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Anna Bligh's crisis communication may earn her another term

Posted on 13/01/2011 by Cole Lawson in Media relations

The Queensland flood disaster just goes to show that authenticity and information are an absolute PR winner when it comes to political crisis communication.

Showing a strength, a resolve and a real quality remniscent of New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani during the September 11 attacks, Anna Bligh has acquitted herself in an extraordinary fashion that may well earn herself another term.

There's a good article in today's SMH by John Birmingham about this topic. According to the public response to this article when I read the latest public poll, 95 per cent of respondents said her leadership was "outstanding" or "good".

I can't help but agree, and think there are some excellent communication lessons in this performance for all leaders during a crisis.

In summary, the qualities that have been public relations gold for Premier Bligh over the past few days have included:

  • Making herself frequently available for the media so they don't need to go elsewhere to fill the news vacuum
  • Positioning herself as the source of information (not just "key messages")
  • Not mincing words about the bad news
  • Not being afraid to show emotion
  • Surrounding herself with good people and deferring to their expertise where necessary
  • Genuinely seeming to be across the issues
  • Not being too rehearsed.

Overall, I think she was either getting some exceptional crisis communication advice, or we just saw the "real" Anna Bligh.