10 rules for crisis management

We are often asked advice about our rules of communications during a crisis. It is best if organizations think about crises before they hit. Be assured, a little bit of preparation will pay off ten-fold.

So, here’re 10 rules CG&A COMMUNICATIONS promotes to assist with crisis management:

1.  Write it down! Before a crisis occurs, draw up and distribute a comprehensive crisis communications plan. Always have a plan on paper.

2.  Know who will speak. Designate a small list of possible spokespersons and ensure they have training to give media interviews. The objective in responding during a crisis is to have a single voice, not a chorus.

3.  Organize yourself. Establish internal communications lines to ensure fast, accurate information when a crisis does occur. Prepare a list of inside and outside people to inform of a crisis. And, ensure all employees know where to direct media inquiries.

4.  Make good first impression. When the issue breaks, there must be an immediate meeting with senior management to determine the stance to take with the public. You have two critical hours to effectively respond. Your challenge is to define the issue accurately, deploy constantly changing tactics, and anticipate reactions.

5.  Prepare for media. Spend time briefing designated spokesperson(s) and ensure message lines are tight and clear.

6.  Be pro-active. Get out in front of the issue/event and make a public statement. No comment is no response and silence is anything but golden.

7.  Keep everyone in-the-know. Remember to keep your own house informed. Distribute statement to staff and other key people.

8.  Keep the channel(s) to media open. The media must know who the spokespersons are. An inquiry number should be made available to send and receive messages. In a crisis, it is essential that you are honest, accessible, and forthcoming.

9.  Always stay ahead of the issue. If the crisis is on-going, release periodic statements or hold periodic media briefings/news conferences.

10.  Never follow a list of ten golden rules. Each crisis is unique and requires special tactics to ensure the issues are dealt with effectively. Do not limit your options in answering to your crisis. A creative, pro-active plan is your best offense.

 

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

 

Your Wordplay Weapons

For writers (and flacks and hacks), there are many weapons at your disposal to ensure the written word is lively and engaging. Here are but a few.

  • Malapropism – a comic misuse of language
  • Neologism – a made-up word
  • Anagram – a word formed by transposing letters
  • Acronym – a word formed by combining first letters or syllables of other words
  • Antonym – a word that means the opposite of another word
  • Paraphrase – to state something differently
  • Double Entendre – a word or phrase with an extra, often racy meaning
  • Metaphor – a figure of speech suggesting a likeness, but offering a description that is not literally applicable
  • Homophones – words with the same pronunciation
  • Cipher – secret writing, such as diplomatic writing
  • Palindrome – a text that reads the same in reverse
  • Spoonerism – transposing first letters of two or more words (i.e. right lane / light rain)
  • Pangram – a phrase using all 26 letters of the alphabet
  • Portmanteau – a word blend of two other words (i.e. breakfast and lunch becomes brunch)
  • Retronym – a modified name for an old item
  • Sesquipedalian – having many syllables
  • Paronomasia – a pun or play of words

(ed. – We dug this helpful piece out of the By George archives. Through the next few weeks By George will post lists of these “wordplay weapons.”)

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

The art of listening

Listening is not the same as hearing. It is comprehending what is being said to you, and what is being communicated, and internalizing what is said so that you might provide thoughtful comment.

There is an art to listening and many people do not do it well as they are too busy trying to figure out what to say next, rather than fully understanding the other person’s comments.

Here are 6 great pointers on how to become a better listener.

  • Take the time to converse… permit yourself to “be lost” in a conversation
  • Look into the eyes, give your undivided attention (put away that cell phone)
  • Think to yourself: I will listen to understand, not to respond
  • Watch for any non-verbal communications signs
  • Ask questions to clarify anything not understood; and ask open end questions to obtain more details of what is being discussed
  • Be patient; do not interrupt but allow the speaker finish her thoughts

The best conversationalists are great listeners (is this not true?!). So, let the other(s) speak and learn from them how you can thoughtfully contribute to the exchange. In making an impact with your communications, it is quality not quantity that will create a lasting impression.

Think about the pointers provided in this post to become a better listener. If you wish to improve your listening skills over the next month, take Psychology Today’s “Listening Skills Test” and mark down your score. Print off the pointers and consciously think about them in your work and social exchanges. Then retest yourself in a month’s time and measure your improvement.

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Rules for Writing Plain English

From How You Can Write Plain Language by Just Following These 39 Steps
By William D. Lutz, author of Doublespeak Defined and The New Doublespeak

 

The Writing Process

1. Know your reader, and write with your reader’s viewpoint in mind.

2. Organize your text: in a logical sequence, with informative headings, and with a table of contents for long documents

3. Use short sentences

4. Say only what you have to say, avoiding too many messages in a single sentence, and omitting surplus words.

5. Keep equivalent items parallel.

6. Avoid unnecessary formality.

7. Give an overview of the main idea of the text.

8. List conditions separately.

9. Arrange your words with care.

10. Punctuate carefully.

11. Use an average of 25 words per sentence.

12. Put most of your messages at the subject-predicate position.

13. For variety or emphasis, invert your sentences.

14. Use the art of subordination to smooth out choppiness.

15. Avoid disrupting your sentences with thought-stopping gaps.

16. Tabulate particularly complex information.

17. Get rid of compound prepositions.

18. Rewrite the adjective, adverb, and noun clauses to other structures satisfying the same functions.

19. Use phrases to smooth out the choppy noun-noun modifier.

20. Be fair and nonsexist, but don’t be stupid.

 

Usage

21. Prefer the active voice.

22. Use simple, “everyday” words.

23. Use words consistently.

24. Use familiar, concrete words.

25. Avoid multiple negatives.

26. Avoid nouns created from verbs.

27. Use action verbs; avoid the verb “to be.”

28. Use personal pronouns.

29. Avoid noun strings.

30. Avoid deleting words such as “which is,” “who was,” “that are,” etc. – that link a subordinate clause.

31. Avoid language quirks.

 

Presentation of Material

32. Make the document attractive and designed for easy reading.

33. Use white space in margins and between sections.

34. Use ragged right margins.

35. Do not use all caps.

36. Use highlighting techniques, but don’t overuse them.

37. Use 8 to 10 point type for text.

38. Avoid lines of type that are too long or too short.

39. Avoid strings of symbols.

 

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Text Message Abbreviations

There are few who will argue against the fact that modern language has degenerated with the advance of on-line communications – particularly our use of strings of abbreviations when we send text messages. For your reference to this new world of abbreviations, we have compiled some of the most commonly used:

AFK – away from the keyboard
ASL? – Age? Sex? Location?
B4 – before
BAK – back at the keyboard
BBL – be back later
BCNU – be seeing you
BRB – be right back
BTW – by the way
FAQs – frequently asked questions
IMHO – in my humble opinion
L8R – later
LOL – laughs out loud
MOF? – male or female?
NM – never mind
N/M – not much
NP – no problem
OMG – oh may god!
ROFL – rolling on the floor laughing
TTFN – ta ta for now
UR – your or you’re
W/ – with

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Chris George, providing reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.