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Crisis Management Today

Hennes Communications
Crisis Communications  |  Crisis Management  |  Litigation Communications  |  Media Training
April 1, 2022
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Our Perspective

Ohio School Boards Association
Building Your Online Reputation
Thom Fladung, Hennes Communications
If it’s time for you or your organization to dip your toe into the bubbling brook (or, perhaps more accurately, the roaring river) of social media, Thom Fladung, managing partner at Hennes Communications, has some tips for you when you listen to Thom talk to Scott Gerfen from the Ohio School Boards Association on a short podcast.
Will Smith
Chris Rock’s Joke About Actress Jada Pinkett Smith Creates Crisis For Academy Awards and Will Smith
Bruce Hennes, Hennes Communications
It was indeed the slap heard ’round the world.  But if you’re looking for Hollywood gossip, look elsewhere.  Instead, let’s look at the situation from the crisis management point of view.
Lawyers Should Not Rewrite Crisis Communications
Bruce Hennes, Hennes Communications
Most attorneys (though not all) I encounter operate from the mindset they acquired in law school: Do no harm; admit as little as possible; an apology is tantamount to an admission of guilt; practice risk-aversion; and do everything possible to win in court.  But a lawyer whose first response in a crisis is to protect the company’s legal position may win the legal case, but could well have already lost the reputational argument, one that can take years to recover from. 

In the News

Cleveland Browns
The Browns Take a PR and Reputation Gamble on Deshaun Watson
There are still many unknowns about Watson’s future. Only time will tell whether the PR effect on the Browns is enough to create regret on the part of the Haslams (who own the Browns) or whether a winning season negates the concerns. It's a foundational PR case study playing out in a very public arena.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy is Unfiltered, Unadorned, and Unafraid. He’s Writing the Future of Crisis Leadership.
From his look — an unshaven face and plain, dark green T-shirts and zip-up sweaters — to his direct and impassioned tone, his prolific use of social media, and his presence on the streets of Kyiv, Zelenskyy is moving the goalpost on what a modern world leader looks and acts like.  His style stands in stark contrast to the decorum and formality that have defined political leadership for centuries. Here, we break down a few key moments in Zelenskyy's leadership during Russia's invasion to illustrate how he'd inspired a nation and set the standard for leaders of the future. 
Arnold Schwarzenegger
What Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Russia Video Can Teach Us All About Talking to the Misinformed
Misinformation, incorrect impressions…call it whatever you want, but when someone arrives at a conclusion based on incorrect facts and then proceeds to influence others and make decisions based on those incorrect facts, your company can suffer, your stockholders and stakeholders can suffer – and your country can suffer, too.  Here’s a short Master Class from Arnold Schwarzenegger, with a message for the people of Russia. If you won’t take the time to read this piece, we’ll sum it up for you by simply saying it’s never about the facts. It’s always about the narrative.
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Confirmation: A Case Study for Media Trainers
No matter where you stand in the sand on her confirmation, the moment is historic. The confirmation hearings were also a live lesson in how to handle high-stakes interviews. Here are some of the most powerful takeaways.
NBC News
Plan Your Vote – Guide to Voting in All 50 States
Everything you need to know about the voting rules where you live, including registration, mail-in voting, changes since 2020 and more.
Eric Greenberg, GC for Cox Media
Stop Saying ‘Powwow’ for Meeting: CMG Adds Language Policy to Outside Counsel Guidelines
Nestled alongside the run-of-the-mill policies outlined in Cox Media Group Inc.’s latest outside counsel guidelines, which include such classics as how to get reimbursed for overpriced chocolate-covered peanuts from the hotel minibar and rules on confidentiality, is a curious section on diversity, equity and inclusion that focuses on language.  When he was crafting the policy, CMG general counsel Eric Greenberg realized he had a unique opportunity to, as he says, “have some influence on how people think about and use language,” more specifically, inclusive and non-inclusive language. “I’ve been in meetings with people who have used language like, ‘We had a big powwow and now we’ve made a decision,’” Greenberg said. “Then you have things that are seemingly more benign, where people talk about information barriers as a ‘Chinese wall,’ or describe regulatory compliance as being ‘kosher,’ which I think people don’t even think twice about.”
Cleveland International Film Festival
You Don't Have to Live in Cleveland to Attend the Cleveland International Film Festival
Are you tired of what's offered on Netflix, HBO and Prime?  The 46th Annual Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF46) will take place March 30 – April 9, 2022 at its new home at Playhouse Square in downtown Cleveland, followed by CIFF46 Streams,, April 10 – 17, 2022 on the CIFF streaming platform. The in-person Festival will showcase 146 feature films and 182 short films representing 73 countries during its 11-day run. CIFF46 Streams will present nearly two-thirds of the in-person lineup over its eight-day run (note: most of the streamed films can be viewed from anywhere in the U.S., but some are restricted to viewers only from OH, MI, PA & IN).      

Tickets for CIFF Members go on sale Friday, March 11, 2022 @ 11:00 AM ET and to the general public on Friday, March 18, 2022 @ 11:00 AM ET.  For information about purchasing tickets and descriptions of all of the films, click here.  

Hennes Communications is a proud sponsor of CIFF46.  As such, please use our discount code, SPONSOR46, for $1 off each ticket.
Got a Minute?

The 100 Best Movies of All Time

When to Use - and Not Use - the Oxford Comma in A.P. Style

The Curious Case of Sidd Finch
In 1985, George Plimpton wrote about the pitcher who could send a baseball into the catcher's glove at 200 mph. 
Sports Illustrated  

Looking for a lunchtime section meeting speaker?

A few months ago, we did a lunchtime meeting via Zoom for the Probate Section of the Colorado and Denver Bar Associations.  The request was prompted by Britney Spears, issues of conservancy and how to correct misinformation in the media about that subject, as well as a broader discussion about how lawyers can - and should - do a better job of speaking to the public about their particular areas of expertise.  Probate matters aren't at all typical of the calls we receive, but we rose to the occasion - and it turned out to be an interesting and fascinating discussion for all of us.

We would welcome the opportunity to come to your next section meeting via Zoom to talk to your members about the intersection of the law, legacy media and social media.

To discuss this, call Bruce Hennes at 216-978-2047 or connect via email at


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

Fighting Putin's Propaganda: Narrative Response Kit

Who Should take the Lead in a Crisis?

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

PR Firms vs. Crisis Firms.  Is There a Difference?  Does It Really Matter?

Projecting Leadership Presence in a Teleconference

The Six Essential Rules for Lawyers Dealing with Reporters

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

Searchable Archive of Crisis Management and Crisis Communications Articles from Hennes Communications
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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, before a hostile audience uncoached or into any situation where it's important for you to project executive presence.

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

4/6       Cleveland State University - Marshall
            School of Law

4/9       Gov't. Academy Conference/OSU
4/12     Idaho Sheriff's Association Conference

4/20     Ashland Area Safety Council
5/6       Cleveland State Univ., College of
            Urban Affairs, Newly-Elected
            Officials Seminar

5/11     Ohio Health Care Association
5/24     Winding River Managing Partner
            Boot Camp

6/8       Ohio Mayors Association 
6/8      National Association of Certified 
           Healthcare Consultants

  Thom Fladung, Bruce Hennes & Stephanie York
6/9      Florida School Boards Association 
6/22     Preparing Public Leaders to Effectively
            Lead in a Crisis, Ohio Public-Private
            Partnership, Ohio Dept. of Public
            Safety, Ohio Dept. of Homeland
            Security, Ohio University, Ohio State

6/23     W. Virginia School Boards Association 
6/29     Lake County Bar Association
8/25     Eastern Stark County Safety Council
10/25   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're going to 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.  Many of our seminars also address "non-crisis" situations (e.g. management changes, mergers & acquisitions, program expansions, presenting with executive presence and creating relationships with members of the 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, for a section luncheon, 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
  • Tools, Tips & Tactics - Responding to Sensationalized Journalism
  • Projecting Leadership & Executive Presence
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 
  • Projecting Leadership & Executive Presence
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
  • Projecting Leadership & Executive Presence
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.
By the company we keep, we were proud to be a sponsor of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association's International Women's Day Summit 2022.
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