There are many channels of communication, and it's important to reach your audience on the appropriate channel. In this video, learn how to draft a process for notifying each audience.
- Emails, texts, television, online. These are just a few of the communication channels you might use every day, and they might be the first channels you think of using for contacting your audiences during and after a crisis. However, the people on your crisis communication team aren't the only ones doing the communicating. A large part of your response involves listening and monitoring the channels your audiences are using. You're not just communicating a response to a crisis. You're assessing and responding to the communication surrounding the crisis. Let's take a look at just a few more communication channels your audience might be likely to use during an emergency. For example, let's imagine a fire in your place of business. The first report of the crisis was probably in person. Someone undoubtedly shouted, "Fire!" and this alert was probably repeated and quickly spread by word of mouth. Someone else pulled an alarm to alert even more people of danger. An employee may have used her desk phone to call for firefighters and emergency responders. Public safety officials conducted crowd control with bullhorns and sirens. People who escaped unharmed used their mobile phones to call or text their families. They also may have used their phones to take photos or post their status online. Family and friends may repost this information online at multiple websites. Reporters arrive to share the dramatic scene on television, radio, online, or in print. Your usual company voicemail message or switchboard message may change to let incoming callers know why there may be a delay. And finally, your facility staff may be texting or emailing alerts to employees using a special emergency response system. Those are just a few of the communication channels that you might typically find and use during a crisis. After the crisis, you'll undoubtedly identify quite a few others. You'll often see a company internet update to let employees know about fire prevention, safety, and repair. The company's public online presence may be updated with pertinent information as well. Company leaders may write emails or letters to customers, suppliers, and investors. Front desk receptionists and switchboard employees will personally handle incoming phone calls and in-person demands. Electronic signage throughout your building may need to be updated with new information. A company representative will meet with investigators to provide information in person, on the phone, and online. Your company may also need to address the mainstream media and the public with an update on the investigation and the return to normal operations. When you need to communicate with a variety of audiences, you'll need to consider the channels they typically use. The flow of information during a crisis is multi-directional. This means that all audiences are sending and receiving information and misinformation at a fast pace, using a variety of devices. Conduct an inventory of all the communication channels you have at your disposal at your place of business. Decide which channels your audience will be most likely to use, and give some thought as to how you'll use them to listen and respond to each threat that you've identified. As you complete this communication channel inventory, also make a note of what's missing that might be necessary. For example, if you don't have an emergency alert text notification system, do you need one? Or do you have another effective communication channel in place for your audience? Or if you don't have electronic signage throughout your building, how else might you plan to update your employees after the crisis has passed? Take some time to note a brief inventory of what communication channels might be missing, as well as the channels you're most likely to use for each audience during and after every identified crisis.
- Define crisis.
- Explain how to respond quickly and confidently.
- Identify different audiences in crisis.
- Assess technical and physical resources.
- Describe how to establish a chain of command.
- Develop hold statements.
- Identify how to avoid common crisis response mistakes.
- Review your crisis communication response.