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How To… Crisis communication

The ten rules of crisis communication

Even if not everything really escalates into a business-critical situation in this age of permanent global crises and constant excitement, the environment has clearly become more difficult.

Peter Jordan
17. October 2023
Crisis communication

Resilience also includes being able to deal with critical situations professionally – and informing one’s own stakeholders about this approach. This is the legitimate expectation of all those involved and the public. Successful crisis communication should follow the following rules:

1. short-term

By starting communication immediately, you show that you take your stakeholders’ information expectations seriously – and their concerns about the immediate impact on them.

2. correct

Everything you say is true. If you do not know everything during the clarification, do not speculate. A first piece of false information destroys the credibility of everything else you will say.

3. clear

What you say is understandable and not ambiguous. This is especially true when there is not yet much to say. Communicating with smoke and mirrors will only cause you to lose your way.

4. concrete

Be as specific as possible – because you are initially interested in what you actually intend to do in the crisis. The focus underlines your interest in a real case solution.

5. compact

Don’t hide behind long and rambling descriptions or side issues. The length and wording of your information should reflect what you have to say in terms of content. This is the only way your statements will be taken seriously.

6. continuous

They do not break off communication and determine the state of information. After all, diving away and ostrich politics can create a vacuum in perception that is quickly filled with speculation.

7. consistently

You can be measured by your ability to talk about what is possible. Even if you may not be allowed to say everything, if only for legal reasons. In this way, you build lasting trust in your statements.

8. able to take criticism

You are naturally self-critical when something has happened in your company. And your understanding of critical views from the outside underlines your concern – and therefore your credibility in every step you take to overcome the critical situation.

9. constructive

In most cases, the crisis can only be solved together, which is why we talk to the outside world. Messages that are not coordinated not only dilute the external image, they also jeopardize the important cooperation required to overcome the crisis.

10. in the future

What can be learned from dealing with the crisis for all the cases that could arise in a similar way at your company or other companies in the future? Talk about it – it shows empathy and understanding. And last but not least, it is the final signal that you can continue to trust your company in the future.

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