risk communication



This post tackles a big, scary dilemma – conflict, outrage and emotion.  We’re often asked for advice around this topic, because it’s something that worries many people in the engagement space -  even experienced practitioners and facilitators.

Partly, this fear is underpinned by a lack of ‘tools’ or skills. So, we’re going to give you some tips to help you prepare for and/or work with conflict, outrage and emotion in a meaningful way. 

Because it’s a big, difficult topic, we’re going to address it in two parts:  Part one (this post) is about how to plan for it, and in part two (next month) we’ll talk about what to do if you walk into it unexpectedly.   

#MonthlyMyth: Tight communication reins = risk minimisation

#MonthlyMyth: Tight communication reins = risk minimisation

Many organisations try to minimise risk by 'holding the reins tight' when it comes to communicating with their communities and stakeholders around engagement processes and major projects/decisions. 

This so-called 'risk averse' approach tends to include carefully constructing tightly worded (yet often very uninformative) key messages and strictly withholding any information deemed potentially inflammatory or uncomfortable - even when inextricably relevant to the issue at hand.

There's also approval processes applied to the release of any information, which can slow down communication activities - sometimes to a considerable extent - depending on how rigid or intricate these processes are. 

While organisations tend to feel comfortable with this well-worn approach, the promise of 'safety' through control is generally just an illusion.