Why Collaborate During a Crisis?


“BLUF.” It means, “bottom line, up front.” Insert it at the beginning of any piece of written communication, and you’re telling those receiving the message, “this is most important.” If you’re a professional communicator, it’s the same thing as “flagging” during media interviews.

So, what’s the BLUF when it comes to collaborative crisis communications? The simple answers to “why do it?”  may be the bottom line for many people considering the strategy during times of crisis:

  • Provides efficient information flow between responding organizations
  • Promotes proactive response to the information needs of those affected by the crisis
  • Responding organizations speak with one voice (which, by the way, helps get past the mental noise of people affected by crisis)
  • Duplication of effort is minimized and resource management is maximized
  • Everyone has a job (it might not be their normal job, but it contributes to mitigating the crisis)

What are the markers that can prompt communicators to collaborate with their partners-in-crisis?

  • As the complexity of a crisis increases, so, too, should collaboration with partner organizations in the midst of the same crisis
  • As the public is increasingly affected by your (shared) crisis, the more you need to communicate directly with them – this assumes that complexity is increasing and that organizations working toward mitigation are well-served to speak with one voice to that affected public
  • Controlling the message. This is a hyper- version of speaking with one voice. I’m not talking “spin” here, I’m talking what the affected publics “need” to know (i.e., safety information, etc). If all responding organizations are on the same page, then, success!

I recently posted about steps to take before a crisis to plan for collaborative communications. The “why do it?” and “how to get ready for it” have now been answered. More to follow!

Talk to me, Goose.

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