The Past, Present and Future of Crisis Management: How to Overcome Negative Attention

February 1, 2013

By Carolyn Sawyer

Carolyn Sawyer will serve as a presenter for the interactive Leadership Training Seminar, "Managing Your Message in a Multi-Mass Media World," at the Congressional City Conference on March 9th, 2013 in Washington, D.C.  The session will educate participants on prominent media forms today and  the importance of being prepared to deal with anything that might pose a threat for themselves and their companies.

Being a leader is challenging at the best of times, but it can seem nearly impossible when the spotlight is focused on you while your image and city's well-being are at stake. A crisis can pop up at any time and it is important that you are prepared to handle it quickly and effectively in order to prevent its potentially harmful effects. Crisis management has always been an area that is important for leaders to be well-versed, but today's technology has only upped the ante, making it a topic that is much more complicated and daunting than ever before.

Years ago, information would reach audiences through three main media forms: television, newspaper and magazine. Due to the nature of these vehicles, it might take an entire day for news to reach the people. As we know, this is no longer the case. The advent of the internet means that news can travel instantaneously to a worldwide audience. Today, it seems that everyone is hooked into at least one of the online forms of media which include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs, among others. These modern capabilities may be convenient for audiences but perhaps not so beneficial for you when you are trying to deal with bad publicity. It will likely be necessary that you are able to react at a moment's notice in order to mitigate unflattering attention. For this reason, it is of the utmost importance that you have developed your own crisis management strategy which has been communicated and understood by the entire organization.

Carolyn Sawyer is currently President and C.E.O. of the Tom Sawyer Company; she is a former award-winning broadcast journalist.