There are few communication colleagues I can think of who would not have been impacted in some way in their roles, and in what they have been called upon to communicate, during what is a public health emergency with a global impact and a massively local reach.
The most challenging for me has been communicating about an emergency while in an emergency.
It’s hard to believe that a ten year background in emergency management has not prepared me for this. In previous roles I’ve analysed, considered, empathised, coordinated and managed issues from the sidelines. Even when I’ve been working with impacted communities, at some stage I’ve been able to move through and on to the next emergency.
This one. Nope.
For a while, I was an interested spectator, enjoying the challenge and novelty of moving home, then a frightened and locked down participant, a furious judge, a cautious but hopeful we could open, small business owner. All the while I was also communicator and a manager.
Last week like many I listened in agony as both my home municipality and work municipality were named as a coronavirus hotspot, with details of what that meant to me – to us – as a person and as a communicator still to come.
This week has been a high of anticipation waiting for the what if and where.
Today, with my home municipality not currently identified for lockdown, I heaved a sigh of relief along with recognising a continued underlying unease and trepidation because it could still be us/me.
But the work municipality is being split, a literal and perhaps figurative split for a further challenging four weeks. Past the adrenalin rush, the need to communicate externally and internally is doubling down with a new challenge that continues to stretch experience, knowledge, innovation and resilience.