In times of challenge, change or crisis, research shows us that communication is key to keeping organizations and individuals on track. Right now, we are faced with ever-evolving conditions regarding COVID-19. As organizational leaders, here are five things we encourage you to do today, tomorrow and for the foreseeable future to help keep your teams and clients in the know:
- Don’t wait until you have all the answers
It’s OK to let your audiences know that you are not certain about what will happen next, but that you will keep them informed as things develop. They understand things are changing, but they do want to be in the loop. Don’t keep them waiting or guessing.
- Be honest and transparent
Your employees, customers and key audiences are nervous. Remind them that you will be forthright with what you do know and will share information to keep people safe and focused. Let them know what you can do to help them keep moving forward—and be straight if there are areas where you can’t.
- Inform your audiences of your protocols and actions
There’s a lot of confusion regarding recommendations for events, social distancing and timelines. Be clear of your expectations, policies and protocols—even if you have to change them as situations evolve. Do relay what you need from your employees and customers, specifically. This is a time to be clear, calm and concise.
- Communicate status regularly and often
Even if you don’t have new information, touch base with your audiences. Let your teams know you are thinking of them. Reach out to customers to see how they are doing. And if you can, have a virtual presence so that you remain visible. There are various ways to leverage your social platforms right now.
- Be available for questions
We learned the phrase “ministry of presence” in our work with a religious order. We share that phrase with you because simply being present—by phone, email, web meetings—is important. As you set the course for how your organization will respond during this situation, be present. Don’t wait for the questions to come to you. Reach out to individuals to check in. Your leadership, your ministry of presence, is needed now more than ever.
And if you need help communicating or just need a sounding board, we are here for you.