Presentation on theme: "Preventing and Managing a Crisis. Overview This session will cover how to: Develop a crisis communications plan Prevent crises Prepare for crises Implement."— Presentation transcript:
Overview This session will cover how to: Develop a crisis communications plan Prevent crises Prepare for crises Implement your plan Manage unexpected trial closures
Crisis Communication Managing the strategy, messages, timing and distribution channels necessary to communicate effectively with stakeholders in a highly charged atmosphere.
Potential Crises Safety concerns Allegations of exploitation Legal disputes Political issues or personal vendettas Disgruntled staff or participants Problems attributed (rightly or wrongly) to the study, trial network or sponsors “Wise crisis management begins before a crisis occurs” Robert L. Heath “Wise crisis management begins before a crisis occurs” – Robert L. Heath
Predictability of a Crisis Crises, while unpredictable, often have consistent qualities: Media interest intensifies. The need for complete, easily understood information increases Other people/organizations will try to promote their own agendas. Organizational credibility can come into question.
Crisis Communications Plan A crisis communications plan: Outlines steps that staff and partners should follow at all levels when a situation or event threatens to negatively affect a trial Defines policies and procedures for assessing and responding to situations Identifies the involvement of others to rapidly defuse a crisis
Ask yourself: what matters to people? What causes concern? Identify, communicate with, listen to, understand and accommodate all stakeholders. Establish a reliable outward flow of information and an equally reliable intake of external opinion. Preventing Crises “The key to effective issues management is to build relationships and trust ahead of time.” –Lori Heise, Former Director, Global Campaign for Microbicides
Preparing for Potential Controversy Define your crisis communications team: All tasks should be clearly defined and assigned. Ensure that final approval authority is understood. Others not assigned should relay information and refer inquiries to spokespersons.
Crisis Communications Team Planning Brainstorm potential crisis scenarios and rehearse these situations. Formalize a rapid-response procedure. Develop and update a detailed contact sheet. –Include mobile phones. Crises are not limited to working hours. Identify key groups that should be kept informed during a crisis.
Crisis Communications Team Planning Train project staff to identify warning signs. Identify and train spokespersons, external experts and key staff. –Limit the number of spokespeople who communicate with the media, but do not cut off the flow of information to the media. Provide updates with new information, even in times of limited press coverage. –Identify trusted media contacts. Maintain up-to-date contact information for these journalists.
Does an Issue Need Managing? Identify in-house decision makers and consider the following criteria: Is the issue critical to your organization, trial, participants or mission? Is it potentially high impact? Does the issue attract opposition from stakeholders or opinion leaders that could exacerbate the crisis? Is the reputation of your organization likely to suffer because of its association with this issue?
Crisis Response Be proactive. Ensure spokespersons are available. Tailor communications to the situation. Debrief once the situation has been resolved.
Tips for Trial Spokespeople Be forthright. Know which questions to answer. Be available to the media. Provide updates when new information becomes available.
Preparing for Unexpected Trial Closures Track planned Data Safety Monitoring Board meetings to stay informed of trial status. Update materials before major milestones. —Develop key messages for all possible scenarios. Alert key stakeholders of regular DSMB milestones.
Informing Stakeholders of Early Closures Prompt and open communication with all stakeholders is essential. Publicly traded U.S. companies must ensure compliance with SEC disclosure regulations, which further condenses the timeframe to inform stakeholders.
Managing Unexpected Trial Closures First inform the trial leaders, sponsors, government officials, your ethics committees, regulatory authorities, the manufacturer, and national and international health organizations.
Other Steps to Take Draft a press release. Distribute key messages to allies. Monitor media coverage of the closure and collect information from the community. Respond and follow up as needed.
Summary The best crisis management is crisis prevention. Proactive planning and rapid response are your best tools for crisis management. Always remember the three Ts of crisis communications: –Trust –Transparency –Truthfulness