21 Tactics Spokespeople Use to Manage Tough Questions

We’re pretty excited to have a new contributor sharing his experience and research in the world of risk communication. Dr. Roger Miles was introduced to us via another contributor after they met while attending a course at the Harvard School of Public Health Roger teaches graduate level risk-related psychology at Cambridge University and the United […]

Recovering from Disaster: 5 Communication Strategies

Brandon and I spent decades preparing for and responding to all manner of critical incidents and disasters as federal public information officers. When we weren’t preparing or responding, we were teaching others to prepare and respond. When we weren’t preparing or responding or teaching others to prepare and respond, we were getting phone calls, emails […]

Managing Negativity and Rumors During Crisis

A 9/11 researcher interviewed me the other day to ask questions about my personal and professional experience in Manhattan on that day. At one point, we talked a bit about the phenomenon of people coming up with alternate theories about the terrorist attacks. OK. I’ll just say it: He wanted to know what I think […]

A Process for Key Messaging During Disaster

I’ve written about the oft under-emphasized practice of assessing the characteristics of an effective message that stands out and increases the likelihood that what’s being said is also being heard. It’s a subject Brandon and I will cover with attendees of a workshop we’re hosting in April. For the rest of you communication ninjas, I […]

Crisis and Risk Communication and the Flint Water Crisis

I have to assume (from the fact that you’re reading this blog) that you, too, have been following the Flint, Mich., water crisis (#FlintWaterCrisis is a good place to start, if not). It has been changing every day and is a textbook example of a crisis and risk communication case study: a mid-sized, mostly poor, […]

The Empathy Message: Say it Like You Mean it

With all the practices and pitfalls of communicating during crisis, few things are more fundamentally important to effective communication than expressing sincere empathy to those affected. Yet somehow genuine expressions of empathy during crisis and critical incidents are rare. Don’t get me wrong, I see and hear no shortage of canned, cliché, box-checking statements but […]