7-point guide to communication best practice
As local communities prepare their COVID-19 community response, it is crucial to bear in mind simple communication principles and to follow best practice. This short guide will show you the way.
1. Human first
Before you do anything else, think about the basic human needs and experience of your different audiences.
As you seek to communicate your messages, be guided by their concerns, fears, aspirations and day-to-day needs in everything you do and say.
2. Make it practical
In an uncertain environment, people worry about the basics. Enough food, keeping warm, having someone to talk to and continuing their education are all key on their list of priorities.
Think about those basics, as you communicate how your community will do all it can, together, to ensure that every single resident is cared and catered for.
3. Keep it simple
As your community starts to adapt to the realities of COVID-19, they need simple, practical information.
Make sure your language is straightforward, human and jargon-free. Communicate with your audiences the way you would like to be communicated with.
4. Include a call to action
Your communication should have a clear purpose, to guide people’s actions or change behaviour.
Do not communicate anything without being sure that your audience knows what they are meant to do, or refrain from doing, and why.
5. Stick to the facts
Over the coming weeks and months, accurate, transparent and authoritative information will be more important than ever.
Make sure that all communication is based on well-sourced and reliable facts so as to avoid misleading your audience or adding to the rumour mill.
6. Make it visual
They say that a picture tells a thousand words and never is this truer than during challenging times.
Remember that diagrams, simple videos and other visual tools can be a powerful way of getting your messages across. This is particularly important when people will be relying heavily on social media in how they communicate with others.
7. Be calm and considered
At a time when people feel uncertain, anxious or even scared, they will crave calm leadership, backed by regular, transparent communication.
As you play your part in supporting your community, make sure you avoid speculation, drama or alarmism, as you deliver that leadership to those who need it.
For further information on how you can create an effective COVID-19 community response, follow our COVID-19 page. We will be updating the page regularly throughout this difficult period.
Brought to you by kind permission of Rod Cartwright Consulting