A Different Kind of Pie

this one will help your crisis management

Communication is the cornerstone not only of crisis management, but also much of business. In order to bring stakeholders the answer, product, or service that they want, you need to understand WHY they want it.

This can be difficult to explain, which makes an excellent comparison between hostage negotiation and crisis management, from a Standing Partnership blog post by Mihaela Grad, all the more valuable:

“Expand the ’emotional pie.'” Hostage negotiation experts always try to identify the underlying emotions that guide the hostage taker’s behavior. Rather than present rational arguments, they use active-listening techniques and supportive language to get the hostage taker to open up and reveal the real root of the problem.

In a crisis, emotions run high. Uncovering what motivates stakeholders to behave a certain way or form certain beliefs is key to finding a solution to the problem. In a crisis situation, the affected parties can be left with the impression that their voices are not heard. Listening to and acknowledging the other party’s position is a necessary first step towards resolving the situation.  Before bombarding the audience with rational arguments, which may not resonate as expected, we need to understand what emotions motivate the audience’s beliefs or behaviors and address those first.

It’s amazing what simply saying, “we understand you, we’re doing our best to fix the issue quickly, and we won’t do it again” can do. Even better, using social media makes it easy to not just post this message up somewhere, but also actually respond to individuals in real-time, giving your crisis communication that extra boost that only a personal touch can.

Of course, none of this gets you off the hook from actually solving the problem at hand. Ignore that, and your crisis will return with a vengeance.

The BCM Blogging Team

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