How to Communicate in a Crisis Situation

General principles that can positively affect your actions and communication in a crisis situation:

  • Bring the situation under control, if possible. Always protect people first and property second. Analyze the situation to judge its newsworthiness. Don’t create a crisis by jumping the gun. Many times the situation doesn’t warrant media attention.
  • Gather the facts – who, what, where, when, why, how, what next.
  • If necessary, activate your crisis management team. Act quickly; spare no expense to distribute the information you determine the media and others should have.
  • Give the media as much information as possible; they’ll get the information (perhaps inaccurately) from other sources.
  • Don’t speculate. If you don’t know the facts say so and promise to get back to the media as soon as possible. Then be sure to do so.
  • Protect the integrity and reputation of the organization.
  • Report your own bad news. Don’t allow another source to inform the media first.
  • Perform an act of goodwill during or immediately after a crisis when appropriate and possible.
  • Crisis communication planning can help you deal effectively with those unexpected disasters, emergencies or other unusual events that may cause unfavorable publicity for your organization.