Friday, February 4th, 2011
Meteorologists: The Model Crisis Communicators
If reports are correct, more than 130 million people were affected by snow this week. Were you one of them? If so, you probably tuned into your local news, or the weather channel to get updates, track the storms, find out about travel cancellations and delays, and other things. Not surprising, more than 70% of all people who watch local morning news, watch for the weather. Ever wonder why most stations give you weather and traffic every ten minutes? That’s why!
So why is this the subject of today’s blog?
There’s a lesson to be learned about communicating in a crisis, from the meteorologists who have been working hard all week. They communicate early, and often! Lack of information brings panic and confusion. Consistent flow of information establishes trust, minimizes the effects of rumors, and allows a direct connection between you and your customers, employees, and other stakeholders.
So let’s look at what they do, that applies to all crisis communications:
- Communicate frequently: Think morning weather: give updates as frequently as possible, and as often as events or circumstances change.
- Safety first: if there is a public risk of any kind make sure the public knows what it is, and what they should be doing to protect themselves. Or, what you’re doing to protect them.
- Take care of the locals first: local reporters, and local residents get your first information. They’re the ones who will still be here after the national coverage ends.
- Be calm and professional. Your voice tone should reflect the seriousness and severity of the situation at hand.
- Be clear and direct
The next time you watch the morning weather report, listen to the type of information and how they deliver it. Their approach is spot on.
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