At the moment, change is touching nearly every aspect of life. It is not different for PR pros and communications leaders.
It’s important that as communicators move to remote work, PR leaders ensure that they and staff converse internally, probably more than normal. In addition, leaders must ensure that all are aligned on the strategic counsel we are offering. There is nothing more disastrous than providing conflicting recommendations. This type of mistake can happen more easily without in-office meetings and brainstorming sessions that were traditional prior to the pandemic.
Use verbal communications, both video or audio-only. Voice-to-voice communication is back in a big way. Email can and will be held against you. It is misinterpreted easily, particularly during stressful times. When each word matters, as well as tone and emotion, use verbal communications.
Calm, Creative Leadership
The current situation requires leadership to be level-headed and calm, but also creative. Use the communications tools, especially tech tools, that we’ve been promoting for years. It’s time to be a consumer of the products rather than a communicator about them.
Rise to the Situation
This doesn’t have to be a time of uncertainty; it is a moment to rise to the occasion. PR leaders and firm owners need to be direct with their teams. If you’re about to schedule layoffs, explain the situation clearly and be up front, so that staff can plan rather than guess.
If you don’t know the fate of your staff, say so, but add that you’ll keep everyone updated as you know more. Most important, remember to lead by example. Leaders need to do the same things they are asking of their teams. More, if possible.
No one has all the answers, but everyone has experiences. Drawing from variations of experiences will create a better outcome.
Valerie Christopherson is founder/CEO of Global Results Communications