This weekend I got a lesson in crisis communication, but it was not related to work…I learned that the same principles that apply to handling a crisis at work can apply in my personal life – especially when handling “the talk” with my 9-year-old son.
Like many crises, this one struck on a weekend when I least expected it – a Sunday morning in fact. Come to find out that my son had done a little creative Googling on his dad’s iPod touch when we weren’t looking. I was hoping to delay the “facts of life” talk for a couple more years but, after this discovery, I immediately went into crisis mode:
The First 48 Minutes:
- Information Gathering – What happened (got that!), what is known (this was a little more challenging), and how many people are affected (does little brother know, entire 3rd grade)?
- Crisis Containment – What immediate steps can be taken to contain the situation (in my case, an immediate conversation despite being in the middle of holiday cookie baking with my son)?
- Get Information Out Quickly/Set the Record Straight – Correct any misinformation (9-year-olds should NOT be teaching each other about the facts of life!), state the facts, do not obfuscate (and, in this situation, attempt to keep it age appropriate despite being completely caught off guard).
The Result: A relieved, albeit slightly embarrassed, 9-year-old who now knows he can turn to Mom and Dad for answers first – not the Internet or classmates. I’m sure other crises will arise but handling this one quickly, forthrightly and with honesty has earned goodwill with my audience of one – as handling a business crisis properly can do the same. For more on handling crises, visit our website http://www.finemanpr.com/crisis-checklist/