Crisis communications and media training masterclass

Belinda Boxall: +27 11 771 4318

Storytelling and message crafting - these are critical disciplines and ingredients for you to successfully manage the media, navigate during normal times and in a crisis.


Managing media relations in a crisis, as well as during normal times, is an exercise in building a trusted connection.  This requires a combination of exceptional storytelling skills, poise and understanding the media environment to ensure that you are meeting both your brand's needs and those of the media.

At the heart of the process is knowing what story you want to tell and to whom. 

  • What is the message that you, as a communications professional, want to put across?
  • Who is the target market or audience that you want to reach? 

Your communications or disaster recovery plans will certainly fail unless everyone involved is 100% sure of the basic stories and messages on which your brand is built.

The key is to be well prepared – be very well prepared. But as Winston Churchill once said, when congratulated about a witty, off-the-cuff remark: "Off-the-cuff be damned! I thought of it in my bath this morning." In other words, preparation and rehearsal need to take place long before the event.

Who should attend?

This INTRODUCTORY course will benefit entry to middle levels professionals who are responsible for corporate communications, reputation and crisis management, media relations, corporate affairs, public relations and stakeholder engagements as well as those want a refresher course.


Welcome & Introduction

  • Why we need media training
  • What happens when companies and spokespeople get it wrong
  • The perils of social media
  • Who gets it right?

Workshop - Storycrafting and storytelling

  • Understanding stories and messages
  • How to build a story
  • Delegates will craft and critique real-life examples of stories and messages
  • Case examples

The Dragon's Den – Stress-testing your stories

  • Putting theory into practice
  • Live exercises and video recording
  • Selected delegates/volunteers will go through practice interviews in front of camera which will be played back for learning
  • Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!
  • Unpack and reflect

Masterclass facilitators:

Alan Hilburg

Alain is President & CEO at HilburgMalan - USA/UK/South Africa/Hong Kong. He is acknowledged as one of the pioneers of crisis communications and modern day litigation communications. He managed the Tylenol crisis in 1982 and broke new ground in 1985 when he was the first to align marketing and communications with litigation, successfully defending client brands and reputations in 108 trials. He has been called the "world's leading advisor in crisis management."

He has been recognized by the New York Times as the "Red Adair of corporate crisis management" and by the Los Angeles Times as "the first person a CEO should call when involved in a crisis." The Chicago Tribune wrote that Alan is "the first call for those who find themselves in difficult high-risk crises." Sweden's Aftonbladet said of Alan, "he is an extraordinary gifted strategist, widely respected for his ability, judgment, tenacity and integrity by those he represents and those who he defeats." American Lawyer said of Hilburg, "he's the go-to guy for trial teams when the message counts. He brings an innovative mind to trial strategies." Corporate Counsel said, "Hilburg knows how to get the jury to listen. He puts himself in their shoes." Known for his senior perspectives and judgment, The Wall Street Journal called him the "earliest practitioner of reputation management in litigation contexts."

His crisis experience transcends most of the news making crises of the past 30 years in a diverse landscape of sectors including energy, transportation, hospitality, consumer products, insurance, financial services, mining, and healthcare.

As a speaker, Alan has been invited to deliver more than 160 speeches in the past seven years on winning crisis communication strategies and has written two New York Times best sellers on leadership. He also teaches crisis and risk communications at George Mason University and the University of California-Irvine in addition to lecturing at more than a dozen other U.S. and European universities.

Chris Gibbons

Chris is a successful journalist as well as a sought-after public speaker, conference facilitator and media trainer.

Currently, he edits the magazine Acumen for the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), University of Pretoria, which he also conceptualized and launched in 2012. In addition, he presents a daily market report on AlgoaFM.

Between 2002 and 2012, Chris anchored The Mid Day Report, a hard-hitting news, current affairs and business show, simulcast on Gauteng's Talk Radio 702 and the Western Cape's 567 Cape Talk. The show won three successive MTN Radio Awards (2010, 2011, 2012).

He has had a distinguished career on both radio and television, anchoring Newstalk on 702 from 1987 until 1997 and News Hour on SABC TV3 between 1997 and 1999. During his career at 702, he conducted a number of historic interviews, including the first between any SA radio station and the still-exiled Thabo Mbeki. He also interviewed Nelson Mandela several times, as well as Margaret Thatcher and US Vice-president, Al Gore.

Chris also spent time in the publishing industry as Group MD of the New Holland Struik group of companies and was part of the team that listed Primedia on the JSE.

With a BA(Hons) and MA from Cambridge, Chris also holds an MBA from Henley, one of the UK's leading business schools.


GIBS campus, 26 Melville Road, Illovo, Sandton, Johannesburg

Date and times:

25 May 2017 from 8.30 am to 4.00 pm

Fee and cancellation penalty:

Fee of R4600/p includes masterclass materials, lunch and refreshments for the day.

Payment of R4600/p must be received latest 2 weeks prior to start of masterclass to secure seat. Please adhere to cancellation policy outlined below.

Online booking:

To book your seat, please click APPLY NOW (top right corner of this page). If you have queries on how to book online, please send an email to

PLEASE NOTE: Prior to this masterclass, there will also be a separately bookable 2-day conference on Strategic Corporate Communications, Reputation Management & Stakeholder Engagement on 23 - 24 May 2017. Please click link for more information and to book seat >>

Please engage with us on Twitter: @GIBS_SA | #gibsforum, #gibsconference, #gibsevent, #gibsmba
You may also be interested in:
Sign In

We are processing your request, please be patient.