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Course Description

Principles of Crisis Communications is a one-day training course that covers the essential role communications play in crisis preparedness, crisis management and recovery after the crisis has passed.

Lessons learned from prominent crisis case studies will be cited to illustrate crisis communications best (and worst) practices. Upon completion of the training you will know:

  • The fundamentals of crisis communications as the basis for effective preparedness, crisis response and management.
  • The difference between the operational side of crisis management vs. the communications side and how they must seamlessly interact.
  • How to create crisis communications plans. Development of the plans is as valuable as the plans themselves because it forces organizations to identify and mitigate their vulnerabilities.
  • The difference between an issue that can be dealt with over time vs. a crisis that demands an immediate response. Not understanding the difference could cause an issue to grow into a crisis unnecessarily.
  • How and why communicators must interact with legal counsel (and others’ inputs) to arrive at effective crisis communications strategies.
  • Generic crisis communications plans vs. plans for specifically identified crisis scenarios.
  • The importance of exercises for testing and continuously improving communications plans.
  • The importance of media/presentation training and rehearsal for designated spokespersons.
  • The role of technology in crisis communications.


In addition to the training, you will receive various crisis communications templates that can be quickly modified to enable you to communicate quicker and more effectively during a crisis.

Training Outline

Training Block 1

​The morning session will present the multiple components of effective crisis communications plans. You will learn how to…

  • Categorize the severity of the crisis so response is proportional
  • Create crisis-related key messages
  • Communicate with employees before, during and after a crisis; they are the highest-priority audience
  • Prepare for and respond to social media attacks
  • Prepare for and respond to difficult questions from various stakeholders
  • Coordinate with crucial external audiences: e.g., first responders, elected officials
  • Recognize and respond to reporters’ traps
  • Communicate risk, e.g., statistical harm from exposure to a toxic substance
  • Apologize when warranted
  • Measure communications effectiveness

Training Block 2

During the second block, our crisis simulation exercise specialists will guide you in hands-on creation of and planning and developing an exercise for a fictional company.

For in-person training having access to a laptop for the training is not essential but would help with certain aspects of the afternoon part of the day.