The coronavirus and its impact on business is top of mind, as information is changing by the minute.
When communicating how the coronavirus is affecting your company, your employees and the external audiences you serve, here are five important factors to keep in mind:
- Assess your available internal and external communications channels and choose the best mix to reach your audiences. How are you using your email list? Social channels? Be prepared to communicate on all channels, and be ready to adapt as you analyze where your audiences are most engaged.
- Communicate internally first. Best practice is to inform your internal audience before or at the same time as sending public updates. Your staff, clients and vendors would prefer to hear it directly from you than through the media. Consider providing talking points for your internal audiences, or key leaders, so their message is consistent when communicating your message to others.
- Carefully plan your messaging and its delivery. Be honest and empathetic as you develop your messaging. Stick to the facts and defer specifics related to the outbreak to the public health authorities.
- Be prepared to answer common questions. You can predict most common questions and prepare responses accordingly. Keep in mind, most people want to know “how does this impact ME?”
- If you haven’t reviewed your crisis plan in a while, now is the time.
For more information on the coronavirus and how to communicate about it, consider the following resources:
- PRSA Chair T. Garland Stansell on Communicating During the Coronavirus Outbreak
- Latest updates from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus webpage
- Latest updates from the World Health Organization
Account Director Joe Ferlito, VP of Strategy Nikki Little and President Tina Kozak contributed to this post.