Crisis Communications: Perspectives from an Epidemiologist
Post by Linda Thrasher, Himle Rapp's Corporate Practice Leader. You can follow her on Twitter at @lindakthrasher
- The speed “high concern” information travels? 4 minutes. A decade ago, the timespan was four hours; two decades ago it was 24 hours.
- What creates a belief for someone during a crisis? 4 pieces of information formm a “credible source.” Once a person forms a belief, it’s extremely difficult to change the person’s view.
- How much can people digest? Information conveyed in a set of three statements. Think Julius Caesar, “I came, I saw, I conquered.” The first and last statements are the most important. According to Covello, this means 27 words in 9 seconds. Yes, Twitter will serve you well.
- 1N = 3P + 1 – For every negative statement an organization makes, the statement must be followed by four positive statements.
- Visuals – In high stress situations, people process visuals far more easily than facts. Need to emphasize 1 part per billion? Show an Olympic sized swimming pool with one drop entering the water.
- Most compelling? Covello’s theory on trust determination, where he argues that approximately 50% of an organization’s credibility is based on trust. How do people define trust? They want to know that an organization cares before they care what an organization knows. Covello advises organizations in high stress situations to always begin with a statement of empathy and caring before pouring out the facts.
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