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Crisis Communication—Other Tips

In the last four videos, I outlined what I consider the first three steps to take when communicating during a crisis situation. These steps are:

Step 1: Get as many facts as you can as quickly as you can.

Step 2: Determine your communication responsibilities.

Step 3: Line up your team.

Yesterday, I explained how important having a prior connection to the local police, sheriff, or other authorities can be to ensure good communication if you should experience a crisis situation.

Now, in the fifth video in this series of crisis communication videos, I would like to share some additional tips.

Create a public key-facts document

I find that it is often helpful to have a simple fact sheet listing all of the facts that were recorded earlier. This document, which you can release publicly, includes the information you received, such as the “who, what, where, when, and how” of the situation. Do not include information such as student names, which should not be released. This document can be shared with the media if necessary.

Restrict media access to the building

Keep the disruptions that result from the crisis to a minimum. Do not allow reporters into your school after a crisis and do not allow them onto school property.

Stay connected with your attorney, your administrative team, and your board members

Remember to provide frequent updates to the people you need to keep informed. Keep track of who you communicated with and when.

Counsel students and staff

Inform staff and students that they have the right to speak with the media, but they also have the right to refuse.

Continue communicating

After the initial dust settles, remember to continue communicating to ensure that your messages connect with stakeholders. Take responsibility for how information about the crisis situation is covered in the media, and correct any information that is incorrect.

Remember, Wisconsin AWSA and WASDA members can receive free crisis communications assistance from the Donovan Group. You can reach the Donovan Group at any time by calling 414-409-7225.

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