Terrance Carroll and I worked together in the state legislature when he was the Speaker of the House and I was the Communications Director in the State Senate. Carroll is now with the law firm Greenberg Traurig and he truly understands the importance of good crisis communications – as a lawyer and as a communicator. When he asked me to work on a column with him about how companies should deal with crisis situations, I thought it was a great idea.
Carroll was even willing to include this point in the article: “If at all possible, be careful not to make the classic mistake of using your lawyer as your spokesperson.” A lot of people don’t consider that it makes the public think you have something to hide and prohibits you from effectively speaking on your own behalf.
While there are many points in the Colorado Biz article that can help companies deal with a crisis, there is one section that I think is essential, and a point which is often forgotten:
“When responding to the media, be forthcoming, particularly with ‘bad’ news. You should deal with a crisis like you pull off a bandage: quickly. Suppressing information that will later come to light will jeopardize your relationship with the professional media and will ultimately be a negative. This is particularly true in today’s technology-driven 24-hour media cycle where not only traditional reporters, but also bloggers and citizen journalists will have access to distribution of information on a large scale.”
Hopefully you won’t find yourself in a crisis hounded by reporters, but, if you do, these tips included in the Colorado Biz article can help you handle that situation, and, perhaps, even turn it into an opportunity.
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