How to use your mass notification system in a crisis

Alarm bellA notification system is always a good tool in time of crisis, but using it effectively can be tough when you’ve got lots of people to communicate with and the pressure is on. It helps to have a plan in place, some prepared templates and a consistent process.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Choose a spokesperson – Have one well-trained spokesperson prepared to deliver the message with alternates standing by.
  2. Define your authority – Know in advance who can authorize the release of messages in a variety of scenarios.
  3. Train your leaders – Conduct media training with anyone who may speak for your company in time of crisis.
  4. Develop key messages – Weave the core values of your organization through every message to reassure teams and keep messaging on target.
  5. Establish protocols – Figure out what warrants alerting at each level of your organization so you don’t have to decide in the heat of the moment.
  6. Know your stakeholders – Regularly update contact data so you know you have the current and complete information for all.
  7. Communicate with insiders – Make it a priority to share information with employees first.
  8. Prepare messages before a crisis – Draft messages ahead of time and consider how messages will be interpreted.
  9. Familiarize your team – Use notification for more than business continuity crises; try it in business operations, day-to-day IT incident management, employee reminders and other internal and external communication.
  10. Engage in social media – Publically posted information can hurt your company if not managed before, during and after any crisis. Plan now on how you’ll deal with inappropriate rumors or information that may pop up on social media sites.

We’ve got many more tips for effective use of notification in an emergency. Find out more with the brief: Communicating in Crisis: 25 lessons learned.