Toxic gases were spreading after an explosion at an industrial plant in Asia. If something wasn’t done quickly, the situation would worsen drastically.

The industrial plant needed aid but inexplicably turned down an offer of help. With issues of trust at play, Dr. Vincent Covello and his team came up with a plan that showcased the importance of communication and coordination among partners during a crisis.

The above case study opens chapter six of Dr. Covello’s most recent release, Communicating in Risk, Crisis, and High Stress Situations: Evidence-Based Strategies and Practice.

Our previous post previewed the fifth chapter of Dr. Covello’s must-have resource for risk communicators. Below, we’ll look into the sixth chapter, “Communicating in a Crisis.”

What You Find Within

The following are the topics covered in Dr. Covello’s book. In the section that follows, we’ll look more in depth at the sixth chapter.

  • The Critical Role of Risk, High Concern, and Crisis Communication
  • Core Concepts
  • An Overview of Risk Communication
  • Development of Risk Communication Theory and Practice
  • Stakeholder Engagement and Empowerment
  • Communicating in a Crisis
  • Foundational Principles: Perceptions, Biases, and Information Filters
  • Foundational Principles: Trust, Culture, and Worldviews
  • Best Practices for Message Development in High Concern Situations
  • Communicating Numbers, Statistics, and Technical Information about a Risk or Threat
  • Evaluating Risk, High Concern, and Crisis Communications
  • Communicating with Mainstream News Media
  • Social Media and the Changing Landscape for Risk, High Concern, and Crisis Communication

A Peek Inside Chapter 6: “Communicating in a Crisis”

This chapter explores the principles and execution of communications during the three phases of a crisis:

  1. Precrisis/preparedness
  2. Crisis/response
  3. Postcrisis/recovery

Throughout the chapter, readers will learn

  • the components of a crisis communication plan
  • the best spokespersons during an emergency
  • the principles of emergency message design
  • ways to address blame, responsibility, and apologies
  • the elements of postcrisis communication

As with each chapter, Dr. Covello concludes with an extensive list of resources ideal for further exploration.

In the next entry in this series, we’ll preview the seventh chapter, which covers the foundational principles of perceptions, biases, and information filters.

Pathway Prompt: Do you have a crisis communication plan? Have you had to put it into effect? If so, how did it help?

Communicating Effectively When Feelings, Fears, and Facts Collide

More information about risk, high-concern, and crisis communication can be found in Dr. Covello’s video-based course Pathway to Risk, High-Concern, and Crisis Communication.

This master class introduces communicators to the tools and techniques for communicating effectively—while providing greater insight into why audiences react the way they do during times of stress.

The course comprises nine video lectures and accompanying text modules, plus supplemental materials for putting valuable lessons into practice. More information about the course, including group rates and partnering opportunities, can be found by emailing

Dr. Vincent Covello

Dr. Vincent Covello, director of the Center for Risk Communication, is one of the world’s leading experts and practitioners on risk, high-concern, and crisis communication. He is the author of more than 150 articles in scientific journals and the author/editor of more than 20 books.

Covello, Vincent T. Communicating in Risk, Crisis, and High Stress Situations: Evidence-Based Strategies and Practice. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2022.