Issues Management: Choose Your Words Carefully

Words have power

When you are faced with the need to manage an issue on behalf of your organization, choose your words carefully. This may sound like I’m telling you to be careful not to use certain words that may offend, which is partially true, but if this is all you take away, you’re setting yourself up for defeat.… Read the rest

Crisis Communications: Is it Time for Your Crisis PR Reset?

crisis readiness

One thing that gets talked about a lot in the public relations business is crisis communications. You read articles like this one, perhaps you go to conferences or participate in webinars on the topic. You follow people on social media who give you a steady diet of crisis PR tips and tricks. But what is the current state of your crisis management readiness?Read the rest

Crisis Communications: How to Spot a Crisis Before It Happens

Crisis Management

You can’t predict the future, and with that in mind, you can’t predict every crisis before it may happen. But one of the things I’ve built into crisis planning over the years is an early-warning process for anticipating and identifying potential crises.

There’s no magic to it. Mostly, it’s a matter of constant vigilance and discipline in monitoring your own intelligence channels.… Read the rest

Crisis Communications: Preparing for “What’s Next?”

crisis planning - what's next

Once a crisis starts, the question that’s top-of-mind throughout is, “What’s next?” Sometimes, the answer is obvious, but oftentimes it’s anyone’s guess. In every case, however, the answer is the most critical piece of data you need.

By this point, you know what’s happened. You may have a good idea of how it happened and why it happened.… Read the rest

The Pertinent Negative: Find Out What’s Missing

pertinent negative

There’s a term used in medicine called “the pertinent negative” that helps doctors and other medical professionals diagnose illnesses and identify problems. Essentially, it’s to look for what’s missing.

For example, a pertinent negative is when it appears someone has heart failure but they haven’t gained weight, a common symptom of heart failure. To a doctor that’s weird, and it’s a pertinent negative, because weight gain is missing from the symptom list.… Read the rest

Crisis Communications: The Plan is Not to Plan

Don’t think ‘plan.’ Think ‘process.’

I have some friends who avoid the stress of planning for their annual summer vacation by not planning for it. Yes, they take a vacation every year, and they always have a good time in a nice place. But they don’t plan for it, at least not in the way you may think.… Read the rest

There’s a Difference Between a Problem and a Crisis

One of the more common myths when it comes to crisis management is that problems are often conflated with crises. In other words, when a company or brand is faced with negative social media backlash, it’s broadly assumed that’s a crisis when in fact it’s not. It’s just a problem, a serious problem, perhaps, but still not a crisis.… Read the rest

Buckle Up: How to Respond to Cancel Culture Bullies

While the term, “cancel culture” is relatively new, the concept is not. Anyone who has spent any significant number of years in crisis communications or crisis management has had to deal with forces working to destroy, ruin and cancel their targets.

As a result, we’ve developed effective strategies, tactics and approaches to situations where you or your organization is under unfair attack.… Read the rest

The Crisis Management Novices Have Moved On

About a year ago, in the months after COVID-19 first arrived in America, the nation was in crisis. No organization or family or person was unaffected.

As a result, nearly every professional communicator faced challenges of their own.

To be sure, there’s a difference between being in crisis and being a crisis manager. It’s the same difference that exists between being the patient and being the doctor.… Read the rest