During a crisis, you have many moving parts that need to be coordinated and managed. In these times, it’s critically important for the company leader to stand up and guide the team with confidence.
One key question during a crisis is who should be the company spokesperson? Some believe the company’s CEO or President should always speak to the media, but that may not always be a good idea. For example, during certain points of the crisis, the leadership team needs to be focused on fixing the problem, rather than talking about it with reporters. So who’s the best choice for a spokesperson?
In most organizations, it’s the communications manager who takes the lead with the media. This person is well-versed in your company’s goals and culture and typically trained in crisis communications. If you work with an external PR firm, they can help you identify the right company spokesperson, and help coach and train them in advance.
At other times, a department head or mid-level manager might be appropriate. If the crisis matter is complex and requires technical expertise, a mid-level manager can make sure reporters get accurate information. Having a variety of people who are ready to speak to the media in a crisis is important, so you can delegate this task to someone trustworthy and experienced.
At some point during the crisis, the CEO will need to address the media and other audiences, like employees, board members, investors, et al. A CEO news conference typically happens several hours after the crisis begins, when more information is known and the company has a solid response plan.
A company’s customer service team will also play an important part in answering consumer questions about the crisis. You must make sure they have updated message points and clear directions on how to handle these inquiries. Train them in advance on how to handle communication in a crisis.
Every spokesperson needs to be confident, a practiced public speaker, and someone you can trust with the reputation of your company. Look for team members with solid communication skills, the ability to work well with people, and a clear understanding of the company’s objectives.
Does your company need help to prepare for possible crisis communications? Contact Tucker/Hall today to see how we can help.