4 helpful tips for communication during a health crisis

What to do in uncertain times when communication is key

While you hoped that you would never have to experience a crisis impacting your association, here you are.

Every day brings more uncertainty with the spread of Coronavirus, and your association has a need to expand your communication. Here are four communication tips to assist associations in displaying responsiveness, partnership and kindness.

1. Keep members up to date with valuable information

Response to the COVID-19 pandemic is changing by the hour. Keep your members up to date on your association’s response, including your office work procedures, events calendar and any other necessary news. Remember, most businesses are sending out communication during this time, so make sure that you are sending relevant information at the right time. Different people will hear messages differently, so utilize multiple communication channels to communicate with your members.

With many businesses implementing work from home policies to help flatten the curve with this virus, re-enforce your association’s value in this new work from home environment. Pull together some of your best content and create an “X Industry Work from Home Survival Kit” or “X Industry Bucket List” for members continuing education. Your kit should include links to your latest and “oldie but goodie” blogs, latest industry news, and access to previous webinar recordings. Advocacy actions that can be done in minutes from home are also great to include in your kit. You can also include a “Continuing Education Checklist” that members can easily complete while working from home.

2. Pay close attention to the communications you receive

During times of crisis, threat actors seize the opportunity to use people’s fear to take advantage of the situation. They try to get people to share information, click links, open attachments, and visit false COVID-19 information websites and malicious online artifacts in order to gain access to systems, information and sensitive data.

Things to look for to help protect you, your organization and your members include:

  • Attachments that look like a CoronaVirusSafetyMeasures_pdf, Coronavirus countermeasures, COVID-19 emergency status official government or state announcements or documents
  • Messages that appear to be official announcements with links to websites for more information
  • Phone calls claiming to be a CDC, WHO, state, or government representative or an emergency responder
  • Requests for personal information about you or family members.
  • Questions about your health status or other related information.
  • They may use information previously collected to try to trick you into believing a loved one is gravely ill and needs your immediate financial help.
  • They may claim some kind of emergency action you must take to avoid criminal actions for not complying with regulation actions being taken.

A few reminders to help ensure you don’t fall prey to a threat actor:

  • Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails and be wary of email attachments, even from people you know.
  • If an email or email attachment seems suspicious, don’t open it. Contact the person who supposedly sent the message to make sure it’s legitimate before you open the attachment.
  • Use trusted sources, such as legitimate government websites, for up-to-date, fact-based information about COVID-19. Open a browser and go to the site directly, don’t use links in emails to take you to the website.
  • Do not reveal personal or financial information in emails or over the phone. Before giving information, ask to call them back, and use a trusted number to make sure you’re reaching the right people.

3. Embrace barks and wails

Some people are accustomed to working from home and have well-established home office configurations. With school closures and mandatory work from home, there are many people working from home that aren’t accustomed to it. Some may struggle to find appropriate workspace or may have to share space with a spouse and/or babysitter. Be patient with others and with yourself. Dogs barking, kids crying or hearing a spouse on another call most likely will occur during these times. No need to stress about it, just embrace the barks and wails.

4. Don’t forget a daily dose of gratitude

When life gets challenging, one of the kindest things we can do is say, “thank you”. Consider adding in a daily dose of gratitude to your schedule. Use this opportunity to thank your members and volunteers through a handwritten note, personal email or even a phone call. If you would like to recognize someone more publicly, post a shout-out on your online community. (Just remember, if you are thanking a group publicly, don’t leave anyone out.)

A great way to remember your daily dose of gratitude is to set a recurring appointment on your calendar every day at the same time. If you’re ready to take your gratitude to the next level, set an alarm for every hour.

Don’t confine your gratitude to work hours. You can also use this opportunity to thank those that have continued to work during business closures such as grocery store employees, your Amazon delivery person or food delivery person. Don’t forget to thank you those in the medical field, such as first responders, nurses and doctors.

In times of crisis, communication is a necessity. Show your association’s leadership by providing communication that’s responsive and kind to your members, supporters and staff.

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