As I sit in my home office and write during a state mandated lockdown due to COVID-19, it is impossible to escape the reality of this unprecedented time in our country. Churches have been forced to move their services online and many companies have either temporarily closed their doors or have moved their staff to full-time remote work until restrictions are lifted.
And for a select group of businesses considered essential and life-sustaining, which include those in healthcare and grocery stores, their doors are open as they continue to serve our communities.
This is an uncertain time for all of us, and the importance of effective and clear communication is at an all-time high. Your organization should focus on communication between you and your stakeholders, employees, target audience, and overall community.
But I must ask: How effective has your organization’s communication been during this crisis?
Here are 3 things to consider as you communicate, both internally and externally, during this and any crisis:
Have a Current Crisis Management Plan
If you already have a plan, take the time now to review and make any necessary adjustments as you roll it out within your organization.
If you do not have a Crisis Management Plan in place, it is not too late. Take the time now to create one that you can expand upon later. It is best to be as proactive as possible, even if you are reacting to a crisis.
Communicate Your Plan Internally First
It is important that your employees, stakeholders, and volunteers hear directly from you first. Ensure that everyone within your organization understands your message and its impact so that all communications, internally and externally, are consistent.
Designate a spokesperson or a team of people who will communicate your message externally. It is a good idea to have a team of at least two or three people cross-trained in case something happens to your spokesperson, or as an effort to communicate to a greater number of people more quickly and effectively.
Use Technology to Communicate Your Message
Create a central location on your organization’s website for all current information regarding the crisis. Carry over this communication onto social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as any sort of email platform you use. Be sure to continuously update all platforms as communications are updated or changed. You want to ensure your audience is receiving the most up-to-date message from your organization.
And remember, it is okay to over-communicate during a crisis. People crave information and connection.
Amid times of crisis, remember that it is always best for your organization to stay as ahead of the information as possible. You will serve your employees and audience well when you take a proactive approach toward communication.
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