If you've been following along, hopefully you've done these three things so far:
1. A little self-reflection on your leadership style during crisis
(7 Key Qualities of Leadership under Crisis)
2. Created a cancellation plan
(9 Questions To Ask When Preparing for the Worst Case)
3. Learned about some athlete engagement case studies
(Participant Engagement During Crisis).
Now we're going to talk about effective communication during crisis and the leadership and planning discussions above give crucial insight on how to be effective.
You see, the point isn't for you to send out an email and feel like you've nailed it. The point also isn't just to avoid you being lambasted on social media (though it helps to avoid that). The point is for you to emerge from this crisis stronger than you were before, with an increased level of respect from those in your community.
We're going to go through the why, how, when and who of communication. Because some people complained that my ramblings were too long (you know who you are), I've split up the crisis communication piece into four blog posts.
Let's start with the why.
There are 3 reasons why you need to communicate effectively.
Two different event companies recently cancelled big events.
Company A let people switch to a virtual run and get 50% off next years event. They are being praised on social media.
Company X told people they can either switch to virtual or pay $60 to defer. They are getting destroyed on social media.
Here's the thing, Company X's offering is a better financial deal for participants. With Company X they pay $60 to race next year, Company A will cost them $70.
The difference? Effective communication.
Company A positioned the offering as a reward. They made participants feel special and grateful.
Company X, on the other hand, positioned the same offer as a penalty. And people are pissed. Rather than focusing on what participants will save, they focused on how much participants will pay.
When people are feeling anxious or scared, they tend to panic. It is your job, as a leader and a voice of your organization, to help mitigate the feelings of panic.
The single most important thing you can do to ease the minds of your participants is helping them know that somebody reliable and responsible is looking out for their best interest.
You are that person. You are the reliable and responsible one.
And you're going to prove it with your communication. Because if people are left without facts, they will create their own ideas of why you aren't talking with them. And, trust me, their ideas are bad. Their ideas won't work in your favor.
Without communicating appropriately, the bad situation has a very good chance of getting worse.
Without question, the companies who are communicating regularly and effectively (based on what I'm about to say below) are getting less chargebacks. Period.
In other words, just a little effort to communicate effectively will save you money.
Again, three reasons why you need to communicate effectively in crisis
With that firmly in your mind, please continue to How to Communicate Effectively in Crisis