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Crisis Communications Do’s & Don’t For the Spokesperson

Messaging Tips For Your Organization's Spokesperson

  • 21 February 2017
  • Author: WebWriter
  • Number of views: 9415



The most important things to remember when communicating in the wake of an unexpected event are:






▪       Pre-identify an individual or team that will be responsible for crisis communications. Seek out training so they understand the responsibilities associated with the receipt, compilation, and dissemination of communications.

▪       Exercise judgment and due diligence when selecting a spokesperson. You need a good communicator who is clear and well spoken; an individual that can deliver a message with authority and credibility. Ideally someone in the organization who has established a level of trust among stakeholders. In many cases this will be someone in a leadership position.

▪       Educate personnel so they are aware who is authorized and designated to speak on behalf of the organization, or to the media during a crisis.

▪       Incorporate crisis communication into Emergency Preparedness plans and practice drafting and delivering communications during drills.

▪       Pre-plan and draft ‘holding messages’ for possible instances resulting from known or identified risks (e.g., a service interruption due to inclement weather or power failure) that can be adapted at time of crisis.

▪       Be honest and transparent. Keep trust front and foremost in communications.

▪       Express sympathy and empathize in a genuine manner.

▪       Give credit and express gratitude when appropriate.

▪       Keep communications concise and as brief as possible. Stick to the facts.

▪       Invest time to craft the right message for the audience, using the most appropriate communication channel and media format.

▪       Be diligent when it comes to content. Research and validate sources of information.

▪       Proof communications. Check the facts and ensure you are sharing the most current information.

▪       Make sure the content or key messages of different communications are aligned with each other.

▪       Draft responses to anticipated questions for Q&A. If you do not know the answer to something, say so.




▪       Don’t avoid the media, but rather manage communications in a timely manner and in a controlled briefing environment.

▪       Don’t lie or soften the message.

▪       Don’t allude to or speculate as to motives or causes for incident.

▪       Don’t accept liability prematurely or without legal counsel.

▪       Don’t point the finger or assign blame.

▪       Don’t promise resolution, as it may not be possible.

▪       Don’t ‘wing it’.

▪       Don’t try to “spin” an answer, it will unravel and could have greater negative consequences.

▪       Don’t allow information overflow or provide more details than is necessary.

▪       Don’t respond to questions from reporters outside of formal, scheduled briefings.

▪       Don’t underestimate the power of public opinion.

▪       Don’t release the names or circumstances surrounding injuries or casualties.

▪       Don’t prioritize the company’s monetary damage over the well-being and safety of human lives.

▪       Don’t estimate the monetary impact of any damage.

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