Words Matter – Choose Them Wisely During a PR Crisis
When you’re in a crisis, your words are all you have. Don’t waste the opportunity to take control of the narrative by using language that best suits your business. Here are some helpful tips to consider so your words don’t get in the way of your crisis comeback.
Concise is Key
Many assume using big words translates to more credibility. When in fact, keeping language simple during a crisis is the way to go. Simple language allows consumers to easily follow your response. On the contrary, complex language is often unnecessary and can make your company appear less personable.
Tell a Story
Even in a crisis, people want to feel a connection to your company. It’s important to find a way to relate the crisis back to the people and show them that you care about them. The primary motivation in the wake of a crisis should be maintaining a good relationship with your customers, and to do this, you have to put yourself in their shoes. How can you assure them that this crisis will not affect them or their relationship with your company? Tell a story that proves to your customers that they matter.
Guide Audience Behavior
It’s been proven that people can understand information most efficiently when it is provided in a small group. This is the rule of three. The rule of three states that people remember things better when they are accompanied by two other things. For example, if you want your customers to do something in the wake of a crisis, you don’t want to overwhelm them with directions. Giving someone six steps to take often causes them to lose sight of the objective. When directions are given in a group of three, people are more likely to remember it and consequently to act on it.
Using analogies helps frame a situation in someone’s mind so that they can better make sense of it. When a situation can be related to something else, something familiar, it helps people situate it in their minds and understand it more. This also keeps a crisis from feeling impersonal by making it relatable. It’s also been proven that people can better understand something unknown when it is related to a familiar subject or circumstance.
When you’re in a crisis, your words matter and they can be powerful. It’s important to know how to navigate the conversation with your employees, customers, and financial partners to make a comeback after the smoke clears.