The Professional Convention Management Association has released a free guide for meeting planners to help them weather scandals and crises that seem to be popping up in the news every day. A Guide to Crisis Communications for Business Event Strategists was created in partnership with davies tanner, and contains a 15-point toolkit for planners faced with different types of crises, from a tone-deaf tweet from someone in your organization to a full-blown terrorist attack or natural disaster near one of your events. The key to being prepared is to recognize a crisis and respond quickly.
The guide covers three steps. Building a crisis communications plan before an event just in case; putting it into action during an event; and having a system in place to protect and rebuild your organization after an event.
The toolkit emphasizes the importance of resilience and reputation. In the era of social media and the 24-hour news cycle not having an action plan prepared can cost precious days or even hours during which time what starts out as a small scandal can become a global news story.
The guide lists methods for handling a crisis that a survey of journalists, politicians, and businesses found effective. They include:
• Admitting responsibility
• Acting transparently
• Making things right with the client or other affected individuals or groups
• Changing the corporate culture to prevent a reoccurrence
• Being authentic
A Guide to Crisis Communications for Business Event Strategists can be downloaded here and has practical suggestions to share and practice with your team. As Warren Buffet has said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.”