Balancing communications in a crisis

1 May 2020 | 4 min read | News
Clearly Team

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“Communication is key but as a leader it is important to not over-communicate too frequently.– Nigel Pearson, Manager of Watford FC.  

When crisis hits, communication is key both internally and externally to ensure that staff, clients and your wider network are kept in the loop with how you and your business are managing and operating. But crisis communication is a game of perfect balance; too much communication can be overwhelming and may lose its purpose and meaning, whereas too little may cause you to come across as cowardly or ignorant.  

So, what needs to be considered for impactful, thoughtful and steady communication? 


Getting your tone and choice of words right is crucial during a crisis but, don’t feel like you must reinvent yourself during hardship. What your clients and employees will need is authenticity – they’ll want you to be recognisable and honest.  

Also, think carefully about the content that you put out, is humour going to be appropriate? Is more formal language needed? Are GIFs and polls the correct way to reach your audience? Being sensitive with your communication is crucial, a crisis isn’t the time to be putting be people off you and your business.  

Enhance what you already have, don’t replace it 

As a business, you’ll (hopefully) have a clear communication channel already set in place so there’s no need to start from scratch here, stick to what you know to deliver a clear and concise message internally and externally.  

When it comes to choosing spokespeople, it’s important to use employees to their strength instead of choosing someone because of their job title. Business owners or Managing Directors are a face that should be seen in this process but, from there choose people who will be able to deliver communication to a high standard to avoid any PR issues further down the line.  

Lastly, don’t use this as an opportunity to push new messages out there unless you can really back them up. A crisis is not the time to surprise staff and clients, it’s a time to reassure and strip all conversation to the basics. Save anything new until the storm has passed.  

Tell, don’t sell 

A crisis is not the time to be flogging your waresEven if what you have on offer is of genuine use, it’s not the time to be boasting about how brilliant you are.  

During difficult times, it’s important that businesses of all sizes switch from a selling to telling mindset; you’ll find that you’ll gain a lot more traction and engagement by offering help, not being a hindrance. This doesn’t have to mean giving away every trick in the book but, by offering pieces of advice and insights, your service and your business will come out stronger after a crisis – you won’t be viewed as a short-term money grabber but a long-term relationship maker.  


This can feel like a grey area for any business, even when there’s no crisis. The amount that you should be posting can be hard to judge, especially with the ever-changing algorithms of the internet. Factors such as what industry you’re in or the stage of growth you’re in can all change how often you should be communicating.   

However, a crisis can call for a different communications strategy to normal which might mean that frequency might be slightly higher for a while if there’s some information the audience genuinely need to know. But don’t post just for the sake of it, ensure your communications have a point and are useful to your audience.  

Whether the crisis is something your business is battling internally or an issue on a national or international scale, it’s key to have a clear plan in place about how you are going to communicate internally and externally to ensure your business can come out as well, or potentially stronger, than before.