What is crisis communication?

Initiated by the Faculty of Social Sciences of Quest International University, QIU Council Member Zaheer Merchant delivered a talk titled “Crisis Communications: A Practical and Pandemic Guide” at a webinar on June 3.

The objective, according to Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Associate Professor Dr Adeline Kok, is to expose all the participants to the priceless wisdom and experience of their industry titan.

Some 400 participants partook in the online seminar which covered several aspects of crisis communication. Zaheer brought to light the importance of a good crisis management plan as well as how to handle a crisis and to achieve desired outcomes.

“You have to be fairly logical, methodological, rational and transparent in your communications,” highlighted Zaheer. 

“Crisis is about an eventuality or an event which has a potentially negative outcome or effect either on your safety, your finances or your reputation. There are three stages of crisis communications; pre-crisis, during the crisis and post-crisis; all of which require very careful handling,” he further explained.

He stressed on the eight-point plan in dealing with a crisis. Among the key points are preparation in leadership, identification of target audience and to have communication modality.

A screenshot of Zaheer during his talk at the webinar

“You’ve to manage your narrative and pay close attention to your audience and your media. It’s also important to understand the need for digital messaging which caters to the new age,” he asserted.

He also warned to never have mixed responses. “Remember, if your target audience isn’t addressed fast and effectively, you’re going to have a situation where pressure is going to build up.”

Zaheer Merchant is an alumnus of several renowned universities including Stanford University and the National University of Singapore Business School. He is also a member of the Middle Temple, UK and the Law Society of Singapore. He handles corporate, regulatory affairs and communications with emphasis on crisis communications.


Gisele Soo

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