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  • Writer's pictureDebra Woneky

Crisis Communications 101

Updated: Mar 29, 2023

In light of some of the tumultuous events in corporate America, I decided to write a general overview of my thoughts on how all types of organizations can communicate to their stakeholders during a crisis. I hope you enjoy my thoughts.

A crisis can come in many forms, such as natural disasters, financial scandals, cyber-attacks, or public health emergencies like pandemics. When an organization faces a crisis, it can damage its reputation and cause significant financial and operational damage. Therefore, effective corporate communication is crucial to mitigate these risks and minimize the impact on the organization.

In this blog post, I will discuss the importance of corporate communications during a crisis and the best methods a company can use to convey an effective message that strikes a balance between being responsibly tactful without compromising being informative.

Why is Corporate Communications Important During a Crisis?

Corporate communications are the messages and activities that an organization uses to communicate with its internal and external stakeholders. In a crisis, communication becomes even more critical as stakeholders need information to make informed decisions.

Here are a few reasons why corporate communications are essential during a crisis:

  1. Control the Narrative: Effective corporate communication can help control the narrative and prevent misinformation or rumors from spreading. During a crisis, people are often anxious and fearful, and accurate information can help alleviate these fears.

  2. Protect Reputation: A crisis can damage an organization's reputation, and effective communication can help protect it. If an organization is perceived as being transparent and responsive during a crisis, it can help mitigate the damage to its reputation.

  3. Reassure Stakeholders: Stakeholders, including employees, customers, and investors, need reassurance during a crisis. Effective communication can help reassure stakeholders that the organization is taking appropriate steps to manage the crisis.

  4. Maintain Business Continuity: A crisis can disrupt business operations, and effective communication can help maintain business continuity. If stakeholders have accurate information, they can make informed decisions that can help the organization continue to operate.

Best Methods for Corporate Communications During a Crisis

During a crisis, it's crucial to strike a balance between being informative without sharing too much information. Sharing too little information can lead to confusion and speculation, while sharing too much information can lead to panic and damage the organization's reputation.

Here are a few best methods for corporate communications during a crisis:

  1. Develop a Crisis Communications Plan: A crisis communications plan is a comprehensive document that outlines how the organization will communicate during a crisis. It should include a list of key stakeholders, communication channels, messaging, and roles and responsibilities.

  2. Be Transparent: Transparency is crucial during a crisis. It's essential to share accurate and timely information with stakeholders. If there is any uncertainty, it's better to be transparent about what is known and what is not known.

  3. Use Multiple Communication Channels: During a crisis, it's essential to use multiple communication channels to reach stakeholders. This can include email, social media, press releases, and direct communication with employees.

  4. Coordinate with Stakeholders: During a crisis, it's crucial to coordinate with stakeholders, including employees, customers, investors, and regulators. It's essential to communicate with these stakeholders regularly and provide updates on the situation.

  5. Provide Actionable Information: During a crisis, it's essential to provide stakeholders with actionable information. This can include instructions on what to do, where to go, and what to expect.

  6. Empathize with Stakeholders: During a crisis, it's essential to empathize with stakeholders. Acknowledge their concerns and fears, and provide reassurance that the organization is taking appropriate steps to manage the crisis.

  7. Be Prepared to Adapt: During a crisis, the situation can change rapidly, and it's essential to be prepared to adapt the communication strategy accordingly. This can include updating messaging, changing communication channels, or providing additional information as it becomes available.

I hope my overview and suggestions are helpful as you contemplate your approach to crisis communcation.

If there's anything I can do to help please feel free to contact me. I love sharing ideas and being of serivce.

Debra Woneky

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