JAKARTA, PRINDONESIA.CO – While Indonesia is coping with the spread of the Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19) outbreak, this country is also faced with another crisis. Namely, the national level communication crisis. Maria Wongsonagoro, President Director of IPM Public Relations, believes that dealing with a communication crisis is like playing an orchestra. A reliable conductor needs to be able to guide each note that comes out of the instrument.
The conductor referred to by Maria is a communications lead figure. His/her presence is absolutely necessary as the coordinator of all forms of communication delivered to the public. "This is a very arduous task," said Maria, who is also one of PR INDONESIA Guru, in the 6th Kopi Darat PR Rembuk forum in Jakarta on Thursday (6/2/2020). This figure has not been found in the government in handling the Covid-19 issue. For your information, in the afternoon, still, on the same day, the government finally officially announced KSP as the communications lead in handling the Covid-19 pandemic.
Maria then described a series of heavy tasks that had to be carried out by communications leads. First, coordinate all the communications about the crisis in one door. Second, gathering all the information and materials needed related to the crisis, making analysis, scenarios, and communication strategies from time to time in accordance with the development of the crisis.
Third, make a briefing document. Namely, the document that regulates communication strategies, key messages, and holding statements. "In a local company, all forms of crisis communication have been determined or written in the briefing document," she said.
All one door information only comes out from the designated communications lead. With a note, the person concerned must be trained in conveying crisis messages/information in front of the reporters. Long before the crisis occurred, communications leads should be given training in crisis management and crisis communications leads.
This procedure is known as issue management. Namely, proactive communication in handling issues before they develop into crises. This effort can be trained, one of them by doing simulations. "If we have known natural disaster simulations, communication simulations must also exist," she said, firmly.
Maria did not deny that it was not easy to provide understanding to communication practitioners let alone to the leaders about the importance of managing issues or communication simulations. "They tend to underestimate things that haven’t necessarily happen," she said. One thing that is also important is activating the crisis center. From here all information goes in and out. "It must be done through one door," she said. Other things that need to be done are preparing material facilitators, monitoring systems, assigning staff, providing special space for the media, preparing materials, and communication content followed by press releases. Then, periodically provide reports to parties deemed necessary to know about the development of the crisis.
The final step, but often ignored, is to create a postmortem report. Starting from the handling of crises and crisis communication, analysis of media coverage, stakeholder perceptions based on post-crisis surveys. "This report must be submitted to all parties involved," she concluded. (ais)