On October 10th, we hosted our Communicating Controversy event at Save The Bay in Providence. The night welcomed four panelists who shared their experiences in dealing with crisis in their everyday professions. Dan McGowan, the Digital Reporter for WPRI 12, was a fantastic moderator who posed engaging questions to panelist.
The night welcomed four presenters:
- Cindy Sabato, APR – Director of Communications for Save The Bay
- John King – Professor of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography
- Kristine Hendrickson – Associate Vice President for University Relations/Chief Communications Officer at Salve Regina University
- Chris Hunter – Managing Director with Advocacy Solutions
- You have to monitor social media – explained Chris Hunter, who also talked about how our society is always online. Social media is the best way to listen and find out what’s going on. Keeping this in mind, he also referenced how you need to be careful with your words and use language that resonates with all especially when controversy is involved.
- Always have a plan and follow it – the speakers told stories about how in their work experiences your first instinct is not always the best one. Before a crisis occurs, its best practice is to create a plan, communicate it with colleagues, and practice it.
- Try to provide as much information as possible – Kristine Hendrickson mentioned that we need to be credible and authentic while balancing privacy and legal guidelines.
- Let’s work together to do the best job possible – shared Cindy Sabato. Reporters as well as communications professionals have jobs to do. In collaborating with one another, the correct information can be shared with the public each step of the way.
- Break down the information so it isn’t jargon – all four panelists referenced how they simplify their messages so the information is clearly understood by all. Specifically, John King deals with this every day in explaining complex concepts as a scientist in dealing with climate and oceanography.
Special thanks to our attendees, panelists, moderator, and Save The Bay for hosting us!