Richard Thomas – VP Professional Development
I attended the IABC Barbados Seminar yesterday entitled, "When Social Media and Crisis Communications Collide". It is actually my second time attending an IABC Barbados event since the launch of the organization on May 8, 2008. I must say has been a real pleasure to watch something grow. I believe its a part our human instinct. It was very fulfulling to be attending the seminar.
(You can read my previous post here and check out my review of the inaugural meeting here too. Actually u can see how this blog looked back then – Click here to see the first version of this blog – Go Retro
Gerard Braud of Braud Communications delivered a thought provoking but simple and logical presentation. He clearly identified the need for businesses and organizations today to have a well thought out crisis communication plan which will enable them to react quickly in times of crisis. He used striking examples to show how the immediacy of social media has now made it critical for organizations and businesses to respond quickly and effectively to any crisis impacting them.
The birth of social media no longer affords businesses and organizations the luxury of waiting a few hours … even days to make a statement to the public. He shows that time it took to-
- access the situation
- make a decision
- write the statement or press release
- get a statement or press release approved all the key players, in and organization
Those hours have not been cut down to mere minutes by the beast that is social media.
He also showed that a business crisis is not only restricted to the big catastrophes like a natural disasters etc, but it is really any emergency situation that impacts the business or organization. e.g. an employee falling dead or executive mis-conduct. He illustrates that the crisis communication plan is not only about "saving the skin" of the business but it could also save real "skin" of the persons involved in the business both internally and externally. To colour this point he used the example of Virginia Tech University whose outdated crisis management plan meant that it took them just over 3 hours to respond to a shooting on their campus. This slow response time resulted in 29 students losing their lives because there was a second shooting!!
He ended by showing how to develop an effective crisis communication plan. The key points I would distill out from his plan are actually pretty simple – planning, preparation and practice.
I throughly enjoyed the spirited discussion afterwards with the members of IABC Barbados and attendees of the seminar in general. It was good to get the Caribbean/Barbados perspective on this subject.
There were lots of interesting takeaways from the event which I am sure I will illustrate from time to time in future posts.
Overall it was a very insightful and thought provoking evening with some great food and networking after.
As a special treat, here is a podcast of a chat I had with the founding president of IABC Barbados, Christal McIntosh. In the pod, Christal shares the intriguing story of how IABC Barbados was born from a social network she created 2 years ago and more.
Listen to it here
Work Smart, Love Life,
Corey Graham 2.0