One of the TAF’s trainers, Adrian Wheeler, has written a short, practical guide to managing communications with the media, employees, stakeholders and members in the case of a crisis.
Adrian is a veteran public relations consultant who began his career as a reporter. This enables him to suggest techniques for neutralising hostile media coverage – a key factor in successful crisis communications management since the media almost always escalate problems and issues when they think there is a ‘good story’ to uncover.
Adrian writes about the predicament of spokespeople and professional communicators with understanding: as chairman of his own trade association, the PRCA, he regularly appeared on TV and radio to defend the association and individual members against critical media attention.
The book stresses the importance of preparation – ‘being crisis-ready’ and in particular the vital role of spokespeople, who should be trained, rehearsed and capable of responding to a crisis within an hour – confident, credible, calm and – above all – human. Demonstrating empathy under pressure is not easy. Few people can do it without practice. But it’s essential – most stakeholders care little about the details of a crisis but they care a lot about the performance of the spokesperson.
‘Crisis Communications Management’ contains numerous real-life examples and handy check-lists, together with a set of practical exercises – ‘What would we have done?’ – to help readers examine their own probable reactions and the condition of their own crisis defences.