Crisis means different things to different organisations, but however your organisation defines it at some point you will have to discuss or explain your organisations actions or responses to difficult, unexpected or tragic events.
Good Crisis Spokesperson
A skilled and experienced crisis spokesperson and the team that supports them is invaluable in these situations to provide clarity, answers or updates. While each organisation is different the traits of what make a good crisis spokesperson are similar in any scenario:
- The ability to keep calm – While this is a good characteristic to have for any spokesperson, the ability to keep calm and think clearly when a crisis happens is all the more important.
- To have clarity of thought – When a crisis happens, often the information is fractured and not complete, the events can change quickly, and a good crisis spokesperson must be able to think clearly and quickly to keep abreast of the changing circumstances.
- Must have empathy – This is a very important trait for a crisis spokesperson. Often there is bad news attached to a crisis situation and the spokesperson must be able, in both words and tone, reflect and respond to that situation in an understanding way. Aggressive defence of a crisis situation, whether or not your organisation was at fault or whether you are just responding to an event, is often not the right approach. An empathetic spokesperson will be able to deliver your message while being respectful of the event that has caused the crisis.
- Must be Articulate – Being able to find the right words at the right time is very important with fast moving situations. The wrong phrase or a bad attempt at humour will not go down well in any crisis situation and can exacerbate a difficult situation into a media storm.
- Willing to learn – Everyone can do better, and a good crisis spokesperson must be willing to keep up to date with crisis media training. They must also take the time to practice the skills they have learned so that when they are needed they can do their job well.
Crisis Media Training
If you find a person who has all the traits listed above in abundance they will still need support and training to represent your organisation at a time of crisis. The best way to ensure the person you have chosen to represent your organisation at a time of crisis is to plan and train for these eventualities. While the specifics of any crisis situation cannot be forecasted, scenarios can be imagined and used in training scenarios, so if and when a crisis happens your spokesperson is not only prepared but has the skills needed to handle the media interviews well.
Regular crisis media training is needed to ensure the person or team who will be involved in speaking to the media should a crisis occur are regularly tested and upskilled, so they feel confident and perform well under the inevitable pressure of a crisis situation. The team at Hawkeye Media can create a bespoke package of appropriate media training to fit your schedule and your needs.