I wrote the other day about the importance of communicating in a crisis, but the fact is, your company must keep communicating all the time.
To illustrate this, let me tell you John’s story about the birth of his first son. My former colleague John was in hospital with his wife about to give birth. After hours spent by the bedside, a nurse convinced him to go and get a cup of tea in the ‘fathers lounge’, where he’d still be able to see what was happening because there was a bank of monitors duplicating the information shown on the ones at bedside.
Wearily, John slumped into a chair to drink his tea, and tried to understand what was being shown on his wife’s monitor. Suddenly, the blip of the heart monitor stopped, and went into a flat line. He leaped out of the lounge and hared down the corridor to the ward. The nurse that met him explained, with a smile, that the sensor had simply dropped away as his wife had shifted position, and there was nothing to worry about.
Some hours later, John was still waiting for the birth of his son, but there were now more expectant mothers on the ward, and as he sipped yet another cup of tea in the fathers lounge, other fathers-to-be were doing the same. Suddenly, almost at the same instant, two of the monitors went into flat line, and two of the men raced out of the lounge. John was glad to find he wasn’t alone in his reaction, and smiled knowingly at the other two when they returned.
The message here is that unless your company keeps talking to people, they’ll not know that you’re doing OK. They may assume the worst, like John did.
When market conditions are tough, it’s very easy to focus inward and forget to keep communicating. Make sure that your customers and potential customers know what you’re doing – don’t let your communication go into flat line.