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During this @WIMSummit conference last night, we spoke briefly about the importance of "communicating in a crisis."

After watching the @HHSGov briefing a few minutes ago, perhaps it's timely to share some thoughts on communicating... 1/12
First, communicating has many factors:
-Who's the messenger, what's the forum and what are the objectives?
-What are the facts?
-What's the message?
-How does body language, facial expression, tone of voice contribute?
...and most importantly, is there a basis of trust? 2/12
The key communicator(messenger(s)) must:
-have expertise
-must have the trust of the audience (if not, he/she must find ways to quickly establish that trust)
-speak plainly and clearly, after rehearsing
-establish a vision for what will happen 3/12
In leading, the speaker must:
-state facts...and the message must always be consistent w the "knowns"
-If there are unknowns, the speaker must also plainly state them (i.e., "here's what we know, here's what we don't know & need to find out, here's why it's important"). 4/12
Transparency is critical.

There's no time for spin or BS, because that confuses people & takes away from the facts & the message.

BS also depletes trust.

All this is especially important in a crisis as others must know how they can contribute to solving the crisis) 5/12
If you're communicating among experts in a closed forum, you can use complex charts, graphs, data, "insider language."

When talking to others - outsiders, the community, a national audience - it's gotta be simple and to the point.

No complicated charts, acronyms, etc. 6/12
If the speaker is providing complex information, or - as in any crisis - trying to calm fears or anxieties, they must skillfully combine facts & inherent dangers.

E.g.,telling people "all's okay" is not a good idea, especially when it's not true & when the audience knows it.7/12
"Using an established basis of trust" is a critical factor.

Trust is built over time by setting example, relying on expertise, showing integrity, having not mislead in the past.

Trust is "gained in drops, and lost in buckets."

Communication must always build trust. 8/12
Body language, tone of voice, facial expressions may sometimes tell a different story than what the speaker wants, so it's good to be aware of all that.

That's situational awareness, emotional intelligence, and speakers must ask for feedback on how they are seen/heard. 9/12
Most communications either establish a vision, or add building blocks to an already established vision.

What goal are we trying to achieve, how are we getting there?

In a crisis, the goal is to overcome the tough and dangerous times. 10/12
Sometimes you only have 60, 70 or 80% of the "knowns"...speakers must "decide to decide" when to talk.

A crisis rule of thumb: find more time, more ways & more methods to inform others.

Especially in a crisis, everyone wants to know what the hell is going on! 11/12
Communicating is hard. It's harder in a crisis.

But communicating and sharing information is one thing that separates real leaders from wannabes. 12/12
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