• Jim Toth

Crisis Communication by Thomas Fladung

Thomas Fladung from Hennes Communications

Watch the Speech:


  • Social media has impacted the way we live in just about all facets of life. People no longer rely solely on the local news station or newspapers for updates on current events. Facebook Live and other streaming platforms made it possible for millions of people to view raw footage all over the world in real time. With capabilities like these, it is essential that all businesses have an effective plan of action ready for implementation in order to reduce or eliminate negative publicity.

Greatest Uninsured Asset...Your Reputation:

  • Your reputation is the single greatest intangible asset that you have. It takes years to build up, but can be permanently destroyed in seconds. A man or woman's reputation is powerful enough to make or break a business, and is put to the test when going through a crisis. Social media, if used properly, can be one of your greatest tools to defend your reputation. Today people first check Twitter to get news, and then go to Facebook to share news. The damage control playbook below describes exactly how to protect your reputation and defuse a crisis.

Damage Control Playbook:

  1. Tell the Truth: By far the most important thing to do. Whether the news is good or bad...tell the truth! It is in the best interest of any company or individual for the public to hear the honest story directly from the source. People and companies have a fighting chance to recover if they are upfront from the start. Problems are drastically magnified when lies are thrown into the mix, and it's a sure way to ruin your reputation forever.

  2. Tell it First: News channels and journalists get attention and views by being the first to report a crisis. If you are the first to post a message, people will continue to look for updates from the source rather than tuning into a news channel for updates.

  3. Tell it All: It goes without saying that some details are not to be shared due to privacy reasons, however you should tell as much as you can. Do not give other media outlets the opportunity to cover your story how they want to. Most likely they will not have all the details, or may even choose to leave out key pieces of information in order to best push their agenda.

  4. Tell it Fast: Thomas says to "take the sexiness" out of the story. People naturally love drama. Especially when it is during a crisis. Do not give any time for the media to formulate their own story or beliefs on what actually happened. Tell it fast and deflate the hype.

  5. Tell it to People who Matter Most: Make sure the right people hear your message. If there is a situation that is potentially catastrophic, do not rely on a text message to solve the problem. Whether it's in person conversations, social media posts, or phone calls, make sure the right people get the message.

The worst thing to do...

  • Not doing anything at all. When people say no comment, they are immediately viewed as being guilty. "What are they hiding? Why won't they say anything?" These are common thoughts the public resorts to when subjects choose to say or do nothing. If there are privacy concerns that prevent you from giving certain pieces of information, tell that to the media. Simply saying "no comment" is a death sentence to your reputation.


  • Facing crises in the workplace is not a matter of "if" but "when." Knowing how to communicate effectively during highly stressful situations will greatly increase your chances of surviving any situation the world has to throw at you. Remember to act quickly and always tell the truth!

References from Thomas Fladung:

Twitter: @crisiscomm

Facebook: crisiscomm

Hennes Communication:

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