GET ALL OF THE FACTS
Whether you’re actually in a crisis or not, if there is going to be a story about you or your business circulating around the world, then you should be the one to control the narrative. Choosing to clam up is not an option. By clamming up, people will only hear one side of the story, and then their imaginations will run wild with the rest. Just picture that game of telephone you played as a kid, but now imagine millions of people making memes and hiding behind their computer screens. Trust us, it’s 1000x more traumatic and you absolutely do not want that.
However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. If you find yourself in a crisis, before you can even think about controlling the narrative, you have to gather ALL of the facts.
Step one is talking to every single person involved. Hop on a conference call, shoot out a company-wide email, or make hundreds of individual phone calls if you have to. Get it done. After all, you can’t tell your story if you don’t know all of the facts, and you won’t know all of the facts if you’re not asking the questions.
Step two is all about keeping calm. While you’re taking the time to talk to everyone involved, remember that there are multiple sides to every story, so try not to jump to conclusions. Often when there are a lot of cooks in the kitchen, the first story you hear is not necessarily the complete or correct version. So make sure while you’re talking to your troops that they’re not leaking any intel. If you’re not ready to talk, neither are they. And they have to know that.
Step three is expect the unexpected. When you’re dealing with people, and especially in a crisis, you cannot let your emotions get in the way. Work with the facts and not your feelings.
Getting all the facts sounds simple, but it isn’t. You likely didn’t start a business career hoping to be a detective. But here you are.
So make sure there is a plan or protocol in place BEFORE some reporter calls. You can’t react like ants do when the hill’s been knocked over. Speak with your key stakeholders to have a simple but comprehensive way to gather all the facts. If you don’t, you could have BIG problems.
And that’s a fact.