As leaders, crisis management comes with the territory. Many of us have learned through bitter experience that a crisis is never more than a phone call, an email or even a tweet away. You can fall asleep in peace and wake to chaos.

In the impulsive and occasionally reckless tech and crypto spaces, a crisis plan is absolutely critical for survival. We’ve seen two very relevant demonstrations in the last few weeks involving sudden layoffs at Meta and Twitter. Two businesses, comparable in purpose, that handled bad news very differently. 

While predicting when bad events will occur is nearly impossible, there are some actions companies can do to prepare for crisis communications.

Create a Q&A to be ready for questions from the press

You want to be prepared for every question so that you’re not caught off guard and can stay in control of the narrative. Know what you will say and what you won’t say, as well as how much detail you will go into. Speak with your PR professionals and have them ask difficult questions so that if those questions eventually come from a journalist, you won’t be caught unprepared. To have some control of the narrative, you need to determine what it should be in advance, and you need to practice. 

Write a powerful blog post to tell your story

Prepare a bulletproof blog post detailing the decisions you’ve made and explaining them robustly. It’s about being in control of the conversation and speaking your truth. Defend your position, but do so with humility. So tell your story, but do so in a way that shows you are human, and that even if you had to make difficult decisions, you did so with empathy.

Be mindful of the human cost

Whatever the crisis involves (layoffs, negative press, insolvency, whatever), make sure you are expressing sympathy for anyone affected by it. Staff and customers are humans with complex, individual lives. Make sure it’s clear you understand that. A little humanity goes a long way in this noisy space, so don’t be tempted to paint yourself as the victim.

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Prepare a press statement

If the press reaches out to you, refusing to comment is not an option. You need a clear, collectively agreed-upon statement at your fingertips, and everybody needs to be consistent on it. That is how you will guide the conversation and control how the story is presented. 

Have a central point of contact for info

Tell anyone who knows ahead of time — management, VCs and so on — not to speak with the press, not to post on social media and to direct the media to your PR firm or internal PR team. How many times have we heard of a story leaking because an employee tweeted it? Direct all media inquiries to the professionals, specifically those who know how to communicate with the media. They will know how to best handle the incoming requests, and it will allow you some time to reflect and think about how you want to address specific questions.

Pause all your brand’s social media

If you’re laying off staff, no one wants to see you giving away $1,000 of Bitcoin to the first 10 people who retweet you. No one on Facebook is going to be impressed that you just opened a new office in North America while others are closing shop, and everyone is going to be angry when they see new job listings appear on LinkedIn when you just laid off a bunch of your staff members. The point is, on the day of a crisis, and perhaps until the news goes cold, it shouldn’t seem like it’s “business as usual.”

Clarity of message

You are not always going to be able to control whether the press covers a company crisis or leaves you in peace. But do you really want to roll the dice on that?

Being prepared ahead of time, having a strong PR team, having a clear and unified voice and appearing human while telling your earnest side of the story are the ways in which you control the story and minimize — maybe even eradicate — any damage that may be caused.

Founder & CEO of award-winning global PR agency SlicedBrand, Ayelet Noff has successfully led PR for thousands of tech/crypto companies.

This article was published through Cointelegraph Innovation Circle, a vetted organization of senior executives and experts in the blockchain technology industry who are building the future through the power of connections, collaboration and thought leadership. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Cointelegraph.

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