone call isreturnedbya law
office. Itcausesthe reporterto digdeeper.
Instead,acall shouldbe made rightawayto the reporter.
“Whenthe facts don’tfitthe frame,people justdiscardthe facts.”
It isimportantto make eye contactand not use wordssuch as:
I’msorry youfeel thatway.
What doesa vindicatordo?
Make eye contact.
Say I am sorry(Sayingsorrydoesnot meanthat youare acceptingguilt).
Withthe internetand social media,it is more important than everto post the right informationto
Twitter and Facebook:
You cannot correctpeople’sfirstimpressions.
People don’tgobackto the story to checkupdates.
Iterative journalism –Journalistswon’twaittodayforthe story,theywill gowithwhattheyhave
and correct itlater. However,noone will change theirmindwithnew facts.
Content– what yousay.
Performance –howyou say it.
If your wordsare goingto be in the media,youare now a newsperformer.
If someone cansee and hearyou,it changeshow people perceive you.
Whyhow you say is more important than what you say?
55% yourpresence (whatyoustand,look,move,dress).
38% yourvoice energy.
7% your contentor remarks.
(A trial starts the secondyou andyour clientwalk inthe courtroomNOTwhenthe actual trial starts)
Tips to what to if someone isgoingto hear your client:
Be lively,notjerky(move hands,movebody –no motionisnotpositive fortelevision).
Thisis whypeople move paperswhentheyhave ateleprompter:Commandthe desk –addan
elementof physical moment.
If the roomis larger,move yourhandsinlarger movements.
Use the “box”area of yourbody.
Don’trelax ina chairand neverswivel inachair.
Sitat the edge of a chair and talkdirectlytothe personinthe eyes – not the camera (thiswill
helpyoulooklike youare not lying).
However,if youare doinga satellite camerainterview –talkdirectlytothe camera (evenif they
tell youtheyare breakingbecause whenthe cameragoesbackto you,you couldlookterrible
Skype mediacamera– make sure you lookdirectlyintothe camera(don’tlookatthe people).
Studiesshowthatwhenpeople use handmotionsandmake eye contactthat people trustyou
Ex.:CSPAN isknownas boringbecause theydon’tmove.
Boringbecause of form,one reporterreadingtoa camera, panel full of people justsittingthere.
Q & A Session:
Whencan you say “NoComment”?
How doyou say it?
I can’t answerthatbecause.
I can’t talkabout thatbecause.
I don’thave the answer,butI can tell youthisiswhatis inour procedures,thisiswhat
I admitwe have a problemandwe are workingona solution.
Here is whatI do know(Bill Clinton:That’sagood question,butabetterquestionis…).
What do you do if someone contacts you on social media?
Reporttriesto engage youonTwitter, no– do not engage them.
Onlyaddressthe subject,notthe personthatsentthe message.
Askthe personto call you or instantmessage you,don’ttweetorpostto Facebook.
What happensif you can’t comment?
Whena criminal defenseattorneysaysyoucannotcomment,stopcommunicatingwithstakeholders
throughthe media– post to social mediaonTwitterandFacebook, email,otherchannels.
Posta message tellingpeoplethe truth.
What ifyou want to buy some time?
I am happyto comment,butnegotiate time -- Askthe reporterforsomethingelse.
What ifI getcaught in an ambush interview?
Ambushinterviews: negotiatethe termsof yourownambushinterview sothe footage isunusable.
Standthere and say youare happyto talkto you andnegotiate alatertime and location.
Reportersonlyambushvillains,nevervictims. Youwill nevergetthroughitsuccessfully. The onlything
that countsis negotiatingyourwayoutof the situationwhile the cameraisrolling.