The Fifth "C" of Crisis Communications: Clarity
*Special thanks to Dr. Richard Rush, Director of Communications, City of Tuscaloosa, for his research and thoughts.
The hallmark of any good communication, whether in times of crisis or peace, is clarity. Vague communications lead to uncertainty and misunderstandings as a basis for a problem or a crisis. When an organization or individual releases a statement, it should be so clear that others cannot easily read into it or form alternative opinions.
Say It Like You Mean It
A statement released to a group of internal stakeholders should be written as if it were going to be released to the public as well. Prior to the age of social media, statements could be released to different target audiences at different times to inform groups of publics in a predetermined order. That is no longer the case. With the click of a button, any communication can be forwarded from one group to another within a matter of seconds.
Because statements are going to be read by persons other than the targeted high priority, it is important to do the following to always keep the points clear:
Release sound bites that say exactly what you want to say and nothing more.
Be as efficient as possible, getting to the point with every statement and adding nothing unnecessary that could be misinterpreted.