Healthy, Effective Risk Communication Tips
Using communication strategies to save lives and lessen risk
We are all in the midst of new territory with COVID-19. Our teams, stakeholders, clients and customers are concerned – not just for their own health, but for the disruption in work, services and daily life.
As we’ve observed, communication – clear, consistent and meaningful communication – is reported by the World Health Organization to saves lives and lessen risk. It also provides comfort and reassurance to audiences who need it more than ever.
How are you talking to your teams and customers? Here are some top tips for making sure your message is crafted, delivered and received in the most effective ways possible:
Communicating with Consistency: We’ve heard about message consistency in branding/strategy, as in this article titled Why consistent messaging to stakeholders is important, and the same applies to risk communication. In the effort to provide information fast, organizations may rely on management and staff to deliver quick messaging via spoken word, email, or via Skype/Zoom/Slack. The benefit to this style is that it is dispatched immediately and acutely. The downside to this method is reliance on the individual to properly transmit the message without their own bias, fear or lack thereof. The size of the company can also greatly impact the consistency of a message.
Remedy: A video message, audio message, or even prepared speech can ensure communication is delivered exactly as intended. Though the creation time can take longer than a 30-minute writing session, the message will be vetted and tested before being sent out to the world.
Dealing with Iteration: Things are changing rapidly right now, and guidance from last week may no longer be as relevant. How can you keep updating while also not overtaxing your audience or risk them viewing out of date info?
Remedy: By building a video template package, your video production team can quickly request updates that can be implemented and updated to match your urgency. Keeping a running historical list of your video updates on your news page ensures that people can view the latest messages while seeing where the older ones fit into their communications timeline.
Leveraging Clarity: There is so much information available to take in, it’s getting confusing for people to differentiate what’s important and what isn’t. It’s also the challenge in risk communication – to take the message defined in our board rooms and boil it down to the most important points.
Remedy: Distillation is a specialty, and it’s often easier to achieve with an objective/outside specialist who understands HOW to distill as well as WHEN. Your planned communications may have every piece of information needed, but with time being a commodity, it’s important that you don’t bog down the critical info. Consider partnering with a professional who can quickly and expertly define the messaging for the public.
Providing Reassurance: We’re all worried. It’s important to acknowledge the gravity of the situation while also making your audience aware of measures your company is taking to combat risk and ensure safety. Studies have shown that the emotion attached to a memory is more compelling in the recall of that memory, like this article from Frontiers in Psychology. As leaders, your goal should be infusing comfort and encouragement along with critical information.
Remedy: Tone and positioning still matter. It’s important for your customers and your employees to know your company cares, is taking appropriate measures, and has the interest of the public at heart. Take a moment to remember your company’s mission, and how it ties into the current situation.
It’s a reactive time, and we’re all in this together. Take care of yourselves, your people and your business as humanly and professionally as you can. Let experts in knowledge communication help ease the burden of messaging and infuse some hope and confidence into your brand, so your leadership can deliver on those safety promises.
Hotbed Media is uniquely positioned to offer this expertise in knowledge communication, using corporate video production, graphic design, audio communications and many other platforms to strategize, craft, distribute and reinforce your most important messaging. We possess a unique ability to distill a message down to its most critical points and craft it in a way that impacts its audience. If you would like to discuss possibilities, please contact us. We’re happy to talk.