There are many things in life you can predict; a crisis is usually not one of them. Open and honest communication is imperative to surviving any emergency situation. That’s why business owners can—and should—have a crisis communications plan set in place. Here is what you should know about communicating during a crisis.
- Know Your Facts – In times of crisis, things can spiral out of control quickly if everyone isn’t on the same page. Before releasing any type of statement or message, triple check your facts. What do you know about the situation? Where are you getting your information from? Is everything confirmed and true? Until you have a firm grasp on what is going on, hold off on distributing your response. People are turning to you because you are seen as a credible source. You don’t want to mislead anyone or lose your authority.
- Be Transparent, Sensitive, and Empathetic– Understand that during a crisis, you are communicating with an audience surrounded by an overload of news. When you are reaching out to your audiences, you need to be transparent. Now is not the time to hide. If you’re unsure of what’s going to happen, you can say that you are working on a solution. If you already have the solution, share it. You also need to keep in mind that there are different types of audiences: customers, shareholders, and employees. The message you deliver may vary depending on who you are talking to, but the tone should always be sensitive and empathetic.
- Change Your Tune – Depending on what crisis you’re facing, it may no longer be appropriate to stick with the same messaging and pitches you had planned, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find other messaging that works. Find topics and content that is relevant to the current situation and share what’s appropriate. You may have to switch gears, but you don’t want your communication to cut off completely, whether that’s with the public or internally.
- Share What You’re Doing – How are you responding to the crisis? Have you changed the way you’re internally operating? Are you partnering with other businesses? Are you volunteering your time or services? Whatever it is that you are doing to assist during this crisis, spread the news through social media, email newsletters, press releases, pitches, etc. When you share what you’re doing with your public, you are presenting an opportunity for two-way communication and feedback.
- Stay Positive – While you are navigating how to make it through a crisis, it’s best to stay positive for your audience. Share encouraging messages, listen to the concerns of your customers and investors, offer support and guidance, showcase what your team members are doing, and don’t lose sight of the future.
If you are a brand and need help crafting the correct messaging during a difficult time, we are more than happy to work with you. Communicating during a crisis can be stressful, but remember, we are all in this together.