This is “Negative News and Crisis Communication”, chapter 17 from the book Communication for Business Success (Canadian Edition) (v. 1.0). For details on it (including licensing), click here.
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You don’t hear things that are bad about your company unless you ask. It is easy to hear good tidings, but you have to scratch to get the bad news.
Thomas J. Watson Sr.
One day, today, is worth two tomorrows.
Communication is constant, but is it always effective? In times of confusion or crisis, clear and concise communication takes on an increased level of importance. When an emergency arises, rumours can spin out of control, emotions can run high, feelings can be hurt, and in some cases lives can tragically be lost. In this chapter we will examine several scenarios in which negative news is delivered or received, and examine ways to improve communication. We will conclude with a discussion of a formal crisis communication plan. Whether you anticipate the necessity of being the bearer of unpleasant or bad news, or a sudden and unexpected crisis occurs, your thoughtful preparation can make all the difference.