What Do Businesses Need to Know Right Now About Communicating in a Crisis?

We are definitely reeling from all that is happening currently. People are experiencing pandemic fatigue, as well as Zoom fatigue. And communication can sometimes be tiring. But it’s absolutely crucial to stay ahead of the curve.

We’re now moving through the crisis. I always say have a plan “A” and a plan “B” and prepare. It’s like preparing an editorial calendar. You need to be asking yourself:

  • What do you need to think about three to six months out?
  • What are things going to look like?

And then plan for that.

Planning is so important for all organizations.

If you were unable to plan for the crisis we’re currently in, I hope you’ve now learned something so that you can take your efforts and clearly communicate effectively moving forward.

For public relations, that starts with internal communications. Everybody in your organization needs to know what’s going on at all times. Clear, consistent content and communication build a community. Every organization is a community unto itself. An organization needs to be clear on their who, what, where, when, why, how, purpose, and mission.

Silos within organizations cause a breakdown, and when leadership is not effectively communicating, that’s where the breakdown comes in – and the fear. You won’t be productive in your leadership efforts, and your employees are going to be afraid and insecure. Giving them a plan of how you’re going to be moving forward provides reassurance.

Compassion and empathy are also huge attributes of leaders that will rise above this pandemic and be seen in a positive light.

“What are your internal business communications like? Are they effective? Do they make your employees feel valued and included? When you have effective internal communications, you will benefit from faster and more efficient response times during a crisis.”.

What are people who are communicating successfully doing right now that makes them stand out?

The successful leaders I see are transparent, honest, and tell their employees what the plan is. They want to take care of them and keep them safe. This is really important.

The Y of Central Maryland is an excellent example. Their CEO has done a really beautiful job of sending out wonderful emails to the community and he’s grateful and thankful. He did a great town hall meeting, and his passion and warmth came right through the Zoom call. He has the characteristics of a solid leader.

“Transparent communication is key at any time, but especially during a crisis. Yet, how does someone go about building that transparency? Ask yourself if you and your team:

  • Communicate
  • Are honest with one another
  • Give each other feedback
  • Respect one another
  • Admit you are wrong when appropriate

Which of these things are you doing well? Where do you need to put in some work? When these things are happening, you have transparent communication in your business.”

What is the benefit of having somebody dedicated to PR for an organization?

I love the term “insourcing.” If your organization cannot hire an in-house PR staff, it’s best to hire an experienced consultant to help your organization rise above the competition. Without any PR, you risk lacking visibility, consistency, and credibility in your messaging.

When organizations disappear from the public eye, you don’t assume the best. You assume the worst.

“Not every business can afford to hire an in-house PR person, but there are consultants who work with smaller businesses every day. They can help you stay visible, consistent, and credible – and can be there to help you in a crisis. Do you have a PR person?”

3 Action Steps

  1. Create a plan for internal communications so that everyone in your business knows what’s going on at all times.
  2. Ensure that all of your communication is transparent and honest.
  3. Enlist the aid of a consultant to assist your business with a PR strategy to help you rise above the competition.

Connect with Jennifer at https://jlmstrategiccommunications.com/

Please comment below. I would love to hear from you.

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