Bruce Hennes of Hennes Paynter Communications has a “three Fs” philosophy I like a lot:

If you F-up, you need to Fess up and Fix up.

Who does it right? Hard to find a better example than Tylenol.
A couple of the worst: Union Carbide’s Bhopal disaster is the poster child. But Tiger Woods is a good recent example of how NOT to communicate in a crisis.

It’s simple: Tell the truth. Tell it first. Tell all.

The goal (usually) is to get it out on your terms and then make it go away. Fast.

Communications planning makes decision making easier in the “moment.” You have to do it.

Other great reminders from Bruce:

Don’t tell people what to feel. Don’t be overconfident. Don’t over promise. Express empathy early. Don’t hold back. Tell people what you know. Tell people what you don’t know. Get facts right. Repeat them. Tell them what the process is, what’s happening next. Express commitment. Tell them where they can go for more information. Communicate at 6th grade level. Have prepared messaging. Use personal pronouns.

Want more? Check out www.crisiscommunications.com and www.psandman.com.

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