Crisis Communications – A True Measure of Leadership

There’s been alot of discussion in the Toronto press recently about business communications. That’s because two local organizations, who have been faced with very public catastrophes, have been dealing with their own crisis in such drastically different ways.

One company — a food manufacturer and distributor — has taken a decisive stance and made every effort to reach out to the press. They are re-assuring the public that they are ‘taking charge’ of the situation. While people’s lives have been lossed as a result of a breakdown in their work processes, the company isn’t shying away from taking responsibility. On the other hand — a petroleum wholesaler/distributor — has limited its conversation to the public through its lawyers. Their silence has caused outrage in some residential communities and they’ve been villified in the court of public opinion.

On two recent BusinessCast Podcast “Blurbs” (available only through iTunes), Robert and I review a handful of key messages that you — as a business leader — should provide to the press when you are faced with a public crisis.

In such situations, you should also act in the following ways:

1) Be Clear — Have a concise and jargon-free message. Repeat it. Be confident and honest. And, remember that any misleading or ambiguous statement that you provide will come back to haunt you.

2) Be Fast — Reach out to all relevant stakeholders as soon as possible. This typically includes clients, prospects, investors/shareholders, suppliers and the media. And remember the most often neglected set of stakeholders during a public crisis: your employees.

3) Be Strong — Your ability to run your business — hence your business’ longevity — will be associated with the confidence with which you deal with your public crisis. This provides you with an opportunity to demonstrate your decisiveness, courage, ability to empathize (if the crisis harms people) and determination to set things right.

*NOTE: We’ve just started the “BusinessCast Business Resource Give-Away”. Listen to the BusinessCast Podcast posted on August 31 for details how you can get some of the latest business books absolutely free!!*

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

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