Crisis Communications Guidance for Planning and Preparation

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Form a crisis communications team.

  • Designate a team leader and assign responsibilities to team members.

Develop a crisis communications protocol.

  • Who decides when a crisis exists, what are each team member’s responsibilities?
  • Who speaks to the media/public on what subjects and at whose direction?

Develop and maintain lists.

  • Primary contacts/experts for key offices and issue areas.
  • Secondary contacts/experts for key offices and issue areas.
  • Media lists.
    • A media list is a list of print, broadcast, and electronic media that will allow your communications team to identify every possible national, regional, and local outlet and analyze its potential value for reaching your target audiences.

Consider logistics.

  • Where would a press briefing be held? Is it easily accessible? Is the room large enough?
  • Will it accommodate media needs for sound quality and sufficient power? Will speakers need chairs, tables, or podiums?

Identify information needs and develop appropriate fact sheets and background materials.

  • Hundreds of questions—some good, some trivial, some odd—emerge when a news story is breaking.
  • The more questions that can be anticipated and answered ahead of time in a fact sheet the better.
  • This is especially true for information regarding high visibility issues such as might occur in an event.
  • Readily available information on these issues will help keep misinformation to a minimum.