In “[Nine] Popular Crisis Responses that Don’t Always Work,” Amme correctly points out 1) just because you are aware of the crisis doesn’t mean the rest of the world is aware (or necessarily cares), and 2) it’s more important to think than to speak.
As Hall of Fame Coach John Wooden would say, “be quick, but don’t hurry.”
Marketers and business owners take their brand reputations very seriously. This is a good thing, but it often impairs one’s thinking when bad things happen.
As human beings, we are acutely aware of any threat to our safety and/or brand integrity, and the urge to respond quickly and forcefully to threats is embedded deeply in our DNA.
Amme urges us not to allow our flight-or-fight instincts to rule our actions.
Over the years, crisis counselors have urged clients to “tell the truth, tell it all, tell it quickly,” which often results in an overblown response that only draws more attention to the situation than it would have received otherwise.
Before you release the hounds, consider the size and scope of the problem, and respond accordingly. Amme correctly points out that doing nothing is sometimes the best course of action.
My favorite piece of advice from Amme is an area that I especially enjoy when handling a crisis (if it’s possible to “enjoy” a crisis):
“Have great talking points.” You should first develop answers to the worst-case questions people will likely ask, if time permits. Yes, talking points give important focus to comments, but your credibility rests on your ability to answer tough, legitimate questions.
He couldn’t be more right. Spokespersons are so wrapped up in what they’re going to say that they forget that there will come a time for Q&A, and it’s likely someone will throw out a question from left field.
What you say is important, but what the public (via the news media or directly through social channels) wants—and feels they have a right—to know.
Your crisis plan is important and everyone should have one, but it’s even more important to have sound thinkers working the plan when you’re in a jam.
Smart thinking beats quick action every time.