Let’s face it, most of us are feeling gobsmacked at the moment. A few weeks ago, we were working away as normal then boom, suddenly we weren’t. Key workers are racking up ridiculous hours keeping people safe, alive and fed whilst many other businesses and services are now either temporarily closed or being operated from home.
Whatever extreme end of the current situation organisations, charities and businesses find themselves at, communication has never been more critical. Those battling the effects of the virus head on need to keep the rest of us aware of what’s happening and those who suddenly find themselves without a normal working routine should be reminding customers and clients they are still around. Direct physical contact is obviously a no-no but there are plenty of other ways to keep in touch. Here are our top tips on how to do that well:
- Let them know you’re still there. We’ve all fallen into the trap of doing, rather than planning, because we have been too busy. There’s no excuse for a lot of us now. Take the opportunity to think about who you should be communicating with and how best to do that. Customers, guests, clients, suppliers, stakeholders, donors? Let them know what’s happening. Keep the relationship warm so, when all this is over, you can pick up where you left off.
- Get those messages out. Whether you’re on the frontline or not, keep people updated on what you’re doing. There is a huge media appetite for positive stories (coronavirus or not) and if you need any sort of help (volunteers, paid temporary staff, specific equipment etc) now is the time to shout.
- Watch your tone. With millions of us in lockdown, content really is king. This is a golden opportunity to engage your audiences but choose your words carefully. A sentence typed out in haste might not have the impact you’re hoping for if the tone or language are wrong. Focus on what you’re writing, read it out loud and, if you can, get someone else to check it.
- Walk away. Emotions are running high for obvious reasons and it’s easy to get riled or take offence. Don’t make the mistake of immediately responding – especially where social media is concerned. Take a breath, walk away and think about it. Be the better person and, above all, be kind.
- Do things differently. Everything we took for granted is in turmoil, so this is the perfect opportunity to get creative. Never really got your head around a particular communication platform? With so many online and offline channels out there, this could be the time to learn. Whatever you choose to do, though, remember we’re in the midst of a crisis that in one way or another, is affecting us all. Be human and personal in your approach, not corporate or salesy. Perceived sensitivity and honesty about what’s happening is likely to get a better response than trying to pretend everything is normal.
- Follow through. If you’re going to make a grand, public gesture don’t risk it backfiring by not following through on your promises. Offering something for free is wonderful, but don’t get caught out charging others over-the-top prices to fund what you’ve done. Reputation is everything – think hard before you act.
- Be professional. The way you communicate is a reflection of your brand and good content takes time and effort to produce. Don’t let yourself or your company down with bad spelling, grammar or phrasing.
- Don’t be smug. If you’re in the enviable position of thriving during this crisis, please don’t brag about it. Expressing empathy with the situation people find themselves in is a much more attractive approach than boastfulness. Even better, use your good fortune as a way of helping others.
If you need our help with any of the above, please get in touch.
Take care and stay safe.