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Communications When you Need it Most: At a Time of Crisis

Reputation is increasingly accepted as the key to a successful organisation, with every single person in the organisation having an impact. But it’s the corporate communications department that usually has to formulate the strategy for delivering it - and almost always bears the brunt when something goes wrong and the organisation’s reputation potentially goes into meltdown. This practical workshop will help you understand how to create an effective communications and public relations strategy and, especially, how to plan for and function in times of crisis. A critical element of the workshop will be a detailed ‘major incident’ where delegates will be able to participate in a number of roles on both sides of the media fence, experiencing the stresses and applying the procedures of an effective major incident response. A not-to-be-missed experiential workshop!

Turning 'Theory' into 'Practice'?

Using a mixture of theory, case studies and interactivity between the delegates this course will give you knowledge and ideas for defining and refining your own strategies and developing your own application of effective crisis management. You will have the confidence to take the lead in crisis planning and to advise your senior management on how to prepare and then handle a major crisis.

Who should attend?

Managing Directors, Directors, Managers and Heads of Corporate Communications, Public Relations, Corporate Affairs, Marketing and Branding, Public Affairs, Media Relations, External Communications, Corporate Social Responsibility

Key areas to be covered in the programme and documentation

Understanding reputation management to best develop an effective crisis plan
• What do we mean by 'reputation management'?
• Influential factors in reputation management and how it affects crisis plans
• How do you measure reputation?
• Key aspects of reputation management for minimising the impact of a crisis
• Who is responsible for reputation?
• The hostility climate: The world we live and operate in and the impact on reputation

Issues Management: Overlooked, under resourced and difficult to do
• Defining an ‘issue’ to best identify and reduce risk
• Shaping the agenda to effectively manage issues in a timely fashion
• The emotional dimension of issue management
• Categorising and prioritising issues to ensure timely issue management
• Key elements of issues management programmes
Group table exercise: What are the issues that are or could affect your organisation this year?

Practical exercise: Categorise and prioritise your organisation’s issues to reduce risk

Crisis management: Moving from easy theoretical to manage difficult practical
• What constitutes a ‘crisis’?
• Identifying threats and risks facing organisations today to best prepare for a crisis situation
• Practice makes perfect!
Practical exercise and feedback: Threats and risks to your organisation that would constitute a ‘crisis’

Social media: The end of business as usual in crisis management and how to avoid reputation risk
• What do we mean by ‘social’ media?
• The empowerment of customers
• A crisis unfolds: How will it be affected by social media?
• Developing a social media strategy to enable crisis management
• Handling ‘monster’ customers to maintain reputation
• Handling both positive and negative ‘influencers’
• Useful social media tools to manage reputation

Crisis management strategies to enable a quick response
• Differentiating between crisis management and business continuity
• Understanding where crisis communications contributes to the retention of a good reputation
• Planning the initial response to the crisis
• Setting up a crisis command centre, the crisis management team and the business continuity team
• The concept and practice of primacy: Who is responsible for what in a multi-layered organisational structure?
• Equipping your media handlers with necessary skills to quickly manage a crisis
• Reviewing the facilities: The emergency response centre, backup resources, casualty handling centres, dealing with remote locations
• Liaison with other organisations to enable a consistent approach to crisis management
Case studies: Establishing an effective crisis team

Dealing with the media (1): The hostility climate
• What makes news?
• The impact of a better informed public and a more aggressive media on crisis management
• More knowledge and less acceptance of poor ethical behaviour and corporate governance
• More whistleblowing and the resultant change to media relations
• User Generated Content (UGC): The impact of social media on the mainstream media

Dealing with the media (2): Getting them on-side
• What do journalists want?
• Finding the angle to best reduce the impact of a crisis
• Differences between different conventional media
• Telephoning a journalist to establish strong relationships
• Do’s and don’ts of being interviewed to avoid crisis escalation
• How does this alter in a crisis?

The role of the leader in a crisis
• Is leadership the key differentiator in a crisis?
• Helpful and unhelpful leadership styles during a crisis and how to encourage or diminish them
• What should the leader actually do?

Communicating in a crisis to minimise damage
• Determining the best communication channels to pass key
• messages to all stakeholders
• The importance of the holding statement and ‘fast facts’
• Drafting further statements and information injects
• Facilitating and managing press conferences: When, where,
• what, how and why

We’re going to have a disaster! 
This session will involve practical role plays that will enable the delegates to gather first hand feel of the situation and design appropriate response plans.

• Exercise briefing
• Exercise: First role-plays
• Debrief of part one
• Second role plays
• Debrief part two

Practical exercise: Develop personal action plans and key lessons from the course and role play to enable a lasting impact

Benefits to you

• Gain practical experience of a crisis situation to manage the pressure and stress in a real crisis
• Enhance your knowledge of dealing with the media to establish strong relationships and minimise the risk of escalation
• Manage the risk created through the rise of social media and the use of influencers
• Optimise your crisis communication strategies to increase efficiency during a period of crisis
• Establish an effective crisis command centre to ensure a consistent approach to crisis management
• Enhance reputation management strategies to best maintain a strong reputation with key stakeholders
• Create strong lines of communication to pass key messages to stakeholders and control the message in a crisis
• Translate theoretical crisis plans into effective practical solutions
• Increase knowledge to take the lead in crisis management and advise how to handle a major crisis

Companies already benefiting include:

Aluminium Bahrain, Barkers Communications Scotland Limited, BP North Sea Strategic Performance Unit, Chartered Institute of Public Relations, Fifth Ring Corporate Communications, Future Publications, Mearns & Gill Public Relations, Media Partners Amsterdam, Mezzo Media, Paper White Integrated Communications Limited, Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), Rhinegold Publications The Scotsman newspaper, Shell International, Shell Exploration and Production Europe, Times Group Newspapers, Trident Communications and many others.

Duration of Course

2 Day Course

Course details

This course is currently only available as an in-house option. For more information, and a quote, contact our team on +44 (0)20 3002 3057, or by email at

Other relevant courses include:
  Social Media for Marketing and Communications to Nurture Stakeholder Loyalty


Looking to train larger teams in this subject?

dzingim@marcusevansuk.comTailored in-house/in-company training courses and bespoke strategy workshops designed and delivered on-site throughout Europe according to your specific requirements.

All management, personal development and project management public courses featured in our Course Directory are also delivered on an In-Company basis.

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Further information

UK Enquiries: +44 (0) 203 002 3057

Non-UK Enquiries: +420 (0)2 5570 7246

North American Enquiries: +1 312 540 3000 X6714 or - Marketing Manager EMEA - Professional Training

UK Enquiries: +44 (0)20 7647 2383 :
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"This course will allow my company to develop its existing strategies to a much greater and hopefully profitable level."

Managing Director, Tarmac