Navigating Tough Conversations: Effective COVID-19 Crisis Communication

As COVID-19 forces voluntary administration announcements by big brands like Virgin Australia – it’s natural to feel the sobering implications these sort of events have on all stakeholders.  Whether you’re speaking with clients, suppliers or employees, effectively navigating tough conversations during COVID-19 necessitates being:

  • prepared,
  • proactive,
  • managing expectations early and
  • maintaining calm and credibility.

Unless it’s already part of your organisational playbook, we recommend carefully developing a crisis communication plan for each stakeholder group which addresses a clear set of actions and utilises credible sources of information only.

A consistent flow of organised information is critical to demonstrate leadership, care and to support people through COVID-19 from a health standpoint and from a business perspective.

Where possible, a select senior company spokesperson to deliver key messages is important for credibility as well as a disciplined protocol of internally handling and answering Frequently Asked Questions.

Silence or sporadic and reactive information from random or several sources has the potential to amplify confusion, distrust and even panic.  Consistency is key.

Regular communication with stakeholders will enable executives to take people on the journey to understand key business decisions that may need to be made in the future.

The table below outlines unique messaging for each stakeholder group.  Feel free to download it as a general guide for your own circumstances.