Real-Time Crisis Management

How To Deal With The Realities And Perceptions Created by Crisis Situations

This Masterclass is designed to increase an organization’s Crisis Readiness  Capability in a World where information flows in real-time.

Wikipedia defines capability as the ability to perform actions. As it applies to crisis management, the capability is the sum of capacity and ability.

The Masterclass deals with preparing for a crisis (in advance), handling the reality and communication aspects of a crisis when one arises, formulating a strategy and deciding on a plan of action to protect your reputation, minimize damage and, if possible, turn things around.

It incorporates best practice thinking from the fields of Crisis Management, Crisis Communication, PR, Emergency Response, Social Media and Strategic Planning.

In today’s always-on “real-time” news world companies have little time to avert or respond to a crisis.

Real-time is defined as the actual time during which a process takes place or an event occurs. Real-time means news breaks over minutes, not days. It means that seemingly small incidents and issues, can suddenly and unpredictably go viral to a global audience. 

It implies the necessity for rapid action and decision-making. How speedily a company reacts and communicates, improves perceptions and speeds recovery.

Research shows that it is crucial to have in place a real-time crisis capability such as a crisis management and communication plan, trained personnel, and the know-how to hopefully avoid, plan for and act when a crisis arises.

That’s why this Masterclass refers to a split second: A decision that needs to take an extremely short period of time for you to come to this decision. (The word Nanosecond refers to one-billionth of a second or in a very short time).

This implies that all the groundwork for quick decision making and communication must have been done before a crisis strikes so that you can act decisively.

Please Consult the Event Calendar Page for scheduled dates.

Why you should attend this training

“Crisis in the Chinese language is represented by two characters. One symbolizes danger: the other opportunity.”

If I had the opportunity to address a Board of Directors about the need for adequate crisis response planning and emergency preparation, there are only six points we would discuss, and the discussion would take just a few minutes. They are:

1.  How surviving the first two hours of an emergency or disaster can save assets, markets, and reputations.

2.  How poorly handled crises can end careers. The Ford Bridgestone tire withdrawal, the 1999 contamination of Coca-Cola in Europe and the BP Gulf of Mexico crisis all ended the career of Chairpersons/CEO’s and are excellent high-profile examples.

3.  Why the expectations of outsiders and various stakeholders will control the perception of how a crisis is managed.

4.  How handling a crisis insensitively, or not at all, can escalate visibility, cost, and reputational damage. (Look up Dow- Corning’s handling of the breast implant disaster)

5.  Why what the Board says and does and when it is said and done will profoundly affect the organization’s reputation for some period after the crisis subsides.

6. How Social Media has changed the Crisis Management & Communication landscape and why prior preparation to communicate in nanoseconds is vital.

The single purpose for preparing to manage the unplanned visibility caused by a crisis is to survive the first few seconds, minutes, hours, and perhaps days or two of the problem – if indeed it lasts that long.  The greatest inaccuracy, misinformation, and error occur during this very early time frame. In fact, most communications energy following this early phase will focus on correcting errors, mistakes, and misperceptions created at the beginning of the problem.

Fortunately, with a modest amount of preparation, practice, and assignment of roles and tasks, early miscues can be minimized and corrected. That means less damage to reputation, credibility, and employee morale.   When bad news occurs, there are critical audiences, including your own employees, who have expectations of your behavior and ability to manage problems. Every one of your stakeholders will focus on your organization’s response. How it acted, what it said, all of these will either add or distract from the organization’s reputation.

The reality and the perceptions created during the crisis need to be addressed. Experience has taught me the importance of foresight and preplanning.

A Crisis Response and Communication Plan is a blueprint of what processes and actions need to kick in depending on the type of crisis facing the organization.


What You Will Learn

The aim of this training is to enable managers to plan for a crisis before it happens, deal with it swiftly and communicate effectively during a crisis situation.

The training will help to develop the required management behaviors in terms of the individual and the organization and its approach in dealing and planning for crises and reputation risk. It directly enhances the development of specific management competencies including Strategic Thinking, Communication, and Crisis Management skills.

The training consists of the following sessions. Questionnaires, case studies, PowerPoint presentations, and checklists are all used to illustrate the need for better crisis planning. Content will focus on:

Session One – How ready is your organization to deal with the hand of fate?

  • What is a crisis for your business?
  • Historical/current examples of good & bad execution or planning
  • Why is it important to be fully prepared for a crisis?
  • Measuring what should be in place to ensure your Organisation Readiness- Reviewing actions and strategies that are currently in place, whether they are clearly defined and practiced. Using instruments such as questionnaires and checklists to enforce Organisation Readiness- I will use an 11-page detailed questionnaire to stimulate debate. Example exercise: Delegates will be asked to review their organization’s readiness using a number of instruments such as questionnaires and checklists. Completing it first individually and then in groups, gaps can be determined and strategies and necessary actions defined.
  • Understanding the difference between a crisis plan & a crisis communications plan (I am a firm believer that you cannot separate perceptions from reality. In any crisis there are real issues such as dealing with the crisis and then dealing with the perceptions that are created during the crisis)
  • Fundamentals in preparing for a crisis such as Building A Crisis Team – The key to successful crisis management is selecting a team to handle crises as they occur. Who should be on this team?
  • Guidelines on How to Write and Develop a Crisis Management & Crisis Communication Response Plan. Years and years of experience have proven that the companies who cope the best with crises of all kinds are those who are prepared to deal with the hand of fate. Those companies who have set in motion processes to minimize potential crises.

Companies who cope successfully with crises are normally companies that have a predetermined plan of action including action protocols and communication response plans.

Session Two – Mastering the art and science of crisis response.

A  Crisis Leader is a person who understands both the Art and Science of Crisis Response and has the competencies (knowledge, skills, and attitude) to lead an organization in a time of duress and take the appropriate action under the circumstances. I will cover:

  • Knowing what happens in crises and the stages of development in a crisis
  • Differencing between a Crisis, Disaster, Emergency, Problems, and Issues
  • Taking appropriate actions – Knowing what the right thing to do is and doing it right
  • Adhering to best practices in crisis management and crisis communication

Session Three – Realizing the importance of integrated crisis response                    

Crises management is defined as the ability of an organization to deal quickly, efficiently, and effectively with contingency operations with the goal of reducing the threat to human health and safety, the loss of public or corporate property, adverse impact on normal Business continuance, and damage to its good name – its Reputation.

In this session, we will take an in-depth look at the various levels of response. I will cover:

  • Surviving the first few minutes – preparing to manage for the unplanned to avoid errors, mistakes, and misperceptions
  • Integrating preparation, practice, and assignments of roles and tasks to minimize damage to reputation, credibility and employee morale
  • Social responsibility: Knowing your vulnerability points and stakeholders and tackle them in advance to miniseries damage and pain to the community
  • Keeping communications open and up to date to ensure the right information and messages are being circulated, understanding the problems and immediacy created by Social Media

Session Four – Compiling and writing an integrated Crisis Management & Communication Plan

Years and years of experience have proven that the companies who cope the best with crises of all kinds are those who are prepared to deal with the hand of fate. Those companies who have set in motion processes to minimize potential crises. Companies who cope successfully with crises are normally companies that have a predetermined plan of action including action protocols and communication response plans. I will cover and give each delegate a copy of a planning template:

  • Listing essentials elements to be included in writing an integrated crisis management plan
  • Using various templates which incorporate emergency procedures, safety, security procedures, communication and other action plans that will safeguard an organization’s reputation
  • Identifying what specific questions should be asked and what documents should be examined to construct a plan

Session Five – Fulfilling the needs to communicate effectively and promptly with stakeholders in a crisis

In a Crisis situation, stakeholders have particular information needs. The media plays a crucial role in fulfilling these needs. Hard-earned lessons in the field of crisis communications have shown the importance of having in place strategic communication response plans, well-trained spokespersons and a crucial understanding of the media by those involved in message development.

  • Taking a close look at communication do’s and don’ts, especially now in a Social media frenzy
  • Understanding the thinking behind crisis communication strategies
  • Dealing with media when there is increased scrutiny
  • Strengthening the role of the spokesperson in a crisis
  • Detailing the roles and responsibilities of a spokesperson to maintain the reputation of the organization
  • Relevant Tips for spokespeople

Session 6 – Mastering media survival skills                                   

In the event of a spokesperson being injured or away, a member of the Crisis team may find themselves in the position of having to be a spokesperson.  An understanding of the rules of engagement in dealing with the Media is therefore crucial even though you may not be in that position full-time.

  • Understanding the dangers and opportunities inherent in media interviews and Social Media
  • Mastering the steps to a successful media interview – Guiding principles of interviews and some Media do’s and don’ts – Dealing/Communicating with the new media – bloggers and internet issues
  • In this session, I will take a look at the new phenomenon of Social Media and the impact it has on crisis communication and share advice on how to mitigate the risks when dealing with topics such as Web 2.0 – blogs, wikis, Facebook and other social networking tools inc. how to respond when a blogger writes something bad about your company
  • Trust in an organization is established long before problems arise. This is vital to understand that relationships with stakeholders should be built long before a crisis occurs. When a crisis occurs, what must you do to protect the brand? Rely on Advertising or Public Relations? Product Recalls, 3rd party endorsement or other strategies.

Session Seven – Putting planning into action: Summary, integration, and conclusion

In the final session, delegates will make recommendations to management as if they were acting as a Crisis Management Counselor to the organization. This process will integrate all the learning’s so that when they leave they will understand that dealing with a Crisis is like dealing with a Siamese twin situation i.e. dealing with perceptions and reality.

Who should attend this Master Class

This training is essential for executives and managers responsible for managing corporate reputation, crises, business continuity, communication, facilities, emergency response, and disaster recovery. It will be of particular relevance and use to:

  • Corporate Affairs, Corporate Communication & Public Relations Managers and practitioners
  • Crisis and Critical Incident Managers
  • Marketing, Customer Service, Channel, and Supply Chain Managers
  • Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery & Emergency Response practitioners
  • HR & other staff experts responsible for Safety, Security, and Facilities
  • CEO’s, CFO’s, Executives and Managers who are required to handle reputation and stakeholder matters

Event Pricing (Terms and Conditions apply)

  • R 7900 excl. VAT payable not later than TBA.
  • R 6300 excl. VAT per delegate for three delegates or more from the same business unit.

Please read the terms and conditions with care. Limited seating – 20 delegates only.

Early Bird discounts may be available on promotion. Look out for a promotional code or offer.

The training fee is inclusive of the event proceedings, materials, refreshments, and lunches.

Please Consult the Event Calendar Page for scheduled dates.

How to Register

  1. Download a registration form and Terms and Conditions for completion.
  2. Please complete the registration form and Terms and Conditions acceptance and forward it to reputation (at) to secure your seat
  3. Upon the completion and receipt of the registration form and T & C’s a confirmation letter and invoice for payment will be sent.
  4. Please fax through payment notification to 0866 129 566 or via email for reconciliation purposes.
  5. Payment must be received PRIOR to attendance. Payment is due immediately upon the invoice being issued unless the use is made of the differentiated pricing structure. Registration is not complete until full payment has been received unless otherwise arranged. Only delegates that have made full payment will be admitted to the event.
  6. By signing and returning the registration form you are accepting the terms and conditions. (Registration is only confirmed on receipt of payment.)

If you are interested to attend, please note that places are on a first-come, first-served reserved basis as only a limited number of participants are accommodated each time. T & C’s apply.

To register: Call 011 475 3515 or e-mail for a registration form or register now by downloading the registration form.

Why Previous Attendees Recommend This Training

Ellen Chan, Senior Producer, Marcus Evans, Asia. “I have enjoyed working with Deon. He is a great trainer and expert in crisis and reputation management. He recently did a public training for me in the China market, all I received is excellent feedback from all the attendees.” Top Qualities: Great Results, Expert, High Integrity

Jonathan Bernstein, President, Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc, USA. “I know Deon as a skilled crisis management strategist and writer whose experience clearly adds great value to the work performed for any client.”

Anna Sanfilippo, ATNS. Details of the Recommendation: ATNS engaged Deon to conduct a desktop exercise of our Crisis Communication Plan prior to the World Cup Soccer event as requested by International Aviation Authorities. We were pleased with the result and were able to implement Deon’s recommendations. Deon provided invaluable input into our process.

Hazel, Chai FM. Dear Deon, Thank YOU for being our guest and sharing your expertise with our listeners. I’m sure they derived much benefit from your input. (I was so engrossed that I nearly forgot to call the next guest!)

Marjorie Dean, Communications Consultant, SATSA. Dear Deon, Thank you for this. I found the Crisis workshop very valuable, especially your contribution as both lecturer and moderator.

Dr. Itah Kandgii Murangi, Dean of Students, University of Namibia. Deon, Allow me to thank you for putting us through such a wonderful Crisis Management training. I enjoyed every session of that course. And I mean that, really! I am eager to get connected to some of those psychological newsletters and/ or websites you alluded to when I was there

Lenox Mhlanga. Deon, I have been following your progress since 2004 when I started lecturing Public Relations at the National University of Science and Technology in Zimbabwe. I have over 10 years of experience in the profession. Your resources on reputation and crisis management have equipped many a student that has passed through my hands. Your work has contributed in no small measure to the recovery of the Zimbabwean economy through some of the principles you have shared and are being used by communications practitioners at strategic organizations in that country.

Richard Miller, Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Deon, Thank you for your insight. It is the most fruitful. I discovered many nuggets in your crisis training which will place the JSE in a better position to weather storms that may befall us.

Sekuta Matswe, Marketing, and Communications, Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund. I have learned so many things from Mr. Deon ‘Phakathi’ Binneman. Knowledge is power! We need to formulate a crisis plan for our organizations. It is not an easy thing to put up together but we need to push ourselves hard to achieve our goal.

Bernard de Lange, Security and Business Continuity Manager, Standard Chartered Bank. Thank you for all the sharing and staying in contact. Can I also ask you to send me the presentation that you used during the conference we had? The slides were excellent and really assisted me with the step by step process, and I will appreciate your assistance.

John Sukazi, Head of Marketing and Communication at Gauteng Provincial Treasury. Hi Deon, I attended one of your reputation management courses last year. It was an eye-opener on many things. I must organize a refresher session for me and my team. I will be in touch.

Lindy Bedborough, Marketing Director, Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa (ISASA)   Dear Deon, Thank you so much once again for your excellent Crisis presentation at the ISMA conference. The delegates rated your talk highly as you provided food for thought and left them inspired.      

Ned Barnett, Owner, Barnett Marketing Communications, USA. “Deon is not only a brilliant strategist and effective practitioner, but he is generous with his time and insights. He shares those insights about reputation management (his expertise) with a large network of appreciative PR professionals (me included). He knows his stuff, and he knows how to “translate” that knowledge so that applies in all English-speaking countries, and not just in his home of South Africa. A great and honest practitioner and a particularly good guy!

Eric Dom, Regional Compliance Officer (Africa), AIG South Africa & AIG Life SA. “Deon has a substantially sound reputation in the marketplace. Services like his are always in demand. Deon has worked closely with the Institute of Risk Management South Africa and several other SA companies. I have recommended Deon’s services to the University of Johannesburg (Law faculty) as well as the Compliance Institute of SA.”

Melanie Hatjigiannakis, Vacation Ownership Association of Southern Africa. I had the pleasure of attending your workshop entitled “Tourism Industry Crisis Communication Workshop”, which was arranged by the TBCSA. Although the workshop was some time ago the guidance and lessons learned been successfully applied in our Association. 

Paddy McDonald (Clientele Life – Mada Miller is the Head of Compliance). I thought the course content was excellent. It certainly was a value-added two days for both Mada and I. Many thanks.

Brian Stanley, Head of Operational Risk Alan Gray Investments. Many thanks for a great two days. Felt the course was excellent – a great balance between theory and practical value that could be immediately actioned. Risk is often difficult to bring to life – which you managed to achieve very effectively – as well as keep the energy and interest levels up throughout. Lots of good stuff in there that would prove useful in some of the work and convincing that lies ahead at Allan Gray.

Please Consult the Event Calendar Page for scheduled dates.

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