I have spent the last couple of days down in Orlando for the International Crisis and Risk Communication (ICRC) Conference.  The conference was held at the University of Central Florida (a beautiful campus – love the landscape and architecture of the buildings!).

Discussions ranged from the impact not only of the importance of social media as a tool to use before, during, and after a crisis – but how to manage the conversations and metrics associated with evaluating whether or not a message was effective.

We heard specifically about certain crisis situations involving businesses, universities, specific industries (food and airlines), as well as leading perspectives from crisis professionals about the evolution of social media. All of the presentations I saw were insightful, relevant, and outstanding.

Presenting at the ICRC 2013 Conference

Kristin and I got a chance to present on our project looking at social media command centers in a crisis.  This was an extension of a study we worked and presented on last year at the conference looking at what constitutes as a “good” crisis message. This presentation, we reviewed what other industries are doing with social media command centers (ex. Edelman Digital, Red Cross, Super Bowl, University of Oregon, etc) and discussed the specific functions necessary to build and create your own command center based on characteristics and attributes associated with effective crisis messages.  The presentation is available online as well for your review.

We had a great group of professionals come to our presentation and asked some insightful and relevant questions regarding the placement of social media command centers in the emergency response efforts for organizations and businesses.  Thank you to everyone who attended our presentation at ICRC!

This is my second time presenting and attending the conference, and I would highly recommend it for both practitioners and researchers in the area of crisis communications.  Why do I say this?  Here are a couple of reasons:

  • Discussions all about crisis communications: If you go to conferences and only have a few presentations focusing on crisis, well – ICRC is a conference where you will spend several days talking and discussing key issues related to the field! 🙂
  • Balance between research and practice: Some conferences just have practitioners while others are more on the research side.  ICRC does an excellent job in balancing these points of view in a professional and organized manner.
  • Networking opportunities: This conference allows you to really have engaging conversations with some of the leading professionals in the field – both in research and in practice.  Kristin and I had the chance to catch up with several of the keynote speakers at the event and high profile attendees for businesses, agencies, and organizations.
  • Treatment of attendees before, during, and after the conference: We talk all about the importance of the front line for businesses and brands, but the same goes for conferences.  You really get a sense of a conference when you see the professionalism, organization, and personal touch that was displayed by all of the staff and organizers of the ICRC conference.  We felt very welcomed and appreciated during our time at the conference.
  • Took care of us who were foodies:  This was an extra bonus, but ICRC was the FIRST conference where I saw a candy bar.  How cool is that?! We had coffee, sugar, and good food – perfect to compliment our engaging conversations during the conference. Winning! 🙂

A candy bar at a conference?! Winning!! 😀

In summary, Kristin and I thoroughly enjoyed our time not only attending the conference, but presenting our research and networking with other crisis communication professionals.  I felt I gained a lot of knowledge and insights about what are the current issues and challenges facing those in the field.  In addition, I also felt that it was a great way to stay connected to the practice as well as to the research in this area.

If you have a chance, make sure to mark down the deadline dates for next year’s conference (ICRC 2014) to attend and present.  This is one conference I would highly recommend attending. 🙂 Thanks to everyone at the Nicholson School of Communication for their hard work, dedication, and support for making ICRC 2013 a success!

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,