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  • Writer's pictureShawna Bruce

How to perFECT your planning

Over the past few blog posts, I've chatted about the importance of Planning, Preparing, Practicing, and Performing. What could be left, you ask? Today, this post is about perFECTing. ☑

These are the steps you take post-crisis or emergency to review how your team responded. Sometimes it’s called an After-Action Review (AAR), Hotwash, or Debrief, and it remains one of the most critical steps in the cycle.

I advise communications teams to host their own debrief first and bring those concerns to the larger group. The reasoning is that you may have identified gaps in policies, staffing, or delayed approvals by leadership hampering your ability to get information out. Your comms team will not resolve these issues. They need to be elevated to those with authority to make changes to policies, fund or allocate new resources and address the concerns regarding approval delays.

⭐The communications team always needs a seat at the AAR table.

⭐Part of your process should also include reaching out to your audiences to ask if they were kept informed? Did they get the information they needed, and did the channels you used work?

⭐And let's talk about the "lessons learned." Remember, when you identify gaps and opportunities for improvement, they are only "learned" once you change your policy or way of doing business and then test it. Those gaps from the AAR need to be documented, tasked out, and given a timeline for completion.

⭐Don't walk into your next crisis without addressing the items you already documented from your last one. PerFECT your plan.

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.

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