Looking for a Public Relations Agency? Use our Free matching service to find the right agency for you.

User login

Crisis Management Masterclass

When: 10th September- 11th September 2020
Where: PRCA HQ, 82 Great Suffolk Street, London SE1 0BE

This two-day intensive seminar is designed to equip senior managers in agencies or PR teams to handle crises professionally. It shows how the negative effects of crises can be minimised and even reversed with thoughtful planning, preparation and spokesperson management. Day One focusses on steps PR leaders should take to be ‘crisis-ready’. Day Two concentrates on the social media environment – how to survive a blizzard and come out on top. It includes a four-hour, real-time simulation putting all the seminar’s recommendations into practice under extreme pressure.

All attendees will receive a PRCA PR and Communications Crisis Management Diploma upon completing the two-day masterclass. 

DAY ONE: Theory

What will you learn? The course will cover:

  • Examples of very good and very bad crisis communications management
  • The business case: how poorly-handled crisis communications costs money
  • Persuading clients/employers to invest time and effort in being crisis-ready
  • Principles and policies of crisis communications: guidelines drawn from real-life examples
  • Contingency planning: what could happen? Using the four-quadrant box
  • Stakeholder identification and databases
  • Tactics and techniques: is this a crisis? How to decide; how to declare
  • The role of the media and how to mitigate hostility
  • The role of lawyers: how to overcome ‘Say Nothing’
  • Spokesperson selection, training, rehearsals, simulations, and handling TV interviews in a crisi
  • Initial statements and retaining the initiative with media/stakeholders
  • Rapid rebuttal; monitoring; the conjunction of social and mainstream media
  • Evaluating crisis communications performance

Practical exercise:

Delegates will be invited to discuss six real-life examples during the first day of the master-class and to work in teams on a four-part crisis communications scenario at the end of the first day

What materials will you receive?

 There will be eight handouts/checklists available for delegates to download. Delegates are also eligible for a 30 per cent discount on the PRCA’s Practice Guide ‘Crisis Communications Management’

 DAY TWO: Dealing with a crisis on social media, including practical experience using simulation technology


Section 1: Theory 

  • Applying the principles of crisis communications to a social media environment
  • Dealing with an environment of declining trust and fake news 
  • Understanding and managing outrage, the new social currency
  • Dealing with trolling behaviour
  • Building resilience in your team, and coping under pressure
  • Managing consumers’ expectation for instant information 
  • Prioritising who to respond to on social media
  • When to respond and when to walk away
  • Building social media into your crisis plans 

 Section 2: 

A four-hour practical simulation to lock in learnings from the course so far. Attendees will work together to manage a crisis as it breaks over social and digital media, using interactive simulation technology. This is a chance to test and practise the theory. 

Section 3: 

Facilitated discussion and peer learning 

 Special Delegate Requirements:

 Please bring a laptop on the second day of the course.

The trainers will include:

Adrian Wheeler FPRCA

This module is for agency leaders who are responsible for bringing in new business prospects. The average win-rate in UK PR is 25%. But some agencies consistently score over 60%. How? We will cover: the new business pipeline: numbers and process (PQQ, ITT, RFI, RFP); how clients populate long-lists and how they reduce them to short-lists; chemistry meetings and briefing meetings: using them to start selling; networking - how to mobilise the networking potential of everyone in the company; cold-calling – some surprising statistics and proven techniques; their shoes: the client’s experience in selecting a new agency; credentials: only 50 per cent make the cut. How to be one of them; dealing with procurement; making a favourable impression; do you know why you win or lose? (You were a close second); and suggestions for a new business strategy.

Kate Hartley MPRCA , co-founder, Polpeo

 Kate Hartley co-founded Polpeo ( in 2013 with global social media agency, The Social Element. Polpeo simulates how a crisis unfolds and spreads over social and digital media, so that communications teams can prepare for and rehearse managing a crisis in a closed, private environment. Kate has 25 years’ agency-side experience in crisis and reputation management and corporate PR. She has spoken and run workshops on the impact of social media on crisis management at international events, most recently at SXSW, The Global PR Summit, PR Week’s Crisis Comms, and Social Media Today’s Social Shake Up. She is a member of the CIPR and the PRCA, and sits on the PRCA’s digital steering committee which is designed to shape digital best practice in the PR industry. 

The price is £595+VAT for members and £695+VAT for non-members. 

To find out more and to book a place, please contact