Don’t practice until you get it right, practice it until you don’t get it wrong

Jerry Hendin

Two weeks ago, I attended and made a presentation at the NTSB’s annual crisis communications seminar in Washington. 

It was incredibly interesting and helpful and it also reaffirmed my belief in how the people in our industry—airlines and airports and manufacturers and regulatory agencies—work together to ensure the safety of the flying public. 

My presentation was to have been about best practices in crisis communications, but there is such a good set of guidelines created by IATA, that I chose to talk about the other factors that can affect communications in a crisis. Among those are the differences among government and regulatory agencies, culture, media and communications infrastructure. 

If you don’t have a copy of the IATA guidelines, get a copy and compare it with your present plan

Then test your plan. And while it is convenient to test your plan at 9:00 in the morning when you have your coffee or tea in hand. Don’t. Accidents don’t always happen at convenient times  

Don’t tell your staff when the exercise will happen. Don’t tell your out-station managers. Don’t tell your public relations agencies. 

I know this approach seems unnecessarily draconian, but if you have been doing regular “convenient” training, try it. If you haven’t been doing regular training...start doing basic training now. 

Don’t practice until you get it right, practice it until you don’t get it wrong.