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UAE: Former British press secretary outlines cardinal rules of crisis management at IGCF 2021

Sharjah - Campbell advised organisations against going into crisis management mode without ascertaining the existence of a crisis.


Afkar Ali Ahmed

Published: Mon 27 Sep 2021, 8:25 AM

Last updated: Mon 27 Sep 2021, 9:21 AM

At an interactive session held at the 10th edition of the International Government Communication Forum (IGCF) 2021 on Sunday, Alastair Campbell – British politician and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Spokesman and Press Secretary - emphasised the importance of effective communication for successful crisis management.

Speaking at the session titled ‘Leading in times of crisis’, the ace communicator and media strategist advised organisations against going into crisis management mode without ascertaining the existence of a crisis. He said, "A cardinal rule of crisis management is establishment of a crisis or answering the question, ‘Is this really a crisis?’"

Describing five full-blown crises that he handled during his decade-long tenure with the UK government - both international and domestic and including the 9/11 bombing, Iraq war and outbreak of the foot-and-mouth disease, Campbell outlined his second golden rule for crisis management as "OST – objective, strategy and tactic".

He said, "People often confuse the three and go from O to T without thinking about a strategy. The objective is to get through a crisis, and tactics are only effective if there is a strategy."

'Get Good and Talk Bad'

He gave his third rule as GGTB or ‘Get Good and Talk Bad’, emphasising "no matter how bad the situation is, you try to find the good that is within it". Impressing upon the art of staying strategic, Campbell finally said that it was all about centralisation, adding that everything must be coordinated in one physical space and the leadership must have a human face.

Campbell, who became Director of Communications and Strategy after helping Blair win a second landslide election in 2001, emphasised that a good communicator must never tire of saying the same thing, so that it appears fresh to listeners every time they hear it.

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Covid crisis

While terming Covid-19 as a crisis that has affected every single person on earth, the IGCF speaker who now splits his time between writing, speaking, charities and consultancy, underlined the importance of bearing in mind that a crisis will eventually end. Even in the middle of a crisis, it is important to explore re-entry into normal life and design a strategy accordingly, he advised.

During his session, Alastair Campbell divided the IGCF audience into five teams, allotting them five possible crises situations and encouraging them to come up with solutions to overcome the situation. The practical and innovative solutions suggested by the participants had the full approval of the distinguished speaker.

Milestone edition of IGCF dives deep into core of human relations

IGCF 2021 runs from September 26th to 27th at Expo Centre Sharjah -- held under the patronage of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, follows the theme, 'Historic Lessons, Future Ambitions’. The landmark edition brings together 79 experts in communication from 11 Arab and foreign countries to discuss innovative crisis management mechanisms and determine the future of government communication.

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