Effective communication is crucial during a crisis to manage and provide information to those affected. Asking the right questions can help you gather the information required to develop a crisis communication plan and ensure all stakeholders are informed and involved in the response effort. Here are some key questions to consider when managing a crisis from a communication standpoint:
1. What happened? – This is the first question that needs to be answered to provide clarity on the nature and extent of the crisis. It’s essential to have accurate and timely information to prevent rumours and misinformation from spreading.
2. Who is affected? – Identify the stakeholders who may be affected by the crisis, including employees, customers, suppliers, partners, and the community. This will help you develop a communication plan that addresses their needs and concerns.
3. What are their needs and concerns? – Understanding the needs and concerns of the affected stakeholders is critical to developing an effective crisis communication plan. What information do they need? How can you address their concerns? What support can you provide?
4. Who will communicate with whom? – Determine who will communicate with various stakeholders, including employees, customers, media, and the community. Make sure you have designated spokespeople who are trained in crisis communication.
5. What channels will be used to communicate? – Identify the communication channels that will be used to reach stakeholders, such as email, phone, social media, website, and media outlets. Make sure the channels are appropriate for the audience and the message.
6. When will the information be shared? – Develop a timeline for sharing information with stakeholders. This should include regular updates as the situation evolves.
7. What is the message? – Craft a clear and concise message that addresses the crisis and provides relevant information to stakeholders. The message should be tailored to the audience and the communication channel.
8. How will the message be delivered? – Determine the best way to deliver the message, such as through a press release, statement, video, or social media post.
9. How will feedback and questions be addressed? – Establish a process for addressing feedback and questions from stakeholders, such as a hotline, email address, or social media account.
10. How will the crisis be evaluated, and what can be learned? – Evaluate the response to the crisis and identify areas for improvement. Use this information to update crisis communication plans and improve response efforts in the future.
Effective crisis communication involves asking the right questions, developing a clear and concise message, and delivering it through appropriate channels to stakeholders at the right time. It also involves ongoing evaluation and improvement of crisis communication plans to ensure that organizations are prepared to manage future crises.