5 Tips for Communicating During A Pandemic

By David Landis, President

There’s no doubt that already COVID-19 has changed the way we live, the way we shop, the way we interact with others – and, of course, the way we do business. Especially, it’s changed the way we communicate.

Zoom is the norm, newsletters abound with advice and suddenly you’re hearing from everyone including a consultant who seems ubiquitously to start with, “I hope you’re doing well” – even though they don’t know you.

Needless to say, some people do it well. . . and others, not so much.

During this time of uncertainty, here are five tips to keep in mind when communicating:

  1. Listen. Futurist and keynote speaker Peter Shankman spoke to our agency this week and said the single most important thing we can do as we communicate is first to listen. In fact, the only thing you see on his homepage are the words, “How can I help you today?” Ask questions. See how you can help. Truly be compassionate and be there for others.
  1. Solve a Problem. Instead of just trying to “sell” someone on something, offer a solution for people. One of my favorite dance companies, ODC San Francisco, is offering daily videos that either inspire you to “keep moving” or show you how their dancers “keep moving.” Seeing as how we’re all sheltering in place, that’s a great help to get us off the couch.
  1. Add value. Don’t just do the same old thing as you communicate. Think of how you can add value to the people with whom you’re communicating. . .not just try to broadcast to them with something they don’t want or need. Provide something extra that helps you stand out.
  1. When you reach out, be authentic. Yes, show compassion – but do it with authenticity. Don’t just mouth words everyone else has said or reinforce clichés. In the words of Apple, Think Different. And be yourself.
  1. Show gratitude. It goes without saying that this is a terrible time. Those that can find the silver lining – and give thanks for the new ways we’re connecting and communicating with each other – are the ones who can help provide a pathway out of this crisis.

Most of all, stay healthy, be positive, stay at home, wear your masks and stay six feet away from everyone. We will get through this.

What’s your idea for how to communicate through a pandemic? Email me at: [email protected] or comment below.

7 thoughts on “5 Tips for Communicating During A Pandemic

  1. All great advice, David. None of us have ever gone through this before, so it’s important that communications be open and consistent. Collaboration, idea exchange, learning from each other — all crucial in getting through this. Try and stay upbeat with positive tweets and cool visuals, too!

  2. Excellent advice, David, during such a most frightening and uncharted time. It is essential that we listen closely and empathize. Collegiality is key to controlling stress as we are all in this together. I find myself taking joy in the smallest of things!

  3. Thanks, David. I love that you start with “listen.” Asking about how things are going overall, and listening carefully to what they’re dealing with is the best way to start the process of figuring out how we can help. It may be that the biggest challenges they face appear to be outside of our arena. But listening with empathy and curiosity will always be appreciated – and can lead to some interesting opportunities!

  4. I think “be yourself” is the most important point – whether that’s being true to your brand or personal guidelines.

  5. David, thanks for your thoughtful advice. The importance of demonstrating compassion during these uncertain times is essential. As for giving thanks – despite all the uncertainty, I’m grateful to work with such intelligent/creative colleagues and clients!

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