Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
January 25, 2010

Fix Your Six Biggest Crisis Communications Problems in Two Days

Every quarter, I conduct a two-day strategic immersion program for senior public relations practitioners, Advanced Crisis Communication Strategy: How to Think and Advise Management Strategically During Tough Situations and Crises. We deal with some of the most nagging personal and professional issues during these two consecutive days where the discussions, issues and questions are at the highest level possible. This program begins by answering the six most commonly asked questions of personal and professional curiosity and challenge:

  1. What does it truly mean to be strategic? What do I have to know, learn, change or be more aware of to be listened to, called earlier and have real impact?
  2. My boss is always getting in the way. How do I get his or her boss to have the kind of influence and impact that I know I can achieve?
  3. What’s the secret to having real influence? How do I insert myself into important areas of operating interest to build a better sense of the power and need of communication?
  4. My boss refuses to change. Is there any hope for me? I work for a good outfit. My coworkers seem to be honorable people. It’s just that I have extraordinary difficultly making headway and progress. Some of the decision making strategies concern me. How do I redirect some of this good energy that appears to be going bad?
  5. What is it going to take to get the boss to call me first and then call me last?
  6. What assumptions do I have to ditch that are hurting my ability to have the kind of importance and impact that I desire?

Then there are the topics participants bring with them that you might care about too. Here is a sampling:

“I want to communicate and interact with fellow crisis management advisors. I’ve done a lot in my 29 years (building teams, benefiting clients, implementing new ideas, managing crises), but I’m eager to hear your thoughts on citizen advisory panels, management readiness issues and what to do when clients lie to you.” — Twenty-nine year veteran agency practitioner

“Since this seminar has been approved by the United States Air Force Palace Acquire Internship Program, I would like to discuss training for crisis team leadership and emergency information management.” — Air Force public affairs manager

“I’d like to gain understanding and knowledge regarding dealing with corporate issues like pandemics and board of director relationship issues, and how to really penetrate the inner circle.” — Fortune 500 corporate communications director

“How do I become more strategic with my boss? I’m a bit scared when it comes to relationships with very senior people. How do I overcome these concerns?” — Financial analyst from an Eastern European country.

In their own words, the most serious crisis issues faced by those who have attended recent sessions include:

“Campus violence and getting more access to the boss. In our state, students can now lawfully carry concealed weapons.” — Senior university communications executive

“The continued combination of a growing list of incredibly difficult issues, each of which require very tough level thinking and approaches. Thanks to things like perceived pollution, civil lawsuits, compliance issues, economic cutbacks from our headquarters (which is outside the United States), historic preservation activists, union organizers, bigotry against our foreign owner, and a workforce that is on edge with accident rates increasing, our productivity is declining.” — Fortune 500 senior communications executive

“The local media. They are becoming more and more critical and focusing on fault finding and politics. The chief problem is learning how to communicate when I’m bound by law, custom and legal precedent to keep most of what I observe and understand confidential.” — Senior health official:

“Reputation. Banks‘ reputations are in the dumpster. Extraordinary legislative regulation is just around the corner. How do I get management to focus on the future rather than whining about their (largely well-deserved) past mistreatment?” — Senior marketing communications manager for a large international U.S. bank

Start your transformation into a trusted strategic advisor by delivering what bosses say and do need most:

  • Real time advice: Do it, say it now
  • Candor: Tell the truth now and always
  • Coaching at every encounter: Be constructive
  • Insight: New ideas from existing sources
  • Knowing what’s important: Ignore what doesn’t matter
  • Early warning with options: Identify threats or opportunities and provide options
  • What to do next: Recognize the patterns and forecast the future

This seminar is a very intense 16 hours. Participants have the chance to hear each others war stories, challenge each other’s approaches, and be coached and guided about what really matters, what’s important, and what disciplines are required to achieve this status as a trusted strategic advisor.

James E. Lukaszewski, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA, CCEP, chairman and president, The Lukaszewski Group Inc.James E. Lukaszewski, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA, CCEP, chairman and president, The Lukaszewski Group Inc., is one of public relations most frequently quoted and prolific authors/crisis communication management consultants. He helps prepare spokespersons for crucial public appearances and local and network news interviews including “20-20,” “60 Minutes,” “Dateline NBC,” “Nightline,” financial analyst meetings, and legislative and congressional testimony. Sign up for Jim’s free Executive Action eNewsletter at

Join Jim for his two-day, on-site seminar, Advanced Crisis Communication Strategy: How to Think and Advise Management Strategically During Tough Situations and Crises on Thursday and Friday, February 11–12, 2010 in New York, NY!

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