Predetermined crisis messaging should serve to begin your response to a crisis. Still, the messaging may require fine-tuning to be applicable to the situation confronting your organization. A message, or key message, is a thought that supports what you are saying and reinforces your point. A key message ultimately makes it clear what you’re asking people to do, how you feel or what you are doing. Key messages are short, provable and honest facts utilized to boost your point.
The “Message Pyramid” is a widely accepted, visual tool to illustrate this concept: your point, followed by your messages and the then the details that support.
The following questions should guide all message development:
- What’s your point?
- What are you trying to say?
- Why do you need to say it?
- Who would you like to say it to?
- Why do they need to hear you?
- What should they remember?
- How do you want them to react?
- Again, what’s your point?
It is vital to imagine how different audiences will hear your message. Understand that audience segments will listen to the same message, but potentially hear something very different. Consider social media, its limitations and its permanence. Now consider these disparate audiences: those who create information for others and those who consume it. Reduce the risk that your message will be misinterpreted by keeping it simple, positive, honest and personal.
This is part of a special blog series, Communicating in Crisis. Find tools, information and resources to better understand crisis.
For an expertly assembled plan, contact Ryan.