The best crisis communication example in peoples memory might be the press conference given by a local sheriff about an unsolved serial killer case. We can clearly detect some features of this kind of communication.

No nonsense

The only appropriate style for this kind of communication is matter-of-fact style. The only acceptable attitude for authority is down-to-earth attitude. Any inaccuracy will not only make distractions and chaos, but also undermine authoritys credibility and make the job more difficult. Its just not a good time brandishing ideas or even preaching values. When peoples lives are in imminent danger, when almost everyones well-being is at stake, attention should be focused on it. If there is a valid lead, you follow it, and utilize everything in your power to investigate it. Because of the urgency, until you have something solid, you dont dwell on elaborating every detail, or exploring every possibility to the public.

No speculation

When asked about who is the killer, something the sheriff was not sure of at this stage, the usual answer might bewere following a few leads but dont have a suspect yet. You can hardly imagine any police officer would say something speculative or even leave some room for speculation. The sheriff would not say someonemight have done it, orif the victims boss have done a better job, this could have been avoided. The typical expression is more likeI dont have that information.

But, in the political world nowadays, communication is much more colorful and complicated than that.

There are people advocating the idea of focusing on thepositive sideof the story. In crisis like this, there is no positive side or negative side. If it helps people see the whole picture, negative side of the story should be valued as well. Authority will be judged mainly by its performance instead of the right narrative, and the performance will be tested not by how many nice words you receive from others, but by peoples survival and thriving after this outbreak.

There are conspiracy theories and speculations all over the media. This is a real crisis. Instead of asking the questions like why something has not been done earlier, or whos fault it is, we should really focus more on what should be done now and next, and how we can get it done. After surviving this crisis, we will have enough time to settle scores.

And it is kind of surreal seeing officials from some major countries, and even world-renowned medias, are making these mistakes in crisis communication. Frankly, that is more scary than the virus itself.

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Communication in the crisis of pandemic

The best crisis communication example in peoples memory might be the press conference given by a local sheriff about an unsolved serial killer case. We can clearly detect some features of this kind of communication.

No nonsense

The only appropriate style for this kind of communication is matter-of-fact style. The only acceptable attitude for authority is down-to-earth attitude. Any inaccuracy will not only make distractions and chaos, but also undermine authoritys credibility and make the job more difficult. Its just not a good time brandishing ideas or even preaching values. When peoples lives are in imminent danger, when almost everyones well-being is at stake, attention should be focused on it. If there is a valid lead, you follow it, and utilize everything in your power to investigate it. Because of the urgency, until you have something solid, you dont dwell on elaborating every detail, or exploring every possibility to the public.

No speculation

When asked about who is the killer, something the sheriff was not sure of at this stage, the usual answer might bewere following a few leads but dont have a suspect yet. You can hardly imagine any police officer would say something speculative or even leave some room for speculation. The sheriff would not say someonemight have done it, orif the victims boss have done a better job, this could have been avoided. The typical expression is more likeI dont have that information.

But, in the political world nowadays, communication is much more colorful and complicated than that.

There are people advocating the idea of focusing on thepositive sideof the story. In crisis like this, there is no positive side or negative side. If it helps people see the whole picture, negative side of the story should be valued as well. Authority will be judged mainly by its performance instead of the right narrative, and the performance will be tested not by how many nice words you receive from others, but by peoples survival and thriving after this outbreak.

There are conspiracy theories and speculations all over the media. This is a real crisis. Instead of asking the questions like why something has not been done earlier, or whos fault it is, we should really focus more on what should be done now and next, and how we can get it done. After surviving this crisis, we will have enough time to settle scores.

And it is kind of surreal seeing officials from some major countries, and even world-renowned medias, are making these mistakes in crisis communication. Frankly, that is more scary than the virus itself.

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