Time and information flow are key in a crisis

The very word ‘crisis’ has a uniquely powerful sound to it. It arouses a sense of fear and danger in us, and an acute need to respond to and resolve the problem. In times of crisis we have to make the right moves, since the future of a person, a team or an entire company may well depend on the reaction to it – especially the future of a communicator.

Communication in crisis situations is the most important part of solving the problem. In order to implement successful crisis communication we must first be prepared for it, which means anticipating possible crisis situations and the possible solutions we can offer. Despite the fact that these are momentary situations, communication in crisis situations must be strategic and planned. We must have goals that serve the purposes of the organization and society as a whole.

A well anticipated crisis communication strategy helps with any implementation actions, even though the crisis situation brings with it a highly volatile environment. That is why time and information flow are key, together with the interdependent components in any crisis communication. Time is the key to maintaining credibility and limiting or addressing the problem that has arisen. The faster we respond (with thoughtful and well-reasoned information, of course), the easier steps that follow will be, since we provide the public with information that ensures they are and will be properly informed. And this is where the second element arises – information flow and provisions for feedback. It should be pointed out that we are not simply talking just about the information flow from the company to e.g. the media – that is to external audiences – but also about the flow of information within the company, since communication messages are formed according to specific crisis situations and the target public. An adequate and streamlined flow of information helps to speed up and prepare the proper message efficiently and effectively; and consequently, helps to communicate effectively with external audiences.

Despite the fact that we don’t want a crisis to appear we must expect it, even foresee it. That is why organisations prepare crisis communication programs in advance, as this is the only way to communicate both proactively and reactively in a timely manner when a crisis does arise. Of course much depends on the individual case and what is known about the organization – or in the case of the agency, about the client. Long-term cooperation and trust between employees and co-workers in the form of an agency can tip the scale in a crisis situation and determine the direction we will take.

PS: Propiar, Strategic Communications Agency d.o.o. and Telemach d.o.o. received the most prestigious professional award for communication excellence in Slovenia – the Prizma – for crisis communication of security risks. Using a select set of communication tools and focusing on digital tools we reached out to all of the identified public and delivered an important message on the elimination of security risks and actual developments, and prevented further development of the crisis – as was well detailed by the expert jury of the Public Relations Society of Slovenia.

Share this article

Articles by the same author

Leave a comment