Posts Tagged ‘investor relationships’

It seems like every day a new story emerges, in which someone has miscommunicated, off- or online, creating controversy or damaging the good name of their company. In a recent situation, a small firm’s lawsuit over a tweet —and a spokesman’s off the cuff response—sparked outrage in the social media world.

Although the dynamics of public outreach, media relations, and member/investor relations are changing almost daily, one rule of communication remains steadfast: Clear, consistent (and sometimes compassionate) communication can save the day.

First, a true story from one of our colleagues. His client had achieved incredible company growth, running a multi-million dollar company on mere thousands a month. The company had succeeded in just about every facet of business, had built a faithful customer base and was on the verge of even more growth. However, economic conditions changed and the company found itself up against a shortage in cash, waiting for accounts receivable and investor funds to come in. Before they knew it, they had missed payroll and were past due on some mid-sized vendor invoices.  

In today’s economy, we see this happening with more and more frequency, with even huge corporations (such as British Airways) facing challenges they never anticipated.

As you well know, employees and investors are two of the greatest assets within a company and their happiness and confidence can directly translate into your success. Knowing some basic communication missteps to avoid—and strategies to keep in mind—will help guide you through turbulent waters.

One of the worst errors in communication during times like these is waiting, both in terms of waiting to reach out to affected groups and waiting to draft a plan.  When under fire, the best plan is one that is already laid, hands down. So figure out how you will handle an unfortunate or crisis situations now, rather than later. Run through potential scenarios and from there, determine how communication will flow, what exactly will be said and through what mediums or channels. Develop your key messages and communicate them with company leaders and spokespeople to avoid contradiction and confusion.

Depending on the severity of the situation, you should be communicating and updating internal relationships once every other day to once a week. Appropriate, effective outreach can take many forms: a newsletter, e-newsletter, or other confidential, internal channel.

However, before jumping into any form of communication, you must have a crystal clear idea of intent. What do you want the outcome to look like? What do you want to convey? What core company strengths can you call on to help guide your communication? In the example from above, the company wanted to:  

1. Convey its sincerity, concern and professionalism

2. Protect its stellar reputation and relationships

3. Be open, transparent and fair

These are excellent intention guideposts, and when feasible, should be duplicated.

Whether through verbal or written forms of communication, remember to stay focused on the problem at hand, avoid being negative and listen to concerns.

Compassion and concern can go a long way, when done in a professional manner.  Also, providing doable incentives and possible positive future projections will help build a bridge over the hump and keep employees positive and faithful, and investors confident and in the game.


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