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Speaking is Half the Battle

When I'm asked what the first step is in building a Business Continuity or Crisis Management Plan is, my first response is, "Get comfortable with public speaking." A quick google search of Crisis Management or Business Continuity failures will show how the ability to speak publicly during a crisis can make or break an organization's ability to respond and recover from a major business interruption.

Excellent examples of botched public speaking include:

  • Tony Hayward, former CEO of BP during the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

  • Monty Moran, former CEO of Chipotle during their E. coli outbreak.

  • Oscar Munoz, CEO of United Airlines, during the grouping of incidents with passengers being barred or removed from flights.

So my advice to you, if you're looking to take that first step to being more prepared for crisis, is to take a class (or few!) to get comfortable with public speaking and engagement. Personally I've had great results from the Dale Carnegie program and from the media training offered by PreparedEx, Inc.

I have the pleasure of getting to help coach a local Dale Carnegie class this month, and saw great growth from participants in just the first day. No matter what course or program you choose, remember, PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE! Only by frequently speaking in public and to strangers will you become comfortable and fluent in your ability to remain calm and succinct in a crisis situation.

And most often, remaining calm and succinct is EXACTLY the type of leadership that pulls organizations through crisis in a way that makes them stronger on the other side.

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