Keep Your Audience Informed

Doug Parkin, volunteer pediatrician from Arizona is seeing patients during his two month service at the Baptist Medical Center in Nalerigu, Ghana. [NIKON D2X, Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 800, 1/40, ƒ/2.8, (35mm = 42)]

Have you ever had to wait on diagnosis and they took forever at the hospital or doctors office?

Don’t do that to your team or customers.

Had the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control waited until they could put out a message that wouldn’t change, millions more could have died from COVID-19.

Your organization needs to be communicating during these times often and in all the messaging streams where your audience is for your organization.

Surgeon Danny Crawley reviews x-rays before he makes his early morning rounds visiting patients at the Baptist Medical Centre in Nalerigu, Ghana. [NIKON D2X, Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 800, 1/125, ƒ/2.8, (35mm = 34)]

Be Timely

The speed of your communication in today’s over connected digital society means if you are not telling your story everyone else will. By getting your message out right away shows your organization is aware of situation. You are ready to take this on.

Most important is that the audience is most likely interested in your message.

Surgeon Danny Crawley is in theatre giving a epidural prior to doing a hernia operation and Sandow Abarich, theatre assistant helps him at the Baptist Medical Centre in Nalerigu, Ghana. [NIKON D2X, 18.0-50.0 mm f/2.8, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 400, 1/200, ƒ/2.8, (35mm = 45)]

Acknowledge Uncertainty

I think while this might not be what you lead with in your messaging, it must be the fire for why you don’t procrastinate during a crisis.

Tell only what you know. Doing so in an empathetic voice is great way to acknowledge the frustration everyone is feeling.

When you go for surgery they have you sign a lot of papers acknowledging they may find something else in the process.

Don’t Over-Reassure

It is better to over-estimate the problem and then be able to say that the situation is better than first thought.

Surgeons doing a bone graft of lower part of leg for a little boy to hopefully help him keep his leg at the Hôpital Baptiste Biblique located in Tsiko, Togo, West Africa. [NIKON Z 6, 14.0-24.0 mm f/2.8, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 4500, 1/200, ƒ/4, (35mm = 17)]

What are you communicating?

This COVID-19 has put many people in a waiting room–waiting to hear from YOU.

A mass of people wait for medical treatment at the Baptist Medical Centre in Nalerigu, Ghana. [NIKON D2X, 18.0-50.0 mm f/2.8, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 400, 1/25, ƒ/2.8, (35mm = 27)]

This is one of the most important times in organizations history for the past 100 years for the need of communication.

Ross Cathy, the grandson of Truett Cathy opened his restaurant Midland FSR in Columbus, Georgia on September 29, 2011. These are all the operators who came that day to celebrate with him as well as Truett & Jeannette Cathy. [NIKON D3S, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 200, 1/160, ƒ/7.1, (35mm = 28)]

People need to know what your organization is doing and plan to do in the coming months. Be like the CDC and get your message out there. Let people know this is what you know right now and if changes happen you will communicate that as well to them.

So, what do people need to know? Assume they need to know what you will not be doing as well as what you will be doing.

Acknowledge fear, pain, suffering and uncertainty if they are genuine emotions for the situation. Always be as human as possible. You are building a relationship with your audience. Make sure that relationship is built on honesty and integrity.