What’s the First Thing to Do in Every Crisis Situation?

Crisis Communications

The first thing you should do in every crisis situation is verify the facts, verify everything. Do not rely on hearsay. Do not accept the premise of any accusations or allegations on face value. Do not respond to any questions or media queries or other types of queries until you’ve had the chance to verify, as much as you can know, what’s true and what is not.… Read the rest

Don’t Try to ‘Common Sense’ Your Way Out of a Crisis

crisis communications

One of the most ‘common’ mistakes public relations pros make when faced with a crisis situation, particularly when they have little crisis experience, is to try to ‘common sense’ their way out of it.  More to the point, if they don’t have experience all that they likely know about crisis management is what they may have read on a couple of blogs or at that one conference they attended three years ago, and they try to wing it.… Read the rest

Beware of Language that Dehumanizes

language

As the country and the world become even more divided along political, religious or national lines, language is increasingly used to dehumanize its targets. Language itself is being weaponized so as to condition people to consider the targets of that language as less than human.

This allows for the justification of committing any number of unethical, immoral or even atrocious acts toward them.… Read the rest

Media Interviewing: Beware of the Invisible Question

Media training

If you’ve agreed to do a media interview and it will be recorded, and then edited before “airing,” beware of the invisible question. What’s that, you ask?

It’s when the interviewer purposefully tells a story or asks what may appear to be a long or disjointed question that may give you pause. It could be one that seemingly comes out of nowhere, or, it could just be the way the interviewer stated things.… Read the rest

Crisis Communications: New Academic Year Brings a New Set of Crises

crisis communications

School is back in session, and in the crisis communications field that means a new year of school-centric crises. Expect some of the following in the coming months:

  • Viral videos of students fighting, bullying and ganging up on defenseless kids;
  • In-classroom videos of teachers saying or doing improper things;
  • Reports of drug overdoses or illicit transactions taking place on school property;
  • Questionable class assignments or test questions from teachers that show up on social media or in the news media;
  • Teachers or students arrested or investigated for questionable activities outside the classroom;
  • Reports of improper relationships between some teachers and students;
  • Outrage from parents in the media and at school board meetings over decisions, policies or events;
  • And tragically, more active shooter situations.
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Before You Put Your Faith in AI for Crisis Communications, Learn About “Automation Bias”

Crisis communications

In closing chapter of my book, The Essential Crisis Communications Plan, I touch on one of the most transformative developments to come along in recent years when it comes to crisis communications. That is the emergence of generative Artificial Intelligence (AI).

First, I’ll recap what it says in the book, and then I’ll elaborate further:

“As a tool, (AI) will be powerful.

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New Crisis Management Book: The Essential Crisis Communications Plan

Crisis Communications Plan

The Essential Crisis Communications Plan
Simplifies Creation of Customized Crisis Management Plan

Crisis and Issues Management Veteran Tim O’Brien Condenses Decades
of  Crisis Management Experience into a Real-time, Step-by-Step Handbook

Pittsburgh, PA, August 2, 2023 – Crisis communications and issues management veteran Tim O’Brien’s new book, The Essential Crisis Communications Plan: A Crisis Management Process that Fits Your Culture, is unique in the world of communications-centric books in that it is an actual crisis management plan readers can quickly adapt to their own operating cultures.… Read the rest

One Thing to Remember When Managing Your First Crisis

crisis communications

Every crisis communicator had to start somewhere. Hopefully, your first taste of crisis communications or crisis management was in support of someone more experienced than you, someone who could show you what to do and what not to do.

But that’s not always the case. More often than not, as organizations cut staff to the bare minimum, and don’t free up moneys for outside consultants, the one-person communications function is a commonality.… Read the rest

You Only Need One Out of Four Crisis Communications “Experts”

crisis communications

There are four kinds of crisis communications experts. Spoiler alert. You only need one of them.

Here they are:

  1. The Academic
  2. The Performative Presenter
  3. The Media Trainer
  4. The Counselor

The reason you only need one is because only one of these four has actually managed a crisis before. If you’re not sure which one is the one you need, we’ll get there.… Read the rest