Crisis Communication & Management

April 30, 2008 at 4:37 pm (college, communication, communications, crisis communication, PR) (, , , , , )

I am three credits short of completing my minor in Communication at Central Michigan University. I need one more elective. None of the remaining electives really appealed to me. Instead of taking a class that I really am not interested in, I designed a syllabus for an independent study and submitted it to my adviser. She approved it. Next fall, I will be studying crisis communication and management.

I plan to keep a journal of the course on wordpress.com. My adviser will be able to keep track of my progress and others may benefit from reading about what I am learning in the course. Check back in August to get the link.

Does anyone have case studies or other suggestions that I may use for this course?

Please contact me if you do. It would be greatly appreciated!

Here is the syllabus that I designed:

Course Description:

This course focuses on crisis communication and management, emphasizing practical application of theories, strategies, and tactics from a public relations perspective.

Course Objectives:

  • To understand the theories of crisis communication
  • To critically analyze crisis communication case studies
  • To competently utilize crisis communication and management strategies and tactics for detection, prevention, preparation, containment, and recovery.
  • To be able to create a crisis communication plan
  • To be able to transfer learned crisis communication and management skills to a real world context

Course Assignments:

  • Case Study Analyses
    • Critical analysis of case studies related to crisis communication and management
  • Crises In The News
    • Critical analysis of crisis situations showcased in the media
  • Crisis Communication Plan
    • Creation of crisis communication plan, preferably for local business or organization
  • Professional Journal
    • Professional journal, created through www.wordpress.com, will contain notes from readings, case study analyses assignments, crisis in the news assignments, and any other details related to class.
  • Crisis Management Manual
    • Reference manual created from class materials that can be used as a reference tool in future crisis situations

Course Points:

  • Case Study Analysis 1 10 points
  • Case Study Analysis 2 10 points
  • Case Study Analysis 3 10 points
  • Case Study Analysis 4 10 points
  • Case Study Analysis 5 10 points
  • Crisis In The News 1 10 points
  • Crisis In The News 2 10 points
  • Crisis In The News 3 10 points
  • Crisis In The News 4 10 points
  • Crisis In The News 5 10 points
  • Crisis Communication Plan 150 points
  • Professional Journal 150 points
  • Crisis Management Manual 100 points
  • TOTAL 500 points

Recommended Texts:

  • Ongoing Crisis Communication: Planning, Managing, and Responding by W. Timothy Coombs
  • The Crisis Counselor: A Step-By-Step Guide to Managing a Business Crisis by Jeff Caponigro

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Resume Critique with Dr. Diane Krider

April 10, 2008 at 2:28 pm (college, conference, PR, PRSSA, public relations, resume) (, , , , )

CMU PRSSA’s 6th Annual Spring Conference
The Road to Reinvention


Resume Critique with Dr. Diane Krider

Here are ten resume tips I learned at Dr. Krider’s session:

1. Remember who you’re writing for.
2. Keep it succinct – this is not a tell-all piece.
3. Don’t put anything on your resume that is illegal to ask (race, religion, sex, political party, age, or marital status, disabilities, veteran status, etc.). But, you can mention it if you think it will giev you an advantage. For example, you might want to mention that you are devout Catholic if applying for a job within a Catholic church.
4. Pay attention to what the job ad says. The ad says exactly what they are looking for.
5. Create a resume for each job.
6. Present all materials well. First, they will see the envelope, then the cover letter, then your resume, and last your writing samples. If you have a terrible cover letter (or one with spilled coffee on it), they might never make it to your resume.
7. Have someone in your field look at your resume before sending it out.
8. Don’t put your hobbies in your resume.
9. Balance dark space with white space
10. One page or less for entry-level jobs.

What do you think is important to remember when creating a resume?

If you are a professional, what is one mistake you see often, or what is your biggest resume pet peeve?

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Resumes

April 8, 2008 at 1:38 am (college, conference, PR, PRSSA, public relations, resume) (, , , , , )

Last night I redid my resume. I had attended a resume critique at the CMU PRSSA Spring Conference. Until recently, I haven’t had time to work on the improvements.

Resulting from their tips is a very detailed, one-paged resume that I think looks very nice. Here five tips that helped me redo my resume:

1. Objective first – It needs to be targeted towards how you will help the potential employer. Originally, my generic resume objective said, “To gain experience in public relations, communications, and writing.” What does that do for the employer? Nothing. Wojcik suggested a change: “To apply my knowledge of public relations, communication, and journalism to a company or organization in Isabella County.”

2. Put your work experience next – My original resume had my education, followed by my work experience. Experience is more relevant than my education, especially since I am still in school.

3. Make your margins less than one inch to fit more information on your resume. Dr. Krider suggested that I make the most of my space by adjusting the margins. I was able to fit much more information on my resume this way.

4. If you use “Mt. Pleasant” in the resume, don’t switch to “Mount Pleasant” in another part. In my address, it said “Mount Pleasant” and under work experience, it said “Mt. Pleasant.” A small, but important detail that you should pay attention to.

5. Use action verbs. Instead of saying that I was a member of the professional development committee, Perry suggested that I be more specific. What did I accomplish while I was a member? What did I contribute?

One more tip: Take “pubic” out of your Microsoft Word dictionary, suggested Dr. Krider. Nothing will get your resume thrown away faster than saying you want to work in “pubic relations.” Luckily, I did not make this mistake!

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Public Relations Students & Networking

April 3, 2008 at 4:12 am (college, new media, PR, PRSSA, public relations) (, , , , , , , )

I have recently joined PR Open Mic. It is a social networking website for public relations students and faculty. Professionals are also welcomed.

Networking has recently come up within my chapter of PRSSA. I had a meeting Tuesday night with the Professional Development Committee. One member brought up the point that we needed more networking. You never know who might end up knowing of a good job available or have resources you might need. Networking is a very important aspect of PR. Because of this, we have decided to put together a networking book, containing the contact information of our members. We will be selling them for $1 at our annual spring picnic.

I also suggested speed networking. It is actually something I thought of several months ago, but I wasn’t sure what other people would think of the idea. I did mention it at the meeting Tuesday night and the others seemed to like the idea. Basically, it would be like speed dating. You get to sit down and talk to someone you might not have ever had a conversation with. Maybe I’ll talk to someone who, like myself, wants to have their own public relations agency someday.

I hope that PR Open Mic becomes active with many new members. There are forums about many different subjects, gadgets to add to your page, groups (you can also form your own group, PR-related videos, and PR podcasts.

Networking is important in our industry. I might just be the person to tell you about your next job. You might be the person who will have tips to give me in a major PR crisis. You never know…

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Attention College Juniors!

March 31, 2008 at 3:22 am (business, college) (, , , , )

If you currently are a college junior, check out the Summer Venture in Management Program with the Harvard Business School.

The website and information was sent to me by CMU PRSSA, but I am currently a sophomore, so I cannot participate in this opportunity.

My first question was how much would this cost? Harvard covers for your room and board for this week-long program. Go to the website for more FAQ.

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“Agency PR” with Robert Kolt

March 31, 2008 at 12:34 am (agency, college, conference, PR, PRSSA, public relations) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

CMU PRSSA’s 6th Annual Spring Conference
The Road to Reinvention

Session 1: “Agency PR” with Robert Kolt

Robert Kolt is CEO and president of Kolt Communications, Inc., a privately owned communications corporation located in Okemos, Michigan. He is a CMU alumni with an undergraduate degree in broadcast & cinematic arts and journalism. He also holds a graduate degree in communications from MSU.

The following is an outline of what I learned in his session called “Agency PR.”

Kolt said that his corporation does a lot of strategic communications. For example, he might do research for a politician and tell them the facts and what they should say.” Another example would be interview rehearsals for Consumers Energy’s CEO.

Kolt Communications, Inc. offers media training, including message development strategies, speaking and presentation skills, and media interview techniques. They stage events that “help make news.” They are licensed as fundrasiers as well. Kolt said that fundraising and grant writing are growing areas in the industry.

One past client Kolt talked to students about was a lottery winner that wanted to remain anonymous. He did not want his face shown because he had a criminal record. His corporation also has staged fires to show crisis communication skills, done ground breakings, and has handled a crisis situation with the United Way. He also does advertising.

Kolt Communications, Inc. usually takes one or two interns that are paid $10 per hour. He said he looks for a good writer. Good interpersonal skills are important. You also need to be a hard worker. Kolt said that employers want to know what you’ve done and see your samples.

Kolt said that he does not actively pitch to businesses. Many clients come to him through referrals or he bids on projects.

One thing to remember, Kolt said, is “it’s not about you, it’s about your client,” Kolt said.

Kolt Communications, Inc. also handles a lot of crisis communications. He gave three steps to crisis management.
1. Prevention
2. Detection
3. Extinguishing

He said that many businesses don’t come to him until they need help with step three.

On starting your own firm, Kolt suggested the following:

1. Create relationships – Never burn any bridge
2. Be honest, knowledgeable, and creative
3. Add value and power to clients
4. Be philanthropic
This session was helpful to me because I would like to start my own firm one day. It was nice to hear from someone that had graduated from CMU with a successful firm.

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CMU PRSSA’s 6th Annual Spring Conference

March 29, 2008 at 9:30 pm (college, conference, PR, PRSSA, public relations) (, , , , )

The Road to Reinvention

That was theme for the CMU PRSSA Spring Conference that I helped plan and attended today. Overall, I believe it was a success. It has given me better direction to map my road to reinvention. The speakers were fabulous and I feel so inspired right now.

I think it is wonderful that I found a career that makes me feel this way. I was just discussing this with some fellow PRSSA members. Many students go to college for a degree. They choose a major that they like and go to classes (that they often complain about). That’s it. They don’t go the extra mile. It seems different for PR students at CMU.

I enjoy PR-related classes. I love my major and career path I’m heading for. I find PR so exciting and I want to be as involved as possible. Sometimes it is overwhelming because I have so many meetings, but I still love it. Some other students I’ve met don’t seem to have that motivation.

It has been a ten hour day for me and I am absolutely exhausted. Therefore, I’m not going to write anything tonight. Look for posts in the near future about what I learned!

By the way, I have had exactly 100 “steps ahead” (aka hits). That is very exciting because I started this blog on February 28. Happy one month anniversary to me. I think I’ll go celebrate.

My goal for next month: 300 “steps ahead”

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A Step Ahead

February 28, 2008 at 3:55 am (college, communication, journalism, PR, PRSSA, public relations) (, , , , , , )

In the world of public relations, being a step ahead is important. You need to know what could happen…and what you will do if things go wrong. You need to know about the up-and-coming ways to getting things done so your competition doesn’t leave you in the dust. I really don’t think any professional strives to be “a step behind.”

Being a step ahead isn’t just about keeping up. You also need ambition – a motivation to move forward. To stay ahead.

That’s what this blog will be about: The steps I take to get ahead to reach my aspirations and true potential as a public relations professional.

I’m currently an undergraduate student, majoring in integrative public relations and double minoring in communication and journalism at Central Michigan University. I am a very active member of the Public Relations Student Society of America and a consultant for PR Central, our student-run PR firm.

This is my journey. This is what I’m doing to get A Step Ahead.

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