At a recent meeting with a media training client we discussed crisis planning, and particularly the benefits of having a robust crisis communications strategy, with sample holding statements written and ready to go.
This client had recently experienced a crisis. One of the key lessons she learned was the importance of establishing in advance a crisis committee to take responsibility for managing the crisis, so the chain of command is simple and decisions can be taken swiftly – rather than expecting a wider, unwieldly, board to take all the decisions.
The second was to agree in principal basic holding statements in advance which could then be deployed very quickly to help contain an evolving situation on social media.
Of course you would need to adjust these to the particular circumstances of the incident and anticipate the implications of each one before you finalise it.
Six sample holding statements include
- we are in contact with the victim’s family and are doing everything we can to support them
- we are investigating the incident
- we are co-operating with the authorities
- we will be reviewing our procedures and making an improvements necessary to help prevent a repetition of this incident
- we will immediately put in place any recommendations
- we are devastated, we pride ourselves on our excellent safety record and this is the first time anything like this has happened in our 200 year history