Can you over-communicate?

The COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crisis it created have unleashed a continuous stream of information – non-stop breaking news, frequent emails, daily media briefings, almost daily newsletters and funny but unhelpful memes on social media.

At C2 Strategic Communications, we’ve been asked, “If there such a thing as too much communication?” The short answer is yes. But the longer, more helpful answer is: ineffective communications is the real problem.

Effective communications, especially in crisis, rely heavily on these key factors:

  • Clear, easy-to-understand messages
  • Delivered to target audiences
  • Usually by more than one method (email, website, news release, etc.)
  • On a consistent basis

What’s happening too frequently in the COVID-19 crisis is:

  • Long, dense messages without illustrations
  • Delivered to everyone (especially email)
  • Usually by one method
  • On a sporadic basis

Before you send out “COVID-19 Newsletter No. 19” or “Today’s Pandemic Update,” consider these questions:

  • What’s the most essential information to share?
  • Is there a call to action? Fill out this form? Follow these procedures?
  • What’s the shortest, clearest way to convey it? Would an illustration or example help? Could I put the full content on a website and just include links?
  • Who needs this information? All employees or some? All clients or segments?
  • Is a system-wide or all-contact email or e-newsletter the only way to distribute this?
  • What’s the needed pace of sharing this information? Daily? Monday and Thursday?

Finally, in these uncomfortable times, be comforting. Say thank you. Ask for patience. Focus on blessings. And look ahead to a brighter day soon.

Chad Carlton, C2 Strategic Communications 

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