Communication Skills During Times of Crisis
By Caroline Assalian
Communication is vital to the success of any organization. However, there is perhaps no more important time for adequate communication than when an organization is facing a crisis. Here are the necessary communication skills for times of crisis and more.
The Importance of Communications Skills in Times of Crisis in the Workplace
When a crisis occurs in the workplace, communication is key for managing the situation. Lack of crisis management communication skills or basic communication strategies can lead to:
- Team member being confused about the situation
- Issues with the team being frustrated or worried about the crisis
- Problems with the inadvertent spread of misinformation due to speculation
The longer communication about a crisis is delayed, the more unstable and complicated the situation can get.
Necessary Crisis Communication Strategies
How you communicate about a crisis matters tremendously. Check out these necessary crisis communication strategies.
Be Equipped – Prepare for Communication in Advance
Before communication begins, work to gather the facts of the situation. Get a good understanding of the crisis and how the implications of that crisis could play out in the future. Look into rumors among the team or from outside sources, so they can be discussed openly and candidly. A well-built crisis management communication plan will mean whoever is disclosing information will be equipped to share facts and answer questions.
Be Proactive – Discuss the Crisis Early On
In a time of crisis that directly affects the team, the last thing you want is to have the team get information from outside sources. According to a poll conducted by Deloitte Advisory, 30% of respondents said that team members were most likely to be overlooked during times of company crisis. If team members are finding out details from outside sources, this breeds mistrust and panic but also amplifies misinformation. Communication should be from the inside out. Make it a priority to discuss things with the team before discussing anything with outside sources and act quickly to address the situation.
Be Honest – Practice Complete Transparency
It can be natural to want to downplay or sidestep the facts when a company is facing a crisis in an effort to keep everyone calm. However, there is no substitute for the truth when it comes to crisis communication strategies. While it is important to build a communication strategy that pins down what you will discuss and what you won’t, whatever you do share should be transparent, clear, and honest. If there are aspects of the crisis you are yet to figure out, don’t be afraid to share that with the team.
Be Considerate – Engage the Audience and Appreciate Their Concerns
This is where true communications skills will be absolutely valuable. During a time of company crisis, the team can express a lot of emotions, such as anxiety about what is to come or even anger or frustration about the situation. The leaders meant to discuss the crisis must be well-equipped as communicators. These individuals must:
- Be visibly trustworthy and candid
- Be consistent in their statements and responses
- Understand how speaking tone and body language affect perceptions
- Be mindful of team member emotions and outlooks
- Have the ability to engage with the team and value their input
Grow Your Team with Communication Skills Training from Learn2
If your organization is in the process of developing a crisis management plan to be proactive for the future, communication skills for times of crisis are invaluable. Our team of professionals can help develop a communication skills strategy that can be adapted to your organization and the crises you might face. Connect with us to find out how our communication skills training programs can arm your team with the skills they need.
DISCOVER YOUR NATURAL COMMUNICATION STYLE.
Each person has a natural communication style. Understanding yours can and will impact how effective you are when dealing with friends, co-workers and clients.