Crisis Communication Skills Matter - Even Without A Crisis!

Issue 103

Amanda Little is a distinguished professional in her field. She holds the prestigious CIPR Professional PR Diploma (L7) and the advanced CIPR Specialist Diploma—Crisis Communications (L7), both master-level qualifications.

She oversees the internal and external communications of VetPartners, its veterinary practices, and animal healthcare businesses. Amanda’s mastery of communication skills is not just about gaining a series of qualifications; it’s a practical necessity as she uses all the skills and knowledge gained to raise awareness of VetPartners’ identity, values, and culture, both internally and externally.

Veronica Swindale, nesma MD, asked Amanda about the transformative power of continuous professional development and why Crisis Communications skills can empower you to navigate crisis situations effectively. This growth journey is not just about protecting the organisation’s reputation and maintaining stakeholder trust; it’s about your personal and professional development.

What strategies have you successfully used to build stakeholder trust and transparency?

Trust is the cornerstone of any successful business. Trust is necessary to retain valued employees, revenue, customers, reputation, etc. It takes years to build a reputation and only moments to lose it. Respected businesses will do everything they can to guard their brand reputation. Communicating openly and honestly builds stronger relationships, which are crucial to the bottom line, whether with their employees, clients, the media, shareholders, or the wider public. Moloney’s Reputation Bank, a familiar concept to professional PR practitioners, illustrates this perfectly.

Every positive PR piece is like a credit going into your reputation bank, which builds trust.

Building up lots of credit can help preserve your reputation if you face a severe PR crisis and are more likely to recover quickly and fully. It’s probably the most successful strategy for building stakeholder trust and enhancing your brand’s reputation – it’s about what you do daily, not just when things go wrong.

What internal communications have worked best to keep your team informed and motivated?

Successful businesses put people first and communicate openly and honestly about what’s happening within the organisation and any challenges it may face, which builds employee trust. When team members believe in the business they work for, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated and are powerful brand ambassadors. Good employees will want to stay with a respected business where they feel valued. They may feel embarrassed, or even ashamed, to work for a company with a poor reputation, leading to a high turnover and difficulty attracting new talent. When you have a lot of employees working across multiple sites – and even countries – communicating with them is always a challenge, and that’s why it is essential to have various channels to reach everyone, whether it is a staff magazine, intranet, Facebook page, newsletter or email updates from your CEO. Ensuring an accurate and aligned cascade of information to employees during a crisis through an effective line management structure is essential. Employee engagement surveys are a great tool for receiving feedback – two-way communication is critical to the success of any business – and being willing to listen to employee feedback builds trust and respect.

Has studying the CIPR qualifications supported you in making decisions?

Communications Directors need a strategic mindset. Studying the CIPR qualifications changed my thinking and made me work more holistically, ensuring our communications align with our values and business objectives. You need to act swiftly in a crisis, and my CIPR training has supported me in making well-informed decisions quickly and confidently.

Why should businesses value crisis communication skills even without a crisis?

If you speak to any Communications Director, they will say they are increasingly reaching for their Crisis Management Plan, especially given the power of social media and the global uncertainty we’re all facing. Even if everything is going smoothly, you never know when a crisis will hit you—or how—and being prepared is essential to dampen any fires quickly. The best crisis management starts before a crisis has even arisen, and that preparation enables you to recover much more effectively.

You don’t need to be in a crisis to benefit from crisis communication skills, so why not call Jen at 07734 222 254 or email to learn more about the CIPR Specialist Awards?

Crisis Communication Skills are not just about managing the immediate impact of a crisis; they also play a crucial role in long-term success and sustainability. By bolstering reputation, stakeholder trust, organisational learning, and overall resilience, they become a vital component of a strategic approach that ensures the organisation’s ability to tackle any challenge, thereby securing its long-term success.

Call Jen to help you grow your marketing and communication skills at 07734 222 254 or email

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