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?

Will it 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?

No matter how good a crisis communication plan looks on paper and how much detail it contains, a crisis plan is not complete until you’ve tested it and those who will use it.

That’s why increasing numbers of businesses ask us to test their plans and teams in a safe environment and ensure they are crisis ready.

We’ll work with you to devise a realistic, challenging, complex and unpredictable scenario. This may have multiple stages, depending on how much time you spend with us.

As the crisis ‘breaks’, we’ll provide appropriate, professionally produced TV, print, radio and social media coverage to reflect the public mood and move the story on.

We’ll then take you through a complete role-play scenario, with a crisis that builds throughout the day.

It will see your team dealing with constant phone calls from journalists, putting together and issuing statements, managing press conferences and prioritising appropriate public responses, as they attempt to manage an escalating and unpredictable situation.

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 written feedback capturing what went well and the lessons to learn.

This will ensure you have the best possible preparation for remaining in control when a crisis breaks for real.


What are my crisis management testing options?

Our crisis management testing exercises are flexible.

We can host them 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 training at a hired space anywhere in the country, and beyond.

We are also increasingly running crisis management test exercises remotely – a pandemic and lockdown restrictions should not prevent your organisation from being prepared for a crisis.

Here you get the same experience and face all the same pressures you would in a face-to-face session, without needing to leave home.

And it is a great way to ensure your crisis plan still works with the modern way of working. Because, let’s face it, with the move to home working, and frequent lockdown restrictions, it is unlikely your crisis team is all going to be sat around the same table when the real thing happens.

We also have an option that allows your crisis team to refresh their knowledge ahead of a crisis management test.

Here 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 and techniques of good crisis management, including 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, fast-paced day – just like when a real crisis strikes.

It is tough. And it would not be a real test if it was not challenging.

But we pride ourselves on ensuring our crisis exercises are also supportive and nurturing.

No one benefits from members of your crisis teams being scared off.

Our tutors have delivered many crisis tests for organisations across different industries and sectors. And they know how to strike the right balance between ensuring those with lots of crisis management experience are tested and the inexperienced are supported.

There are many benefits to testing your crisis team and plans. Ultimately, you will learn if your crisis plan works and whether any gaps need to be filled.

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

  • The strengths and weaknesses of your crisis team and a better understanding of roles and responsibilities.
  • Whether your incident escalation process works.
  • Practical experience of managing a crisis and executing your crisis plan.
  • Whether you have spokespeople who can communicate with clarity and confidence under the most intense media pressure.
  • The knowledge to respond confidently and quickly when a crisis strikes.
  • Identification of future risks.
  • Improved team-building.
  • More trust between different parts of the crisis team.
  • Quicker decision making and refined sign-off processes.

Good question.

They both have similar aims and will help ensure your organisation is well prepared for the worst happening.

But they are different.

Crisis management exercises test and challenge your organisation’s crisis team – everyone charged with protecting its reputation when a crisis strikes. This is likely to include people 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.

Crisis management training or crisis communication training, on the other hand, typically focuses on those who will be in the media spotlight during a crisis.

That could be a training session for the comms and media team to help them manage statements and 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 fully crisis-ready, organisations need both forms of training.

We believe in 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 the completion of the exercise, you will receive written feedback capturing what went well and the lessons to learn.

If mock media interviews were delivered during your testing, we’ll provide you with recordings and feedback for each spokesperson’s performance.

Sign up to our blogs, and you and your delegates will receive regular analysis of how organisations have managed crises, together with tips and advice on what could have been done differently.

And, our weekly podcast – The Media Landscape – is a great way of keeping up with the stories that matter and ensuring you are aware of what is coming up on the media agenda.

How do I book crisis management test?

If you like the idea of testing your crisis response and want to join the growing list of organisations that trust us to best prepare their spokespeople for the media spotlight, have a chat with one of our account managers.

They’ll answer any questions you may have, take you through all our training options in more detail, and help you start to build your course.

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

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.


Emma Nelson

Emma's varied TV and radio career makes her particularly adept at helping big brands and niche businesses to hone, simplify and successfully deliver their messages.

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.