We are going to break this down into two key areas of communication – internal and external. Internal meaning within your organisation and external being to your key audiences (i.e. those not on the payroll).

Internal
As businesses many of us are now working from home. Retaining a connection to our colleagues is critical to being able to provide our products and services effectively. Using communication tools such as Microsoft Teams can really help. Using the messaging capability to ping updates and documents back and forth and audio/video calls to host regular team meetings will aid your connection.

By way of example, we’re hosting two catch-ups a day, an initial morning briefing to discuss results of the previous working day, any development of strategy or messaging needed on that basis, and plans for the current day, along with an after lunch call to debrief on the morning. We’ve identified the need to adopt an agile strategy in this season of change, and whilst certain activities remain constant, others are tailored by the day and evolve as needs emerge.

As humans, many of us are living and operating in relative isolation compared to our lives before. For our mental health its therefore important to have the opportunity to connect informally. Hopefully most organisations are taking some responsibility for their employee’s mental wellbeing and recognising this challenge. Management teams may choose to formalise ‘touch-base’ times for team members such as ‘morning/afternoon coffee break’ or ‘team lunch’ to structure time for informal chat rather than it not happen and people struggle, or happen in an organic way that can introduce distraction.

External
It’s likely that your audience are navigating pretty similar issues to those you’re experiencing. This immediately gives you common ground upon which to communicate and your communication may well be welcome at this time, particularly if its supportive or solution providing.

It’s possible that you may struggle to reach people by phone if you don’t have mobile numbers and they are decentralised from their usual location without remote access to phone systems. This being the case, you may need to adjust your strategy to embrace more email communication, or where content is more general, publishing via social media is a good option.

Where you would have historically connected with those external to your organisation in say a partnership capacity, intentional effort will be required to retain those relationships in this time. Be mindful of how they might be affected, look for ways to add value to the relationship. Have you seen a piece of content that made you think of them, might be a source of useful information to them, or might help to inform their strategy? If so, sharing that lends authenticity to your motivation to sustain the relationship.

Keeping up to date with their news and on social, liking, sharing and commenting on things also helps to retain a connection and reinforce the sense that you’re thinking of them and valuing the relationship. Hosting video conference calls with those outside your organisation is valuable, in many instances internal business tools such as Teams can extend an invitation externally, but there are many others such as skype and zoom which offer free options.

More people than ever are reading content, engaging on social media chat and are generally in a position where they are reaching out so this should be seen as a unique opportunity to grow your connection and relationships, not let them stall.  You just need to make sure that you are communicating a message that’s relevant to them and resonates in a place where they’re going to hear it (read more about effective storytelling and relevant social media channels)