Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Guest Blogger: Pandemic Planning & Readiness

Pandemic planning

As you’re reading this it’s anyone’s guess at what stage we’ll be in terms of the current swine flu issue. That is the nature of issue/crisis management.

First things first: Epidemic is defined as an outbreak of disease that occurs in more cases than you would normally expect. Pandemic is defined as an outbreak of disease that occurs over a wide geographic area and affects an exceptionally high percentage of the population. Semantically it’s that simple.

The World Health Organization (WHO) moved to Phase 5 (of a six phase scale) on Wednesday. It’s likely that a pandemic is inevitable, but not necessarily imminent (it could dawdle for months, especially if it doesn’t like Northern Hemisphere summers) and not necessarily severe (mild pandemics are still pandemics, but noticeable only to professionals; it is too soon to even begin to guess how mild or severe this one might be).

According to the WHO, since the 18th century we have averaged 3 pandemics per century, every 10 – 50 years, so there’s no reason to think this won’t happen.

Public concern is growing, which is probably good, and public trust of authority has declined over the years, not the best of situations.

David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General said, “To the extent that the public panics, to the extent that the public demands antibiotics when they don’t need them, all of these things represent weaknesses in the public health infrastructure”.

Some people are appropriately worried; some are excessively worried; some are imagining that what’s quite possible soon is already here (e.g. “worried well” showing up in hospital emergency rooms with mild respiratory symptoms); many are unduly apathetic. Panic would be a VERY bad sign, but official fear of panic (“panic panic”) tends to lead to over-reassurance and suppression of alarming information – which tends to undermine trust and perhaps even lead to public panic.

Officials at every level need to be candid, to encourage dialogue, and to tell citizens the things they can do to prepare and ways they can help their community prepare. We want a public that can bear its fears, not a public that has been persuaded not to feel them.

If your family or organization doesn’t yet have a plan, today would be a good day to develop one. Your planning should be built keeping the following in mind:

Follow the hygiene recommendations and instructions of your local health officials -- wash your hands often with soap and warm water and cough into your sleeve. Prepare to stay home for awhile -- make sure you have enough food, water, medicine, and anything else that you might need if you couldn’t go out for awhile.

Government encourages ‘social distancing’ as the primary preventative course of action. Sick people need to stay home and others will want to, but critical work and functions will have to continue.

The uncertainty of a chaotic and unpredictable situation highlights the need to know what’s going on. Communication is and will remain critical.

The first goal of an effective communication strategy is to create a community or ‘social context’ for dealing with an unfolding situation. Make sure you know how to reach and communicate with your family and critical employees at all times. Make sure that you have a way of communicating with your sick employees.

Crisis planning and response should err on the side of overreacting and over-communicating. Don’t allow a vacuum of information to be filled with rumor.

Here’s a link to a good checklist for your business or agency.

Stay well.

John Godec USA Board Member

Message from the President: Helping with Health Emergency


Today I want to talk about the health emergency that is gripping the world

Last weekend I was on International President duty in Vancouver. I love the power of virtual meetings and social media to bring people together, share information and get the job done. The International Board are a team of committed practitioners. The emerging swine flu emergency had us cut the meeting short.

At times like this our attention turns to looking after the people we love, the people in our networks and communities. IAP2 is no different. We will be keeping a careful watch on developments, in terms of our own events program and change any plans to make sure we keep you safe. We will keep a daily watch on the advice from health officials on how best to act.

I know that you will want to help in this situation.

Over the last few months we have been working with Peter Sandman a world leading expert in outrage management, on development of a new international program. Peter is a leading communication advisor to the Centre for Disease Control and the WHO. This sounds like and advertisement, it’s not.

I want to direct you to advice from Peter about communication in a pandemic. The link is: if you want to help it is a great place to start. We will be loading links to other resources that will help you help.

For the moment take care. We are thinking you and will help in any way we can.

Kind Regards

Anne Pattillo

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Outrage Management & 21st Century

For many years Professor Peter Sandman's capacity to educate and translate the issues around outragement. From his publication in the early 1990s and its application far and wide across North America and internationally to create successful and effective outcomes from risk communication strategies to now continues to support public participation practitioners, communicators in the job they have to do to manage and enable the foundations for constructive civic engagement. If you are in or around DC at the end of April, don't miss this unique learning opportunity with the master in this area, Prof. Peter Sandman. If you are in public affairs, working with or for government agencies and dealing with controversial issues, expecting to be the bringer of 'bad news' or standing with communities, companies and clients who are feeling like they are an endangered species - then this is the training for you this year! Book here bby clicking onto the Event in Focus. Our partners in this venture are Booz Allen Hamilton a company with an international reputation and commitment in this field.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Professional Development Seminar:Outrage Management

Outrage Management in Public Participation:
When Stakeholders Are Upset

Presenter: Peter M Sandman

Book on line
Washington, DC
April 28-29, 2009

This two-day seminar will differ from most IAP2 training in three ways:
The teaching modality will be presentation and Q&A, not participatory exercises.
The content focus will be Peter Sandman’s approach to “outrage management” – low-hazard, high-outrage risk communication.
The seminar is a step on the path to releasing an IAP2 outrage management training. Toward that end, the entire seminar will be videotaped, and a development team will periodically take time to seek participant guidance on how best to convert “Sandman on Outrage Management” into “IAP2 on Outrage Management.” Be part of this exciting learning opportunity.

Seminar Outline
Day One

8:00 a.m. Introductions

8:15 a.m. Introduction to Risk Communication
Risk = Hazard + Outrage
Components of Outrage
Four Kinds of Risk Communication
The Seesaw and Other Risk Communication Games

10:00 a.m. Break

10:15 a.m. Introduction to Risk Communication (continued)

11:30 a.m. Discussion with Course Development Team

12:00 noon Lunch

1:00 p.m. Strategies of Outrage Management
Stake out the middle, not the extreme
Acknowledge prior misbehavior
Acknowledge current problems
Give others credit for achievements
Share control or be accountable
Bring unacknowledged concerns to the surface

2:45 p.m. Discussion with Course Development Team

3:00 p.m. Break

3:15 p.m. Strategies of Outrage Management (continued)

4:45 p.m. Discussion with Course Development Team

5:00 p.m. Adjourn

Day Two

8:00 a.m. Follow-up Q&A/Discussion

8:30 a.m. Strategies of Outrage Management (continued)

10:00 a.m. Break

10:15 a.m. When Outraged Stakeholders Are Substantively Right

10:45 a.m. Where Does P2 Fit in Outrage Management?
Where Does Outrage Management Fit in P2?

11:45 a.m. Discussion with Course Development Team

12:00 noon Lunch

1:00 p.m. Barriers to Outrage Management

2:00 p.m. The Outrage Industries: Activists and Journalists

2:45 p.m. Discussion with Course Development Team

3:00 p.m. Break

3:15 p.m. Empathy in Outrage Management

4:45 p.m. Ethics in Outrage Management

4:15 p.m. Closing Remarks and Course Evaluation

4:30 p.m. Discussion with Course Development Team

5:00 p.m. Adjourn

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Australasian Affiliate seeking EOI for Executive/Administration

IAP2 in Australasia is seeking expressions of interest for its executive/administration.

IAP2 in Australasia is an organisation dedicated to supporting our members and developing the practice of public participation across the region. At the heart of their practice is putting people at the centre of decisions that affect their lives. IAP2 in Australasia is full of committed professionals dedicated to growing and developing our practice. Over the last few years they have seen considerable growth both in terms of membership base and level of activity. There are over 500 members across New Zealand and Australia and this year alone they are hosting a scheduled 80 conferences, events or training workshops.

Growth and the current level of activity has caused us to look again at our administrative support needs.

IAP2 Australasia is seeking expressions of interest from suitably qualified individuals or companies to provide association administration and support services. This EOI is open to individuals operating in the role of Executive Officer or to companies specializing in support to associations. If you are interested or know someone who might be, find out more at

Applications must be received by Thursday, April 23, 2009.