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Crisis Management Today

Hennes Communications
Crisis Communications  |  Crisis Management  |  Litigation Communications  |  Media Training
May 15, 2021
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Our Perspective

Back to School
Lessons From the Pandemic: Gearing Up for the 2021-22 School Year
By Thom Fladung, Hennes Communications
Getting ready to reopen your school, business or music venue to students, employees, visitors and customers? No matter the organization, you need a plan to make certain all of your stakeholders understand what you’re doing - a task made difficult by today’s culture dominated by social media, where every slight or disagreement seemingly turns into a battle royale. Here, we share with you best practices of crisis communications along with the specialized practice of outrage management.
Fighting Fake News
Why Misinformation Persists and Thrives: The “Grand Conflict Against Scheming Enemies”
By Howard Fencl, Hennes Communications
Clients reach out to us regularly, wringing their hands about the beating their reputation is taking from a legion of Twitter and Facebook trolls. So, what can you do when you’re the social media target of disinformation du jour?
Hey, Wait A Minute !
Hey, Wait A Minute !
By Bruce Hennes, Hennes Communications
The Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association has a new video series titled Hey, Wait A Minute! Here, bar association members have a chance to say what's on their minds or teach a quick lesson in just one minute or less (a skill set that is apparently not taught in law school). So here's your quick lesson on something called "Iterative Reporting."


Guest Column - Peter Sandman

Lawyers & Outrage Management
Lawyers & Outrage Management – Part #2
Once again, we highlight the work of Dr. Peter Sandman, one of the country’s preeminent experts on the subject of risk communications. In our last issue, Sandman wrote, Why Do Attorneys Usually Dislike Outrage Management?  Today, Dr. Sandman asks What Can Outrage Management Offer the Legal Process?

In the News

Social Media Sites
To Navigate the Dangers of the Web, You Need Critical Thinking – But Also Critical Ignoring
The web is a treacherous place. A website’s author may not be its author. References that confer legitimacy may have little to do with the claims they anchor. Signals of credibility like a dot-org domain can be the artful handiwork of a Washington, D.C., public relations maven. Unless you possess multiple Ph.D.’s – in virology, economics and the intricacies of immigration policy – often the wisest thing to do when landing on an unfamiliar site is to ignore it.
Colonial Pipeline
Colonial Pipeline Incident: What Happened and Why It Matters
Ransomware attacks on industrial systems are increasing in frequency and severity. Over the past year, there has been an observed rise in ransomware attacks on industrial systems like energy infrastructure and manufacturing plants. These attacks have not necessarily infected operational networks, but victims, like Colonial, have been compelled to suspend operations as a precautionary measure. Here are guidelines and best practices to address risks from ransomware and other disruptive cyber threats.
The Evolutionary Reason We Can’t Shake Public Speaking Fear
The human race has made huge leaps in technology and science. We understand more than ever about the neuroplasticity of our brains. We use social media and technology to connect with strangers all over the planet. And we enjoy medical advancements that extend our life expectancy and fight back global pandemics. So why can’t we make the same progress when it comes to public speaking fear?
Sharing Bad News
How to Tell Customers Bad News
When managing a crisis, communication skills are often contradicted by the human instinct to put the best light on bad news. Specifically, there are three natural, human reactions that frequently guide how companies and organizations deliver bad news to customers. The first is that, instead of speaking in plain language, they will try to sugarcoat the bad news. Another natural human instinct is to postpone telling customers what the bad news is, hoping that maybe it will go away on its own. The third human reaction when delivering bad news is to selectively reveal details of the matter, so as to minimize the public impact of the crisis.
Our Searchable Archive of Articles
Need an idea or an article about crisis management, public speaking, the internet, social media or the scores of other topics we cover in our Crisis Management Today newsletter ?  Or maybe you remember reading about something a few years ago but you can't remember when?  We've aggregated over 700 articles that previously appeared on our blog or in this newsletter - and they are now all keyword searchable.  Check it out here.


In Case You Missed It
Tips for Better Video Calls.  No More Looking Like You're in a Hostage Video.  The BEST Guide to the Subject You'll Ever Read.

Lots of PR Firms Sell Their Crisis Work – Let The Buyer Beware

Searchable Archive of Crisis Management and Crisis Communications Articles from Hennes Communications

Cats Sleeping With Dogs: How Lawyers and Crisis Communicators Can Work Together

Lessons in Law Firm Reputation Management: How Firm Leaders Should Prepare for Public Scrutiny When Representing Political Clients

Short Takes

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    Our New Seminars

Social Media and the Courts: A New Frontier

There have been more “trials of the century” than we have had centuries. This seminar explores why trials have been big news for decades, but also how profoundly coverage of those trials has changed with the digital revolution in communications - and what lawyers need to know about it. Topics include: a brief history of high-profile media coverage of trials – and the sudden, recent change in how the coverage works; how and why social media are now crucial for journalists and why you must understand “iterative reporting”; social media’s impact on jurors and court rulings; the scarcity of research on how social media and digital journalism impact witnesses and trials overall; pros and cons of social media and digital journalism in trial coverage.

Getting to the Truth: How to Detect Fake News
Fake news is not new news. But in the digital media era, when information – true and false – travels in seconds, fake news has become a prevalent challenge in society. This seminar delves into the history of fake news, explores how we are living through a second coming of Yellow Journalism and provides practical tips for how to recognize fake news – and avoid spreading it.

       Blunt Talk
So many companies today, when first confronted by a crisis, go into a bunker mentality. They either say, "No comment," or they lie as a knee-jerk reaction. Neither of these sins, I believe, is generally committed on purpose. Rather, companies often panic when first confronted with a crisis and either say nothing, which looks like they're covering something up, or they speak what they wish was the truth.

Steven Fink
    Our New Seminars

Crisis Communications For Educators Amid a Pandemic of Crises
The echo chamber of social media. A tense, politically charged national landscape. And the Covid- 19 
pandemic. Learn how to help protect your school’s reputation in one of the most challenging communications atmospheres imaginable.

Crisis Communications and Your School in the Social Media Era
Social media is now where your school’s reputation, earned over hard years of accomplishment, can be shattered in minutes. Learn best practices for effective crisis management on social media, including applying the fundamentals of effective crisis communications; using social media before the crisis; threat assessment and response; leveraging social media to your advantage; and specific action steps to help protect your reputation.

Crisis Communications and Social Media for Public Officials
For elected and public officials, social media represents special challenges – and special opportunities. Accessibility, information-sharing and gauging public interest are easier and more convenient than ever before. As are the opportunities to criticize, organize opposition and spread misinformation. And when a crisis hits, it will play out on social media. This seminar will help participants understand the influence of social media – and how it’s only going to grow. How public officials can use social media to the benefit of their organizations and constituents. And you’ll explore how to apply the best practices of effective crisis management on social media in a public setting.

For information about these new seminars, contact Thom Fladung, managing partner, Hennes Communications at 216-321-7774

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.

Lots of PR Firms Sell Their Crisis Work –
Let The Buyer Beware

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, the best questions can get you to the best answer:
  • Can the communications or PR firm share a list of named clients involving crisis communications or issues management?
  • Can you get a list of case studies that describe, in some detail, what the firm did for clients facing a similar situation to yours?
  • Ask for the firm’s experience with crisis situations involving social media. Today, reputations built over years can be shattered in minutes on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Ask for specifically who you’ll be working with on a day-to-day basis, their experience and examples of similar situations they’ve worked on.
  • Ask if the firm writes crisis communication plans and what goes into those plans. Even if you don’t need a plan right now – or don’t have time to build one – you’ll learn how deeply the firm is immersed in crisis communications.
  • Ask what kind of training the firm provides.
  • And, perhaps, the most important question: What percentage of the firm’s overall work would be considered “crisis” work? If the answer is 10%, 20% – even 50% – think about whether you want communications about your crisis in the hands of a firm doing something else half the time or more.
Finally, 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.

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.

As the coronavirus situation begins to abate, we now offer this training in-person on a select basis or via Zoom and other video platforms.  Please call for details



Upcoming Speaking Events

5/19         LeadingAge Colorado
6/1           Beaches Energy
6/3           Arizona School Boards Association
6/10         Lancaster Bar Association
6/16         Knox County Safety Council
6/16         Lorain County Safety Council
6/18         Cleveland State University
6/29         Ohio Assisted Living Association
7/20         Southern Ohio Safety Council
8/6           LeadingAge Ohio
8/26         State Bar of Arizona 
9/8           AZ School Boards Assoc. Law Conf.
9/10         AZ School Boards Assoc. Law Conf.
9/14         Ohio Trucking Association
9/22         Fire & Emergency Manufacturers
                & Services Association (Tampa)

10/19        Winding Riv. Mg. Partner Bootcamp
10/24        American Public Power Association
10/24        LeadingAge National Conference
10/25        State Bar of Arizona
11/2          Winding Riv. Mg. Partner Bootcamp
11/11         CPA Firm Management Association
12/7          Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Assoc.
12/15        Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Assoc.
12/15        Society of Financial Services Prof's
1/19          Soc of Financial Sv's Professionals 

If you'd like to bring us in to speak at a conference or 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

Hennes Communications

You have a situation.
We have a strategy.
Because the Court of Public Opinion is always in session.
The Hennes Communications Team

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