It’s the type of crisis you hope to never have to deal with as a comms professional and the Manchester Arena attack continues to have a lasting impact on all involved.
by Amanda Coleman
It was a Monday night in May 2017 when my world changed forever. The Manchester Arena terrorist attack was an horrific time with 22 people murdered and hundreds physically or psychologically affected. The moment I heard about it will remain with me for the rest of my life. This was when years of planning and developing crisis communication plans was put to the test. It was also the moment when I started to realise that plans needed to be swiftly rewritten to ensure that people were at the heart of the response.
The experience made me determined to share the learning and encourage people to prepare and revisit their crisis communication strategies and plans. I have spoken many times about the change that is needed in the approach taken to crisis communication. It is right to have plans, policies and procedures but if these are not rooted in putting people at the heart of the response then you cannot be effective.
More than 18 months ago I came up with the idea to write a book that would be a practical guide for organisations working through the life of a crisis. It would start with the planning and testing to be ready to deal with a crisis, look at how to respond in the short and slightly longer term when a crisis emerges, and most importantly would work through the recovery phase. I am grateful to publishers Kogan Page who recognised the place that such a book could have within the vast array of PR and communication books that exist.
I am not an academic and this was never going to be a scholarly text. What I have is more than two decades experience of dealing with a whole range of crisis situations and it is that knowledge I have tried to condense into the pages of the book.
If there is one key piece of advice, I would give to PR officers and communicators facing a crisis it would be to always remember the people who are affected by the situation. Crises are ultimately about people and every piece of communication needs to recognise that. One final thought is to remember dealing with the crisis will impact on you as a communicator so look after yourself and ask for help.
Amanda’s book Crisis Communication Strategies: How to prepare in advance, respond effectively and recover in full is published on 3 May 2020 by Kogan Page
You can pre-order a copy HERE.
Main image via Internet Archive Book Image