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Crisis Management Today

Hennes Communications
Crisis Communications  |  Crisis Management  |  Litigation Communications  |  Media Training
December 1, 2021
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Our Perspective

Keep Calm & Do Damage Control
Keep Calm & Do Damage Control
By Thom Fladung, Hennes Communications
When a crisis hits any organization, the common first instinct is to hope the story will go away. It almost certainly won’t. A story will be told. Are you ready to make your voice part of it?
Be Prepared
Why Should a Local School District or Independent/Parochial School Reach Out To a Crisis Communications Firm?
By Stephanie York, Hennes Communications
In order to properly prepare your school to successfully communicate during a crisis, it’s always best to have an established relationship with a qualified crisis communications firm or consultant.  But first, you should conduct due diligence to make certain that consultant or firm truly has the deep experience necessary – and you should do it now before you are in the midst of a crisis. 
Attorneys & Crisis Communicators
Cats Sleeping With Dogs: How Lawyers and Crisis Communicators Can Work Together
By Thom Fladung, Hennes Communications
At Hennes Communications, we often tell clients that they have an attorney for the Court of Law. But they have us for the Court of Public Opinion.  And those two courts often require different – and at times conflicting – strategies.  Attorneys have persuasive arguments for tailoring a strategy completely around that court of law. Staying out of jail or avoiding paying multimillion-dollar lawsuit damages are, after all, powerful motivators.  But saving your reputation also should be a powerful motivator – especially since a reputation is a crucial asset.
PR Firms vs. Crisis Firms.  Is There a Difference?  Does It Really Matter?
By Bruce Hennes, Hennes Communications
Virtually every public relations firm in the U.S. lists "crisis communications" as one of their specialties.  But if your organization is facing a reputational challenge likely to have long-term implications, there are 7 questions you should ask in order to determine the breadth and depth of the firm's real expertise so you can avoid placing your organization's largest uninsured asset - its reputation - in the hands of a firm that is, as they say in Texas, "All hat. No horse."  

In the News

How to Combat the Legal Response Syndrome
There’s a good reason why legal advice is important in crisis management. Because just about every crisis or potential crisis has a legal component.  But at the same time just about no crisis or potential crisis is ever solely about legal matters. Failure to recognise that leads to what we call the Legal Response Syndrome – where an organisation treats every crisis as if legal considerations override all others.
conspiracy theories
Just Because You Don’t Believe in Conspiracy Theories Doesn’t Mean You’re Always Right
Every so often, something so awful and senseless happens that it’s hard to fully absorb it. An apartment building collapses as residents sleep within. A movie star’s prop gun fires a real bullet on a film set, killing a young mother. A concert crowd morphs into a melee that leaves people dead and injured.  After each such catastrophe, there looms a question: What’s the real story of what happened here? Amid a stream of facts and rumors via breaking news alerts, the loudest answers often come from two camps: Let’s call them the conspiracists and the reformists.
How Obituaries Got a Jolt of New Life in the Internet Era
When Rush Limbaugh died this year, the mainstream media he had so long railed against gave him the kind of immaculately choreographed send-off that was once reserved for popes and presidents.  Within minutes of his widow announcing his death, major news organizations hit the “publish” button on sophisticated surveys of his life and career. These obituaries had been years in the making. Long before Limbaugh announced in early 2020 that he had lung cancer, journalists had begun assembling their stories about his death, not knowing when the news would indeed be news — just that it would be a gigantic story when it happened.
Press Conference
Psaki Statement Offers a COVID Disclosure Guide for PR Pros
Recently, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki disclosed that she contracted COVID-19.  In a statement posted to Twitter and published by the Associated Press, Psaki shared the circumstances of her positive COVID test result, as well as the actions she has taken since. The timing and content of Psaki’s disclosure could well become a pandemic-era guide for PR pros should an executive, client or other public-facing figure test positive for COVID-19.  Her statement was well-timed, getting ahead of news stories that might question why Psaki was absent from President Biden’s (recent) trip to Glasgow for the COP26 Climate Summit.
You’re On Mute – How the Shift from In-person to Virtual Board Meetings Impacts Board Governance and Communication in Nonprofit Associations
Because of the Covid 19 pandemic meeting restrictions that started in March 2020, almost all nonprofit boards had to move to virtual board meetings. Through a literature review, expert interviews and a survey of nonprofit association executive directors, chief executive officers and board members, this capstone project explores the impact of the shift from in-person to virtual board meetings on board governance and board communication and dynamics for nonprofit associations. Some findings were positive; other findings were negative. Recommendations that associations can implement to allow them to effectively enhance their organization’s governance and board communication in a virtual setting are provided. 
Projecting Leadership Presence in a Teleconference
Whenever you are speaking to an audience (whether customers, clients or colleagues), people won’t only be evaluating your words, they will be “reading” your voice. Listeners will be searching for clues to possible hidden agendas, concealed meanings, disguised emotions, undue stress – anything, in short, that will help them determine if they can rely on what you're telling them.


In Case You Missed It
Mergers, Acquisitions and Management Transitions: Using Crisis Communications Principles to Achieve Better Outcomes

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.

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

Lessons in Law Firm Reputation Management: How Firm Leaders Should Prepare for Public Scrutiny When Representing Political Clients
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Attention School Board Members,
Superintendents & Attorneys

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

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 216-321-7774 for details.



Our Upcoming Speaking Events


Event Safety Alliance
12/7          Cleveland Metro Bar Association
12/7          City of Avon
12/9          Richland County Safety Council
12/13        Cleveland Metro Bar Association
12/14        Ohio School Boards Association
12/16         Arizona School Boards Association
12/16        Cleveland Metro Bar Association
                  Leadership Academy


  Thom Fladung, Bruce Hennes & Stephanie York

1/5             Colorado State Bar Association/
                  Denver Bar Association
1/14           OH State Bar Leadership Academy
1/19           Society of Financial Services Prof's
2/28           Case Western Reserve University
                  Law School

3/18           American Bar Association - BLI
4/9             Gov't. Academy Conference/OSU
4/20           Ashland Area Safety Council
5/23           Winding River Managing Partner
                   Boot Camp

10/24          Winding River Managing Partner
                   Boot Camp

Crisis Leadership
The Skill Set That Got You Into
Your Current Leadership Position
Isn't the Skill Set You Will Need
When It Hits the Fan

It's a simple fact:
Controversies today are tried in the Court of Public Opinion
more often than the Court of Law.
News now breaks first on social media, with traditional media sweeping Twitter, Facebook and YouTube for leads. Whether your organization is immersed in crisis or dealing with a hot-button issue, your news can quickly “go viral.” Since it takes a lifetime to build a reputation and only a few seconds to destroy one, “managing the message” is a necessary skill set for executives, attorneys and public officials in virtually every business sector.  

Our fast-paced seminars, delivered by veteran crisis management and communications specialists Bruce Hennes, Thom Fladung and Stephanie York, all focus on highly strategic approaches to communicating during a wide variety of situations, enabling you to serve the needs of your stakeholders, move your message forward or mount a defense against a sudden onslaught from traditional or social media. 

If you'd like to bring us in to speak at a conference or to your organization, virtually or in-person, as a keynote, for your practice group, as a value-add for your existing clients or as a new business development event, please give us a call at 216-321-7774 or drop us a line at  For a select list of previous seminar sponsors, click here.
Attorney Seminars
  • Crisis Management & Crisis Communications for Attorneys & Their Clients
  • Crisis Communications and Social Media for Attorneys & Public Officials
  • Winning on Social Media: Crisis Management in an Echo Chamber
  • Social Media and the Courts: A New Frontier
  • Getting to the Truth: How to Detect Fake News
Education Seminars
  • Crisis Management & Crisis Communications for Education Officials & Their Attorneys
  • Crisis Communications and Your School in the Social Media Era
  • Crisis Communications For Educators Amid a Pandemic of Crises
  • A Public Schools Social Media Primer: Risks, Rewards & Recognizing Fake News 
Elder Care & Health Care Seminars
  • Crisis Management & Crisis Communications for Health Care Executives & Attorneys
  • Crisis Communications For Health Care Executives Amid a Pandemic of Crises
  • Mergers, Acquisitions & Management Transitions: Using Crisis Communications Principles to Achieve Better Outcomes
Our "signature seminar," Crisis Management & Crisis Communications, can easily be crafted to be relevant to the specific needs of your organization or industry.  For details, please give us a call at the number above.

NOTE:  All of the seminars listed above are typically one-hour long, though some of them lend themselves to a 90-minute or two-hour format.  We also offer a 4-hour seminar that includes "extreme" crisis communications, aimed at elected officials, police and fire chiefs, often done in partnership with local emergency management agencies and boards of health.
The Hennes Communications Team
See Something - Say Something

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