Whether we run a school, a small business, or a family, we’re all crisis communicators right now. On that front, I’m sharing below some of the best advice I’ve heard, all from sources I trusted and consulted way before COVID-19. After noting each source, I pulled a quotation from each article.
Your choice of behaviour needn’t be improvised. Go to your organisation’s core values — its moral system — and show that you trust them to see you through. If your core values don’t help in a crisis, they’re not core values. They should help you make decisions, quickly, and have great confidence that the decisions are probably right.
If you want to come through this weird time with your soul intact, you need to be able to look back and know that you treated your fellow human beings with patience and – especially – kindness. This virus is an equal-opportunity equalizer, and you will be tested by your ability to shed your prejudices, fears, and bad old habits to see if you can rise to the occasion and bring out the best in yourself and the people around you.
Source: Duarte and this article, 10 Ways to Communicate with Empathy and Authority in Times of Crisis.
Why do we discuss empathy BEFORE Authority? At Duarte, we’ve learned that your audience is more likely to listen to what you have to say when they feel you’re on their side. Through empathy, you earn the permission and authority to lead them. So what does authority mean right now? It means leading your team in a way that makes them feel confident in your message and trusting in you as a leader.