Skillset New Zealand Blog

Ideas to help your team develop personally and professionally.

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Imagine. The news media are onto your crisis. And so are the social media - which can be an even bigger challenge. Why? Because the social media are much faster and much freer with exaggerations and outright fiction. Social media can treat your crisis the way a pack of dogs treats a rabbit.

How to go onto the front foot

Develop key messages for the news media right from the beginning of your crisis and immediately distribute the same messages to your staff - encouraging them to use their personal social media to spread the correct version of events.

You could send them an internal letter worded something like this:

As you may have heard, we're dealing with a difficult situation right now. Here's what we're releasing to the media at this stage. Please feel free to post the same facts on your own social platforms - in your own words. But to keep everything accurate, please don't add any other facts (no matter where you got them) without checking with me first. Please also avoid any speculation or comments which might fuel distorted messages on the net.
     Yesterday, a fire broke out in... (etc)
     We don't yet know the cause... (etc)

Keep your staff current with media key messages

And keep updating staff with your updated key messages for the media. That's a good thing to do anyway - quite apart from your purpose with the social media.

Why not ignore social media? Because they can do real damage to your organisation and your staff are going to use Facebook and Twitter anyway. You might as well sow the seeds of truth.

There are other things you can do to cope with the force of social media, but that's another story.

Michael

About Michael Brown

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Michael is a senior trainer with Skillset, based in Christchurch.

He is a leading authority on training in presentation and news media skills in New Zealand. He has special expertise in how to present emotionally charged topics to challenging audiences. Michael has trained thousands of New Zealanders and worked with people who speak on behalf of some of the country's largest organisations.

Michael is a prolific author and his books on speaking and working with the media are in their fourth editions.

Speaking Easy: how to speak to your audiences with confidence and authority

Media Easy: how to handle the news media with confidence and authority

One of Michael's books is about his family's adventures sailing in the Pacific.

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