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Crisis Communications For the Spokesperson Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by [deleted]

Crisis Communications Do’s & Don’t For the Spokesperson

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.


▪ Pre-id­entify an individual or team that will be respon­sible for crisis commun­ica­tions. Seek out training so they understand the respon­sib­ilities associated with the receipt, compil­ation, and dissem­ination of commun­ica­tions.
▪ Exercise judgment and due diligence when selecting a spokes­person. You need a good commun­icator who is clear and well spoken; an individual that can deliver a message with authority and credib­ility. Ideally someone in the organi­zation who has establ­ished a level of trust among stakeh­olders. In many cases this will be someone in a leadership position.
▪ Educate personnel so they are aware who is authorized and designated to speak on behalf of the organi­zation, or to the media during a crisis.
▪ Incorp­orate crisis commun­ication into Emergency Prepar­edness plans and practice drafting and delivering commun­ica­tions during drills.
▪ Pre-plan and draft ‘holding messages’ for possible instances resulting from known or identified risks (e.g., a service interr­uption due to inclement weather or power failure) that can be adapted at time of crisis.
▪ Be honest and transp­arent. Keep trust front and foremost in commun­ica­tions.
▪ Express sympathy and empathize in a genuine manner.
▪ Give credit and express gratitude when approp­riate.
▪ Keep commun­ica­tions concise and as brief as possible. Stick to the facts.
▪ Invest time to craft the right message for the audience, using the most approp­riate commun­ication channel and media format.
▪ Be diligent when it comes to content. Research and validate sources of inform­ation.
▪ Proof commun­ica­tions. Check the facts and ensure you are sharing the most current inform­ation.
▪ Make sure the content or key messages of different commun­ica­tions are aligned with each other.
▪ Draft responses to antici­pated questions for Q&A. If you do not know the answer to something, say so.


▪ Don’t avoid the media, but rather manage commun­ica­tions in a timely manner and in a controlled briefing enviro­nment.
▪ Don’t lie or soften the message.
▪ Don’t allude to or speculate as to motives or causes for incident.
▪ Don’t accept liability premat­urely or without legal counsel.
▪ Don’t point the finger or assign blame.
▪ Don’t promise resolu­tion, as it may not be possible.
▪ Don’t ‘wing it’.
▪ Don’t try to “spin” an answer, it will unravel and could have greater negative conseq­uences.
▪ Don’t allow inform­ation overflow or provide more details than is necessary.
▪ Don’t respond to questions from reporters outside of formal, scheduled briefings.
▪ Don’t undere­stimate the power of public opinion.
▪ Don’t release the names or circum­stances surrou­nding injuries or casual­ties.
▪ Don’t prioritize the company’s monetary damage over the well-being and safety of human lives.
▪ Don’t estimate the monetary impact of any damage.