This book provides practical information that allows Safety Health & Environmental professionals to assess risk to their organizations. It also assists readers in determining whether or not they need to develop a formal risk and crisis communication plan. A blueprint for preparing such a plan is provided in the book, which details the means of developing effective and specific messages for various risk and crisis situations. Case studies are be used to demonstrate both effective communication processes and messages. Targeted at entry and mid level safety, health, and environmental professionals.
Pamela (Ferrante) Walaski is the President of JC Safety & Environmental, Inc., a health and safety consulting firm and is a frequent speaker and seminar presenter on the topic of risk and crisis communications. She holds both the CSP and CHMM designations, and writes regularly for the leading professional journals. She is both chair of the Technical Publications Advisory Committee and administrator of the Consultants Practice Specialty of the ASSE, and was a contributing author to The Safety Professionals Handbook. In 2011, she was the recipient of the ASSE President's Award.
List of Tables ix Preface xi 1 INTRODUCTION 1 2 GENERAL CONCEPTS OF RISK AND CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS 5 Historical Background 5 Key Defi nitions 7 The Stages of a Crisis 10 The Process of Communication 11 The Purpose and Objectives of the Communication Event 13 References 17 3 COMMUNICATION FUNDAMENTALS AND THEORETICAL FOUNDATIONS 19 Audience Perceptions of the Communicator 19 Trust and Credibility 21 Four Theoretical Models 25 The Risk Perception Model 26 The Mental Noise Model 28 The Negative Dominance Model 28 The Trust Determination Model 29 Risk = Hazard + Outrage 30 High Hazard/Low Outrage ("Watch out!") 31 Medium Hazard/Medium Outrage (Stakeholder Relations) 32 Low Hazard/High Outrage ("Calm down!") 32 High Hazard/High Outrage ("We'll get through this together.") 33 Mental Models 33 Functional Lines of Communication 35 Care Communications 35 Consensus Communications 36 Crisis Communications 36 The Excellence Theory 37 The Stickiness of Messages 38 References 38 4 CRAFTING RISK AND CRISIS MESSAGES SETTING GOALS AND OBJECTIVES AND AUDIENCE PROFILING 41 Key Successful Message Development Concepts 41 Message Crafting Determining Purpose and Objectives 43 Message Development Constraints 45 Profi ling Audiences Who Are They and What Do They Want? 46 Profi ling Audiences How Do They Process and Perceive the Risk? 50 References 52 5 CRAFTING RISK AND CRISIS MESSAGES DEVELOPING THE WORDS 55 Crafting Messages Overarching Principles 55 Conveying Empathy 57 Audience Emotions Anger 59 Audience Emotions Mistrust 63 Audience Emotions Fear, Panic, and Apathy 63 Message-Crafting Techniques 66 Infl uence Diagrams The Mental Models Approach 67 Message Mapping 70 References 75 6 DELIVERING THE MESSAGE WHILE AVOIDING COMMON MISTAKES 77 Message Delivery Templates 77 The Use of Visuals in a Communication Event 82 Delivering the Message in the Age of the Internet 85 Common Message Delivery Mistakes and Effective Corrections 89 Failing to Communicate Technical Information 89 Failing to Help the Audience Understand the Uncertainly of Most Risk Information 90 Trying to Compare Risks 90 Making Value Judgments about "Acceptable" Levels of Risk 90 Being Concerned That an Audience Will Panic 91 Using Words That Imply Negative Behaviors 91 Responding Too Quickly or Not Quickly Enough 91 Failing to Speak with One Voice 92 The Use of Content Analysis and Readability Analyses 93 Evaluating the Communication Event 94 References 98 7 WORKING WITH THE MEDIA 101 Level of Organizational Expertise 102 Advance Development of Relationships with the Media 103 The Various Roles of the Media 104 Constraints of the Media and Media Representatives 105 What the Media Needs from an Organization 106 Fair Media Coverage 108 Developing a Media Communications Plan 109 Getting the Accurate Message Out 110 Choosing a Spokesperson 111 Preparing for an Interview 113 After the Interview 114 References 119 8 DEVELOPING A RISK AND CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS PLAN 121 Defi ning Acceptable Risk 122 Risk Assessment Tools Summary 122 Key Planning Guidelines and Processes 124 Key Plan Elements 129 References 131 9 SPECIAL RISK AND CRISIS COMMUNICATION SITUATIONS 133 Crisis Communication Principles 133 Worst-Case Scenarios 135 Dealing with an Outraged Audience in a Crisis 137 Dealing with an Ambivalent Audience in a Crisis 138 Some Additional Guidelines 141 Dealing with Fatalities 141 Dealing with Rumors 144 References 150 10 CASE STUDIES 153 The H1N1 Pandemic of 2009 2010 154 Involvement of Stakeholders in the Strategy Planning Process 155 Public Health Education about Pandemics 157 How Bad Is a Pandemic Really? Reducing Trust and Credibility 161 Over-Reassuring the Public about Vaccine Availability 163 Success of the Government's and Public Health System's Efforts 170 The BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill 171 Profi ling the Audience Risk Perception 173 Understanding the Technical Nature of the Spill 173 Trust and Credibility 178 Worst-Case Scenario How Much Oil? 179 Worst-Case Scenario How Long Until the Leak Is Stopped? 186 Choosing a Spokesperson Wisely and Knowing When to Let Them Go 188 References 189 11 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS 193 Theoretical Models and Frameworks 194 Crafting Risk and Crisis Messages 195 Message Delivery 197 Working with the Media and Choosing a Spokesperson 199 Developing a Risk/Crisis Communications Plan 201 Special Risk and Crisis Communications Situations 202 Case Studies 205 What It All Means for You and Your Organization 206 References 207 Index 209