In any organization—It’s always highly likely that some kind of crisis is going to hit. No organization should be without a Crisis Communication Plan (CCP). CCP includes: 1. A list of whom to notify in an emergency 2. An approach to Media Relations 3. A strategy for notifying employees 4. A location to serve as crisis headquarters 5. A description of the Plan Fearn-Banks (2007): Business is ruined; it runs out of business, it is sued and the CEO is charged. 2. Organization exists but has lost some image, respect and financial position. 3. Wins, in a hard fought battle, and it is seen as favorably as before or perhaps more A crisis in an organization, real or pending, means its reputation is on the line. 1. A B A B Communication is transactional 1. Share Meaning 2. Create Understanding 3. Develop Relationship SENDER MESSAGE RECEIVER Key Skills for Better Communication 1. A Large Repertoire of Skills 2. Ability to Perform Skillfully 3. Empathy/Perspective Taking The Art of Listening: an active process that involves paying close attention to, and making sense of what we hear. 1. Use their eyes as well as their ears—to decode a speaker’s nonverbal and verbal cues. 2. Listen for main ideas—lntroductions, transitions, and conclusions to alert you to the main points. 3. Watch for the speaker’s nonverbal cues— body language is an excellent source of information. Negotiation & Conflict Management: Before a crisis there is always an embedded conflict which must be managed. As a good leader and communicator to be able to: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Recognize the causes and nature of conflict Effectively negotiate and resolve conflicts without damaging relationships Mediate conflicts and bring them to a successful resolution Remove many of the barriers that prevent conflict from being resolved effectively Recognize the different positions that parties within a conflict may take and the positive and negative effects of these positions Communication almost impossible during a crisis; loss of control, not able to think strategically & media frenzy creates a siege mentality Issue: a concern about an organization decision that may involve a point of conflict. For example privatization of the port, employees demand for higher pay or change of employment terms etc. Crisis: requires not just decisive but also immediate action (Cornelissen, 2008). For example a workers strike or oil spill in KPA or petrol leakage at KPLC etc. Development of an Issue into a Crisis Graph 1. Latent 2. Active 3. Intense 4. Crises Pressure 1 Time 2 3 4 Fearn-Banks (2007); FIVE STAGES: 1. Detection: Prodromes 2. Prevention/Preparation 3. Containment 4. Recovery 5. Learning Phase Employees must learn: 1. What positive performance is and how it will benefit the organization and the employees. 2. What the job priorities are. 3. Positive Performance should be rewarded. Employees perform well when their work is recognized and rewarded. 4. Poor performance must be punished. 5. Help employees to cope with personal problems. Management should be able to recognize the symptoms of a personal crisis. ( e.g. drug abuse, living beyond one’s means etc.) The media is always looking for a good story with victims, villains and visuals (Argenti, 2009), and a crisis has all these sensational elements. 1. Never say, “No comment!” to the public— appears to be an admission of hiding information or even guilt. 2. Do not assume that the crisis story will go away. The media can do their stories without you. 3. The media can also use computer files and call up long-forgotten problems and mistakes and in a few seconds. The people thus hear the negative story. MEDIA KPA The spirit of cooperation must be established. In a crisis, 1. We know and here’s’ all the information 2. We don’t know everything at this time. Here’s what we know. We’ll find out more and let you know 3. We have no idea, but we’ll find out and tell you. Give the media access to the material they need, background information, statistics, photographs and spokespersons. What happened? 2. Were there any deaths or injuries? 3. What is the extent of the damage? 4. Is there a danger of future injuries or damage? 5. Why did it happen? 6. Who or what was responsible? 7. What is being done about it? 8. When will it be over? 9. Were there any warning signs of the problems? 1. Dos 1. Do listen to the whole question before answering 2. Do use everyday language 3. Be courteous 4. Do understand the reporter’s job. Respect deadlines 5. 6. 7. 8. and return phone calls promptly. Do try to treat a reporter as a partner, an ally in maintaining or restoring the company’s good image. – hence this conference’s theme: “ partnering with the media….” Do tell the truth – misleading or omitted facts are also forms of lying. Do use your crisis communication plan Do keep employees informed about the crisis. They may be volunteer good ambassadors. Key Don’ts Do not guess or speculate. Either you know or you don’t. 2. Do not stick to a story if it has changed, just to be consistent. 3. Do not be trapped in predicting the future 1. Crisis communication is a predictive—make correct assumptions and determine appropriate course of action within a very short period of time. 1. Research, polling of the audiences, which includes crafting thorough and compelling statements, known as “key messages” is crucial to effective handling of a crisis. 2. Proactive media outreach to get the message and context to the media and identify and recruit third party allies who can attest to KPA’s side of the story is a must. 3. Finally, striking first not to be hit is key to effective handling of crisis at KPA.
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