5 tips for effectively handling crisis comms

From crisis to confidence  

*Edit: I wrote this post during the pandemic, but it feels relevant now, so re-posting*

Knowing what to say and how to say it is not always easy. Especially when life is as unpredictable and off-kilter as it is right now. It’s not just the fear of getting it wrong that’s the problem – your reputation is at stake too. As we shift from crisis mode to something a little closer to normality, how can you keep your audience engaged?

  1. What’s your point? – identify what you want to say and why. Make sure your message is relevant, timely and with a clear call to action. You don’t want to leave your audience confused or ambivalent
  2. Audience first – be clear about who your target audience is, (it may be multiple groups, in which case, some tailoring of your message may be necessary), but make sure their needs and any specific requirements or sensitivities are front of mind when crafting your message
  3. Find the right balance – your business agenda will, of course, be at the forefront of any messaging, but people will also want to know that you are doing the right thing. This balance is always important to a certain degree, but even more so in the event of a crisis
  4. Read the room – think about what else is going on and whether the timing is right. Does your message need to take into consideration other world events or cultural issues? In order to land well, your message needs to consider the wider world and events which may shape its perception
  5. Language matters – using cliched words and phrases or business jargon can quickly turn your audience off, or lead to misunderstanding and confusion.  Consider the tone you are aiming for and whether your choice of words could be open to interpretation. If in doubt, sense check them with colleagues or friends

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