7 things every crisis drill should test

Don’t wait until a crisis hits to see how your team will perform. Make sure you and your team can pull off these tasks before the storm rolls in.

A clear, sunny day is the best time to deal with a crisis. Your darkest day is the worst time to deal with a crisis. Let me explain.

A crisis communications drill can simulate realistic emotions and pressures in a controlled environment. A drill allows you to mess up in private rather than during a real crisis.

Your goal in every crisis communications drill should be to test many aspects of the organization. These are the seven most important things I test in drills with my clients:

1. Is there a written crisis communications plan that is so thorough you can read it during the drill, word-for-word, in real time? Did it result in a flawless rehearsal performance by the crisis communications team?

2. Does that crisis communications plan allow the organization to begin issuing news releases, Web postings and emails to employees within one hour of the crisis’s onset?

3. Do executives within the organization slow down communications by excessively editing news releases?

4. Does the crisis communications plan include pre-written and pre-approved news releases that the team could quickly release without rewrites?

5. Are there several spokespeople qualified to stand before the media and survive questioning?

6. Did misguided egotists step out of their assigned roles and try to take over other people’s jobs? Did they withhold information that kept others from properly doing their jobs, thereby compromising your crisis response?

7. Did the drill create enough realistic drama and anxiety to add a level of fear for all individual participants and teams? Did it help employees realize they must treat drills and media training like athletes treat their sports? Did it help them understand that regular practice on a sunny day makes you your best on your worst day?

A version of this article originally appeared on the Braud Communications blog.


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