Boos, foot-stomping, and catcalls are not the hoped-for response when hosting a public forum. But after a town hall meeting went disastrously awry, that’s exactly the reaction Dr. Vincent Covello was called in to address.

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

In this case study, Dr. Covello advised the owners of an industrial facility after allegations that pollutants in discharges from the facility had caused residents to become sick. While the owners had factual data on their side, they had fallen short on developing an effective stakeholder engagement strategy.

As readers will learn, in this case study Dr. Covello shows how it is never too late to listen and interact productively.

Our previous post previewed the fourth chapter of Dr. Covello’s must-have resource for risk communicators. Below, we’ll look into the fifth chapter, “Stakeholder Engagement and Empowerment.”

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 fifth 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 5: “Stakeholder Engagement and Empowerment”

This chapter explores the methods, tools, and approaches for achieving meaningful stakeholder engagement.

After reading the chapter, risk communicators will have a better understanding of the nature and value of partnering with stakeholders. Readers will also learn the tools and methods used for customer engagement and be able to predict the factors that lead to successful stakeholder meetings.

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 sixth chapter, which covers all details of communicating in a crisis.

Pathway Prompt: Have you ever had to learn a hard lesson after a misstep in stakeholder engagement? How did you change your strategy?

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.