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People in Crisis

The problem is that people behave differently during an emergency!

What people really want to know about in an emergency?

1. What is really happening?

2. How will this affect me?

3. What are you doing?

4. What do I need to do?

5. When will things get back to normal?

6. Specific and detailed instructions

7. Reassurance

8. Voices of authority they can trust

Fact #1

Under conditions of high stress, people have diminished ability hear, understand what is being said them.

Communications implication: You must keep your messages simple. A maximum of three key messages is all your audience can absorb and retain.

Fact #2

For people in high stress situations, as much as 75% of information comes from non-verbal clues…it’s what you look like and what you sound like when you say it that’s important. In normal circumstances, only 25% of what people absorb is non-verbal.

Communications implication: Make certain you present yourself as someone in authority with poise and confidence. Dress the part! Practice your messages!

Fact #3

95% of the questions people ask during an emergency can be predicted in advance.

Communications implication: You can prepare responses in advance particularly for the early stages of an emergency event; be it a forest fire, flood or any predictable crisis.

There are communications planning techniques such as ‘Message Mapping’ that can be employed to create these responses. That is the subject of another blog!

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Categories: Emergency Management
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