Crisis communication skills play an important role in helping organizations to relay crucial information during an emergency situation.
With access to tried-and-tested communication strategies, experienced communicators can actually help to de-escalate crises.
If you want to become an articulate and practiced spokesperson who exudes confidence in stressful situations, then work on developing the following essential skills.
6 Key Skills For Communicating During A Crisis
Just like planning ahead for unforeseen circumstances in your own life, one should also have contingency plans in place for any company emergency.
A lot of important decisions will have to be made in a short span of time in the midst of a crisis. However, by planning ahead, you can put well-thought-out communication strategies in place. These will help you to be more decisive under pressure.
Planning for and during a crisis situation is important, but so is a little improvisation.
After all, no emergency situation stays static. For this reason, it’s important for communication experts to read the situation, react accordingly, and be flexible when it comes to adjusting their strategies.
If your first strategic approach is falling flat, don’t hesitate to organize a brainstorming session with your team to devise another plan.
Yes, being prepared will always be important, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay committed to your original strategy.
Each emergency situation is unique which is why it’s important to gather new information, consult with the people on the ground who are clued up with what’s happening, and if needed, adjust your communication strategy.
This means you have to be creative, adaptable, and think out of the box as the situation unfolds in order to remain in control of the emergency situation.
Crises can lead to knee-jerk reactions no matter the amount of expertise a communications expert may have. Thinking clearly in high-stress situations may not come naturally to all of us.
However, by taking the time to think through any big decisions that one has to make, you will lower the chances of worsening a crisis situation.
Practicing self-control means taking any emotion out of the decision-making process. You have to consider the facts dispassionately and thoroughly consider the consequences of each outcome.
Also, remember to run your ideas by your team so you can bounce your thought process off other people.
Apart from keeping all of the concerning parties up to date with what is going on throughout a crisis situation, you should also remember to convey empathy.
Whether your company is in the wrong or not, conveying empathy shows that you are willing to take responsibility to help get things back on track.
Not only does it show what company values your organization upholds, but it will also earn you more trust and credibility. People want to know that someone cares.
By letting everyone know that you are willing to do whatever it takes to rectify the situation, you are giving people the hope they need to get through any crisis.
Some crises can be complicated and may take longer to sort out. This means that your crisis communication strategy may become an ongoing project. As the situation plays itself out, you may need to adjust your strategy in order to ensure that accurate, reliable information is being filtered through the right channels.
Sometimes, an emergency situation may become worse before it gets better. This is where perseverance plays an important role. You’ve got to stay on top of your game until the situation is resolved.
This may require getting external help, growing your communications team, or simply reworking your communications strategy if the situation calls for it.
Whatever you decide to do, be sure to provide open, honest, and accurate information to the public and all stakeholders involved until the emergency has blown over.
Self-confidence is the most essential public relations skill, especially in an emergency situation.
If this is the first crisis that you’ve got to stay on top of, then you might not be feeling your most confident. If this is the case, don’t fret. A company emergency is just like any other tough situation that you’ve had to deal with in your own life.
To make things easier for you, remember to rely on the five C’s of communication:
- Be clear
- Remain cohesive
- Give the complete account
- Be concise
- Remain concrete
By doing this, you will seem more confident (even if you’re not.) Nothing builds confidence like going through a tough situation and realizing that you can handle it!
By being prepared, practicing self-control, showing you care, being decisive, and incorporating some creative flair, you’ll be able to handle any company emergency.
You can help your company recover from a public relations crisis by following these simple communication tips and getting through the crisis.