I recently “virtually” attended the Society for Health Communication 4th annual National Summit for Health Communication. Each year’s Summit provides new insights and an exchange of ideas, here are three to consider as communicating health information about COVID-19 continues to evolve:
When a communications crisis hits, it can feel more like a sprint. Heightened intensity for a few days. Though as my colleague Jeff Davis said, “Most organizations probably did not have global pandemic in their crisis communication plan.” With any long-distance run, we need to rely on our training; in this case, crisis PR plans
outlining the steps, protocols, and adjustments to follow. Look weeks and months ahead, consider possible scenarios specific to your organization, and (try to) plan accordingly.
We cannot do the above if communicators are not part of the conversation. An organization’s values are being communicated, and key audiences are paying attention. Our role as communicators is to assess the who, what, where, when, why, and how ¾ supporting our organizations and clients to develop and share clear and credible information.
Listening to your audiences is important to understand how to ensure they receive health messages. There were a few resources shared during the Summit that can help:
Terry Savage, the Society’s president, noted that our work as health communicators is more important than ever. This sentiment proved true throughout the two-day event, from countering misinformation to the importance of research — developing and communicating clear and credible content during COVID-19 and beyond is critical.
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