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Crisis Management Today

Hennes Communications
Crisis Communications  |  Crisis Management  |  Litigation Communications  |  Media Training
May 15, 2020
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Our Perspective

When and How to Emerge from Our COVID-19 Lockdown Is a Political Question; It Will Kill People Even If It’s Done Right
Perpetual lockdown isn’t feasible, of course. But we could decide to stay more or less locked down for more or less time –maybe even for a year or two, in the hope that by then we’d have an effective vaccine. Even if we do it right, following the very best expert advice, the decision to reopen the country without a vaccine is a decision to accept more illness and more death for the sake of resurrecting our economy sooner. Like most difficult decisions, this is a tradeoff. Framing the choice as saving lives versus saving the economy is a false dichotomy in some ways. But it is a genuine dilemma nonetheless.
We ran this article a month ago in our newsletter. As states begin to reopen for business, we think this article continues to be timely.
NO !!
Why People Feel Misinformed, Confused, and Terrified About the Pandemic
Two of the foremost experts in the field of risk communications, Peter Sandman and Jody Lanard, recently wrote a paper for the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota. In it, the latest thinking and a great list of to-do’s – and not-to-do’s – for elected officials dealing with COVID-19.  Actually, the advice is appropriate for business and nonprofit leaders, as well. In the CIDRAP paper, Sandman says he understands the protests around the country about the lockdown. “It’s very hard to warn people to abide by social-distancing measures when they’re so outraged that they want to kill somebody and trust absolutely nothing people say,” he writes. 
School Reopenings
Returning to the Classroom:  How to Communicate Your District’s Plan to Reopen
By Nora Jacobs, Hennes Communications
District boards and administrative staffs across the country weeks ago began the herculean task of preparing for the fall semester in an environment no one can clearly envision. Will COVID-19 be in remission at that point?  Will the government – meaning all 50 state governments – allow in-person classroom instruction?  Will students attend school in shifts?  What about school buses?  What about sports and extracurriculars?
Dr. Amy Acton
Leadership in Action – Dr. Amy Acton, Director of Ohio’s Department of Health
By Bruce Hennes, Hennes Communications
Dr. Amy Acton is Director of the Ohio Department of Health.  As such, she stands side-by-side with Ohio’s Governor Mike DeWine for their daily afternoon briefing on COVID-19.  Unlike so many politicians that bob, weave, waffle or try to simply command authority and obedience, Dr. Acton speaks of vulnerability and empowerment with brutal honesty and inspiration, using words that, in this case, are saving lives.
Powerful woman on video call
Tips for a Better Video Call
By Bruce Hennes, Hennes Communications
Whether you’re using FaceTime, Zoom, Hangouts, WebEx, Teams or any of the other video call platforms, there are a few universal do’s and don’ts if you want to look and sound professional.

In the News

How to Manage a Remote Law Firm and Legal Team Effectively During COVID-19
While attorneys have made great strides in recent years expanding remote worker policies and capabilities, as well as having a newfound commitment toward wellness, COVID-19 forced immediate implementation upon the legal industry.  Now that you’ve survived the initial adjustment period, your job as a leader is to quickly determine: how do you manage a remote law firm or legal team effectively for the near and long-term?
University Hospitals
Risk Management Experts Discuss the COVID-19 Pandemic and its Impacts on Risk Management, Resilience and Business Continuity
How can businesses and non-profits best prepare to reopen their doors? The medical experts from University Hospitals, located in Cleveland, Ohio, explain the science behind infection control measures recommended by current official guidelines and how you can consider implementing it in your workplace.
BBC Interview
3 Keys to a Successful Virtual Presentation
Virtual presentations have always been hard. Audiences are restless, distracted and can easily tune out since no one’s watching them. But doing a virtual presentation from home is even harder — both presenters and audiences are dealing with isolation, disruptions and limited technology. So if you want to make a real impact and achieve your goals (get your idea approved, rally your team around a goal, convince a customer to buy), now is the time to step up your virtual game. 
Town Hall Meeting
Board Leadership and Performance in a Crisis
Every industry across the globe has faced a crisis at some point in time. While most large companies survive, many struggle for years following a period of severe adversity. Others prevail and become stronger than before. How companies address crises has changed over time, as has the role of the board. Amid COVID-19’s rapid spread across the globe, boards are moving fast to oversee the deployment or refreshment of crisis management protocols. The pandemic’s impact will be felt differently by every company, and boards will have to ramp up or dial back their responses depending on their unique circumstances.
Women Leaders
How Gender Stereotypes Kill a Woman’s Self-Confidence
Researchers believe gender stereotypes hold women back in the workplace. Katherine Coffman's research adds a new twist: They can even cause women to question their own abilities.

Short Takes

4 Lessons From a Mismanaged Crisis Response  Ragan's PR Daily
Red Lobster CEO Apologizes for Mother’s Day Mayhem  PR News
Ethics and Risk Management: What Will the “New Normal” Look Like?  Thompson Hine
The Animal Fact Checker  Columbia Journalism Review

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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.

Of course, due to the coronavirus situation, we now offer this training via Zoom or your preferred video platform.



Upcoming Speaking Events

5/19    Mentor Chamber of Commerce/Lake County Safety Council
5/21    Ohio Health Care Association
5/21    Ohio Health Care Association
6/4      Cleveland Council of Independent Schools
6/9      Ohio Hospital Association
6/18    ALICE/Navigate 360
7/24     National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives
106      City of Green, Ohio
10/8      National Aging Services Risk Management Conference
10/14    Akron Women's Network
10/20    Winding River Managing Partner Boot Camp - Chicago

If you'd like to bring us in to speak to your organization, either virtually or in-person, 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

Don't Hire a Firm
That Tries to Spin Its Own Story

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.

Business advisers increasingly understand that the Court of Public Opinion is often as important, if not more so, than the Court of Law, especially with more than 95% of civil cases never going to trial, according to most estimates. And that approach increases among business advisers who understand their clients’ business models and want to offer holistic advice, rather than serving in a narrower or even transactional capacity.

If you have a crisis on your hands or an issue looming and you need communications help, here are the right questions to ask the firm you're considering

Remember:  you can't use communications to "spin" your way out of a crisis.  That's Hollywood.  In the real world, you'll get called on it and your crisis will get worse. 

Our best advice:  don't hire a firm that tries to spin its own story.

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