When people hear the terms riskhigh-concern, or crisis communications, they most likely think of communications around health scares, product launches, government programs, or military activities.

But the same considerations around these public (sometimes even global) endeavors apply equally to personal interactions, whether in the workplace, at home, or in venues including friends and other relations.

Think about two of the most prominent principles of risk, high-concern, and crisis communications:

(1) The most effective response to stress, concern, worries, and fear is to engage in dialogue.

(2) People in risk situations typically want to know that you care before they care what you know.

Now ask yourself: What affects personal relations more than the ability to engage in dialogue or the capacity to show that you care?

A Path to Better Communications

As discussed in Dr. Vincent Covello’s master class, risk, high-concern, and crisis communications can positively or negatively affect a person’s personal or professional life.

When engaged in high-concern and emotionally charged situations, our brains panic. People often don’t know what to say because our brains are not functioning properly.

This often leads to communicator’s regret: wishing we had said something that we didn’t or regretting that we said something we shouldn’t have.

From the first module of the master class (Pathway to Risk, High-Concern, and Crisis Communication), the following quote gets to the heart of how these techniques can help in any situation where trust is compromised:

Effective risk communication creates a place for participation and dialogue where people can engage in an interactive process that is designed to be thoughtful, solution-oriented, cooperative, and collaborative.

In short, the evidence-based principles and tools presented in Dr. Covello’s master class can be used to mend broken professional or personal relationships, including those with colleagues, bosses, family, and friends.

In addition, a mastery of the skills taught in the master class can be used to increase personal influence at work or at home.

Among the topics addressed in the class are a veritable who’s who of subjects that can apply to personal interactions: trust determination, mental noise, negative dominance, risk perceptions, and nonverbal and visual cues.

None of this is to say that you should craft a message map every time things get dicey with your partners, children, or friends. But the principles of risk, high-concern, and crisis communication can help you understand why your communications are failing.

And the techniques Dr. Covello teaches in his master class can help you take actionable steps toward improving fraught communications.

Communicating Effectively When Feelings, Fears, and Facts Collide

Dr. Covello’s video-based course Pathway to Risk, High-Concern, and Crisis Communication introduces communicators to the tools and techniques for communicating effectively—while providing greater insight into why audiences react the way they do during times of stress.

The course comprises nine video lectures and accompanying text modules, plus supplemental materials for putting valuable lessons into practice.

More information about the course, including group rates and partnering opportunities, can be found by emailing info@pathwaycommunication.com.

Dr. Vincent Covello

Dr. Vincent Covello, director of the Center for Risk Communication, is one of the world’s leading experts and practitioners on risk, high-concern, and crisis communication. He is the author of more than 150 articles in scientific journals and the author/editor of more than 20 books. Dr. Covello is a consultant, writer, speaker, and teacher. He is a frequent keynote speaker and has conducted communication skills training for thousands.