The 411

September 12-13, 2023
9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.


$750 (+hst)
Discounts available.


The 411

February 6-7, 2024
9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.


$750 (+hst)
Discounts available.


Meet the Instructor

David Kardish

David Kardish

David Kardish, APR, is a founding partner and current President of the Centre for Excellence in Communications.

read bio


"Thank you, David! There are many factors I will be able to now consider in crafting a risk comms plan for my unit."

"Made me realize the importance of making a plan - anticipate and be ready."

"Concrete ideas for dealing with and preparing for crisis communications. Good group exercises to illustrate the concepts."

"Keeping pace with the current environment, like this course did with social media/cyberspace, is very important."

"This is the best course I have ever enrolled in during my career (10 years in GOC). Great work and a lot of fun! Thank you."

"The course was logical, well thought out and interactive. It provided tools that I can take away and implement."

"Mr. Kardish has a very engaging teaching style and promotes open conversation."


NOTE: The workshop content described below will be delivered through ZOOM ONLINE on two consecutive half-day sessions. Agendas and other relevant workshop documentation will be sent to you by the workshop instructor at least three days prior to the date of the first session.


There will be a crisis! And suddenly the world changes - time appears to accelerate; the pressure of events and demands for action from on high intensify; media, stakeholders, key audiences and others are all calling, emailing, posting; the blogosphere is moving rumour to fact at incredible speed.

Sooner or later, as a trusted communications advisor, you will have to help manage a real life issue and/or crisis in your organization. For all involved, including you and your colleagues, it will be a frustrating, stressful, perplexing and confusing experience. You will be expected to support senior management by providing, on the spot, a full-blown communications strategy and action plan including timely, compassionate and accurate messaging, delivered through appropriate vehicles. And, just when you think that things could not get any worse, you will realize that the media, the public and even your colleagues are looking directly at you and wondering when you will make the issue or crisis go away!

Crises rarely emerge full-blown from some secret place. They incubate in the issues surrounding an organization, more specifically the unaddressed issue or issues, and these are usually known. And each presents risk. But, in the high-pressure world of government and politics, perception often trumps reality and drives people’s assessment of the risks they may face. The ill-managed risk, then, makes your task even more daunting

There is, in fact, a continuum of issue, risk and crisis that communicators and others need to understand in order to be able to respond effectively. Damage to your organization’s operational capacity and reputational capital could have been averted or at least mitigated, if only 'we had seen it coming'...


This workshop will show you how, through collaborative forward thinking and proven processes, the communications team can help manage and address issues and both prevent and address crises. The learning is structured around and focused on two key communications functions: issues management and crisis communications.

You will strengthen your knowledge and skills through presentations, discussions and simulations based on a case study covering the following:


In addition to the course workbook and exercises, you will also take away useful templates, handouts and references.


8:45 - 9:15 Introductions and Workshop Overview
  • Participants will provide a brief overview of their respective roles and responsibilities and expectations for the workshop
  • The instructor will outline the course program
9:15 - 10:00 The Basics
  • Key definitions of issues, emergency and crisis will be clarified and connected to examples provided by participants
  • The risk-issue-crisis continuum
  • Discussion of how and why perception often prevails over reality and the importance of reputation and trust
  • The linkages between operational and reputational issues/crisis will be further explored
  • Clarification of the work undertaken by communicators on effective issue management and crisis communications
  • Discussion of roles and responsibilities in effective risk, issues and crisis communications
10:00 - 10:15 Break
10:15 - 11:15 Context and Conditions Common to Issues and Crisis Communications
  • Discussion of the context - such as growing partisanship, fierce media competition and the impact of social media and the conditions such as extreme speed, fear of failure and paralysis by analysis - common to issues and crisis communications.
  • Overview of effective issues management
  • Discussion of the ‘W-5’ of issues management
  • Participants will define the steps in managing issues and identify frequent sources of issues in the public sector.
11:15 - 12:15 Case Study Exercise
  • Participants working in small groups will identify issues and potential risks outlined in a case study and make recommendations on how these should be managed.
12:15 - 13:00 Lunch
13:00 - 14:00 How to Manage a Crisis and Respond Successfully
  • Differentiating between crisis management and crisis communications and how to manage communications during a crisis situation
  • The crisis communication lifecycle and the crucial importance of communications throughout the crisis and the strategic importance of the initial response to a crisis situation
  • The essentials of working with the media during a crisis situation, including how to establish and maintain a working relationship with the media
14:00 - 14:30 How to Survive a Crisis in Cyberspace
  • Discussion of surviving a crisis on the Internet and the impact of social media on issues and crisis communications
  • The fundamentals of using the Internet and social media as a communications tool help resolve an issue and/or a crisis situation
14:30 - 14:45 Break
14:45 - 15:45 Crisis Communications Strategy and Plan
  • Review of the key elements of a crisis communications strategy and action plan and the art of being strategic when time is short
15:45 - 16:30 Case Study Exercise
  • Participants working in small groups will develop a comprehensive communications response to a crisis situation
16:30 - 16:45 Wrap-up and Evaluation
  • Participants will complete a short evaluation