Communication in Times of Trouble

Book description

Presents the best practices of crisis communication and emergency risk communication

This book covers crisis communication strategies and focuses on practical applications for effective management. It includes an extensive discussion of best practices in pre-crisis, crisis and post crisis stages. The book pays special attention to the needs of meeting the needs of diverse audiences and communicating in a responsive and responsible way. The principles are appropriate for many kinds of events including earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, epidemics, and pandemics as well as industrial accidents, toxic spills, transportation disasters, fires and intentional events.

In the first chapter, Communication in Times of Trouble introduces the concept of best practices and establishes their relevance for crisis communication and emergency risk communication. A chapter is dedicated to each of the ten best practices. In each chapter, the best practice is described, examples of successful and unsuccessful application of the best practice in both organizational crises and natural disasters/emergencies are provided, advice for practical application is given, and a summary is provided. The concluding chapter details the challenges and opportunities for developing and implementing a response strategy that includes the best practices as a whole.

  • Focuses on application and explanation in crisis communication to benefit those with backgrounds in emergency management, risk management, political science, disaster sociology, and public health
  • Covers natural, large-scale emergencies such as earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, epidemics, and pandemics, which aren’t generally detailed in existing crisis communication texts
  • Presents 10 best practices for dealing with emergencies: Process Approach; Pre-Event Planning; Partnerships; Public Concern; Honesty; Collaborate; Media access; Compassion; Uncertainty; Empowerment
Communication in Times of Trouble will be of great interest to undergraduate students and practitioners in communication, public relations, public affairs, public information, public health, and emergency management. 

Table of contents

  1. Cover
  2. Acknowledgements
  3. 1 Introduction
    1. What Is a Crisis?
    2. What Do We Mean by Crisis Communication?
    3. What Distinguishes Crisis Communication?
    4. What Are Best Practices?
    5. Summary
    6. References
  4. 2 Process Approach
    1. What Do We Mean by “Communication Is a Process”?
    2. What Does a Process Approach Mean for Crisis?
    3. What Is a Crisis Life Cycle?
    4. How Can These Stages Be Used by Crisis Communicators?
    5. Why Should Communicators Participate in the Policy Formation Process?
    6. Summary
    7. References
  5. 3 Preevent Planning
    1. What Does Planning Involve?
    2. What Is Crisis Communication Planning?
    3. How Is a Plan Created?
    4. How Is Risk Assessed?
    5. What Is Included in a Crisis Plan?
    6. Standard Elements of a Crisis Communication Plan
    7. Implementing a Crisis Plan
    8. Summary
    9. References
  6. 4 Partnerships
    1. Why Do Crisis Leaders Sometimes Avoid Communicating With Their Publics?
    2. How Are Relationships With Publics Established?
    3. What Is Dialog?
    4. Why Do Some Agencies and Organizations Fail to Establish Dialog?
    5. How Does Dialog Produce Partnerships With Publics?
    6. Are There Times When Dialog Should Be Avoided?
    7. What Roles Can Publics Play in Their Partnerships With Organizations and Agencies?
    8. Summary
    9. References
  7. 5 Public Concern
    1. How Do Publics Respond to Risks?
    2. What Communication Challenges Do Hazards Create?
    3. What Communication Challenges Does Outrage Create?
    4. How Should Agencies and Organizations Acknowledge the Concerns of Publics?
    5. How Do Organizations and Agencies Anticipate Which Issues Are Likely to Produce Public Outrage?
    6. How Can Organizations Communicate to Prevent and Manage Outrage?
    7. Summary
    8. References
  8. 6 Honesty
    1. Why Is It So Important to Be Honest?
    2. What Does It Really Mean to Be Honest?
    3. What Are Some Challenges to Being Honest During a Crisis?
    4. How Is Openness Achieved During a Crisis?
    5. Summary
    6. References
  9. 7 Collaboration
    1. Who Are the Credible Partners for an Organization?
    2. What Do Collaboration and Coordination Mean?
    3. Why Are Collaboration and Coordination So Important?
    4. How Can an Organization Create Collaboration and Coordination?
    5. It Is Possible to Coordinate and Cooperate With Hostile Groups?
    6. Summary
    7. References
  10. 8 Media Access
    1. Why Is Media Access Important?
    2. What Does Accessibility Mean?
    3. How Does an Organization Maintain Accessibility?
    4. What Happens If Organizations Are Not Open During a Crisis?
    5. Will the Media Tell a Negative Story Regardless of the Facts?
    6. Summary
    7. References
  11. 9 Compassion
    1. What Is a Compassionate Response to Crisis?
    2. Who Is the Best Organizational Spokesperson for Expressing Compassion?
    3. When Is Expressing Compassion Most Important?
    4. Should an Organization Express Compassion If Blame Is Uncertain?
    5. How Should an Organization Express Compassion If Blame Is Certain?
    6. How Should Spokespersons Express Compassion Through Social Media?
    7. What Role Does Culture Play in the Expression of Compassion?
    8. Summary
    9. References
  12. 10 Uncertainty
    1. What Causes Uncertainty for Publics?
    2. How Do Publics Respond to Uncertainty?
    3. What Kind of Information Do Publics Seek to Reduce Their Uncertainty?
    4. How Can Organizations Avoid Overreassuring Their Publics?
    5. What Are Some Other Ways to Manage Uncertainty?
    6. What Are the Ethical Standards for Managing Uncertainty?
    7. Summary
    8. References
  13. 11 Empowerment
    1. How Can Messages Empower Publics?
    2. What Are the Components of an Empowering Message?
    3. How Can Risk and Crisis Communicators Help Their Publics Internalize the Risk?
    4. How Should Messages Be Distributed to Publics?
    5. How Much Explanation of the Crisis Is Necessary?
    6. How Should Recommendations for Self‐Protective Actions Be Communicated?
    7. What If Publics Are Given Competing Recommendations for Empowerment?
    8. What Is the Role of Empowering Messages Outside the Acute Phase of Crisis?
    9. Summary
    10. References
  14. 12 Conclusion
    1. Are Crises Really Occurring More Often and Are They Getting Worse?
    2. How Can an Organization Repair Its Damaged Image?
    3. Are There Ever Positive Outcomes to a Crisis?
    4. What Are the Challenges to Implementing the Best Practices?
    5. How Can the Best Practices Approach to a Crisis Be Used?
    6. Summary
    7. References
  15. Index
  16. End User License Agreement

Product information

  • Title: Communication in Times of Trouble
  • Author(s): Matthew W. Seeger, Timothy L. Sellnow
  • Release date: April 2019
  • Publisher(s): Wiley-Blackwell
  • ISBN: 9781119229254