Providing direction when the road isn’t even built yet

As a business leader in times of uncertainty or anxiety, whatever the cause, it’s really important that communication is a top priority. That’s communicating with your team inside your organisation as well as your customers, clients, suppliers, shareholders and other stakeholders.

Whilst you may not be able to give concrete answers, or genuinely reassure that everything will be fine, it is nevertheless vital that you take the initiative. At this time you need to show that you appreciate how people are feeling. That approach will instil confidence that you understand the ramifications of the situation and you are in control of your organisation, even if there is turmoil around you.

Point the way

All those that have a stake in your business will be looking to you for leadership and direction. Outline what you’ll be doing, even if all you can say for now is that you are monitoring the situation closely and you are planning for a variety of scenarios.

Make sure you emphasise the strengths and achievements that have got you to where you are today. Stress that you value the support of those you are communicating to. Then let them know when you will be in touch again. It doesn’t have to be immediately, and on a set date, but do give an indication of when and how.

In the meantime operate an open door policy so that if someone does have a question, or needs further clarification on a point you’ve made, they feel they will be listened to.

Take the initiative

Without communication at times of uncertainty, the silence can become deafening creating a vacuum that may be filled by other means. That information may come from those who aren’t best placed to give it generating greater insecurity and unease, which can be damaging both inside and outside the organisation. Having to unpick rumour and conjecture can be challenging and hugely time consuming. A bit of thought and preparation now will ensure that won’t happen.

You may not be able to plot the route ahead yet, or even know which road you’ll take, but by taking the initiative with communication you’ll be in the best position to take everyone with you when the times comes.


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Caroline Rawlinson is passionate about the power of PR and its ability to impact the business bottom line. In recognition of her services to the sector, she is now a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR). Her business, The Vivid PR Consultancy, is an award-winning agency offering marketing communications, design and digital services.