Tell it all, tell it fast and tell the truth

**Top tips for managing a media crisis**

As much as we don’t like a crisis, any PR professional will tell you that it’s always better to be prepared. Gone are the days where you can bury your head in the sand—stakeholders will no longer be so forgiving and understanding, you must be proactive.

Here are some top tips to help you prepare for a media crisis before it’s happened:

1. **Anticipate the crisis**—brainstorm all of the potential risks that pose a threat to you and then plan for them to happen.
2. **Identify a Media Crisis Response Team**—this team will meet during the crisis. Members should be assigned roles and responsibilities including; spokesperson, social media coordinator, media coordinator, scribe etc.
3. **Develop a Media Crisis Response Plan**—this plan should detail the media crisis response process, outline roles and responsibilities, list all stakeholders, communication channels and key contact information, as well as pre-written holding statements and key messages for the potential crises.
4. **Set-up your communication channels**—How will communicate with your stakeholders in a crisis? Will it be via a press conference for media? An SMS to employees? Set-up these channels so that in a crisis they are ready to go with the appropriate messaging.
5. **Assign a spokesperson**—select a spokesperson who has had media training or experience in speaking to media.

When it comes to communicating with stakeholders during a crisis, there is one message that says it all:

> **‘Tell it all, tell it fast and tell the truth’**

Gather all of the facts and form your key messages. It’s important to be open and honest—tell it all.

Share the facts and key messages with your stakeholders quickly. Why? Because your stakeholders want to hear the news from you, not from a news report.  This method also is the best way of ensuring the facts aren’t skewed or false, presenting your company in a bad light.

Communicating with your stakeholders first allows you to be the trusted source of information. It shows that you are proactive, honest and upfront. It mitigates any impact on your relationship with stakeholders.

When communicating with stakeholders, consider the 5Cs to help you deliver your key messages effectively:

**Concise** – be concise and get straight to the facts and your key messages.

**Clarity**—be clear on your key messages.

**Concern**—express concern for everyone involved in the crisis.

**Confidence**—deliver your key messages with confidence.

**Control**—you must appear to be in control of the crisis.

You never know when a crisis might sneak up on you so it’s important to start planning now, and remember, tell it all, tell it fast and tell the truth.