Australia's top soldier good example of non verbal crisis communications
The number one rule when it comes to crisis communications, is assuring the public you need to reach most, that you care, and that you are doing something to make things right. It's as simple as that, but often people fall short, not because they aren't saying the right things, but because they don't come across as sincere.
It's what we call non-verbal communications â€“ how you come across beyond what you are saying. It's the body language and the tone of voice. Do you come across as believable and with credibility and true empathy? If not, it doesn't matter what you say, your audience isn't going to buy it, and in fact they may not even hear it because they have already tuned you out.
In our media training we quote a study by Stanford University that shows 93% of our communications effectiveness depends on our non-verbals. There are many other studies into this and most show similar results.
The reason I am blogging about this today is because I have come across a piece of video that is a great example of effective communications.
This is Lieutenant General David Morrison, the top soldier in the Australian Army. He is responding to a sex scandal within his ranks. The words he chooses are strong â€“ no weasel words or so-called â€œspinâ€, and that of course is good, but beyond this, notice how his non-verbal communications complement his language perfectly. You can sense he is talking through clenched teeth because he's so angry, and he leaves no doubt he's serious about dealing with it.
This is about three minutes. Have a look and let me know what you think.