Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about crisis communications training.
The reason is that last week I met a potential client to discuss running a crisis comms course for its senior executives.
They were in a sensitive industry and had taken the very sensible decision that their senior management should know what to expect should the worst happen.
They want to train up to 12 executives, so we discussed how we might structure a course.
In all our media training courses, we aim to include as many practical exercises as possible, as we believe the best way to learn is from experience.
With 12 trainees, we felt the best option would be to divide them into groups of four, and run the practical exercises concurrently, so that each trainee has as many opportunities to practise interviews as possible.
Our idea was to create a breaking news story, which the trainees would be told about five minutes before their first interview. They would have to discuss their response and then each be interviewed, either for print, radio or TV. We would then watch back their interviews and give advice and guidance about how they had gone and how they could improve.
There would then be a further development, and they would have five minutes notice before the next interview – and each person would do a different type of format.
Read more: our deep dive into crisis management
Each group would do at least four mock interviews, and before each one, there would be another development (which would play out their worst nightmares for their business).
The day would culminate with the group either holding a press conference, being doorstepped or facing Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight.
Of course there are many ways to running a crisis communications course, but we feel that this breaking news approach is one way to replicate the speed with which crisis situations can develop.
It drums into the trainees that they will have to respond fast and that they will need some agile – and very clear – thinking if they are going to come out of a problem with their reputations intact.
If you would like to find out more about our crisis communications training, please give us a call on 020 8332 6200 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org.