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Communicating in a COVID-19 Crisis – Quick Tips for Businesses

March 20, 2020

We are operating in a new world. 

It is in this new world that a business’ communications with its employees, customers, and investors are more important than ever. Indeed, businesses of all shapes and sizes are communicating their response to the global epidemic. 

So, how can you effectively communicate your COVID-19 response? 

Here are a few tips:

  • Know your message and stick to it.

As COVID-19 is an evolving situation, your messages and communications may involve employee leave policies, change in business hours, or disruption in customer service. Whatever the specific goal of your message, stick to it and avoid mixing other related concepts.

  • Designate a Spokesperson.

Your company should speak with one voice. Whether you have a crisis team or you’re the sole management, designating a single spokesperson presents a unified front and keeps communications consistent.

  • Know your audience.

What you say and how you say it will vary depending on whether you are speaking to your employees, clients, or investors. You want to present your information in an accessible manner for your target audience – use terms and concepts they understand.

  • Keep it simple, frank, and honest.

Don’t speculate, exaggerate, or mislead. It is ok to say that circumstances may change due to the evolving situation. Save the humor for later. Humor is easily and often misinterpreted.

  • Stay positive.

Your message should be upbeat. Look for silver linings, while keeping your communication simple, frank, and honest. Your team is looking to you for guidance.

  • Be accessible.

Set up a means to convey status updates and inquires. This could be a conference call with your employees, a Facebook link for your clients, or a contact email for investors. Don’t worry about over communicating.

Following these tips will help your business communicate clearly and consistently during these times. 

Jessica Clark is a Pender & Coward attorney focusing her practice on litigation, corporate and real estate law.