- In an ideal world your team will meet at least weekly to be briefed, share information and ask questions. However, despite the best intentions, that doesn’t always happen. If you haven’t caught up with your team for a while and have been caught out by Covid-19, this is a good opportunity to put something in place.
- What is your story? This is one of the first things we ask clients but often there is no consistent message. Discover and define your story, write it down and communicate it. This includes your mission and vision, your core values and your higher purpose Purpose-Driven Companies Evolve Faster Than Others.
- Communications have historically been top down but they shouldn’t be. Before working up your plan, ask your team what they would like to see in the plan and how they would like to be communicated with. Make sure they have the ability to feedback.
- Research what platforms are available to you and which ones might work in a crisis situation see Crisis Communications – a strategic approach. At Astley Media we swear by Google Docs/Drive where all of our documents, press releases, and spreadsheets are hosted and accessible to all. Zoom is a superb video-conferencing tool. Slack is like email but gives everyone a shared view of progress and purpose.
- Identify your ‘Plan Champions’. These don’t necessarily have to be senior staff or managers but your best communicators. These will be your Mavens Malcolm Gladwell – Mavens and the Tipping Point (or connectors). Keep them in the loop, seek their advice, ask what you do differently and refine, refine and refine your plan.
- Keep it simple: If you overload people with information. When writing a story journalists use what they call the ‘Inverted Pyramid’. Start with the key facts (the need to know) followed by any supplementary information (the nice to know). Take this approach with all of your internal communications.
- Make someone responsible for overseeing, updating and owning the plan. Make it an agenda item at your board meetings. It’s important!
In an exceptional situation like now you cannot communicate too much with your team. Here are seven things you must do during the Coronavirus outbreak:
Share as much information as you can. Government announcements and advice, relevant news articles. Don’t assume your team know what you know.
Set up a team What’s App to enable instant communication an allow people to post any concerns.
Organise a team video conference or google hangouts at least every other day
Write a Q & A for your team with all of the relevant questions you have been asked or feel you may be asked.
Adopt best practice. Search around to see what other companies are doing and, if you like them, steal their ideas.
Check that people are really okay. If your team is small enough to allow, check in with individuals.
Remember everyone is different. Some have kids, some will be more anxious than others, some may be caring for elderly relatives. Don’t treat everyone the same.
Astley Media has a team of experts who are experts in crisis communications having previously worked for some of the UK’s biggest companies. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for help and advice.