Principles of Crisis Communications

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.

This course can be offered as a custom training session for your organization. Please Contact us for details.

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 afternoon, course participants will gain hands-on crisis communications experience by role-playing in realistic crisis scenarios.


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 Schedule

In-Person Training

For Training taking place in person the schedule is as follows:

  • Morning Session – Training Block 1
  • Lunch Break
  • Afternoon Session – Training Block 2
Virtual/Online Training

For Training taking place online via Zoom or other video conferencing software the schedule is as follows:

  • Day 1 – Training Block 1
  • Day 2 – Training Block 2


David Kalson

Kalson Communications, LLC

David Kalson, Communications Associate at PreparedEx, is a 30-year veteran of the public relations field, specializing in crisis communications. He has developed and directed strategic crisis communications programs for science/engineering-related, energy and environmental industries, as well as for most other sectors, including healthcare, educational and religious institutions. He works internationally, regionally and locally for organizations of all types and sizes.

David is also an associate senior fellow with the Center for Risk Communication (applying research-based principles of communication to issues of high public anxiety, such as a potential pandemic).

Kalson previously served as CEO of Ricochet Public Relations and was Executive Managing Director of RF Binder, part of the Ruder Finn Group. He was Senior Vice President/General Manager of the NY Office of the E. Bruce Harrison Company and was Vice President at Hill and Knowlton in its Division of Scientific, Technical, and Environmental Affairs. Kalson also was Manager of Public Information for the American Institute of Physics where for ten years he produced the award-winning, syndicated series, “Science TV Report.”

Kalson has taught crisis communications at the Fordham University Graduate School of Business and has been an invited lecturer and symposium arranger for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, National Association of Science Writers, Johns Hopkins University, Iona University, the Institute of Public Relations, the American Physical Society, the Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives and the Cause Marketing Forum. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy and an M.A. in Communications, both from the University of Wisconsin in Madison

Upcoming Dates this Course is Running

No upcoming events.

This course can be offered as a custom training session for your organization. Please Contact us for details.