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3 Golden Rules of Crisis Planning

Author: David McMillin       

At last month’s PCMA Knowledge Exchange, one expert shared three guiding principles for dealing with worst-case scenarios.

From terror attacks to natural disasters, crises can wreak havoc on the organized agenda of a meeting or event. In late April, PCMA and the Event Managers Association of Spain (EMA) united senior-level business-events professionals to learn how to deal with an on-site crisis at two Knowledge Exchange programs in Barcelona and Madrid. Nick Willis, global protective services manager, CISCO Systems, offered participants an in-depth look at how his company prepares for the unthinkable. While no amount of preparation will make a crisis situation simple and easy to handle — it is, after all, called a crisis — Willis offered three golden rules for any organizer.

1) The No. 1 priority is people and their safety. What’s the evacuation plan? How will you work with emergency personnel?

2) Effective and coordinated communication is vital. What’s the chain of command for making decisions? Do you have pre-scripted messaging ready to use in the event of a crisis? Who will post on social media? What’s the strategy if Wi-Fi isn’t working?

3) Expect the situation to be challenging. Have the right people and a clearly understood and response plan in place — and practice, practice, practice. The only way to determine if your plan will work is to put it to a test.

Want to see if your team is ready to deal with a crisis? Complete this checklist to identify potential areas of concern.

Looking for more advice on how to make sure your organization knows how to deal with the unexpected? Click here to register for a webinar with Willis on June 6 where he will offer a look at Cisco’s crisis preparation planning.

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