Disaster Masterclass at Williams F1: What you missed…

Our Disaster Masterclass finale event took place at the Williams F1 Conference Centre.

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We explored the importance of PR communication. How to best handle comms if a crisis occurs, and what to do and say to avoid the pivotal moment of bad comms.

We had our expert Claire Cunningham from Tala, who helped us understand the importance of protecting a company’s reputation and the negative implication bad comms can cause.

To round off the whole Disaster Masterclass event, John Hayns summed up how vital it is to work as a team and become aware of the different types of personalities that exist.

Protecting your Reputation

Claire Cunningham from Tala started her presentation by evaluating the differences between Issues vs Crisis.

How are Issues linked to a Crisis?


Claire mentioned that it’s unlikely that you will ever work in an organisation without encountering issues that need to be managed. Equally, the trick is for organisations to spot the issues before they become a ‘crisis’ and manage them.


Additionally, Claire outlined that a crisis can be an unforeseen event that no one could prevent, such as an event or incident that is not influenced by people. For instance, natural disasters like earthquakes or floods. However, many crises start as issues that are not carefully managed.

The most interesting aspect of PR communication is that there is a life cycle from a risk issue to a crisis and it starts with:

  1. Potential – risk
  2. Emerging – things are getting out of hand and affecting the business’s external reputation
  3. Current – where media coverage is involved and amplified

Then the recovery–settling period

Never lack accountability or empathy

Claire Cunningham showed us how different companies have dealt with crisis communication. Some businesses handled crisis communication particularly well by taking accountability and showing empathy. Whilst others reflected on ‘themselves’ and how hard it was for them to deal with a situation rather than taking accountability and looking at how it has affected people outside the business.

The four-step approach: Start to protect your business reputation today, don’t wait until it’s too late: Here are some questions to start with

Tala has a four-step approach to protecting the business’s reputation; they work on four key steps that we all found insightful.

Step 1: Prepare: What current plans and systems are in place – to handle any crisis comms? Has this been rehearsed in the company or thought about?

Step 2: Perform: What strategies are in place? And what tactics will be used to communicate? Because, how do the two balance out?

Explain and think about: Crisis logs and feedback, reputation analysis, evaluating what worked well and what didn’t, key lessons learnt

Step 3: Perfect: Keep this cycle consistently flowing and up-to-date

Step 4: Predict: How does your business predict and prepare for the future?

Lastly, we ended the Disaster Masterclass with John Hayns. He did some magnificent magic tricks – whilst talking about the importance of having effective communication within a team and what to do if there is not.

MAGIC Formula: Move, Attune, Give, Inspire and Connect

It was a profound experience to see John juggling and simultaneously speaking about teamwork.

John pointed out that within a team it’s vital to see how each member works and ‘ATTUNE’ to different people.

Issues that can occur within a team

  1. One team member is left out and not participating
  2. Someone completely taking over
  3. A team member is one minute there and the next not part of the team

How to build an effective team? Some key takeaways

  • Make time: Go out and do team building activities as a team together – these group activities work in the long-haul
  • Make the effort: Communication, ‘connect’ with people within your team individually and as a team
  • Ask questions: You are bound to find one or two similarities and interests, no matter how different a person appears
  • Consistency: Keep it flowing

It’s a wrap!

Finally we have reached the end of our ‘Disaster Masterclass’ we had a wonderful time meeting everyone and engaging with each attendee. Many great conversations took place, and it was exciting to see many of you thinking about disaster recovery and what that looks like for your business currently and in the future.

As well as this, there was a lot to unveil and think about at the event and quite a fair bit to take away. If you would like any more information on how to build a strategic business continuity plan or any assistance from our speakers, please get in touch with us today.

Here is a free source on budling a business continuity plan: Why do you need a business continuity plan?

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