I have seen some brilliant emails and posts in the last few days – from my local Indian restaurant, Haweli, to Sainsbury’s, to other small business owners like me. It doesn’t matter if you’re big or small; clear, regular and relevant communications are critical.
As we all adjust to the new “normal” personally and “business as usual” professionally, it occurred to me that there are some really simple tips for communicating in a crisis.
- Be honest. Tell your employees, customers, suppliers, clients, media what you know, even if it’s difficult news.
- Keep it simple – talk human not corporate.
- Focus on who you are talking to. Tell them what they need to know, put yourself in their shoes.
- Commit to regular updates as soon as you have them and DO IT. Don’t let your staff, media, customers get their information about you somewhere else.
- Include details about where people should go for the latest information and how they should get in contact with you if they have questions.
- Be swift in correcting or calling out any fake news or misinformation.
- Be consistent across different channels – emails, customer service line, social platforms, face-to-face (screen-to-screen!) conversations.
- Some things are better delivered in person. Think about using video content/streaming for greater impact.
- Don’t be afraid to say I don’t know. No one has all the answers, acknowledge where you don’t know and commit to trying to find the answer.
- Give yourself a break, if you’re doing the comms for the whole organisation ask for support, you need fresh air, sleep and down time, specially if we’re in this for the long haul.
Lots of us are going to need advice and maybe even the odd shoulder to cry on, if you’d like to get in touch you know where we are.