Communicating with Compassion


Message Management During a Global Crisis

Rule #1: Acknowledge the Elephant in the Room

If you are living on planet Earth at this bizarre moment in history, every conversation, virtually every news story, ping, social media post is focused on COVID-19. It’s a global crisis the likes of which we have never encountered.

Each of us is navigating it the best we can. Some of us are stockpiling toilet paper, others are canceling travel or non-essential events. We are checking in on loved ones and neighbors.

This is uncharted territory, and as we witness whole countries quarantined, jobs and industries threatened, pro sport seasons canceled, children sent home from school, we all our doing our best trying to manage our panic. It’s a time to be mindful and nonjudgmental. To help rather than harm.

Meaningful Messages

But managing a crisis does not mean ignoring it.

Whether it’s email, a TV spot, social media posts, or a phone call, our communication to prospective or current clients and customers simply must acknowledge the elephant in the room. It’s what everyone is thinking about right now. And, if you launch into your sales pitch or announcement without addressing it, your message will come across as out of touch, or worse, cavalier.

In the Room Does Not Mean Center Stage

That’s not to say Coronavirus has to hijack your message entirely. Unless you are in hand sanitizer sales or healthcare, you are concerned about business more than ever. About your employees, about your ability to weather this storm. We still have to sell our products and services. Nonprofits still have to raise dearly needed funds.

Simply pause before you launch into your sales copy or talking points. Acknowledge you understand customers are concerned about the health of family and friends. That they are worried about the future. That you and your employees are, too. Or, remind them we are a global community and what affects some of us, affects us all. That we are looking out for one another. Assure them that together, we are strong, and we will get through this. Be sincere. Choose words that reflect how you feel. Be concise. Acknowledge. Move on to your message. Conclude with good wishes.

With that, I sincerely wish you and yours good health and safety. As meetings, events, and group gatherings ebb, I hope we all can find a bit of peace–moments of reflection and kindness in these slower, quieter times. Stay well.