In this Business Skills 360 lesson we take a look at the language we use in a crisis. In our last two lessons (BEP 179 and BEP 180), we listened to a team dealing with a serious crisis: an accident at a factory. You probably noticed how some of the people are quite careful about the words they use.
A crisis is a sensitive situation. Emotions are running high and people are on edge. There is thepotential for conflict if you do or say the wrong thing. At the same time, the clock is ticking and you may not have time to manage everyone’s feelings. For these reasons, you have a very fine balancing act between being diplomatic and being direct.
So, when should you be diplomatic and when should you be direct? Well, you need to assessthe situation and determine which is best. Diplomatic language can protect people’s feelings. It can also avoid conflict and build trust. Those can all be very important in a crisis, when everybody needs to be on board with a plan. On the other hand, direct language can show a sense of urgency and seriousness, and it can prevent confusion. Those are also important in a conflict, when things must happen quickly and misunderstanding is just not an option. Remember that to be a good crisis manager, you need to adapt your style and strategy to the situation.