by Matt Barkett

June 23, 2020

When was the last time you conducted crisis communications training?

Despite the fact that concerns over the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) are still looming over many states, businesses and their employees are slowly starting to get back to business as “usual”, or as usual as they can be.

As we start thinking about what our “new normal” looks like, it’s a good time to revisit the last time you conducted crisis communications training for your executive team and spokespeople. Has it been more than a year? Maybe even a few years? And maybe some of those people that had been trained have moved on? If any of those are the case, it’s probably time to get it scheduled. Like regular maintenance to keep your vehicle running in top form, providing regular media and crisis communications training helps to have effective communicators that can ably deal with the media or other key audiences in the course of normal business as well as in crisis situations.

Here are a few reasons to get it scheduled sooner rather than later:

  1. Getting it scheduled is often the hardest part. With schedules increasingly complicated for staff at every level, whether staff is working from the office, working from home or a little bit of both, the answer to training is most often “yes, I’d love to, but when can I find the time?” The best path is to get it on the calendar months in advance and then it is easier to secure and keep a date. Even if you get one or two trainees that end up with a last-minute conflict, you can still get the majority done and be in a better place. August can be a slower month for some organizations, so maybe that’s a good time to schedule a session!
  2. Communications vehicles are changing all the time. From “older” social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn to newer channels such as Vero or TikTok, the landscape is hard to keep pace with. Providing training that gives an overview of new social channels as well as a refresher on the media in general is useful, especially for those staff that don’t live on social media every day.
  3. Risk points may have changed. No business is static – as we all have come to learn with the extreme challenges and nuances of COVID-19 − the one constant is change in today’s fast-moving marketplace. As such, your risks may be different than they were even just a few years ago. Maybe you’ve done an acquisition that added a new facility? Maybe your business has changed as a result of COVID-19? Or maybe you’ve initiated a new e-commerce process that created some cyber vulnerabilities? In any case, updating your training materials and developing a few new scenarios that focus on new risk points for the team to consider is always a good idea.

As we know all too well, there is no prescribed timeline for COVID-19, or whatever crisis is around the corner. It’s a perfect time to take a look at those late schedules and get a training session on the books heading into the second half of the year. If you’d like our help mapping out a training session, please contact Matt Barkett at 216-241-3073 or via email to start a conversation.