Don't forget to PRACTICE
It's great you have that #crisiscommunications plan in a binder on your shelf and training for your role completed - but now what?
The next step is to PRACTICE. And here's a reality check: practice may not always lead to perfect (especially in #emergencymanagement), but it does build your confidence to perform your role, take calculated risks, make decisions in a fast-paced environment and learn what others are expecting of you in that role.
Practice also builds trust and team cohesion, which is a foundational requirement when facing an emergency or crisis incident as a team.
You will identify team members who thrive in a crisis setting and others who are better behind the scenes working to support your efforts, and my experience suggests you need both types to be successful.
When you think of practice, look beyond the major drills and simulations that take months of planning. Bring your communications team together and look at news stories of incidents impacting others in your sector. Talk about how you would have responded. Flip through your plan to see if you have the policies and procedures you would need to respond effectively. Are there gaps you need to fill? Was this a scenario you had not considered? Routinely review your plan so that people know where to find information and use it.
During drills, push your team to think creatively. Ensure the planners have media, and social media injects included on the Master Events List. Get your media-trained spokespersons out in front to speak to the media (and consider inviting local media to participate in your exercise!)
⭐Train your team like you want them to respond in a real emergency or crisis to build their confidence and trust so that they are #ReadyForAnything.⭐
Shawna Bruce is passionate about Risk and Crisis Communications, Emergency Public Information, and Public Engagement. She delivers crisis, PIO, and media training workshops in-person and virtually.