Crisis Communication: Keep It Simple

During a crisis too much communication can actually have the opposite effect of what’s intended. Anxiety levels can rise with information overload so it is important to be direct and prescriptive.  Getting messages across requires balance and delivery which involves matching the message with the medium.  In a crisis, less is often more. Any good crisis plan should use all common means of communication appropriately for emergency communications which include phone calls to home numbers and mobiles, texts and WhatsApp, email and website updates.

Phone calls and text messages are among the most trusted forms of communication; they should be used for alerts that require action. These messages need to be kept simple, prescriptive and brief and include information about the situation, how it affects the recipient and what the recipient should do in response.

Avoiding ambiguous instructions such as “use your best judgment.” In an emergency, is not recommended – as people are not necessarily thinking clearly and require clear explicit instructions.

Email is a good medium for delivering regular updates, perhaps on a daily or weekly basis. Email should be used for less-urgent communication that may require ancillary information such as links or images. If you specify the frequency that people can expect emails, they can become something they look forward to instead of something they disregard.

Website communication is the anchor of an ongoing crisis. It provides a home base of frequently updated information that people can consult when they have the time.

A crisis team leader should use all these tools appropriately; it’s important not to over-communicate, as all these channels are subject to message fatigue.

It is important to remember too, that at time of crisis people will be receiving messages from multiple entities; work, schools, associations and local governments etc. This can cause message overload resulting in missing vital information and vulnerable team members zoning out or disengaging.  If you do have use of a critical communication app such as LOCATE GLOBAL OR LOCATE CONNECT it is important to utilise the two-way comms function to check for wellness and safety amongst your team.  

We all deal with situations differently so try to put yourself in the shoes of the person or wider team you are communicating with. Consider what kind of information you would need, how often and how you would want it delivered.  This is particularly relevant for furloughed staff that may be feeling vulnerable or lonely, missing their usual team dynamic or structure.  

The most important thing during this challenging time is strong and clear communication in order to look after your team.

For more information on how we can help you, visit our services page, or visit our tech partner, Locate Global. Email us at to speak to one of our security professionals.