In some parts of the UK, we are slowly beginning to return to something approaching normal after the Coronavirus lockdown. Recent and sudden reversals in places like Manchester, however, reveal that we are not yet through the worst of the pandemic. Things can change very quickly.
This is why it is essential to understand how to handle the media, particularly when it comes to crisis management.
- What happens if you are suddenly forced to close because of a local outbreak?
- What if your business now has to seriously consider job losses to survive the worst of the pandemic?
- How do you show that you are taking Covid-19 seriously and protecting your customers and your staff as much as possible?
- Who is going to speak for your business if the media ask questions and do they have the right information and training to create a good impression?
There are a range of different scenarios you may need to have responses for if you are going to be interviewed at some point by the media. Most of these are obvious, for example, telling an interviewer how you are preparing to reopen and what measures you have in place to keep everyone safe.
You may be asked to comment on how your business is going to survive if you are only operating at a fraction of full capacity. You might have to explain to a radio station why your business has found itself on the wrong side of the lockdown rules. Or maybe you have a member of staff who has been infected with Covid-19.
Planning for Different Scenarios
The key to any business is to be prepared as much as possible for different scenarios. Four to five months into the pandemic and lockdown, most of us have a pretty clear understanding of what this might involve.
Getting on the wrong side of a certain pandemic scenario could easily put you in the public eye and it’s essential to have responses in place so that you can go on radio or be interviewed on TV fully prepared and at a moment’s notice.
Good crisis management is driven by excellent preparation, enabling you to talk confidently and clearly should a problem arise. It means that you will be able to handle a range of difficult situations and reduce the negative impact on your business.
That means putting together key talking points and choosing the appropriate person to be the face of your business. Crisis management training is not just about how you appear on the media, however. It means having strong plans in place so that you operate proactively and are not reacting to different situations.
Today’s media management has changed because of Covid-19. For instance, you are more likely to be interviewed remotely using video conferencing software rather than visiting a radio or TV news outlet. That can bring its own challenges, including problems with the technology and connections.
It’s important to test out your crisis management response in real-time. Plans can often look good on paper but undertaking test interviews will reveal weak points where you need a better response.
Media training in the time of a crisis has never been more important. If your business is now returning to work and you want to ensure you have all the bases covered, focusing on your crisis management response certainly makes sense.