How do we answer COVID-19 related questions coming from our employees, clients and the media? The legal industry is one of many that has been affected by the coronavirus and communicating effectively to its critical audiences is essential. This was the topic of a recent Legal Marketing Association (LMA) webinar where I was a panelist with other communications experts. Together, we built a framework to help LMA members communicate better during this time.
At Jackson Spalding, we advise our clients to approach their communications with grace – for themselves, for their customers and for their employees. If you weren’t able to attend the webinar, here are some guidelines that can help you and your firm navigate this new normal.
6 Guidelines for Legal Communications During COVID-19:
- Prioritize your firm’s internal audience – Communicating with your internal teams at least once a day is good advice. The emails to teams can include important financial updates about the firm, reminders of daily tasks employees need to complete or a note of encouragement. If you don’t have new information to share with internal teams, that’s okay too. It’s perfectly fine to communicate that you don’t know everything right now because no one knows what the future holds. A “no update” update still avoids silence and helps offset any rumor mills.
- Call your clients – We have all sent countless communications through various digital mediums, but have you called your clients? Picking up the phone to check-in can have a profound impact and can help your firm breakthrough to your clients.
- Call your employees – The sentiment above also applies to internal communications. It is always nice to hear a friendly voice or see a friendly face via video conference.
- Align your experts – Companies are strategically aligning their experts with their clients’ needs. Who from your team could meaningfully assist your clients right now? Make sure your outreach and suggestions are relevant and meaningful to your clients.
- Communicate with your firm’s values in mind – Companies using their mission, vision and values as a lens for their actions and communications are better received. Authenticity is key.
- Link to source material – Because so much is unknown, it is important to link to source material in all your communications. Things are changing fast and there are some areas where expertise is widely divergent, so reference your sources. For example, if your clients have public health questions, we recommend providing credible links from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization.
Remember I mentioned grace? We all need it right now. Since my wife and I began working from home, our house has been split into thirds – 1/3 office, 1/3 classroom and 1/3 home. We are living and working in novel times and business unusual is the new normal. Making sure your communications are meaningful, concise and consistent is key.
If you have questions about these guidelines or want to know more about how you can better communicate right now, please reach out to me ([email protected]). You can also find the entire LMA Webinar presentation video here.