Tone of voice in crisis communications – tips to get it right

It is difficult to maintain a proper tone of voice in the process of communication. It is imperative to be cautious on what to speak and how to go on with it and at the same time it should be natural. We have to be sincere and transparent and at the same time, there are things that we should conceal from the audience. It is important for our stakeholders to realize the impact on the business and at the same time, it should not be prioritized over the sufferings of human beings.

In short, the tone of voice needs to be balanced. And one that you maintain might get just right on some days and fall short on others. There’s no magic recipe and every organisation has different communication priorities. Here are some quick tips that might help you find the right tone of voice for your business.

Tone of voice in a crisis – Aim for balance

  • Maintain a solemn tone, but avoid being too dramatic or pessimistic.
  • Instead of being funereal, aim for no-nonsense performance.
  • Audiences may appreciate a little levity now and then, but this will only work if it’s true to your brand.
  • Don’t be overconfident about the crises’ duration and scope. People would be struggling, and a mindset of “let’s concentrate on the positives” can seem to be quite insidious.
  • Avoid business jargon that tends to downplay or sanitise the situation. It breeds distrust.

Messaging – Clear, honest and human-focused

  • Make a point of emphasising the steps you’re taking to solve any problems. People would want to see that you know what needs to be done and that you’re doing it.
  • Expert advice will help you make better choices. For example, if you’ve implemented WHO policies to ensure the safety of workers during the coronavirus outbreak, say so. People are searching for scientific proof decisions because there is also a great deal of confusion spreading.
  • Consider that most conflicts are first and foremost a human disaster, and any consideration of economic consequences, for example, would seem dismissive.
  • Placing emphasis on the human effects of business problems, such as job losses, disruption affecting services to people, and shortage of workers due to sickness, is a great way to bring up challenges.
  • There will be a variety of concerns and consequences between your viewers, so think about what they could be with each chapter.
  • Be as transparent as you can be about what you know AND what you don’t know. If there’s an elephant in the room that people will expect you to address, address it to the extent that you can. Glossing over anything will appear evasive.

Channels – Remember your audience

  • Keep in mind that some platforms are more suited to real news than most others. Don’t make fun of terrible news by revealing it in 280 characters on Twitter. Give bad news the attention it needs.
  • This will entail sending a mass email or posting to a large audience, and it will almost definitely entail calling key stakeholders to communicate with them directly.
  • Don’t go overboard with your communication. Not every minor change would necessitate a response from your organisation, but consider which developments you DO need to respond to.
  • Scenario preparation will assist you in being prepared. Consider all future outcomes and events and determine whether or not to act if they arise.
  • Internal audiences will benefit from more frequent contact, while external stakeholders will benefit from a more measured approach.

Initiating a relationship during a tragedy can seem to be a risk, but if it rewards you with the help you need to resolve your problems, it is a worthwhile investment. Our engagement specialists and organizers are experts in the art of using a positive tone of voice in emergency planning, and they’re ready to assist you. Please contact us if you’d like to learn more about our tone of voice service.

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