In the normal course of business, decentralized communication makes sense, especially if you lead a large, complex organization. But in an emergency or fast-moving situation, you need a crisis-response team. Ideally it should be small — five to seven people. Include a member of the leadership team, someone from communications, an HR leader, and an expert in the area of concern. This team should meet regularly to monitor the situation closely as it continues to evolve, giving regular updates that are succinct and as transparent as possible. Long messages filled with legalese will not be read or easily understood. Explain what you know, what you don’t know, and share your sources of information. In an urgent crisis, you will have to communicate when you don’t have as much information as you want. Be vigilant about correcting mistakes without worrying about the repercussions.

This tip is adapted from “Communicating Through the Coronavirus Crisis,” by Paul A. Argenti

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