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Crisis Management Today

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

Scary Microphone
‘Off the Record’ – Think Long and Hard Before Using
Bruce Hennes, Hennes Communications
A reporter wants to interview you, but you don’t want to be identified as the source of the information.  What do you do?  The first thing to do is to ask yourself if the risk is worth it.  Even if you follow everything we suggest, what might be the repercussions if it’s discovered you were the source of the information?  Could you lose your job?  If you’re an attorney, could you lose your license to practice law?  Now that we have your attention…
Howard Fencl, Hennes Communications
“We’ll Just Wing It” – Recipe for Disaster
By Howard Fencl, Hennes Communications
Very few people are naturally gifted at doing an interview. Our knee-jerk reaction is to just answer a reporter’s questions – or to clam up and hide behind “no comment” because that’s what we’ve seen on TV time and time again.  If all you do is answer questions, you have no control over your interview. If you say “no comment,” or nothing at all, it looks like you’re hiding something. It looks like you’re GUILTY of something.
Attention Ohio Mayors & City Managers
In the immediate aftermath of a major incident, such as a mass shooting at a mall, restaurant, school, or faith-based location, the police chief and other first responder agencies will likely be lead spokespersons.  But “major incidents” can turn into multi-day or multi-week events.  In the days, weeks, and possibly months after a disaster, residents, business owners and media outlets in your community will look to their elected officials, not just for answers, but for leadership.

In the News

Capitol Building
Corporate Social and Political Engagement:
An Introduction

Corporations have the right to free speech. Should they exercise that right?  Should corporations take public stances on social issues? Should they make contributions to political action committees or political parties? Under what circumstances do such actions create issues for corporations and their boards?  These questions are timely in an era marked by deep political divisions in the United States. Many major corporations have spoken out on matters of public controversy, and citizens have taken notice.
Dick's Sporting Goods
Dick’s Sporting Goods Followed Its Conscience on Guns—and It Paid Off
After the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Dick's Sporting Goods' CEO declared: "I don't want to be part of the story anymore." Two new case studies for the Harvard Business Schooll go inside the retailer's decision to remove certain firearms from stores and restrict gun sales.
Carol Kinsey Goman
How Savvy Negotiators Read Body Language
Because I’ve trained them to do so, I know that many negotiators have learned how to read body language and to use the resulting insights to their advantage. But I also know that other negotiators miss valuable opportunities simply because they don’t pay attention.
Spokesperson for the Federal Emergency Management Agency
Tips for Creating Powerful, Pithy and Publishable Soundbites
Soundbites should be timely and convey hope, evoke emotions and/or inspire interest. Their purpose is not to divulge the breadth of a subject, but to spark curiosity, inquiry or action.  Here are tips for creating pithy, memorable and newsworthy soundbites and getting them seen.
7 Tips for Organizational Resilience All Year Round
History has taught security teams that crisis situations can happen at any time and more frequently than anyone can anticipate. However, when a crisis does occur, organizations find themselves in a situation where survival is the main focus — the unprecedented disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic being a perfect example.  Given that the only constant in today’s world is rapid change, business goals should revolve not around survival alone, but thriving during increasingly turbulent times. This is why business leaders must look beyond the immediacy of areas like business continuity and disaster response to building a resilient organization that can withstand both constant change and unexpected disruption
Got a Minute?
Got a Minute?

Humans Can’t Quit a Basic Myth About Dog Breeds. 
Breed doesn’t have that big an effect on a dog’s personality.  

The Atlantic

The Surprising Afterlife of Used Hotel Soap
Hotel guests leave behind millions of half-used bars of soap every day. A nonprofit is on a
mission to repurpose them.
The Hustle

Interactive Map Shows Where on Earth You’d Be If You Dug Straight Through the Ground
It is a common childhood exercise involves imagining what country you’d encounter if you dug a straight line to the exact opposite side of the world. Would you go to China? Australia? Or maybe you’d venture to some tiny island you had never heard of. Well, wonder no longer. 
My Modern Met
Looking for a lunchtime section meeting speaker?

Recently, our team 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.

Call Bruce Hennes at 216-978-2047 or email


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 Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA), Florida School Boards Association (FSBA) and Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) 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, ASBA ,FSBA and OSBA 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, your top executives and managers how to communicate with power, mastering even the toughest interview, speech or presentation.  

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.

We offer this training in-person or via Zoom and other video platforms.  Call 216-321-7774 for details.



Our Upcoming Speaking Events

5/6       Cleveland State Univ., College of
            Urban Affairs, Newly-Elected
            Officials Seminar

5/17     Ohio Health Care Association
5/24     Winding River Managing Partner
            Boot Camp

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

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


  Thom Fladung, Bruce Hennes & Stephanie York
6/23     W. Virginia School Boards Association 
6/29     Lake County Bar Association
7/21     Ohio Municipal Clerks Association
8/4       Greene County Educational Services
8/25      Eastern Stark County Safety Council
9/1        LeadingAge Ohio
10/25    Winding River Managing Partner
             Boot Camp

11/8      National Sales & Marketing Exec's.
12/14    Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Assoc.

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.
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