Talking Points are a Guide, Not a Script

A public information officer colleague returned from a recent disaster incident deployment and gave me the lowdown on how the job went. Turned out it could’ve been better! A particular low point for my friend came when he was demobilizing and had a short exit interview/debrief with the incident commander, focusing on his team’s contributions. […]

10 Crisis Comms Planning Tips for Hurricane Season

Atlantic hurricane season starts June 1 (apparently, Ana didn’t get the memo), and U.S. National Hurricane Preparedness Week is May 24-30. If you live and work near the U.S. east or gulf coasts, or in the Caribbean, preparedness week is a good time not only to make sure that you’re prepared in general, but also that you’re prepared […]

Communicating When People Feel Threatened

I’ve been called on to communicate with people affected by oil spills, natural disasters and other critical incidents. What makes communicating to people affected by these sorts of events challenging is that they feel personally threatened by circumstances outside their control and by people they may not trust. This creates mental noise, which means information […]

The Future is Unwritten

Update (16 May 2014): I posted this piece in a few groups on LinkedIn and communications/PR pros weighed-in on the topic – such good debate (and great, related tips) that I figured it would be good to include here – screen grabs of the conversation at the bottom of this post; rest of this piece is […]

Just Give Me the Bad News, Already

If you’re a crisis communicator, you routinely have bad news to give people who are affected by the latest disaster. In the midst of responding to crisis, your job is to build and/or maintain people’s trust and credibility in you and your organization’s abilities. Being transparent with bad news – while telling people what you’re […]