Penetrating Solutions for High Stress, High Concern Situations
High stress evokes a set of communication guidelines that are significantly different from those that serve effectively in routine, low stress situations. Following familiar low stress communication guidelines in high stress situations can lead to disappointing outcomes that are frustrating, embarrassing, or worse.
A fundamental reason for this is that people in a stressed state of mind will lose, on average, 80 percent of their capacity to process information, i.e. hear, understand and remember what they see or hear.
Less than 5% of public stress is driven by facts
Research shows that public concerns typically are based 95 percent on perceptions and only five percent on facts. People’s behavior usually is predicated on perceptions – often misperceptions – that differ substantially from reality (facts).
The principles of Risk Communication provide a dual advantage in overcoming this limitation.
- Risk Communication guidelines help us optimize the average 20 percent of capacity people can use.
- The guidelines help us address the concerns underlying the stress which, in turn, improves the capacity for quality communication.
Written by Richard G. Peters, DrPH, Vincent T. Covello, PhD, David B. McCallum, PhD as published in Risk Analysis. 1997; 17(1):43-54.
The Center for Risk Communication Advantage
As long time practitioners applying science-based communication principles in real world situations, we bring subject matter expertise in behavioral science to help your existing team develop strategies that prevent or mitigate negative consequences of high stress situations, while maintaining (or restoring) the credibility of your organization’s voice.
Our senior consultants and extensive network of subject matter experts are highly collaborative team players who will work with your leadership and in-house or contracted communications staff to get results.
Always results focused, our insightful seasoned veterans can help you cut through the noise and focus on the issues and actions that overcome communication obstacles efficiently and effectively. The Center for Risk Communication employs a multilateral, layered approach to communication that addresses human behavior factors to anticipate how your stakeholders will respond or react to information affecting their concerns.
The Center’s training, counsel and support are tailored to the unique and specific needs of each client and situation. Relevant communication planning services might include:
- Crisis communication planning support
- Accident and emergency situation support
- Crisis scenario preparation and exercises
- Crisis communication training
- Perception and opinion research
- Community relations strategies
- Community outreach programs
- Stakeholder participation plans
- Media relations strategies
- Media Spokesperson training
- Conflict and dispute resolution
- Message mapping