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Three crisis communication action steps to take

By Amelia Ellicott

How to avoid getting into hot water when a crisis arises


A man in a crisis.When a crisis hits, the priority is to not do or say anything that can make matters worse. You don’t want to prolong the crisis and generate even more negative buzz for your company. It’s better to learn from the mistakes of others instead of repeating those same mistakes.


When your company is going through its own crisis, use these three steps to prevent any further damage. 



Step #1: Remain calm

The first step is to breathe and more importantly, remain calm in the situation. It’s easy to let a difficult situation rattle you. And no matter how bad the situation is, do not react hastily because it can only make matters worse. 


An example of this when a video surfaced of a bloody passenger being forcefully dragged from a United Airlines flight. CEO Oscar Munoz released a statement defending the actions of the flight crew, stating it was protocol and apologizing for having to “re-accommodate passengers.” United Airlines lost $800 million in value within 24 hours of this statement. 


Step #2: Stick to your plan

The next step is to make sure you have a crisis management plan established. Anything you say or do must stay aligned with that plan. If you don’t already have a plan, create one immediately, and reach out to an agency like Axia Public Relations that specializes in crisis management. 


To create a plan, you must first brainstorm all potential scenarios that could negatively impact your company. Then, create responses to both positive and negative outcomes. Next, select a spokesperson to speak on behalf of the company and make sure he or she knows the difference between proactive PR and crisis communications. Then, you must monitor the situation to notify stakeholders and determine who your internal and external stakeholders are. Finally, create a holding statement so when a crisis hits, you have a statement ready in advance. 


Step #3: Write everything down

The final step is to write down anything you are thinking about doing or saying before you actually do or say it. Then, read it aloud to yourself and others to make sure you don’t say anything that can come back and bite you. Evaluate what impact your statement would have on the current situation. 


These steps are created to help you catch any mistakes before they happen. For further guidance on how to handle a crisis, you can visit Axia’s crisis management page or read more about crisis solutions on our blog


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Amelia is an intern at Axia Public Relations for the spring 2021 semester. She will be graduating in April with a bachelor of science in public relations and a minor in digital marketing. Amelia has a passion for writing and a love of helping others and meeting new people.


Photo by Nathan Cowley from Pexels

Topics: PR tips, crisis communications

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