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Effective Crisis Communication Strategy

The purpose of strategic crisis communication is to lay the groundwork necessary for organizations to respond effectively in a crisis or significant event. While communications delivered in daily situations is important, it is critical to understand the difference between daily communication practices and a crisis communication strategy.

In most educational institutions, the Chief Communications Officer (CCO) or Public Information Officer (PIO) is charged with the responsibility to provide leadership and direction for the organization’s media relations, public relations and marketing programs, and employee communications. They are also responsible for communicating the institution’s vision, mission, goals, and objectives to internal and external stakeholders which includes students, staff, and community. The vast majority of CCOs or PIOs of institutions have not received specific training on Crisis Communication Strategy.

Effective communicators are charged with the responsibility to respond effectively, build and sustain trust, and exhibit transparency. In a crisis event, the CCO or the PIO from an institution receives requests from internal and external stakeholders, including the media and other organizations, seeking information from the incident or event. This should be accomplished by the CCO and PIO understanding and following the Incident Command System (ICS) unified voice concept.

Crisis events such as active shooters and violent intruders initiate response from multiple jurisdictions and agencies and the understanding of how information flows, the release of information, and who releases the information is critical as improper release of confusing, conflicting, or inaccurate information is at risk.

Developing and deploying a sound Crisis Communication Strategy should occur prior to a crisis incident. Organizations that identify potential crisis situations in advance and have a plan on how to effectively manage communications with internal and external stakeholders will define how they are able to navigate an actual crisis.

Our expert trainers are experienced in roles as crisis communicators and have not only experienced crisis events that require coordinated responses at the local, state, and federal level, they have experience with local, national, and international media organizations and the public. As evidenced in recent crisis events, organizations that have identified and deployed crisis communication strategies are noted for their ability to navigate these events successfully.

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