In an emergency, you need to communicate effectively and quickly. A natural disaster, a hostile takeover attempt, or a cyber attack: no matter what the cause and impact of the emergency, being able to communicate effectively is key. Communicating effectively quickly isn’t easy under normal circumstances, much less in the face of an emergency. But that doesn’t mean we give up hope.
Communication saves lives and it is one of the most important skills you can have in any crisis situation. The ability to communicate effectively helps us find common ground with others; understand their fears and needs, and share information. In other words, communication is key to interacting and working together as a team in any crisis situation.
What is effective communication?
Communication is the act of exchanging information between two or more people, organizations, or things. Effective communication is when one person’s message matches the receiver’s message, creates understanding, and creates action. Effective communication can’t happen in a vacuum – we all appreciate the value of receiving information (even if we don’t always act on it).
We all need to know how to communicate effectively if we want to get our message across and understand others. And effective communication is even more important in a crisis situation. In a crisis, people are more likely to be stressed, worried, and less receptive than normal. A lack of communication can make things even worse.
How do you communicate effectively in an emergency?
- Start with a focus on the person.
- Listen actively and attentively.
- Use open-ended questions.
- Use relevant examples.
- Use active listening skills.
- Don’t interrupt.
- Don’t be a know-it-all.
- Be humble.
- Be patient.
- Don’t use canned phrases.
- Be honest.
- Be considerate.
- Be vulnerable.
Don’t just talk; listen too
It’s easy to talk, but it’s crucial to listen too. During a crisis, people will likely be extremely busy, and they will be less receptive to your messages than they normally would be if they had time to focus on them. Therefore, you need to make sure you are listening just as much as you are speaking.
Listening is the most powerful form of communication there is. Unfortunately, too many people forget or ignore this important skill when dealing with others during a crisis. When you’re listening, you are actively trying to understand what the other person is saying, their fears, and their needs.
You are also trying to put yourself in their shoes and see the world from their perspective. You can do all of this by using open-ended questions that get the other person talking, by paraphrasing back phrases, and by paraphrasing back key points you want to remember.
The show doesn’t just tell
It’s fine to show people what you’re saying, but it’s more important to show them why you’re doing it. During a crisis, it is easy to get caught up in the moment and tell people what you’re doing and why you’re doing it than to show them why they should care. Showing people why they should care is especially important in a crisis. Showing people why you’re doing things is a key part of effective communication.
It’s so important, in fact, that some communication theories even refer to this as The Law of Reminding. The law of reminding says that we remember things better when we are reminded of why we are remembering them. You can remind people of why you’re doing things by using visual aids, props, stories, or diagrams. You can also remind people by using questions or by paraphrasing.
While it’s important to show people why you’re doing things, it’s just as important to ask questions to figure out what people need and want. You can also use questions to remind people of the reason you are doing something. Asking questions tells people both what you want them to know and why you want them to know it.
This can help you figure out what people need and want, and it can help you show others what you are doing. Using open-ended questions can help you ask questions that let people tell you what they need and want. You can also use closed-ended questions to get more information to help you figure out what people need and want.
Ask for feedback and be specific when you ask
You can also use feedback to let people know what you’ve done and what you want them to do. You can use feedback to let people know how you feel about what you’ve done, what you want to do in the future, or what you want others to do.
Using feedback also helps you understand what others need and want because you can use the information you get from others to help you figure out what you want to do and need to do next. You can use open-ended questions to get feedback on what people like, dislike, and want from you, your teams, and your work. You can also use closed-ended questions to get more information.
Communication is key to building trust, understanding, and working together as a team in a crisis. Whether it’s during a natural disaster, a hostile takeover attempt, or a cyber-attack, you need to communicate effectively.
Effective communication is more than just talking; it’s about listening too, showing, asking questions and being specific when you ask, and being humble, honest, and vulnerable. Communication is one of the most important skills you can have in any crisis situation. Effective communication saves lives and it is one of the most important skills you can have in any crisis situation.
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