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Crisis Media Training: Safety and Security #1 Message

Last week I was doing crisis media training for a large organization that serves a vulnerable population here in the Midwest.

Working with their senior leaders and regional directors, we employed initial surprise interviews and worked through messaging and scenarios.

They’re a passionate, committed group of people who serve their clients well. We help people like them to tell their story to the news media as effective spokespersons.

In crisis media training I always emphasize that one message is the most important message, far and above everything else: the safety and security of our clients, employees and others is our number one concern.

At one point, I found myself getting choked up by what I was telling the group: about the deep feelings of concern people have in a crisis, how they hold a strong, inherent expectation of protection.

This feeling is visceral, stemming from deep in the most primitive parts of our brains. As spokespeople this presents us with a deep emotional connection that we can make in a crisis.

If we fail to express this focus on safety and security for our constituents--we risk deep anger, resentment, even hatred. It's why the Jerry Sandusky case so battered the reputation of Penn State.

This is why in a crisis we can’t over express our commitment to safety and security. We have the opportunity to truly, deeply connect with people in a crisis by expressing this strong concern and empathy.

This one strategic focus can literally make or break the reputation of yourself and your organization.

So, in any crisis, don’t miss the chance to express your very real commitment to the safety and security of those who need to know you care.


Photo by infomatique

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