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Speaking with confidence. Techniques for the effective spokesperson. Today’s Goals. Staying on message Handling tough questions Maintaining control over story content Avoiding misquotes Understanding soundbites Communicating in a crisis. Who is this guy?.

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Speaking with confidence

Speaking with confidence

Techniques for the effective spokesperson

Today s goals
Today’s Goals

  • Staying on message

  • Handling tough questions

  • Maintaining control over story content

  • Avoiding misquotes

  • Understanding soundbites

  • Communicating in a crisis

Who is this guy
Who is this guy?

An investigation of security violations is under way at Los Alamos... As for the reports of e-mail security violations, spokesman Kevin Roark said…

......Kevin Roark told The Chronicle on Friday. Roark also said Holian's statistical charts showing Los Alamos' high performance in safety miss the point. ...

National Public Radio Kevin Roark is a lab spokesman. Mr. KEVIN ROARK (Spokesman, Los Alamos National Laboratory): No one's been idle. The lab has been open. ...

CBS News Lab spokesman Kevin Roark said Los Alamos officials are "eager to explain all the lab has done in response to this latest incident and to outline for the ...



The Crisis Store — James Lucaszewski


Media in the information age
Media in the Information Age

  • We find ourselves at a crossroads

  • Journalism -- what has become of it?


  • The Internet’s effect on the practice

  • Radical ideas

New delivery systems
New Delivery Systems

  • Weblogs

  • e-Papers

  • Broadcast web

New rules of engagement
New Rules of Engagement

  • New kinds of news sources

  • Reporting opinion as fact

  • Sins of omission

  • Standards of inaccuracy

  • Inconsistent reporter behavior

Feeling hopeless
Feeling hopeless?

  • All is not lost

  • Our jobs are just harder

  • Preparation is the key

New communication techniques
New Communication Techniques

  • Managing expectations

  • Making communications a process

  • Communication planning

  • Key Consent Factors

  • Messaging — The Triangle

Working with a message triangle1
Working with a message triangle

Key Message Point

ァProof Point—where possible, incorporate throughout your message triangle such messageenhancers as specific examples; meaningful statistics; analogies, metaphors & similes; the “Three Cs”” (colorful words, clichés, contemporary references); one-liners, personal experience; quotes from experts—or your opposition

Proof Point

Proof Point

Subsidiary bullet

Subsidiary bullet

Proof Point


Working with a message triangle3
Working with a message triangle

Off-message question or issue to redirect



Subsidiary bullet

Subsidiary bullet

Bridge to a key message above whenever possible

Off-message question or issue to redirect



Subsidiary bullet

Subsidiary bullet

Bridge to a key message above whenever possible

Off-message question or issue to redirect



Subsidiary bullet

Subsidiary bullet

Bridge to a key message above whenever possible

Reduced performance anxiety
Reduced performance anxiety

  • Stagecraft

  • Rehearsal

  • Simplicity

  • Brevity

  • Enthusiasm

  • Accuracy

Anatomy of a soundbite
Anatomy of a soundbite

  • How are soundbites captured?

  • How are they used?

  • How soundbites have changed

  • How to get the soundbite of your choosing into the story

Crisis communications
Crisis Communications

  • What is a crisis?

  • Anticipating versus reacting


  • News clipping research by the Institute for Crisis Management shows that 86 percent of crises stem from issues previously known to management, so-called “smoldering” crises. Only a small percentage of crises arise from the stereotypical sudden crisis, such as an explosion, fire, or industrial accident. Clearly, the majority of crises can be anticipated—and potentially prevented from ever becoming a crisis in the first place.

Crisis defined
Crisis defined

  • Crisis—An event, other than a declared emergency, that creates or threatens to create an unusually high level of harshly negative media coverage and external criticism.

  • Emergency—As defined by your Emergency Management organization or police force. Emergency Communications are wholly separate from and would supersede crisis communications activities.

  • Issue—An external or internal factor, usually mid- to long-term, that threatens your institution’s interests, especially those that could prove damaging to the institution’s reputation.

10 steps to effective crisis planning
10 steps to effective crisis planning

  • Start now to establish a method for identifying and anticipating potential crises.

  • Form a crisis response team.

    • Include individuals from all key functions.

    • The team should be well practiced before handling a crisis.

    • The team must be empowered and able to respond quickly.

  • Identify and understand interests of target audiences.

  • Establish and maintain open lines of communication between team members, spokesperson, Lab management, and audiences (internal and external).

  • Work with the media, not against them.

  • Realize that appearance and tone are important.

10 steps to effective crisis planning1
10 steps to effective crisis planning

  • Identify a central spokesperson; during a crisis it is vital that the institution or organization speak with and through a single voice.

  • Be watchful for and mindful of the emotional response; intellectual arguments are worthless in the face of public anger.

  • Control the information; stay in front of the release of facts—don’t be reactive.

  • Constantly evaluate your messages and feedback. Don’t fear a rapidly changing situation; change tactics when necessary.

Avoid the common failure patterns
Avoid the common failure patterns

  • Mismanaging the victim dimension: It is the treatment of victims that maintains or destroys trust and reputation.

  • Failing to involve the boss: For any crisis response to succeed, the boss or someone the boss trusts must be involved from the very beginning of the planning process.

  • The presumption of readiness: A 2003 study by Guardsmark, a security consulting firm, estimated that 75 percent of American businesses are significantly under prepared for a crisis or serious emergency.

Avoid the common failure patterns1
Avoid the common failure patterns

  • Over-generalized planning: Crisis prevention and response require scenario-based approaches − picking specific potential problems and working them through using a highly organized approach.

  • Failing to recognize that crises are truly different: Failure occurs when serious problems are treated as “normal course of business.”

Beware of revisionist history
Beware of revisionist history

Sooner or later you will have to answer these basic questions:

What did you know, and when did you know it?

What did you do, and when did you do it?

Crisis during emergencies
Crisis during emergencies

  • Deal with the problem—NOW

    • Tend to the victims

    • Deal with employees

    • Manage those indirectly involved

    • Deal with the critics—The “self appointed self anointed”

Crisis communications rules
Crisis communications rules


    Availability and willingness to respond


    Unconditional honesty is the only policy


    Recognize that all concerns are by definition legitimate and must be addressed.


    No secrets; behavior and attitude must be beyond reproach


    Actively seek out and contact those with concerns

Profiles in jello
Profiles in Jello

The seven mistakes managers make in a crisis