The role of leaders in crisis communication–Gerard Braud in New Orleans

December 11, 2008

I had the pleasure of meeting Gerard Braud at the PRSA conference in Detroit. Through Linkedin I came across his Youtube message from New Orleans about the critical role of leaders in making the decisions that can save lives and build or lose trust.

This video goes back to June so it is not new (his new one from New Orleans shows lots of snow with a holiday greeting), but it is very relevant. It was the same thing I was trying to communicate in my session at the PRSA conference–one of the most important roles communicators have today is helping their superiors who will have to make the tough decisions in a crisis to better understand the information environment we live in. Without that understanding, they are doomed to make decisions that in retrospect will look stupid and damaging. They need to know three critical things: they need to communicate NOW, they need to communicate DIRECTLY to all critical audiences (not just the media) and they need to communicate TRANSPARENTLY. If you as a communicator can help them understand those three demands of the instant news/social media world, you will be doing your organization and its leaders a great service.

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