Crisis communication begins long before an organization experiences a crisis. Planning to communicate in a crisis involves considerable preparation, running the gamut from ensuring contact lists are up to date to establishing an organizational culture that is prepared to swing into action when things go south.
Organizations that prepare are able to identify most issues before they become crises. But every organization will experience a crisis when decisions must be made quickly and communicated deftly and frequently across multiple channels. Missteps can exacerbate the situation but a strategic approach to a crisis can help the organization recover quickly with its reputation untarnished (or, at least, ready to be rehabilitated quickly).
Four crisis-tested IABC Fellows gathered on Thursday, July 15 for a conversation about crisis communication and leadership. The conversation, moderated by IABC Fellow Shel Holtz, covered the preparation and execution of crisis communication, including a look at the leadership role communicators can play.
About the panel
James E. Lukaszewski, America’s Crisis Guru ®, is a bestselling author, national speaker, and trusted strategic advisor to FPO and NPO business operators and leaders during crises, disasters, reputation attacks, contentiousness and when the boss’s future is at stake. Corporate Legal Times listed him as “one of 22 crisis counselors to have in your speed dial when all hell breaks loose.” For more than 30 years, he has confidentially guided hundreds of company leaders thru tough, touchy, sensitive situations. Lukaszewski’s strategies inspire constructive, ethical problem resolving management behavior. A powerful and inspirational speaker, he teaches executives and managers the lessons he has learned. A prolific author, he is quoted and interviewed often as one of the most recognizable leaders in his profession. Lukaszewski is on the web at www.e911.com.
In 1996, while on the fast track to a partnership in a growing PR agency, John Deveney opted to strike out on his own and form Deveney, a process and a practice that embraces the soundest principles, the newest media, and the most innovative technologies. Based in New Orleans, Deveney is particularly strong in the areas of crisis, healthcare, tourism, and hospitality. (After hurricanes Katrina and Rita, John led the only on-site communication operation and media center for both the City of New Orleans and the Louisiana Office of Tourism.)
Martha Muzychka speaks, writes, listens, and helps others do the same to make change happen. Martha is a strategic, creative problem solver seeking challenging communications environments where we can make a difference. She helps her clients navigate competing priorities and embrace communications challenges. Martha offers strategic planning, facilitation, and consultation services as well as writing and editing, qualitative research, and policy analysis. Her work has been recognized locally, nationally, and internationally with multiple awards.
Caroline Sapriel, a member of the 2021 class of Fellows participating in her first Circle, is a seasoned international crisis resilience professional with over 25 years experience in risk, crisis, and business continuity management; she has extensive expertise in crisis communication. Caroline is an accomplished coach, trainer and facilitator in my field and is acknowledged industry wide for her ability to provide customized, results-driven counsel at the highest level of organizations across industry sectors globally.