Communicating in a crisis – a quick checklist

Our founder Skye Tipler shared her experience and tips for communicating in a crisis thoughtfully, strategically and with empathy as part of B Corp Australia’s Friday Connect webinar series – here are a few top tips to live by.

1. Name it appropriately.
Is it a crisis, an issue or a smaller matter that needs to be addressed? We are living under a blanket ‘crisis’, how can we lower the intensity day to day and not create more mini crisis situations?

ACTION: Consider the challenge at hand – see if you can find a name and some language that reduces the impact/stress levels for you and your audiences. If you have reframed the ‘challenge’ in your mind and come to it from a calm and considered space, you will be able to create an upgraded response.

2. Respond at the appropriate level with the appropriate language.
If we’ve downgraded our matter from a crisis to an ‘short-term issue’ then find the corresponding language.

ACTION: Consider the challenge at hand – see if you can find a name and some language that reduces the impact/stress levels for you and your audiences. If you have reframed the ‘challenge’ in your mind and come to it from a calm and considered space you will be able to create an upgraded response that generates better outcomes both internally and externally.

3. Consider all stakeholders and reflect on communication priorities.
Assign appropriate weight and effort to your internal and external audiences.

ACTION: Create a master narrative and a stakeholder matrix that tailors the master narrative to each audience. The master narrative will serve as the basis for all communications but obviously there are nuances/bespoke messaging for each group you need to communicate to.

4. Check your channels.
What channels are available to communicate your message and are they appropriate?

ACTION: Assess the channels you have available to you to communicate to your audiences. What is the best vehicle for your message? This is especially relevant for internal communications and sensitive matters. Also consider timing – traditional working hours have been turned on their head, what are the implications of this for your messaging?

5. Craft and curate your communications
Respond (not react) with the goldilocks combination of reality and inspiration.

ACTION: The seeds of the new paradigm are being planted – what we value and how we relate to the world is being challenged. A spotlight is being shone on our interdependence and we need to consider the implications of everything we do, including how we communicate. We need to upgrade our language and use it to create a new narrative. It is important at this time that we are real, transparent and clear. It is also important that whilst so much is uncertain, as business leaders we provide a platform for inspiration, contemplation and creativity – how can we respond from the ‘power of love’ instead of the ‘love of power’.

6. Get a sense check
Ask someone who is not too close to what is being communicated to check your communications for tone and clarity.

ACTION: It’s valuable to get an outside perspective what is clear to you may not be to others. This is especially important given some of the sensitive and difficult communications we are having to create as business owners.

 Click here for a downloadable PDF version of the checklist