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Crisis Management Today

Hennes Communications
Crisis Communications  |  Crisis Management  |  Litigation Communications  |  Media Training
February 9, 2020
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Our Perspective

Meeting to Discuss Coronavirus
Coronavirus – Crisis Management, Risk Communications & Practical Advice for Key Executives
By Bruce Hennes, Hennes Communications 
In the face of a coronavirus pandemic, prudent business owners and managers should be using “peace time” to prepare for the worst.
Three Stooges engaging in crisis communications
Murdering the King’s English: Grammatical Gaffes Can Kill Your Communications
By Howard Fencl, Hennes Communications 
There’s nothing like a glaring grammatical gaffe to scotch the communication you’ve worked so carefully to present. 
Sexual Misconduct and crisis communications
Preparing for Allegations of Sexual Misconduct
By Nora Jacobs, Hennes Communications
There appears to be no statute of limitations when it comes to allegations of sexual misconduct. Every organization is vulnerable to this issue, even if the alleged misconduct took place long before the accused perpetrator had any connection to the entity now facing outrage. Schools in particular have a high vulnerability to this threat given the close and unequal relationship between students and teachers. Here’s advice for schools to help them prepare for and manage a crisis involving sexual misconduct.
Crisis Management & Crisis Communications
Lots of PR Firms Sell Their Crisis Work – Let The Buyer Beware
By Bruce Hennes, Hennes Communications
With no barriers to entry, every public relations firm in the U.S. now appears to offer “crisis communications.” They don’t. At least, all of those who claim to don’t. Crisis work requires a different – and often counterintuitive – skill set from the traditional practice of public relations.  It’s also an art form where more often than not we’re helping clients figure out not just what to say, but what to do, which isn’t something learned from a book.

In the News

Coronavirus and Risk Communications
Coronavirus & Risk Communications
Beyond the headlines and soundbites, the main effect from coronavirus seen thus far in the United States may be confusion. Who to believe. What to believe. And how best to prepare and think about this latest global threat right now. Here, we offer analysis and advice from perhaps the United States’ preeminent risk communication, speaker and consultant, Dr. Peter Sandman.  
PrepTalks for Emergency Managers and Crisis Management Specialists
FEMA & Emergency Management Partner Organizations Release “PrepTalk” on Lessons for Emergency Managers
PrepTalks are given by subject-matter experts and thought leaders to spread new ideas, spark conversation, and promote innovative leadership for the issues confronting emergency managers over the next 20 years.Today’s PrepTalk is Left in the Dark: Power Outages in an Interconnected World.
The Three Wise Monkeys
Humans are Hardwired to Dismiss Facts That Don’t Fit Their Worldview
In theory, resolving factual disputes should be relatively easy: Just present evidence of a strong expert consensus. But things don’t work that way when the scientific consensus presents a picture that threatens someone’s ideological worldview. In practice, it turns out that one’s political, religious or ethnic identity quite effectively predicts one’s willingness to accept expertise on any given politicized issue.
The Evolutionary Nature of Crisis Communications
The Evolutionary Nature of Crisis Communications
Crisis communications has become an increasingly important and technically complex profession. Today’s successful specialists in this craft must be knowledgeable about a variety of topics including public relations, psychology, data science and law. They spend a great part of their professional lives between a rock and a hard place, working around the clock in key moments for the company to minimize the damage caused by others.


Don’t Hit ‘Send’ On Those Emails Before Calling Your Attorney

Q:  We have an emerging issue. When should we contact our attorney?

A:  From Stephanie York, JD, Vice President, Hennes Communications:   When an organization is facing a crisis or an emerging issue that may evolve into a crisis, employees typically start talking about it – especially via email and texts. 

It’s easy to fire off messages to colleagues, managers and executives to apprise them of the situation and maybe even suggest, prematurely, what caused the crisis.

In fact, we find that during an emergency, people may want to communicate immediately without much thought about the method of sending information. Those early emails and texts, how they are delivered and to whom, may be critical to an organization’s reputation and operations.  And, those messages will live forever, now as a part of the history of the incident and eternally preserved electronically – thank you, Gmail, iCloud, Exchange, Siri, Alexa, iPhone and Android.

Our years of experience in these emotionally charged situations have taught us that organizational leaders should first act to protect anyone whose safety may be threatened by the crisis (i.e., put the fire out) and then as quickly as possible bring your attorney into the situation – before a paper trail of emails and texts have been created. A slow-burning issue affords leaders the opportunity to call an attorney first, and then devise a strategy and execute.

To read the rest, please click here.

Attention School Board Members,
Superintendents & Attorneys

The Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) has entered into a strategic partnership with Hennes Communications to provide crisis management and communications services to public school systems throughout the state of Ohio facing sudden challenges to their organizations’ reputations and operations. With this partnership, OSBA member school leaders have access 365 days a year to expert crisis communications professionals.

Not Everything is a Crisis

Most crises are unexpected and sudden - a traffic accident, explosion, fire, chemical leak, social media attack or criminal arrest.

While a crisis usually appears to be sudden, sometimes you should have seen it coming.  For example, activists who hate your product, lax enforcement of company policies and procedures, deferred maintenance on heavy equipment, or instability in your leadership ranks. 

More often than not, what you're probably facing is an issue, a situation that can and should have been foreseen. For instance, three months from now you know you're going to close a plant, discontinue a product, get a new board chair, acquire a company or announce a rate hike.  For another example, click here.

Whether it's a crisis or an issue, carefully crafted communications targeting the appropriate audience at the right time can go a long way toward mitigating the amount of reputational damage you experience and the work you need to do to restore confidence among your stakeholders.
Identifying an issue early gives you the added ability to craft a well-rounded strategic plan that not only identifies what you say, it enables you to carefully consider allies you might enlist, initiatives you might employ to blunt the effectiveness of your adversaries and other tactics designed to protect your market.

Are there threats looming on your horizon you should address now?  Let us help you create the communications to help you avoid them from evolving from issues you can manage to crises you can’t avoid.

While we sell "crisis" (hence our website name, ), the professionals at Hennes Communications understand the difference between crises and issues.  

And now, we hope you do, too.

Media Training

No one trains clients for high-stakes situations better than Hennes Communications. We can teach you how to communicate with power, mastering even the toughest interview, speech or presentation.  

Call or email us today and ask us about crisis, media, spokesperson and presentation training/coaching for you, your top executives and managers.

Remember, it's usually not what you say, but how you say it.  Never again go into a media interview unprepared or go before a hostile audience uncoached.               



Upcoming Speaking Events

2/17   University of Akron, Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security
2/20   Ohio Association of County Boards (Columbus)
2/26    LeadingAge Webinar
3/12    Ohio State Bar Leadership Academy (Columbus)
4/2      Cleveland State University, College of Urban Affairs
4/13     Intown Club

4/24   Ohio Association of Public Treasurers (Columbus)
5/1     Phillips LPA (Cincinnati)
5/1     Ohio School Board Association – Board Leadership Institute (Columbus)
5/1     Ohio State Bar Association Leadership Academy (Columbus)
5/1     Palm Beach Bar Association
5/12   Summit County (Ohio) PIO Workshop

In 2019, we did 103 speaking events.  About three-quarters of those events were for legal audiences.  The rest were for a variety of conferences in a wide variety of market sectors.

If you'd like to bring us in to speak to your organization, perhaps for your practice group, as a value-add for your existing clients or as a new business development event, please give Bruce Hennes a call at 216-321-7774.
View More Events

Short Takes

The Secret to the Success of Two Oscar-Nominated Scores  The Conversation

Here's a Tool That Displays Every Single Road in a City  Anvanka

Ohio Gives Houses of Worship Toolkit to Prep for Aggressors  Emergency Management.

Former FBI Agent Explains How to Read Body Language  Wired

When Fact-Checkers are the Subjects of Misinformation  Poynter

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