How soon do you need to communicate after a crisis?
I was working with an executive team on a crisis scenario, when one of the leaders asked a question on crisis communication. He asked, “How soon do we need to communicate? 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 1 hour, 1 day, …?” He was looking for a precise number to evaluate a few past incidents that were on top of mind for everyone in the room. I gave the common answer, but right answer, of “it depends”. He gave a look of dissatisfaction and made a discrediting posture. I went on to share a few basic statistics from Daniel Diermier’s research (author of Reputation Rules) such as “online news stories suggest that the typical window is only eight hours; 20% of all news stories on a given issue are published within an eight-hour period; so forth.” Some time has passed since the exercise. After some thought, I want to provide executives with six (6) crisis characteristics to consider when determining when and how to communicate.