Communicating with Government
The way corporations and governments are communicating is changing rapidly. Here are some tips on how to engage with government in these uncertain times.
- Communicate with government only if it is necessary. Government stakeholders very limited bandwidth and their priorities are their constituents and ministries.
- When possible, triage your own priorities. Be clear about what is urgent to you and your stakeholders.
- Keep your government communications short and to the point. For important issues only, consider communicating with several ministries as they can help raise the salience of an issue.
Supporting Clients / Members / Executives
Many of your clients, members and executives are in a state of crisis.They are relying on you more than ever before to offer solid advice,insights and strategies. Here are some tips on how you can help them cope with a myriad of issues.
- In with the new, out with the old – we are now in a different world. Rather than focusing on how to get back to where you were before, implement strategies that ensure your organization and clients are well-positioned for the resulting changes, some of which will be born out of necessity (e.g. digital health care).
- Seize opportunities to showcase your value to clients / members. Ensure your executives and clients are aware of all government announcements and resources, including resources/funding/benefits for employees (i.e. childcare for frontline workers). However, don’t just reiterate government announcements. Offer insights on the specific opportunities and implications of these new policies for your organization.
- Use web-based video conferencing services for internal and client meetings rather than congested 800 conference lines. As a bonus, you’ll have a much better meeting experience when you can share documents in real time and also see facial expressions.
- Be mindful of everyone’s time constraints. Ask to schedule 5 or 10-minute calls if you think the discussion can be brief. Also keep written content brief and to the point.
- Offer training sessions for members and staff. Remember that some of your clients/members are unfamiliar with new technology resources available and may not be able to take advantage of opportunities to connect with government virtually.
- Humanize interactions with clients / members. This is a very stressful time for everyone as many of us cope with potential family tensions and corporate concerns.
Supporting Canada/ Public Relations
While we are in the midst of an international crisis, the current conditions also offer opportunities for creative companies to build reputation and resilience. Here are some tips to help your agency or organization communicate that they are a good corporate citizen.
- Be recognized as someone who is helping; it’s good to be seen and heard in a crisis. Look for opportunities where your organization or clients can help and let stakeholders, including employees, clients, customers and partners know about the efforts. Support government when they are looking for organizations to offer specific assistance. Otherwise, only contact government about other initiatives you are implementing if you think it’s necessary that they know.
- Put your needs into perspective. Take a moment to consider the person you are contacting and what they are dealing with. Consider whether your issue should be a priority or even if they are able to help you at this time.
- Be kind and lead by example. Things are changing rapidly and there is no rule book to follow. We are in this together and we need to help one another along the way.
- Update your lobbyist registries. As your priorities and focus change, don’t forget to update your subject matters and registries accordingly.