Risk communication needs to be considered at all stages of risk management. It is a sustained communication process established with a diverse audience about the likely outcomes of health and behavioural attitudes. The main goal is to engage communities in discussions about environmental and health-related risks to create public understanding about their outcomes and approaches to deal with them. Risk communication can be about specific health-related choices, e.g. the perceived risks associated with getting immunised, or related to behaviours, as the risks associated with sexual behaviour. This approach requires a profound understanding of the distinction between the different dimensions and models of behavioural sciences.
Ten golden rules for risk communication
- Never lie
- Never say 'no comment'
- There is never an 'off the record'
- Be short, get to the point and always think of the audience
- Stay calm and confident
- Use simple language
- Stay in control
- It is OK to say "I don't know, but I'll find out"
- Don't speculate
- beware of reporters' tactics
What do people remember from an interview on TV:
- 55% Body language (professional, interested, calm, nervous, intimidated etc)
- 38% Tone of voice (concerned, calm, worried, relaxed, happy)
- 07% Words (content)
In radio interviews, usually only 9 seconds of the interview will be used within the story they want to present. Make sure such a "sound bite" complies to the following:
- No jargon
- Simple language
- Positive active verbs
Apply the "27/9/3 rule": Maximum 27 words, average 9 seconds, no more than 3 messages
The 3 C's of communication:
- Consistent content
- Explicit information
- Accuracy is key
- Clear message
- Messages that leave no one guessing.
- Courtesy conveys respect
Another option of the 3 C's - clear, concise, consistent.