Common Mistakes When Handling a Crisis

Article 2 min
Military operations are an inherently dangerous business. Forces are organized, trained and equipped to mitigate these dangers, but there will always be the potential for bad things to happen. It is critical that when something does go wrong and a crisis arises, Public Affairs and Communication Strategists don't add to the problem or cause more chaos with their communications.

When events go badly and the various audiences begin to scrutinize DoD actions and words, commanders will look to Public Affairs to determine the best way to communicate accurately and honestly. Help minimize this scrutiny and communicate as effectively as possible by understanding the most common mistakes made during this time.

Explore and avoid these nine common mistakes when handling a crisis:

a graphic of a character misunderstanding
Misinterpreting the nature and scope of an event or issue can lead to confusion, wasted time and wrongful action.
Photo by: DINFOS PAVILION Team
VIRIN: 200427-D-VE872-0001

Misunderstanding

Misreading the nature and scope of an event or issue. This can lead to confusion, wasted time and wrongful action.

a graphic showing a character claiming ownership of a problem
Claiming a problem as yours when it's not. This can lead to overstepping and confusion among the ranks of who to follow and what actions to take.
Photo by: DINFOS PAVILION Team
VIRIN: 200427-D-VE872-0002

Ownership

Claiming a problem as yours when it's not. This can lead to overstepping and confusion among the ranks of who to follow and what actions to take.

a graphic of a character hesitating
A delay due to uncertainty of mind or fear. This often leads to our audiences getting the perception you do not care, are unprepared or incompetent, confused or callous.
Photo by: DINFOS PAVILION Team
VIRIN: 200427-D-VE872-0003

Hesitation

A delay due to uncertainty of mind or fear. This often leads to audiences getting the perception you do not care, are unprepared or incompetent, confused or callous.

a graphic of a character obfuscating
When information is so confused or opaque or the language is confusing or ambiguous that it becomes difficult to perceive or understand. This creates the perception of dishonesty and insensitivity.
Photo by: DINFOS PAVILION Team
VIRIN: 200427-D-VE872-0004

Obfuscation

When information is so confused or opaque or the language is confusing or ambiguous that it becomes difficult to perceive or understand. This creates the perception of dishonesty and insensitivity.

a graphic of a character retaliating
The act of retaliating; return of like for like; reprisal. In most crisis situations, this only serves to intensify the surrounding emotion and tension.
Photo by: DINFOS PAVILION Team
VIRIN: 200427-D-VE872-0005

Retaliation

The act of retaliating; return of like for like; reprisal. In most crisis situations, this only serves to intensify the surrounding emotion and tension.

a graphic of a character that is lying. so their nose is growing
To speak falsely or misleadingly; deliberately misstate or create an incorrect impression — to lie. Nothing replaces the truth.
Photo by: DINFOS PAVILION Team
VIRIN: 200427-D-VE872-0006

Prevarication

To speak falsely or misleadingly; deliberately misstate or create an incorrect impression — to lie. Nothing replaces the truth.

a graphic of a character with a crown on its head
To express opinions or judgments in a dogmatic way. This creates vulnerability for the unit by taking a high-handed approach without dealing with the actual issue.
Photo by: DINFOS PAVILION Team
VIRIN: 200427-D-VE872-0007

Pontification

To express opinions or judgments in a dogmatic way. This creates vulnerability for the unit by taking a high-handed approach without dealing with the actual issue.

a graphic of two characters disagreeing
Discord or a clash of opinions and ideas. This gives others a platform to stand on by keeping the issue alive and giving opponents more to respond to.
Photo by: DINFOS PAVILION Team
VIRIN: 200427-D-VE872-0008

Confrontation

Discord or a clash of opinions and ideas. This gives others a platform to stand on by keeping the issue alive and giving opponents more to respond to.

a graphic of a character next to a tall stack of papers toppling over
To contest or engage in legal proceedings. This almost guarantees unwanted visibility and could eliminate reasonable solutions.
Photo by: DINFOS PAVILION Team
VIRIN: 200427-D-VE872-0009

Litigation

To contest or engage in legal proceedings. This almost guarantees unwanted visibility and could eliminate reasonable solutions.