How important is crisis communication?
In emergencies – reputation damage, bad news, severe weather etc – crisis communication builds trust in your business.
When you share your position in a crisis with concerned parties – with updates and statements – you help your team, customers and other stakeholders, decide what they should do.
Say nothing? You’ll create a ‘communications vacuum’ which your competitors will be happy to fill.
A crisis is an opportunity to show strong leadership.
How to handle crisis communication
Crisis communication needs to be:
- Up to date.
Tips to communicate well in a crisis:
- Release information NOW – any emergency calls for timely information. Take time to assemble information but be sure to issue a holding statement to acknowledge what’s happening or happened. Delays cause issues. Be early, on the pace and transparent and you’ll limit damage and gain some control.
- Be open – show how you’re remedying the situation. Be prepared to be inspected from all sides – whether that’s on statements, emails, social media.
- The message is in the medium – show your understanding by your choice of medium eg post if emails may fail due to power being out.
- Messages must ring true – picture the person you’re addressing eg consider the personas in your communications plan. General messages sound impersonal and cold. Focus on their unique concerns and you’ll find common themes. Built a matrix of audiences – what you need to be saying to each.
- Less is more – be relevant with what you say. Avoid bombarding people with irrelevant information.