The biggest mistake you can make with a crisis is not to expect one to happen in the first place.
Here are 10 elements that should be common to any crisis communication plan:
1. Transparency: Make information and documentation available as much as possible.
2. Accountability: Leadership "owns" the problem, apologies are made, and person/s responsible are disciplined.
3. Immediacy: There is very little pause between incoming questions and outgoing answers.
4. Rationality: There is no handwringing or drama but rather an objective provision of information.
5. Neutrality: Absence of ideological or other bias - only the truth matters.
6. Objective Third Party: Someone with no stake in the game is empowered to investigate and bring findings.
7. Accessibility: Firsthand witnesses and participants are made available to answer questions.
8. Legality: An attorney explains to the public what they have a right to know and what information may not be shared.
9. Interactivity: Genuine back-and-forthing between the institution and the inquiring minds who want to know.
10. Positivity: Negative situations are also teachable moments - therefore emphasize progress and the way forward.