Crisis management testing


Face to face or online training to meet your needs and timescales.


Real world, current and tested techniques.


Develop, hone and test your crisis response with our working journalists.


Gain confidence that you are well prepared to manage a crisis situation.


Designed around your team's specific needs and experience.

Crisis management testing

You’ve got a crisis plan, but does it work?

How confident do you feel about your organisation's crisis management performance?

Do you know your risks and vulnerabilities?

Will your plan protect your reputation when the pressure is on, and you face a social media storm, 24-hour news coverage, unhappy customers, employees asking questions and falling share prices? Do your crisis team members know their roles and responsibilities inside out?

Your business continuity and crisis communication plan might look good on paper. But does it work? No crisis plan is complete until you’ve put it and those who will use it through a real test with scalable live crisis scenarios.

Putting your organisation's crisis management performance to the test with a bespoke scenario

Increasing numbers of businesses turn to us to test their organisation's crisis management performance. We’ll work with you to understand your crisis management testing needs. And devise a realistic, challenging, unpredictable and bespoke scenario based on your risks.

As the crisis ‘breaks’, we’ll provide TV, print, radio and social media coverage to reflect the public mood and move the story on. We’ll then take you through a testing role-play scenario with a crisis that builds throughout the day. And that tests the effectiveness of your response and decision-making.

It will see your team dealing with constant phone calls from journalists reporting on the story. And you'll need to put together statements and social media responses, manage press conferences, liaise with stakeholders and prioritise appropriate public responses, as the unpredictable situation escalates.

Led by our team of expert current working journalists – people who report on crises all the time – your team will get a full debrief and detailed analysis of your organisation's crisis management performance. This analysis will capture what went well, any gaps that emerged, and the lessons to learn. And it will ensure you have the best preparation for remaining in control when the real thing happens.

What makes our crisis testing services different?

Our testing services provide scalable live crisis scenarios and simulations based on your risks and testing needs, where participants make decisions and interact in real-time. And they are delivered by experienced journalists.

Journalists are communication experts. No one is better placed to evaluate the effectiveness of your organisation's crisis plans and reputation management. And provide detailed analysis and insights so mistakes are not repeated in the real world.

We have been delivering bespoke scenario-based simulations and testing, as part of our range of communication training, for around 40 years.

And we work with 40 of the FTSE 100, as well as public relations companies, charities, public sector organisations and businesses of all sizes. But what really makes our testing services different is that we spend time getting to know your business, its risks and vulnerabilities.

Our experienced account managers will work with you to identify your testing needs - who, what, when and how to test. They will turn that analysis into a bespoke scenario.

And we can use the latest immersive simulation technology - such as Conducttr – to bring it to life. This ensures we develop a bespoke scenario that will provide the most realistic test of your organisation's crisis management performance.

What are my crisis management testing options?

Our crisis management testing services and simulations are flexible.

Face-to-face exercises and simulations based on your risks

We can host bespoke scenario-based simulations at our training studios in Reading, where you will have access to broadcast-quality television and radio studios. We can also come to your offices. Or we can host the session at a hired space anywhere in the country and beyond.

Online exercises and simulations

We are also running more remote bespoke scenario-based exercises. A pandemic, lockdown restrictions, and hybrid working should not prevent you from testing your organisation's crisis management performance.

We will still create a bespoke scenario, and you will experience the same pressures you would in a face-to-face session.

It is a great way to test the effectiveness of your crisis plan with the modern way of working.

If you've moved to hybrid working, it is unlikely your crisis team is all going to be sat around the same table when a risk becomes reality. Would your crisis communication plan still work? Would your crisis team still be effective?

Blended exercises

We also have an option allowing your crisis team to refresh their knowledge ahead of a crisis management test. They will be given access to our online on-demand Essential Crisis Management course.

The interactive course reminds and guides you through all the theory, techniques, resources and tools needed for good crisis management and communication. It includes how you can prepare crisis holding statements now, how you should communicate, and the different types of interviews you could face.

It takes around an hour to complete. How, when and where you do it is up to you – you just need to finish it before the crisis test exercise.


A crisis test is an intense, time-pressured, fast-paced day. You won't know what is coming next.

It must be tough and testing to be a realistic test. But we pride ourselves on ensuring our crisis exercises are also supportive and nurturing to ensure all training and testing needs are met.

No one benefits from members of your crisis team feeling anxious or intimidated. Our tutors have delivered many crisis test exercises to help organisations across different industries and sectors identify risks and prepare and practice how to respond.

And they know how to strike the right balance between ensuring those participants with lots of crisis management experience are tested and the inexperienced are supported.

Everyone who is part of your organisation's crisis communication team and who would lead your response when crisis strikes should play an active role in the testing. This tends to vary with each organisation we work with, but a test is likely to include:

  • Crisis teams
  • Senior leadership teams
  • PR and communication professionals
  • Internal communication and social media teams
  • Risk managers
  • Partner agencies and key stakeholders

There are many benefits to testing your organisation's crisis team and plans with bespoke and scalable live crisis scenarios. You will discover if your organisation's crisis management performance is up to scratch. And learn if your communication plan works.

But you will learn more than that. Here are a few other benefits our clients have identified from testing:

  • The strengths and weaknesses of your organisation's crisis team's performance. And a better understanding of roles, responsibilities, risks and capabilities.
  • Detailed analysis of whether your incident escalation process works.
  • Practical experience for your organisation of managing a crisis in real-time and executing your crisis plan.
  • Knowing whether you have spokespeople who can communicate with clarity and confidence under intense media pressure.
  • The knowledge to respond confidently and quickly when a crisis strikes.
  • Identification and analysis of future risks.
  • Improved team-building.
  • More trust between different parts of the crisis team.
  • Quicker decision-making and refined sign-off processes.

They both have similar aims and will help ensure your organisation is well prepared to manage a crisis. But they are different.

Crisis management exercises and simulations test and challenge your organisation’s crisis team – everyone charged with protecting its reputation when a crisis strikes - with a bespoke scenario.

This is likely to include people in your organisation who would not be expected to face the media during a crisis, such as representatives from HR, legal, finance and internal communications. Sometimes these exercises are referred to as tabletop exercises, corporate war games, and full-scale exercises or full simulations.

Crisis communication training focuses on those who will be in the media spotlight during a crisis and helps them better prepare. That could be a crisis communication training session for comms and media colleagues to help them identify risks, prepare statements and manage press enquiries during a crisis. Or it may be for your spokespeople to ensure they are ready to face the media when the pressure is ramped up. In our experience, to be crisis-ready, organisations need both forms of training.

We promote continual learning and place a lot of focus on our aftercare. So, you can expect your crisis management test exercise to be more than a training day.

A few days after your test, you will receive written analysis of the effectiveness of your organisation's crisis management performance, lessons to learn and any risks that emerged.

If the testing included mock media interviews, we’ll provide you with recordings and feedback on each spokesperson’s performance.

Sign up to our blogs, and you and your delegates will receive regular analysis of how organisations manage crises, together with tips, tools and advice on what could have happened differently. And templates and resources to help you prepare and aid your crisis communication plan.

We were pleased with the way Media First worked with us to create a scenario which challenged us on a number of different levels. The fast-paced nature of the scenario gave us insight into how we work as a team under pressure, and the way that Media First’s journalists responded in real-time to our response made if feel as genuine as possible and was useful for us as we plan for the future.

— Kew Gardens Executive Team

How do I book a crisis exercise simulation?

Do you like the sound of our testing? Is it time to test the effectiveness of your business crisis communication plan and crisis management team with a bespoke scenario-based exercise?

Have a chat with one of our account managers.

They’ll answer any questions you may have. They will explore your testing needs and potential crisis risks. And they will take you through all our testing and scenario options in more detail, and help you start to build your exercise.

Our Clients

We have a huge amount of experience in over 40 different sectors such as automotive, charity, finance, healthcare, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, retail, travel and many more. Here is a small selection of our clients.


Chris Maughan

Chris is a highly respected sports reporter, presenter and producer and has a wealth of experience after more than 20 years with ITV in the south of England.

Charles Abel

A tenacious and experienced news, business and technical journalist, Charles provides blue chip and public sector organisations with the skills to face the toughest interviews.

Paul Brennan

Paul has more than twenty years' experience as a reporter, producer and presenter cross regional and network newsrooms for the BBC, ITV and Five News.

Our Training Team

Our courses are delivered by current working journalists, along with PR and communications professionals - all of whom are expert and experienced trainers.