The coronavirus crisis shone a light on many aspects of our lives. One of the most critical for business was how we communicate. I’m not talking about the huge move to Zoom and other online video-conferencing platforms, though of course this has had a lasting impact.

Technology did make communication in lockdown easier. But the thing that was most important is what people said, not how they said it.

At the height of lockdown everyone was under an extraordinary amount of pressure, from sole traders to the leaders of global corporations. The businesses that appeared to be coping best were those that used communication to mitigate the impact of the virus on their teams and their customers.

Some, in panic, moved quickly to the kind of empty words that led to endless articles on why ‘Every brand’s Covid-19 messaging is exactly the same.’ Others, however, made an impact with warm, open communications that were honest about what they were struggling with. They used words to connect and explain rather than falling back on weak rhetoric such as ‘we’re all in this together.’

As with any crisis, there were winners and losers, and we can learn from both.

Six lockdown communication takeaways you should never do again

1. Say something just because everyone else is

2. Talk to your customers but forget about your staff

3. Fail to provide clear leadership in your message

4. Think you have to keep doing what you’ve always done

5. Ignore what people are feeling and saying

6. Fail to have a communication plan

Six lockdown communication takeaways you should always do

1. Be honest

2. Be clear and specific

3. Use plain language wherever you can

4. Speak to people as people, not as corporations

5. Be consistent – keep in touch

6. Be authentic – reflect your business and who you are

Make sure your communication is an asset to your business, not a liability. If you’re a member of BNI, get in touch for a FREE 30-minute health check for your media relations and internal communications. Email me at

Andrew Robins

Miti Ampoma