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Posted on 17 March 2020 by Ceris Burns

Clear communication to help contain Coronavirus

Coronavirus is dominating headlines worldwide and the scale of its impact is being realised. We are still in a rapidly evolving situation, and any crisis is by definition an unpredictable event, but organisations should take precautions and prepare as far as possible on the impact to people and business. Below we have outlined a checklist of three key considerations:

Be prepared

Roles and responsibilities should be assigned. This includes thinking about your company policies, including arrangements for working at home, supply chain management actions, office cleaning and hygiene, transportation, and how steps you are taking will be communicated to your staff and customers.  Know what to do if you have to handle a suspected or confirmed case of Covid-19.

Your response may vary according to the sector you are in but even letting people know that you are keeping updated on the latest advice can provide people with reassurance. Your communications team may need to prepare statements for internal and external stakeholders, and you should ensure key spokespeople are available and agree a clear protocol for answering enquiries.

Communicate calmly

Stick to the official advice and don’t speculate. In an increasingly connected world, it’s easy for misinformation and panic to spread. If you don’t have the answer to a question, don’t be tempted to make one up. Be truthful and upfront and try to keep everything as ‘normal’ as it can be while continuing to safeguard your business, employees and customers, for instance, by conducting meetings via video or conference call. The implications of breaking issues may necessitate changes to your business and communications strategy.

Seek specialist support

The reality is that this is the time when you really need to have ongoing dialogue with your audiences, and protect relationships with stakeholders, even though there are difficulties to be faced. Please remember that we are here to support you whether on a usual day to day basis or in a sensitive crisis management situation, and we will continue to provide our usual PR services with minimal disruption.

Should you wish to speak with us about this now, or in the coming weeks, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Image credit: Gerd Altmann via Pixabay

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