NMK – Business Coaching and Communication - That’s How You Can Speak Silently in Times of Crisis

That’s How You Can Speak Silently in Times of Crisis

Have you ever thought of nonverbal communication as a way to manage a crisis?

Whenever a crisis hits, the spokesperson is supposed to be the voice of the company. Many articles have discussed what this person should say and what exactly should be communicated. Yet, the fact that a spokesperson also becomes the face the organization often goes unnoticed! That is to say, nonverbal communication is key to crisis communication and management too!

Based on 17 in-depth interviews with Belgian media trainers of business CEOs and spokespeople, the writers of the study “Preparing to Face the Media in Times of Crisis: Training Spokespersons’ Verbal and Nonverbal Cues” revealed how should a spokesperson communicate the crisis and face the media.

The Background

  • Devote attention to the background during an interview in order to exercise control over the situation especially that the visual elements of the background can put one’s message in a positive or negative context;
  • Choose your background strategically;
  • Do not sit in the corner;
  • Sit in front of a background that helps your story;
  • Choose a neutral background to avoid distracting people from your message.

Your Posture

  • Adopt an open, stable and relaxed posture;
  • Face the camera frontally; this will highly influence your honesty and credibility because showing one side of your face gives an impression of insecurity.

Your Eye Gaze

  • Look the interviewer in the eyes to enhance your credibility since gaze aversion gives the impression that you are hiding something;

You can simply focus on a point behind the head of the journalist as if you’re looking through him!

Your Hand Gestures

Use your hands to reinforce your verbal message and show enthusiasm, but do not exaggerate; else, you’ll divert attention from the main message

Your Appearance

  • Avoid any appearance that distracts the audience’s attention from the main message;
  • Do NOT stand out through physical characteristics like your attire, hair style, makeup and jewelry;
  • Let your appearance be in line with your personality and your message in order to be perceived as authentic and credible.


De Waele, A., Claeys, A., & Opgenhaffen, M. (2020). Preparing to face the media in times of crisis: Training spokespersons’ verbal and nonverbal cues. Public Relations Review, 46(2), 101871. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pubrev.2019.101871Tips to Use Your Vocal Cues in Crisis Communication

Share with us your thoughts and don’t forget to check our Crisis Prevention and Management course!

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NMK – Business Coaching and Communication

NMK – Business Coaching and Communication - That’s How You Can Speak Silently in Times of Crisis