The Big One


Preparedness doesn’t come
in fat, 3-ring binders.

We all know exactly where we were and what we were doing. The magnitude was so severe it seared those moments into our minds.

When the earth rumbled and Richter Scale needles gyrated wildly. When terrorists unleashed bombs and bullets at the Boston Marathon, in Paris and Orlando, in the Mideast, Asia and Africa. When you heard that Britain voted to exit the European Union and suddenly even the most far-fetched seemed plausible.

The same is true in our daily lives. We remember the moments.

  • When you were promoted (or fired).
  • When you got married (or divorced).
  • When you were accused of a crime or slapped with a lawsuit that could destroy you, your company or your nonprofit. (Falsely or not.)

Some events defy prediction. Seismic science hasn’t yet advanced enough to foretell earthquakes, nor can behavioral science parse the seemingly random mentality of terror.

Others can be discerned as they simmer and sidetracked before they boil over. You must be alert, vigilant and sensitive to the undercurrents that could drag you down.

But you can plan for all of them, predictable or not.

Specific scenarios will elude you. There are too many. So you focus on the trends. You learn how to deal with the media (they want facts and fast), the public (they need to be reassured and comforted), and investors and donors (they want to be reassured their money is safe). The emphasis is different, but the messages must be consistent.

Fat three-ring binders brimming logistical minutiae have little value. They’re off-putting because of their size and inherently boring because of their content. They get stuck in drawers and never read.

Better is a thin document that provides an overview of preparedness from 20,000 feet.

The secret sauce is the in-person presentation. Capture the audience’s imagination, and they will be engaged. This is how people learn.


“Because Reputation Is Your Most Valuable Asset”

Gillott Communications is a Strategic PR firm. We’re Fixers. Crisis & Reputation Management. Litigation. Media Relations. Crisis Prep. More than half a century of expertise working with clients to resolve issues both in and outside the media’s glare — in their professional and personal lives.

You can reach Roger Gillott and Eden Gillott Bowe directly at 310-396-8696.

If you don’t already subscribe, please sign up for our blog, Insights on High-Stakes PR.

For a deeper glimpse into our world, see our book on Amazon, “A Lawyer’s Guide to Crisis PR: Protecting Your Clients In & From the Media.”

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