It’s that time of year to refresh your internal and external communications team. Along with getting your taxes filed, it’s equally important to re-evaluate your comms team. What have you done well and where do you need improvement?

Here’s a quick and easy to-do list to ensure your organization is communicating as effectively as possible:

What is your Crisis Communications Plan?

If you are waiting for the crisis to happen first, we can tell you firsthand that is a bad strategy. To mitigate any crisis, you need to have an updated plan in place and ready to roll. And if your plan was created ten years ago and is collecting dust in a file somewhere, that’s also not going to cut it. Don’t get caught with your pants down. Hire someone, if needed, and get your plan done before it’s too late. If you already have one, it’s time to make sure it still meets your needs.

What is your communications chain of command?

In other words, when a crisis happens, who takes charge and where does it go from there? Are the same people still in place from the time when the crisis plan was first created? Chances are, you’ve had some turnover and you likely need to reassign duties to new people to ensure your plan can be carried out effectively and efficiently.

If you receive a media inquiry, who is responsible for vetting that inquiry? These are critically important issues and you need to be buttoned up or risk a communications catastrophe.

Has your staff been media trained?

We believe media training is essential, even if your organization is unlikely to ever interact with the news media. That’s because media training has evolved and is no longer only focused on news media interactions. Media training is about internal and external messaging, and how to best deliver these key messages whether to the news media, to a conference, sales meeting, or internal staff meeting. It’s an investment well worth your time and money.

Rich Dubek is an Emmy award-winning TV news reporter and President of the Dubek Media Group, based in Tempe, Arizona. The Dubek Media Group specializes in video production, media training, and on-camera coaching.