Communicating During a Crisis

The Director of Economic Development, Brian Tucker, speaking on new projects in Georgetown County.

As we know, this is a critical time for America and the industrial world. There have been many changes made in regard to staffing and work done. As much as these issues are concerning on an internal level, they can also be concerning to those on an external level. Community members are possibly looking to these industries for answers on how impactful this time is for their communities. This gives industrial managers a chance to look at communicating effectively with their communities.

The Marketing Director of Georgetown County’s Economic Development Department, Maya Morant, recalled a workshop she attended early this year, before COVID-19. One of the presentations was solely focused on communicating with impact and empathy during a crisis. 

In this presentation, there were nine key factors for creating this type of atmosphere:

The 10% rule and a clear message, emotions and facts, the power of three, compelling order of messages, powerful opening, the “ACC” strategy, the 3 “C” strategy, body language, and practice. 

 

The 10% Rule

With the 10% rule and a clear message, the key is to slow down when speaking. Make sure to speak with confidence and slow down 10% to keep from stumbling over your words. This also allows the speaker to thoroughly think about what they want to say, without worrying about missing key points in their message. 

Emotions & Facts

The second key factor is using emotions and facts. This is a way of connecting with the audience and allowing the speaker to communicate with empathy, making sure the connection is as organic as possible. When a speaker can get to know their audience and what they’re feeling, that can help the speaker fully connect with the situation and aid in making the message stick. 

The Power of Three

The power of three is a factor that correlates with the 10% rule. This refers to making sure the speaker’s message has three main points.
These points are used to keep the message intact and on topic. They are also used to make sure the speaker covers all components of the intended message. Included with the power of three is the next factor, compelling order of messages.

Compelling Order of Messages

This refers to how points of the message are presented. Most messages try to go in chronological order, but the best way to make sure the speaker’s message comes across clearly and concisely is to have the points in a compelling order. This type of order takes the approach of giving the audience a why, what, and how. The speaker will lay out the platform, create a vision, and then make a call to action. This ensures keeping the audience interested in the information being given, as well as, keeping them assured that everything will be handled in a positive manner. 

A Powerful Opening

Now, the fifth factor is probably the most important one when capturing an audience’s attention: Having a powerful opening. In general, a speaker has approximately 30-60 seconds to capture their audience’s attention, which is why it’s key to make sure you start off with a bang. The speaker can use this moment to give an interesting quote or ask the audience a question to pull them in. This is very useful to keep the audience engaged.

Aware, Care and Connect

Aside from a powerful opening, many opportunities given to speak on the industry’s situation during a crisis are impromptu. With this, the speaker can apply the “A-C-C strategy.” This means Aware, Care, and Connect. Awareness connects the speaker with the audience and shows they are alert about the situation. Care goes back to making the connection as organic as possible. The speaker must show that they care about their workers, as well as the audience’s opinions.

Now, using care also ties in with connecting. Showing empathy for the workers involved and the audience will give the speaker’s message a greater meaning. The speaker must develop a relationship with the audience so they understand that they’re not feeling what they’re feeling alone. 

The 3C Strategy

For the organized messages, the speaker can apply the “3 C” strategy. The “3 C” strategy is Control, Concern and Cooperation. This is typically used when the speaker is the spokesperson for the industry. Control is letting the audience know that the company has the situation in hand. Concern is showing empathy toward the audience to assure them that they’re on the same page. Cooperation is informing the audience that the situation is currently being worked on and giving the audience concrete information of who is working on it. 

Body Language and Practice

For the last two factors of relaying a clear message, body language and practice are the most important. With body language, focusing on the interviewer while speaking is imperative. It has to seem as though the speaker and interviewer are having a conversation. The speaker must always keep their hands at belt height and add in hand gestures to show emotion. It is also very important for the speaker to give off a positive demeanor. This is why practice is vital prior to speaking. If the speaker knows about the interview beforehand, it will give them time to prepare and make themselves comfortable with the topic. This makes it easier for the speaker to identify their mistakes and to carefully watch themselves so they do not stumble over their words. 

Using these tools in the industrial world now will help industries connect more with the communities affected. It will define a personal relationship and reassure them that things will be alright. Using empathy and impact to get a message thoroughly across will be beneficial to the industries when it is time for a crisis. It develops trust between the audience and speaker, as well as trust between the workers and the managers. 

One thought on “Communicating During a Crisis

  1. What a great word, I agree with you on all statements, by doing what you said will keep the audience’s attention and make them feel important and they will be willing to assist you. They will know that you’re not being selfish. I truly love it. I will definitely use it on tomorrow nite. I have to speak and I will use some of your pointers. Much Love Lil Sister

    Liked by 1 person

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