After taking a training course on crisis communication at work, I realized how applicable it is in everyday life.
A crisis can range from moderate to severe in intensity. And a crisis can happen anywhere, at any time.
A crisis is defined as an unstable or crucial time or state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending, according to a Crisis and Emergency Management Plan Development presentation by the New Jersey Department of Health.
Crisis/emergency risk communication is taught, practiced and used throughout various health agencies, hospitals, government organizations and media outlets in the event of a public health emergency and or crisis.
For someone dealing with a mental illness, crisis can take the form of a psychotic break. For someone who is job hunting, crisis can come in the form of constant rejection. For students, crisis can be failing a course.
In terms of public health, a recent example of a public health emergency/crisis was the Ebola outbreak.
I bring you this introductory post as the first in a three-part crisis communication series that will analyze how you can use these communication tools with various individuals and in various settings.
Keep reading to learn the what, when and how of crisis communication.
Crisis communication is a science-based approach used to speak to those directly affected by stressful life events. Crisis communication is intended to empower the person to take action, include action messages and relieve their anxiety.
The psychology of a crisis is complex because everyone takes in, processes and acts on information differently. In the case of a crisis, less is more, information-wise.
According to the mental noise theory, people lose up to 80 percent of the information that is communicated to them.
During a crisis, communicate in a way that can simplify things for those affected, as they are already most likely to over-analyze due to anxiety.
In order to effectively communicate with your audience during crisis, limit their intake of new information. It is estimated that on an average day an individual can process between 11 and 14 messages.