Communicating before, during and after a crisis is critical – whether that means the survival of your business or the survival of lives, or both.

The recent forces of nature with hurricanes Harvey and Irma remind us what good communication can and should look like, especially when it’s a matter of life and death.

Here are five key communications tactics to take away from our recent extreme weather events.

1. BE PREPARED In both Texas and Florida, local and state officials were ready in advance. Perhaps because of their states’ unique permanent relevance to hurricanes, or perhaps because of early warnings by meteorologists, government and civil service officials were far out in front and ready to address challenges including preparedness, evacuation, safety and recovery.

2. BE PROACTIVE Although it may have felt pre-emptive in some areas, the reality is weather (and any other crisis) is unpredictable. Leaders were communicating to their citizens days and weeks prior to landfall. Their proactive efforts helped most people evacuate safely even as the storm paths shifted.

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