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insight about crisis communication

While all the information was very interesting, and much of it was new to me in that I had not thought of crisis communication in those terms before, the piece that resonated with me most strongly is Peter Sandman's recommendations for outrage management.

When outrage is high but hazard is low, Mr. Sandman recommends an eight-hour meeting instead of an eight-second sound bite. He adds, "Should you make it interesting? Of course you should not." This bit of insight delighted me at the same time that it surprised me, because on reflection I can see that it is very likely to be effective. As he says, when you start listening to people's concerns, they calm down; and then they do begin to listen to what you have to say.

The piece was particularly effective following the section on high hazard-low outrage, because I have seen examples of that many times in the media. It was very interesting to consider the flip side of the issue.

It also relates to a recent experience I had -- nothing like an epidemic; just a crisis on a small scale, where outrage was high and hazard very low, and people were jumping in to talk about the issue whether or not they had any experience or understanding of it. I think that holding an eight-hour meeting to listen to the people who were most upset would probably go a long way toward restoring some calm.

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