Benefits of Enhanced Crisis Communication Skills

Benefits of Enhanced Crisis Communication Skills

Enhanced crisis communication skills help organizations meet the growing demands for information related to an emergency event. Organizations need skilled and practiced spokespersons to communicate effectively with stakeholders and the media about natural, technical, or manmade disasters. Spokespersons should be prepared to address a wide-range of emergency-related issues and topics from national and international news agencies. Having a well-developed crisis communication strategy increases your organization’s trust and credibility factors with stakeholders. Crisis communication training, which is science-based, is grounded in communications principles, best practices, and practical experience to enhance acceptance of important information during a crisis event. 

The Benefits of Crisis Communications Skills

Build Trust 

Building trust is critical when developing crisis messaging and gaining stakeholders’ trust. Using multiple communication platforms such as social media, texting, live streaming, etc., can create challenges with message consistencyBuild trust by using the same or similar language and references across all communication platforms reassures stakeholders and ensures message consistency. Consistency in crisis communication message development and delivery is key in trust-building during a crisis. Developing and deploying consistent crisis communication strategies ensure coordination and approval processes are preplanned, preapproved, and ready for dissemination prior to an emergency event.

Enhance You and Your Teams Image 

Enhanced crisis communication builds trust with stakeholders, provides your organization with feedback, and ensures dissemination of reliable information to stakeholders. Enhanced crisis communication can also promote a positive organizational image during a crisis event. In today’s social media-dominated world, especially with a crisis-related event, it is critical for organizations to maximize their crisis communication strategies as a medium for informing their stakeholder and preserving their organizational reputation. 

Improve Productivity 

Improving productivity during a crisis is critical to organizational success and image-building. Productivity fosters a sense of belonging, establishes stronger working relationships among staff members, creates an environment of trust and empowerment, and ensures decision making is for the common good of both internal and external stakeholders. Appropriate crisis communication management is vital in preserving organizational integrity. 

Adapt to Change 

Today’s technology has created globally diverse communication environments which can present many challenges during a crisis event. During a crisis event, it is imperative organizations avoid communication regret(s). These regrets can have immediate and long-lasting impact(s) on organizations. Avoid these impacts through planning, training, and preparation. Developing and exercising a comprehensive crisis communication using a variety of social media platforms, texting, streaming news conferences, etc., prepares organizations for timely and accurate dissemination of information and lessens opportunities for communication regret. 

Resolve Problems Quickly 

Using social media and off-the-shelf, low-cost technologies such as Facebook, Twitter, Slack, Trello, etc., positions your organization to manage communications more effectively. Incorporating social media into your information management cycle provides consistent, coordinated, and timely information pre-crisis, crisis, and post-crisis. Leadingprior to and post-crisis, is as important as leading during a crisis.  

Career Progression 

Not only will the ability to communicate effectively with your team members and employees enable good rapportit ensures your ability to affect change or action. In the ever-changing world where immediacy is everything, enhanced, strategic communication skills can help you meet stakeholder expectations and manage effectively.  

Where to Start 

Our Enhanced Crisis Communication virtual or in-person workshops provide participants with crisis communication methodologies and strategies. Crisis communication principles, psychology of messaging, establishing trust and credibility, key message development, and working with the media and social media are addressed. Additionally, SummitET’s crisis communication experts offer practical solutions for building relationships, enhancing internal and external communications, streamlining information coordination and approval processes, and enhancing information management cycle during a crisis. 

Virtual joint information system graphic

What is the Virtual Joint Information System (JIS) / Joint Information Center (JIC)

What is the virtual joint information system (JIS) and Join information Center (JIC) and the benefits of communicating digitally?

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Upcoming Virtual Interactive Workshops

SummitET is recognized by SHRM and offers Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for SHRM-CP® or SHRM-SCP®. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit www.shrmcertification.org. 

What is the Virtual Joint Information System (JIS) / Joint Information Center (JIC)

What is the Virtual Joint Information System (JIS) / Joint Information Center (JIC)

During crises and emergencies, communications staff use a Joint Information System (JIS) to facilitate and manage information flow. To provide a central location for information management, a Joint Information Center (JIC) may be established. Organizations operating under the National Incident Management System (NIMS) are required to use a JIC as a means of centralizing timely communication and public information personnel from all organizations involved in a response. However, in response to resource constraints, stakeholder expectations, and the need to shift from physical to virtual environments in the wake of a global pandemic, a virtual JIS/JIC may need to be established and placed in operation to meet the information expectations of internal and external audiences.

Additionally, during a crisis or emergency, assembling communications staff at a physical JIC may be impractical or unsafe. A virtual JIS/JIC serves the need for timely information gathering and disseminating in a response by collecting information from responders, and communications staff across a wide area and developing essential tools in a virtual setting.

joint information system graphic

The Information Management Cycle

The functionality of a traditional, physical JIS/JIC can be transitioned to a virtual setting for facilitating the information management cycle. Information gathering, verification and analysis, message development, coordination and approval, dissemination, tracking and documentation, and monitoring can all function at full capacity in a virtual format. Using free, low-cost, off-the-shelf tools with open-source, web or cloud-based software, and native digital platforms can provide functionality and redundancy in a crisis/emergency.

SummitET information management cycle for communication

A virtual JIS/JIC can address specific issues

Inability to establish a physical JIC

A JIC must be established in a location known and accessible to communications staff. however, it can be vulnerable to any crisis or emergency impacting geography, transportation, or infrastructure.

Staff health risk

If an outbreak of contagious disease were to occur, gathering all information staff in one location could expose them to risk of the disease. Likewise, if isolation and/or quarantine were implemented, communicators would be unable to access the JIC and fulfill their responsibilities.

Provide cost efficient information management

Low-cost, off-the-shelf technologies can be used to facilitate and manage information flow and reduce costs.

Virtual JIS/JIC Benefits

No workflow disruptions

The virtual JIS/JIC operates at the same level of functionality as a physical JIC. Staff can work in virtual environments to manage information and communicate to internal and external audiences in a timely manner while safely working remotely.

Save time and resources

Because materials and collaborative workspace for the virtual JIS/JIC are in a virtual space, staff do not need to consider time and logistics for setting up a physical JIC. Even if a physical JIC were required, and an option, staff can use the virtual space until the physical JIS is established. Since the same level of functionality of a physical JIC can be met, there is a cost savings associated with removing or reducing the footprint of a physical JIC.

Easier access to information

The secure online environment of the virtual JIS/JIC can be accessed at anytime from anywhere in the world. Staff can access necessary resources while collaborating on projects in a shared, virtual space using free or low-cost open-source software, such as Google apps, DropBox, and others. These tools can also offer redundant backup systems.

Crisis Communications Workshops

Our experts offer a variety of workshops for organizations as well as individuals looking to enhance their crisis communication skills.

SummitET’s Virtual JIS/JIC Methodology and Practice workshop offers practical solutions for building relationships, enhancing internal and external communications, streamlining information coordination and approval processes, and enhancing the information management cycle using virtual tools and techniques. For more information about this workshop or other training opportunities for yourself, your team, or your organization visit our website: www.summitet.com/workshops.

SummitET is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for SHRM-CP® or SHRM-SCP®. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit www.shrmcertification.org.

Virtual joint information system graphic

What is the Virtual Joint Information System (JIS) / Joint Information Center (JIC)

What is the virtual joint information system (JIS) and Join information Center (JIC) and the benefits of communicating digitally?

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We have identified seven benefits of using native social media accounts to conduct crisis communications drills and exercises.

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We are living in unprecedented times and facing new challenges requiring different approaches and well-practiced communication skill sets. This blog addresses how to approach individual and organizational communication strength training.

Seven Benefits of Native Social Media Drills and Exercises

Seven Benefits of Native Social Media Drills and Exercises

The successful and productive use of social media is an essential part of a complete emergency public information program. With over 90% of companies utilizing social media to communicate with employees or customers, it is essential for your team to be ready to communicate effectively and immediately. Through native social media drills and exercises, your team will be fully trained using the most current social media platforms without experiencing lag or software diversions. Your team can use drills and exercises for emergency preparedness and crisis response using the most current social media platforms and eliminating the chances of software lag and diversions.

percent of companies use social media for crisis communciation

A native social media platform is one created for consumption on a particular social media platform in terms of both form and function. This means drills and exercises are performed on the original platform through secure, closed accounts, rather than through third-party software programs normally used for testing.

To keep communications secure, these accounts are closed and protected so drill and exercise communication content is only visible to approved participants. These accounts are established before drills and exercises in the same way agencies utilize their specific social media platforms in a real-world incident – to share information, gather intelligence, engage with the public, etc.

 

Benefits to Native Social Media Drills

1. No Extra Fees

Social media accounts are free to users on all social media platforms whether accounts are secure or public. Most proprietary software programs charge per user.

2. Full Functionality

Social media platforms allow access to the full spectrum of capabilities and features of the native tool. This gives the user the most realistic experience available.

3. On-Demand

Provides the ability to introduce new social media platforms and invite or remove players as needed within the emergency management community.

4. No Software Lag

Social platforms are continuously updating and changing front- and back-end interfaces. Our approach allows your team to regularly test these changes in real-time.

5. Secured and Controlled

Social accounts are closed and protected so drills and exercise content are only visible to approved participants and never mistaken for real-world communication.

6. Organic Management

Requires limited assistance and support once initial set-up and training has been conducted. Learn to build effective digital and social media campaigns for public engagement.

7. Real-time Experiences

Proprietary software tools only mimic existing sites in an exercise setting. The use of native social media platforms grants players the ability to gain experience and familiarity with real-world, hands-on social media tools and practices for things like addressing misinformation & combating disinformation on digital & social media.

 

7 benefits of native social media drills fact sheet

Download our Fact Sheet to share with your organization or agency. 

SummitET experts use this seven-step approach to native social media drills and exercises because it is proven, best-industry practice. In our strategic communications training, as well as our drills and exercises, SummitET provides guidance and assistance to participants, using specific social accounts, on native platforms, to create enhanced realism on secure accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. If you are interested in SummitET’s seven-step native social mediaprocess for your organization, contact SummitET’s expert team at info@SummitET.com to discuss your options.

Live Workshops

Register yourself, or your organization for a live virtual workshop to imprrove crisis communication skills.

Virtual joint information system graphic

What is the Virtual Joint Information System (JIS) / Joint Information Center (JIC)

What is the virtual joint information system (JIS) and Join information Center (JIC) and the benefits of communicating digitally?

Seven Benefits of Native Social Media Drills and Exercises

We have identified seven benefits of using native social media accounts to conduct crisis communications drills and exercises.

remote employee working on laptop from alternate location

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Combating Cyber Threats in Telework Environments

Combating Cyber Threats in Telework Environments

remote employee working on laptop from alternate location

Given recent events, the cyber security landscape has changed and may have exposed new vulnerabilities to cyber systems. With many government and private industries quickly shifted to telework, threat actors are taking advantage of these changes and are posing an increased risk to cyber systems with data and network vulnerabilities. According to the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), as with most emerging threats, cyber-attacks are constantly evolving and tend to increase during disasters and high-profile events to take advance of such situations. These trends are providing new opportunities for threat actors.

Reduce Risk

CISA, reports that cyber attackers are using phishing messages or applications masked as trusted sources against newly —and often rapidly—deployed remote access and teleworking infrastructure. To protect your organization and employees, it is imperative to reduce the risk of cyber threats by building programs that effectively manage these threats. The establishment and practice of a cybersecurity program or system of protection that reduces risk from cyberattacks is essential to business continuity and data protection of any organization’s workforce. This can include assessing and securing cyber systems, developing a skilled and compliant workforce, and building a skilled information technology (IT) security team to detect and resolve threats.

Training and Exercising

If your organization has not built, trained, or exercised a cybersecurity program, now is certainly the time to do so. SummitET can help you develop a tailored program to meet your business needs. Our top-in-field experts perform penetration testing, vulnerability assessments, social engineering testing, workforce, and information technology team training, and exercises that test incident action planning, processes, and procedures.

With emerging threats changing the business and workforce environment, organization’s must protect assets, data, and members of its workforce. To learn more about SummitET’s cybersecurity preparedness solutions or to speak directly to one of our experts.

For official, verified cyber-related alerts, questions, or to report a cyber issue, visit the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) website at: https://www.cisa.gov/insights.

Virtual joint information system graphic

What is the Virtual Joint Information System (JIS) / Joint Information Center (JIC)

What is the virtual joint information system (JIS) and Join information Center (JIC) and the benefits of communicating digitally?

Seven Benefits of Native Social Media Drills and Exercises

We have identified seven benefits of using native social media accounts to conduct crisis communications drills and exercises.

remote employee working on laptop from alternate location

Combating Cyber Threats in Telework Environments

With many industries quickly shifting to telework, cyber-threat actors are taking advantage of new vulnerabilities to cyber systems. Learn to reduce these threats.

Communication Complexities: Real Talk

We are living in unprecedented times and facing new challenges requiring different approaches and well-practiced communication skill sets. This blog addresses how to approach individual and organizational communication strength training.

Communication Complexities: Real Talk

Communication Complexities: Real Talk

Convoluted incidents, the political environment, and natural disasters create challenging communication situations. Recognizing underlying driving factors, our own strengths and weaknesses, and having the ability to identify and address communication complexities affect our ability to respond properly and communicate effectively. We are living in unprecedented times and facing new challenges requiring different approaches and well-practiced communication skill sets. This blog addresses how to approach individual and organizational communication strength training and how to increase understanding.

Addressing Biases

Culture, generation, personal history, perception, bias, prejudice and lack of understanding are just a few communication complexities adversely affecting our ability to respond properly and effectively. These complexities can and will influence how our intended audiences respond to our messages. Communication skills, like muscles, must be exercised to maintain tone and strength.  Athletic trainers teach that muscle response should be challenged from different vantage points. Preparing risk and crisis communication muscles should be exercised from different vantage points as well. Failure to exercise our communication muscles may reduce communication gains, inhibit communication growth and result in communication atrophy.

One component of communication strength training is awareness of biases and prejudices, and increasing understanding of communication complexities. It is important to recognize how personal history shapes our perspective and communication style. Our communication skills should allow us to “listen for understanding, not agreement.” Realizing the same things can mean different things to different people demonstrates the importance of active listening skills and the complexities of effective communication.

Preparing Your Organization or Agency

So, how do organizations and agencies prepare to respond to the convergence of several sensitive and challenging matters impacting our communities today?  As futurist and philosopher Alvin Toffler once wrote: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” We need to develop and exercise our fast-twitch communication muscles. Regularly exercising helps to be prepared to respond when needed, enhances organizational ability to respond to unpredictable events, provides organizational agility, and integrates specific, high intensity training. Organizations and agencies, much like athletes, should specifically train to optimize their fast-twitch communication muscles to strengthen their strategic communication plans.

Exercising these communication skills enables businesses to sprint through difficult times, jump over obstacles, become more agile in challenging situations, and operate at peak performance levels in high intensity environments. Being an elite strategic communicator requires development of communication muscles to identify and address the complexities of communication.

Diversity and Inclusion Awareness

Learn more about how to apply these methods in your organization or agency with our featured workshop.

Current events have highlighted need for more advanced and strategic communication in uncertain times. Regardless of the position we hold or authority we have been given, at some point, we all must face our own communication complexities, strengths, and weaknesses.  Preparing your organization or agency to address communication complexities verifies our strengths, highlights our weaknesses, and provides avenues for improvement.  Communication complexities require real talk, by real people, who are well-trained, well-prepared, and ready to address real issues.

Virtual joint information system graphic

What is the Virtual Joint Information System (JIS) / Joint Information Center (JIC)

What is the virtual joint information system (JIS) and Join information Center (JIC) and the benefits of communicating digitally?

Seven Benefits of Native Social Media Drills and Exercises

We have identified seven benefits of using native social media accounts to conduct crisis communications drills and exercises.

remote employee working on laptop from alternate location

Combating Cyber Threats in Telework Environments

With many industries quickly shifting to telework, cyber-threat actors are taking advantage of new vulnerabilities to cyber systems. Learn to reduce these threats.

Communication Complexities: Real Talk

We are living in unprecedented times and facing new challenges requiring different approaches and well-practiced communication skill sets. This blog addresses how to approach individual and organizational communication strength training.

Preparedness is Not an Accident®

Preparedness is Not an Accident®

Preparedness is something that…well…you have to prepare for. It takes time and effort to prepare for things which may occur in the future. Many of us try to plan for inevitabilities such as saving for a daughter’s wedding, planning for a child’s college education, or even pre-arranging our own funerals. Hopefully, much thought has been given to what would happen in the event of a job loss or other incidents having a negative financial and/or emotional impact on our families. Preparing for future events is an important part of life, and it is something we do routinely. However, it is important to prepare not just for expected events, but also for things that are not foreseen.

Identifying what to be prepared for can be quite the challenge. According to Dictionary.com, preparation is defined as “to make ready or suitable in advance for a particular purpose or for some use, event, etc.”

Preparedness can take many forms

Since preparedness takes many forms, let’s consider preparing for a day-hike. We need to make sure our shoes/boots and clothes are appropriate for where we are going. We need to have sufficient food and water for the duration of the hike.  The cell phone needs to be fully charged and we should notify someone of where we’re going and when we expect to return. You should also consider packing a poncho, a compass, some energy bars, something to drink/purify water, a good knife, a flashlight, sunscreen, and bug repellent. We need to prepare for weather changes, injuries, or if we leave the trail for some reason, and/or become disoriented.

Preparing for changing conditions applies not only to a day-hike, but to life in general. As you can see, anticipating, developing, and planning are important for a successful day-hike outcome.

Preparedness in Business

From a business perspective, we need to look at things in the same general way—be prepared for the expected. We should also be prepared for the unexpected and what may happen should conditions change. Some of the obvious points of concern include employee welfare, financial stability, and continued customer support during a challenging time. A Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) should be developed to help ensure the company can continue to function and support its internal and external stakeholders.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides general COOP information and planning tools. While this document is geared toward government, the overall philosophy relates to a broad spectrum of applications. It is important to note, of the first four phases of COOP activation, the first is preparedness and readiness.

Communications Planning

Communications planning is also an important part of preparedness. When an adverse event occurs, how are you going to communicate pertinent information to your audience? It is incumbent upon organizations to develop, train, and exercise a crisis communication plan.  A crisis communication plan  helps  prepare an organization to communicate accurately and confidently during an emergency. It also addresses different audiences and provides a strategy for communicating information specific to stakeholders’ interests and needs. The image of the organization can be positively or negatively impacted by public perceptions of the handling of the incident. A well- trained and practiced crisis communication plan can improve an organization for communication success.

Begin Preparing

As you can see, Preparedness Is Not an Accident℠. It takes a concentrated effort to look into the future and anticipate what may happen—then figure out how you are going to deal with it. Our experts help corporations and agencies identify and address these unforeseen crises. Integrating a continuous cycle of Assessment, Planning, Solution development, Training, Exercising, and Reassessment (The APSTER ProcessTM) increases the greatest level of preparedness and ensures that Preparedness Is Not an Accident®.

Virtual joint information system graphic

What is the Virtual Joint Information System (JIS) / Joint Information Center (JIC)

What is the virtual joint information system (JIS) and Join information Center (JIC) and the benefits of communicating digitally?

Seven Benefits of Native Social Media Drills and Exercises

We have identified seven benefits of using native social media accounts to conduct crisis communications drills and exercises.

remote employee working on laptop from alternate location

Combating Cyber Threats in Telework Environments

With many industries quickly shifting to telework, cyber-threat actors are taking advantage of new vulnerabilities to cyber systems. Learn to reduce these threats.

Communication Complexities: Real Talk

We are living in unprecedented times and facing new challenges requiring different approaches and well-practiced communication skill sets. This blog addresses how to approach individual and organizational communication strength training.