In a crisis, knowing what to communicate and how is crucial, but so is knowing the audience. Information “needs to be made relevant to the stakeholders that you’re communicating to,” Hoff said. “What’s being communicated in a city like New York, where everyone is on public transportation, and there’s a lot of density, is very different from how a municipality needs to communicate in a small town in Italy, for example.”

What to do after a crisis

The most important piece of advice Hoff says he gives his clients is to start strategizing immediately for once the crises subsides. Both companies and governments should be planning for how to rebuild their systems and their output, while being careful not to allow the virus to re-emerge in the process. Companies that have shifted their entire workforce online need to plan a smooth transition back to the office for workers. Governments who have placed cities on lockdown need to figure out how and when to let people resume their normal lives.

It’s important to look ahead, he says, and remember a fundamental lesson of this field: “There will be an end to this, as there is with every crisis.”

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