Crisis Communications: Mayday! Mayday! Help Me! Help Me!

By Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC

In the world of crisis communications, May should be a pivotal time for crisis communications plans, spokesperson media training, crisis drills, and vulnerability assessments.

Why?

The phrase “Mayday, Mayday” is the international distress call.

Mayday got its start as an international distress call in 1923. Reportedly, it was the idea of Frederick Mockford, who was a senior radio officer in London. The phrase was selected in part because it sounded like the French word “m’aider,” which means “help me.”

May isn’t an official time for crisis communications planning and preparations, but we can start. Mayday! Mayday! Help Me! Help Me!

Need help?

There are five steps to effective crisis communications. In January I issued a dare to all of my followers to spread those five steps out over the year. (If you want a deeper dive on the five steps, sign up for my free five part video series on The Five Steps to Effective Crisis Communications.)

The 5 Steps To Effective Crisis Communications Include:

  1. Conducting an initial Vulnerability Assessment
  2. Writing your Crisis Communications Plan
  3. Writing a library of pre-written news releases
  4. Conducting annual media training for your spokespeople
  5. Conducting an annual crisis communications drill

Many people have taken the challenge and moved forward. I’m thrilled at the response.

Not surprising, many have done nothing. As predicted when I issued the challenge in January, many people get trapped in a winter funk and delay decisions and actions until spring.

Spring has sprung. Get to work if you haven’t done so yet. But, pretty soon, people will disappear for summer vacation and projects, training, and decisions will get once again get delayed.

Mayday! Mayday! Help Me! Help Me!

No one can rescue you if you keep waiting for the most perfect time to take the first step or the next step in your crisis communications planning. Just as a disaster or crisis doesn’t wait for the most perfect time, neither should you wait for the most perfect time.

Be a leader and lead. If you are a good leader, others will want to follow. Pick a step; pick a date; invite people to participate.

If you feel the need to shout “Mayday! Mayday! Help Me! Help Me!” do it. I’m standing by to answer your distress call.

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

Please Pick Me to be Your Media Trainer

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

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