Text 10. Making a Crisis Worse: The Biggest Mistakes in Crisis Communications 

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Text 10. Making a Crisis Worse: The Biggest Mistakes in Crisis Communications


All organizations are vulnerable to crises. You can't serve any population without being subjected to situations involving lawsuits, accusations of impropriety, sudden changes in ownership or management, and other volatile situations on which your stakeholders - and the media that serves them - often focus.

The cheapest way to turn experience into future profits is to learn from others' mistakes. With that in mind, I hope that the following examples of inappropriate crisis communications policies, culled from real-life situations, will provide a tongue-in-cheek guide about what NOT to do when your organization is faced with a crisis.

To ensure that your crisis will flourish and grow, you should:

1) Play Ostrich

Hope that no one learns about it. Cater to whoever is advising you to say nothing, do nothing. Assume you'll have time to react when and if necessary, with little or no preparation time. And while you're playing ostrich, with your head buried firmly in the sand, don't think about the part that's still hanging out.

2) Only Start Work on a Potential Crisis Situation after It's Public

This is closely related to item 1, of course. Even if you have decided you won't play ostrich, you can still foster your developing crisis by deciding not to do any advance preparation. Before the situation becomes public, you still have some proactive options available. You could, for example, thrash out and even test some planned key messages, but that would probably mean that you will communicate promptly and credibly when the crisis breaks publicly, and you don't want to do that, do you? So, in order to allow your crisis to gain a strong foothold in the public's mind, make sure you address all issues from a defensive posture - something much easier to do when you don't plan ahead. Shoot from the hip, and give off the cuff, unrehearsed remarks.

3) Let Your Reputation Speak for YouTwo words: Arthur Andersen.

4) Treat the Media Like the Enemy

By all means, tell a reporter that you think he/she has done such a bad job of reporting on you that you'll never talk to him/her again. Or badmouth him/her in a public forum. Send nasty emails. Then sit back and have a good time while:

- The reporter gets angry and directs that energy into REALLY going after your organization.

- The reporter laughs at what he/she sees as validation that you're really up to no good in some way.

5) Get Stuck in Reaction Mode Versus Getting Proactive

A negative story suddenly breaks about your organization, quoting various sources. You respond with a statement. There's a follow-up story. You make another statement. Suddenly you have a public debate, a lose/lose situation. Good work! Instead of looking at methods which could turn the situation into one where you initiate activity that precipitates news coverage, putting you in the driver's seat and letting others react to what you say, you continue to look as if you're the guilty party defending yourself.

6) Use Language Your Audience Doesn't Understand

Jargon and arcane acronyms are but two of the ways you can be sure to confuse your audiences, a surefire way to make most crises worse. Let's check out a few of these taken- from-real-situations gems:

- I'm proud that my business is ISO 9000 certified.

- The rate went up 10 basis points.

- We're considering development of a SNFF or a CCRC.

- We ask that you submit exculpatory evidence to the grand jury.

- The material has less than 0.65 ppm benzene as measured by the TCLP.

To the average member of the public, and to most of the media who serve them other than specialists in a particular subject, the general reaction to such statements is "HUH?"

7) Don't Listen to Your Stakeholders

Make sure that all your decisions are based on your best thinking alone. After all, how would your clients/customers, employees, referral sources, investors, industry leaders or other stakeholders' feedback be at all useful to determining how to communicate with them?

8) Assume That Truth Will Triumph over All

You have the facts on your side, by golly, and you know the American public will eventually come around and realize that. Disregard the proven concept that perception is as damaging as reality - sometimes more so.

9) Address Only Issues and Ignore Feelings

- The green goo which spilled on our property is absolutely harmless to humans. Our development plans are all in accordance with appropriate regulations.

- The lawsuit is totally without merit.

So what if people are scared? Angry? You're not a psychologist...right?

10) Make Only Written Statements

Face it, it's a lot easier to communicate via written statements only. No fear of looking or sounding foolish. Less chance of being misquoted. Sure, it's impersonal and some people think it means you're hiding and afraid, but you know they're wrong and that's what's important.

11) Use "Best Guess" Methods of Assessing Damage

"Oh my God, we're the front page (negative) story, we're ruined!" Congratulations - you may have just made a mountain out of a molehill. OK, maybe you only made a small building out of a molehill. See item 7, above, for the best source of information on the real impact of a crisis.

12) Do the Same Thing Over and Over Again Expecting Different Results

The last time you had negative news coverage you just ignored media calls,

perhaps at the advice of legal counsel or simply because you felt that no matter what you said, the media would get it wrong. The result was a lot of concern amongst all of your audiences, internal and external, and the aftermath took quite a while to fade away.




2.3.6 – 1e, 2f, 3g, 4h, 5c, 6a, 7b, 8d;

3.3.3 - 1d, 2e, 3f, 4c, 5a, 6g, 7b;

4.5.4 - 1c, 2e, 3g, 4h, 5d, 6a, 7f, 8b, 9i;

5.1.5 - 1f, 2g, 3h, 4i, 5e, 6a, 7b, 8c, 9d;

5.1.8 - 1b, 2a, 3d, 4c, 5f, 6e;

5.1.9 - 1c, 2a, 3b, 4f, 5d. 6e;

6.1.5 - 1f, 2a, 3c, 4h, 5b, 6g, 7d, 8e, 9i;

8.2.1 - 1c, 2e, 3g, 4d, 5b, 6f, 7a.

8.4.1 – 1k, 2i, 3e, 4b, 5a, 6j, 7g, 8c, 9h, 10f, 11d


Список использованных источников

1 Жданова, И.Ф. Англо-русский экономический словарь / И.Ф. Жданова, Э.Л. Вартумян. – М. : Рус.яз., 1998. – 880 с.

2 Supplementary File. Английский язык для студентов экономических специальностей : учебное пособие / Н.И.Черенкова [и др.] – СПб. : ООО «Книжный дом», 2003. – 190 с.

3 Федотова, О.Л. Бизнес на английском языке : учебное пособие / О.Л. Федотова. – М. : Издательство «Экзамен», 2003. – 160 с.

4 Mitroff, Ian I. Managing crises before they happen / Ian I. Mitroff. - AMACOM American Management Association, 2003. – 200 p.

5 Raymond, M. English Grammar in USE / M. Raymond. - 2-nd edition – Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994. – 350 p.

6 Долан, Э.Д. Economics. Англо-русский словарь-справочник / Э. Д. Долан, Б. Домненко. – М.: Лазурь, 1994. – 542с.

7 Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia [Электронный ресурс] : Crisis management. – Электрон. дан. – Режим доступа: http://en.wikipedia.org/

Приложение А


Грамматический справочник

A.1 Revise the following grammar rules

Части речи

Все слова, входящие в язык, делятся на разряды, называемые частями речи. Различаются следующие части речи:

1) существительное (noun, n);

2) прилагательное (adjective, a);

3) числительное (numeral);

4) местоимение (pronoun, pron);

5) глагол (verb, v);

6) наречие (adverb, adv);

7) предлог (preposition, prep);

8) союз (conjunction, cj);

9) междометие (interjection, inter).


1 Существительным называется часть речи, обозначающая предметы. Предметами в грамматике на­зывают все то, о чем можно спросить: кто это?или что это?

Кто это? - a doctor, a man, a girl

Что это? - a tree, a house, freedom

Существительные имеют два артикля: a (an) - нео­пределенный и the - определенный.

Существительные имеют два числа: единственное - a boy, a tree и множественное - boys, trees.

Существительные имеют два падежа: общий - sister и притяжательный - sister's. Притяжательный падеж, как правило, имеют одушевленные существительные.

2 Прилагательным называется часть речи, обозначающая признаки предметов и отвечающие на вопрос: какой? Например: red, interesting, Russian и т.д.

Прилагательные не изменяются по родам, числам и падежам.

Прилагательные имеют три степени сравнения:положительную, сравнительную и превосходную.

3 Числительнымназывается часть речи, обозначающая количество или порядок предметов

Склонение личных местоимений

Личные местоимения в английском имеют два падежа:

1 именительный падеж (the nominative case)

2 объектный падеж (the objective case), заменяющий собой все падежи русского


    Именительный падеж Объектный падеж
Ед. число     1 лицо I (я) me (мне, меня)
2 лицо you (ты) you (тебе, тебя)
    3 лицо he (он) she (она) it (оно) him (ему, его) her (ей, ее) it (ему)
Мн. число 1 лицо 2 лицо 3 лицо we (мы) you (вы) they (они) us (нам, нас) you (вам, вас) them (им)


Притяжательные местоимения


Единственное число Множественное число
1 лицо my (мой, моя, мое, мои) 2 лицо your (твой, твоя, твое, твои) 3 лицо his (его), her (ее), its (его) 1 лицо our (наш, наша, наше, наши) 2 лицо your (ваш, ваше, ваши) 3 лицо their (их)


Притяжательные местоимения имеют две формы: основную и абсолютную.

Основная форма употребляется в тех случаях, когда за притяжательным местоимением стоит существитель­ное.

This is my book and that is your book. Это моя книга, а то твоя книга.

Абсолютная форма притяжательных местоимений употребляется в тех случаях, когда за местоимением не стоит существительное.

This is my book and that is yours. Это моя книга, а то твоя.

It is not mine. Она не моя.

Абсолютные формы притяжательных местоимений


  Единственное число Множественное число
1 лицо mine (мой, моя, мое, мои) ours (наш, наша, наше, наши)
2 лицо yours (твой, твоя, твое, твои) yours (ваш, ваша, ваше, ваши)
3 лицо his (его), hers (ее), its (его) theirs (их)


Указательные местоимения

Указательные местоимения имеют единственное и множественное число.


Единственное число Множественное число
this (этот, эта, это) these (эти)
that (тот, та, то) those (те)


This is my house and that is yours Это мой дом, а то - твой.

These are my books. Take those books. Эти книги мои. Возьми те книги.

Указательное местоимение such имеет одну неиз­меняемую форму.

I like such books. Мне нравятся такие книги.


В английском языке возвратные местоимения образуются от личных местоимений

I - myself we - ourselves

you - yourself you - yourselves he - himself

she - herself it - itself they - themselves


Возвратное местоимение oneself образуется от неопределенного местоимения one + self


Спряжение глагола to be


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