Earlier today, Madeira Public Relations co-hosted the first annual Crisis Communications Forum at The Tampa Tribune in partnership with the Florida Public Relations Association. We were honored to be joined by a panel of Tampa Bay’s leading communications experts including WTSP general assignment reporter Preston Rudie, acclaimed political columnist William “Windy” March, Moffitt Cancer Center’s Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations Joe Hice, and Founder and Principal of The Publicity Agency, Glenn Selig. We were also fortunate to have Roy Reid, Executive Director of Communications at the University of Central Florida serve as our moderator.
Attendees were asked to vote for the worst media crisis of 2013, and the rocky rollout of the Affordable Care Act won by a landslide. The key take home lesson of the day was this: preparation is essential to surviving any crisis. If you weren’t able to join us today, here are our tips to ready your organization to weather any storm:
Crisis Preparation Checklist
- Conduct a crisis audit. Consider everything that can or could go wrong in the year ahead.
- Identify weak spots and fix problems.
- Decide who should comprise your crisis response team. Consider all internal stakeholders.
- Determine the one voice that will speak to the media on behalf of your organization in the event of a crisis.
- Implement systems to rapidly communicate with your external and internal audiences.
- Invest in media training for all spokespersons within your organization.
- Ensure all employees know what to do if approached by a member of the news media.
- Monitor social media platforms daily.
- Be prepared to tell the truth and offer the public a time and sincere apology if faced with a crisis.
- Be ready to correct problems.
- Treat mistakes as learning opportunities.