Training is essential, especially for the people who will be closest to any incident, i.e. seafarers.
These days, finding a media or social media trainer is easy, but to find one that will be effective with your team can be a challenge.
One of our lead media trainers, Dustin Eno, suggests five things you should look for in media training:
- Eliminates the notion that not posting in a crisis ensures a protected reputation. The most damaging posts are probably already online and probably appeared completely innocuous when they were posted. Too many seafarers have been told “put your phone away in a crisis and everything will be ok.” Unfortunately, this is incomplete advice.
- Creates genuine “buy-in”. I recently saw a presentation to a room of 80 officers. At the end of each slide the presenter asked, “Is this a good idea?” And the officers all murmured “yes.” “Is this achievable?” They again, responded on mass, “Yes.” This presenter thought he was creating buy-in. He wasn’t. Buy in depends on the audience understanding the rational for what’s being said and understanding how acting accordingly will benefit them directly or indirectly (and is should!). Unfortunately, social media polices are flouted in almost every sector because employees often see them as either irrelevant or as an intrusion into their personal lives.
- Makes the connection between social media and the media. Many people are nervous about talking to journalists and they recognise the need to exercise judgement in what they say, but social media is perceived as different and somehow safer. However, many journalists today use social media as one of their key sources of breaking news and background information.
- Explores issues of privacy and security beyond the obvious. “Don’t post company secrets or details of vessel routes through high risk regions.” This sort of advice dominates some presentations on social media and, while it deserves a mention, it is sufficiently basic that it can appear patronising to most audiences. However, consider pictures with guests onboard, images in the mess, posts to say “I’m safe.” The risks of these posts are not as obvious and should, therefore, be the focus of a good training.
- Engages the audience throughout. Everyone thinks they know everything about social media and so it is easy to ignore any presentation on the topic. To be effective the training must connect with the audience and use case studies that are directly relevant to the sector and the lives of the seafarers. Look around the room during the training, if the seafarers aren’t engaged then the company is wasting its training budget.
Social media training should be a part of your seafarer conferences, especially for the senior officers who provide the leadership to everyone else onboard, but, whatever training provider you use, make sure they’re checking off the points above or you’ll be wasting everyone’s time and money.
COO & Crisis Response Manager
T: +44 (0)20 3326 8467