Effective communicators invest in understanding their audience. Who is who in the audience and what are their expectations? As the world navigates through a pandemic, the tone of the leaders is critical. People want to listen to clear directives and a message of hope, backed with facts and data.
This is not the time to point fingers. It is a time to bring everyone on the table and focus on confronting a common enemy. People are always looking for cues and listening to the leader’s tone. Is it hazy or clear? Is it consistent or not? Is it strategic or operational? Is it self-centred or audience-focused?
Now is the time to have a team of experts that are representative of the different groups, working on the same agenda to provide answers to complex technical and soft issues – how do we overcome a pandemic without significant disruptions. What are the unique interventions relevant to our company or country? Leaders everywhere must seek to find answers backed with scientific evidence, data, and facts to the following issues as they make ongoing briefings to their citizens:
- How did this coronavirus come about?
- What is the state of the pandemic in the country, and how does it compare globally?
- What are we doing to address the problem?
- What lessons have we learned?
- What challenges still exist?
- What are the implications if we lift the lockdown or if we extend it? And what we have decided to do?
- Our financial stimulus packages
- The planned priority action plans to win against the pandemic
- And where you can find official information
Some leaders tend to forget about the common man’s challenges- where to find the next meal. How to pay for utilities. Where to get money for rent. How to buy essential medicines. All problems rotate around money.
That is why leaders must provide confidence about the economic stimulus during briefings so that people are confident of the next meal. Of concern to many businesspeople is increasing costs not supported by income. How can small businesses overcome such costs?
As a CEO or leader planning the next team briefing, make sure you provide a speech that meets the expectations of the audience members. No one likes to be led in darkness.
Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.