Don't panic! This is the most important rule in communication. Keep calm, even if your warehouse has just exploded or a child was injured by your product. But only with the right
preparation for a crisis comes the necessary calmness.
Only those who prepare for a crisis and think about possible emergency situations and their communicative support, can cope with a crisis as quickly as possible and in a perfectly structured and coordinated manner. They are ready to react to a potential rush of questions and concerns and have prepared themselves communicatively for the worst-case scenario.
Every crisis is individual
Since every crisis is unique, only fundamental considerations can be made in advance about its course and the measures to be applied. And only potential scenarios for action can be drawn up –
detailed statements and forecasts are not possible.
From our experience, however, there are some basic rules that are always valid.
Companies should define their approach to crisis management and crisis communication in a handbook and check its validity at regular intervals. Because those who are overwhelmed by a crisis have no time to decide who should be involved or even to calmly formulate sentences for the running camera.
The 5 most important rules for crisis management
1. Keep track. In this way, measures can be taken quickly and efficiently.
2. Dealing with the public. Determine the communicative line in advance.
3. Train those involved. Everyone must know who has to do what, when, how and where. Or mustn't do anything.
4. Synchronize knowledge. During a crisis, all those responsible must have the same information at all times.
5. Inform openly and honestly. Employees, media and the public are to be informed in this order as comprehensively, up-to-date, consistent and truthful as possible.
The 5 most important rules in crisis communication
6. Activation of crisis communication. The pre-defined crisis team is activated for crisis communication. The tasks and roles must be distributed according to the situation and the arrival and availability of the members of the crisis management team.
7. Avoid panic. Always appear calmly, professionally and calmly both on the outside and on the inside. React quickly and take control of interpretation.
8 "Internal before external". Before any information is released, it must have been communicated internally.
9. Face the media. Only the managing directors or the spokesperson speak to the media. These people give the crisis a "face".
10. Opinion leadership. Precise and true information is the most important prerequisite for maintaining opinion leadership and providing the media with the best possible information.
Let's hope you never need any of this. But if you do – just say: Don't panic – we have something up our sleeve!
Cornelie Elsässer findet, dass Krisenkommunikation immer Chefsache ist und die Vorbereitung auf eine mögliche Krise ein fester Bestandteil der Unternehmenskommunikation sein sollte. In der Krise liegt immer auch die Chance zu zeigen, welches Potential in einem Unternehmen steckt.