1. Apologise and be honest
Beginning with a straightforward apology defuses the hostile questions that may follow and suggests that you are not hiding anything. Being honest about the situation will reinforce your credibility. If you don’t give an honest apology from the start, the whole interview will be spent trying to drag it out of you.
2. Explain what you are doing to help
The plight of those immediately affected should always be top of the agenda, and you need to give a full account of the measures you are taking as soon as possible.
3. Get personal
A personal commitment to a problem resonates with the audience, and will make your answer less cold and corporate. On the flipside, denying personal responsibility when representing your organisation is the worst thing you can do.
4. Draw the line
Don’t be afraid to reply “it’s too early to say” when necessary and don’t speculate about a subject where you might not be fully informed. However, never say “no comment”. Always explain why you cannot give an answer.
5. Don’t sell
A crisis is definitely not the time to promote your organisation or turn the interview into a sales pitch. It will only serve to alienate your audience.