Here’s what goes into an actionable, compassionate holding statement

When tragedy inevitably strikes, be ready.

Here's how to craft a compassionate holding statement during times of crisis or tragedy

One of any communications department’s most critical roles is to prepare a statement in times of tragedy for both internal and external audiences. And, especially for those of us in the United States, there has been no shortage of occasions to put those skills into action lately.

But even if you’ve prepared holding statements, you’ll likely have to adjust on the fly. And there will be unforeseen circumstances you won’t be able to plan for. In the heat and noise of an urgent, tragic situation, it can be difficult to know where to even begin with your work of drafting the statement that strikes the right tone.

Kena Lewis, director of public affairs & media relations for Orlando Health, created a template to help you quickly create a base statement in times of sorrow.How to draft a compassion statement

(Image via RaganTraining)

By mixing and matching these phrases, you can create a draft that you can then customize with information that adds specifics and appeals most to your target audiences. Don’t leave it at just the bare facts if you can help it — if you’re mourning a shooting in your area, add a key phrase that evokes togetherness. If you’re discussing a death within the organization, add a line about the person who passed.

And above all, remember that the action statement is always the most important portion of a statement. Even if you don’t know much, tell people what your next steps will be. If you can, include specifics on when you will follow up, and stick to it.

Drafting these statements is never easy, but this guide can make it a bit simpler.

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