COVID-19 :The increased need for communications


By Stephanie Bailey, Managing Director, Corporate

I admit I have become more than a little obsessed with finding out as much as I can about the situation with the coronavirus. I can state with a fact that it is ‘rapidly changing’, ‘unprecedented’ and ‘challenging’ because almost everything I have read tells me that.

Whilst Public Health England guidelines and advice are being shared and reported there is still a raft of fake news that preys upon the vulnerable, and we are being bombarded with every kind of ridiculousness to a point it is hard to know what or who to trust.

The truth is that little is really known by anyone other than a small group of people and even they don’t know enough.

We also know that to deal with this situation a lot of decisions will have to be made as quickly as possible to allow us to be in the best possible position. We need to be able to stick by those decisions, come together and act as one.

Effective communications has never been more important.

As the virus looks set for the long haul, there are certain things that we can advise as communicators when talking to others.

Experience has shown me that:

  • All communications should be clear, succinct and factual
  • And, therefore it follows that now is not the time for jargon or corporate speak – this is a crisis and it impacts people; you cannot and should not come across as an android.
  • It is ok to not have the answers to all of the questions, people want to know what is happening when it is happening so that they can make informed decisions when they need to.
  • Don’t hold back information and be as transparent as possible with the facts to hand.

And probably the most important thing to remember:

Put people first as an employee, as a citizen and as a human.