For those of us serving as a communications specialist for a small business, perhaps the business owner, an employee, a volunteer — remember that we’re in uncharted territory. Take a deep breath and know that what you are doing is vitally important and immeasurably appreciated. No matter the circumstance, there are principles of crisis communications to help guide you. While we all make our way through the first wave of this crisis, I hope this is helpful.
1. Stay organized and provide thoughtful and accurate information to your stakeholders. Everyone is receiving information at an unprecedented pace, just do your best.
2. Use tools available to you, be that video conferencing, text, email, or a combination. Put tools in place to have a strong chain of communication amongst your leadership team and an established and understood method for communicating “consistently” with your employees. For example, establishing a set time for press briefings and updates.
3. Be kind and compassionate. Every one of us is facing a tidal wave of emotions and stress. Our ability to stay calm and focused while delivering critical information to our employees, clients, family, neighbors, and community is both difficult and essential. Treat those around you with the kindness and patience we all need in a time of crisis.
I know there is so much to consider and to do, and this only scratches the surface. I do hope this is helpful though, even if only in a small way. Take a breath, go from task to task, and remember that we’ll get through this — together.