Communications in Emergency Situations

In the heat of the action, we often forget that traditional communication tools are not very useful. They need to be adapted or replaced altogether to be really effective. We tend to assume that our only challenge in an emergency situation will be dealing with the media. And it’s true that it’s when they show up that the crisis begins. But it would be short sighted not to take into account all our other audiences, both internal and external, that also need to be informed. Communications isn’t drowning everyone in a flood of undigested information and coming away with a clear conscience. You need to know exactly what information to communicate: to whom, when and how. It’s quite an art!
The goal of all communications is to provoke a change in attitude, habit, or behaviour. In other words, teach people what they didn’t know before, have them do what they didn’t do before, and think what they didn’t think before. A communication plan’s success or failure is measured in these terms. Such a plan defines the communication goals, strategies, and tactics to effect these changes in clienteles both inside and outside the organization.