Empathy, Solidarity, Leadership: How to communicate in a crisis

How leaders communicate has a huge impact on how well we will deal with this crisis. We have seen many great examples in recent weeks – those who lift our spirits, treat citizens as adults, and help protect the public. 

Unfortunately we have also seen some counterproductive and even divisive statements. For those of us who are called upon to communicate in this crisis – be it with our teams, business partners or the public – please keep the following principles of communication in mind: Empathy – Solidarity – Leadership. 

Below, I share some of my best advice for how to communicate effectively and with compassion during a crisis. 

#1 – How should a CEO communicate?

How should a leader communicate correctly in a crisis? This video outlines how you too can be an empathetic and strong leader when discussing difficult topics such as a pandemic or economic crisis. 

Watch the video here

#2 – Prepare for A Crisis Now

The key to dealing with a crisis is preparation. The key elements to creating a crisis communications manual include: 

1. Create a written manual (including chain of command, logistics etc) 

2. Think about scenario planning (what could go wrong) 

3. Get pre-approved statements for external & internal communications 

4. Update your contact database (including stakeholders & journalists) 

Watch the video here

# 3 – Train Your Team Now

Clear communication is key in a crisis and it is essential to train your team in advance. It is important that your executives & spokespeople get adequate crisis communications training before a crisis occurs. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail, so make sure your team is adequately prepared to communicate on a crisis. 

Watch the video here

#4 – Three Things To Keep In Mind (And Avoid)

There is no quick fix to the perfect crisis communications strategy, but there are a few things to keep in mind. These are the fundamental principles to remember and avoid when communicating in a crisis:

Remember the 3 A’s: Acknowledge – Apologise – Act 

Avoid the 3 D’s: Deny – Diminish – Deflect 

Watch the video here

#5 – How to turn a crisis into an opportunity

Nobody wants to deal with a crisis. But when it happens, this can still be an opportunity for your organisation to show empathy, solidarity and emerge stronger. The event plus your response is what determines the outcome. So remember to communicate often, be transparent and rebuild trust as quickly as possible. 

Watch the video here

How you communicate in times of uncertainty can truly make or break your company. Ensure that you emerge stronger from a crisis by following this advice. 

Want to know more about crisis communications? Discover our approach here

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