Columbia Business School

Effective Risk Communication: Stakeholder Management in Times of Crisis

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About the course

In today’s economy, organizations are confronted with a variety of threats – from project failures and legal liabilities to credit risk and uncertainty in financial markets. Business leaders need to effectively navigate and manage those risks in order to develop winning strategies for their organization.

Effective Risk Communication: Stakeholder Management in Times of Crisis will provide executives across fields and functions with best practices in identifying, assessing and prioritizing risk, empowering them to successfully establish dialogues between regulators and stakeholders.

In this hands-on program, participants will learn how to manage and communicate both present and emerging risks to increase trust and confidence throughout their organization and enable key stakeholders to make critical business decisions.


The Effective Risk Communication program will equip you with the knowledge, skills and tools required to become an effective risk manager. You will gain a clear understanding of key risk communication building blocks that you can apply immediately.

Summary of Benefits:

  • Improve risk communication practices and processes within your organization
  • Develop an effective risk management and communication strategy
  • Understand how stakeholders perceive risks
  • Guard against future risk crises


This two-day program combines interactive lectures, case studies and group exercises to help you become a better communicator of risk. The program merges theories in risk communication with a deep-dive into risk communication in practice, including a capstone case study and group exercise.

Day 1

Introduction to Risk Communication

  • Why are some people more worried than others about risks?
  • Mental shortcuts and why people take them
  • From risk perception to management

Risk Perception and Risk Attitude: Who Takes Risks, When and Why?

  • Exploring risk metrics
  • Taking vs. managing risks
  • Individual, gender, age, cultural differences in risk taking

Controlling the Dialogue

  • How to stop lying to oneself and others
  • 4 types of risk communication styles

Mental Models: A Systematic Approach to Message Development

  • Challenges in understanding and making decisions about risk
  • How misconceptions can undermine decisions
  • Developing a risk communication process

Day 2

Risk Communication in Practice

  • Pressures on risk regulators
  • Predicting public responses
  • How to persuade the seemingly unpersuadable

Managing the Media

  • Finding the right spokesperson
  • Discriminating between media sources
  • Using third parties for support
  • Timing announcements

Communicating Health Risk

Perceptions of Risk as Part of the Decision-Making Process

Case Study and Group Exercise

Who should attend

This program is designed for mid- to upper-level executives whose responsibilities require a strategic understanding of risk communication or risk management. It is appropriate for executives working in regulatory affairs, communication, safety, legal affairs, research and development and across a wide range of industries such as pharmaceutical/healthcare, consumer goods and services, media and technology, finance, chemicals, energy, forestry and mining as well as the public sector.

Trust the experts

Elke Weber

I believe that psychological theory needs to interface with social problems in a two-way dialogue, proving itself with constructive solutions in real-world settings and being enriched and constrained by those settings. My publication list below pairs basic research papers on the questions address...


Ragnar Löfstedt

Ragnar E. Löfstedt is Professor of Risk Management and the Director of King’s Centre for Risk Management, King’s College London, UK where he teaches and conducts research on risk communication and management. Previously he was a Reader in Social Geography at the University of Surrey, UK. He is ...


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