When communicating in a crisis, ask: Who says what, when and how?

Outreach to your employees is your first priority, as they deserve to know what’s happening, and they can serve as trusted brand advocates. Those key questions will keep things on track.

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March 9, 2020, was an interesting day, to say the least. On that day, the stock market started to plummet, and through the next several weeks the Dow Jones Industrial Average experienced its largest point plunge ever.

That marked the start of the pandemic for the U.S.

Although we’re still in the midst of it, we’ve all seen the good and bad stories of how companies responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. Crisis communication is different from any other type of communication due to the urgency of the situation.

There are three crucial aspects of crisis communication:

Not every employee should receive every message in an emergency. In some situations, it makes a lot of sense to have corporate-wide communication, but in most cases, it doesn’t. Sometimes, the same message is best expressed in three different ways for three different audiences. In the end, it all comes down to preparation. All of this should be documented and, ideally, tested before an actual crisis hits.

Who says what?

Communicators know that the messenger matters, that they are part of the message. Consider the origin and intent of the communication. Who has the authority to communicate the message most effectively? In crafting or executing a crisis communication plan, your communications team should be composed of:

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