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BUSINESS OWN WORST ENEMY IN DEALING WITH CRISES

 BUSINESS OWN WORST ENEMY IN DEALING WITH CRISES
 WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, N.C., Sept. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite the


public relations fallout associated with environmental disasters, a crisis management specialist told chemical engineers here today that a majority of American businesses are still ill-prepared to face the public in the midst of a major crisis.
 "In many cases, American business has become its own worst enemy in trying to get across its side of the story in crises and emotional environmental issues," said Steve Wilson, president of Wilson Group Communications, a Columbus, Ohio-based firm specializing in crisis management. Wilson was speaking before the Coastal Carolina Section of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
 On environmental issues, Wilson said too many businesses become defensive rather than trying to communicate and take sides in "an us against them" battle with environmentalists, the news media and the general public.
 "When you're hiding in a defensive bunker, there just isn't much room for discussion," said Wilson, who added that it's important for companies to maintain an open dialogue with neighbors and environmental groups and openly seek their input on key issues. "It doesn't mean you're going to let them run your company," he said, "but it does mean you're willing to listen to them."
 Wilson said companies need to plan better on handling communications with communities and the news media in the event of disasters. He said too few companies place enough emphasis on crisis training and too many companies rely on inadequate crisis plans rather than trained crisis management teams.
 "Crisis plans are important, but no crisis plan yet has ever had to face television cameras or answer reporters' questions," Wilson said. "Even the best crisis plan doesn't have the ability to make decisions or think on its feet. It still takes trained, experienced people to do that."
 Unfortunately, he said too many businesses place so-called crisis management or "media" training on a corporate backburner convincing themselves that somehow they're immune to any crisis. "The fact is," he said, "that no company or organization has natural immunity to a crisis. It is not a matter of if it will happen, but simply when."
 /CONTACT: Steven Wilson of Wilson Group Communications, 614-461-1333/ CO: Wilson Group Communications ST: Ohio IN: SU:


BM -- CL013 -- 9025 09/14/92 10:13 EDT
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Date:Sep 14, 1992
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