How can you create hope and optimism in your communications?
What drives us to get up in the morning, knowing that we will stay confined? Reading a poem? The taste of a good coffee? A rainbow drawn by your child? Hope allows movement, even when everything else has stopped. It is the engine that pushes us forward, making us resilient, patient and creative.
Today, in communications, now more than ever is the time for optimism, courage and hope. We understood that the COVID-19 crisis was going to last for a while and we are rolling up our sleeves to make the most of the situation, together. However, to move from anxiety to action, we need to generate hope. How to make it emerge among your employees, customers and audiences? Here are five tips for spreading optimism to your various stakeholders.
At this time, connection is essential. Because connection means hope. Whether it’s with your employees or your customers, the important thing is to be fully present. Be empathetic: identify the deep motivations of your audiences to better meet their needs. Listen to what they have to say. To do so, you must take a genuine interest in them and agree to transform your activities. This crisis is a great opportunity to develop a new, more intimate and lasting connection with your audiences, one that is more sustainable.
- Survey your employees and customers about their feelings, needs and desires during this crisis, whether they are at home or in the field.
- Invite a member of the leadership team to speak to employees regularly via video messages.
- Be a source of positive information. For instance, create a newsletter that focuses on the good news of the day.
Once the main needs and emotions of your audiences are identified, offer them solutions.
- Inform your employees of any government assistance they may receive; help them see more clearly, they will remember your support.
- Invite your audiences to feel gratitude – the results on morale are proven. In concrete terms, ask them to cite three things that they are grateful for every day.
- Invite them to practice mindfulness, which has considerable benefits.
- Encourage them to list their small daily wins.
- Remind them that this phase is temporary, invite them to visualize the future.
Inspire and lead by example
It’s all about attitude, as ocean rower Mylène Paquette recalls in her latest Brave podcast. After having spent 129 days alone on the Atlantic Ocean offers valuable advice: when you are in an imposed situation (confinement, isolation at sea), you must focus on the only thing you can control: your own behaviour. To encourage a change of mindset, lead by example. Adopt a positive tone and share beautiful stories that will give courage and hope to your audiences.
- Highlight the positive aspects of business life during the pandemic and celebrate the small successes achieved during the crisis.
- Focus on the possible – not the impossible.
- Identify employees, or even customers, who could share great initiatives and highlight their testimonials in your media (written, digital or video).
- Share these stories with the media. Journalists are more than ever looking for positive initiatives borne of the crisis.
Your audiences must not only listen to beautiful stories, they must also act as main characters in them. This is a point demonstrated in psychology: “Active behaviour (…) is always more positive – in terms of self-image, confidence and vision of the future – than passive behaviour (…)”. Encourage action in your communications!
- Include a call to action in your communications. For instance, encourage your employees or consumers to get involved locally (volunteering).
- Mobilize your employees around a common cause of solidarity in this pandemic, for example in relation to your sector or specialty.
Messages of hope and rainbows bloom on the web, the #Cavabienaller movement, now a trademark, is growing considerably. Google thanks health professionals on its home page, a contractor uses its construction site signs to post messages of support… You too, can be a force for (virtual) gathering! Nothing gives more energy and courage to an audience than to feel part of a movement.
Some advice :
- Launch your own movement. This can include creating a logo or motto that brings hope to your business.
- Use your resources. Ask yourself: What is your specialty? What tools do you have (physical, human, computer)? How can they be useful to health professionals, to patients, to a confined society?
- Integrate your audiences into your communication media, as Le Journal de Québec newspaper did by publishing the most beautiful rainbows from its readers. Open up an expression column in your newsletter, launch internal contests to find creative solutions in the midst of the crisis.
Good news: optimism is contagious too!