Communicating During The Crisis
Dallas, Texas – As a corporate training organization, much of what we do is about bringing people together, connecting teams in ways that make them more effective communicators and collaborators….so right now due to COVID-19 and the health restrictions around social distancing, we’re being asked to do the exact opposite of coming together.
Working through the physical separation, and communicating effectively during this crisis, does present challenges.
Some people have the natural inclination to view catastrophize situations of extreme change, and info flow, while others will tend to shut down their outreach and desire to openly communicate, and still others will want more contact and communication with colleagues, friends and family than they had before the changes.
All approaches need to be acknowledged and respected...here’s where openness, support empathy all come in to play, areas we’re often highlighting during our sessions.
A few keys for you to keep in mind when communicating during the crisis are:
1) Communicate Often Stepping up touch points for your team during this unique time is important. Even those who would prefer a more relaxed schedule of virtual meetings, or digital outreach, will benefit from more communication, not less. Whether it’s regular video conferencing meetings (as a team, or one-on-one, or in small groups), a quick email, text or phone call – staying connected will pay dividends as we move through this, helping people with their overall mental health, reducing any work-related anxiety (or at least it should…and if more connectivity is actually increasing anxiety related to work, then that’s a bigger issue), etc.
2) Transparency As a leader of a team, default to being overly transparent when you are connecting with your group. This is obviously uncharted waters for everyone and everyone is being impacted in some way. Even if their job is continuing with relative stability, the impact will be felt in a variety of other areas. And if you are one of those organizations that unfortunately are having to lay people off, a calm, measured, transparent message is important.
3) Optimism By its very nature, improv-based corporate training is underpinned by an optimistic foundation. Embracing the principle of “Yes, and…” So while transparency is paramount, as noted above, infusing your messaging with a sense if genuine optimism, albeit while being realistic, is a valuable component to communicating during a time of massive change and uncertainty. If you are hopeful for the future, be sure to share that, and even if you aren’t, delivering difficult news with a sense of optimism will be remembered by the team.
4) Individuals Matter You might find yourself becoming “organizational-centric” when communicating with your team, and other people within your company. Remember to include messaging, and focus on the individuals as well, acknowledging how they, as individuals have been considered in all decisions, and the impact all of this is having on them.
Clearly, these are very challenging times, but focusing on how, when and what you communicate is important for everyone. Your team will know that you’re all in this together and focused on getting though it as a group, and hopefully coming out stronger on the other side, by supporting each other.
Be safe everyone.
Improv to Improve is a Dallas-based corporate training company that uses applied improv to help organizations create more creative and innovative cultures, to build stronger teams, to help individuals, managers and teams become more effective communicators and presenters, and develop teams that support each other and produce at a higher level.
Founders Alex and Kayce can be reached: