Media & Video Coach 
Writer, Producer  
If you live in south Bristol you'll be pleased to hear that the trees in the Totterdown Community Orchard have had their demons cast out. 
 
In the ancient ceremony of Wassailing, local villagers gathered to make very loud noises, using pots, pans, wooden spoons and the human mouth and vocal chords, and to drink cider punch. 
 
This is to wake the trees from their winter sleep and inspire them to produce an even better crop of apples for cider this year. We also hung bits of toast from tree branches, to let the trees know we were drinking their health. Some people also poured cider on to the trees, although this struck me as a bit cannibalistic. 
If you haven't done it before it can be daunting. I'm a former BBC reporter and veteran corporate communicator who's just started running courses in how to do this effectively. And judging from these comments from my last three trainees, I don't do a bad job... 
The Covid19 pandemic is turning the world upside down. 
 
So let’s take the opportunity to turn crisis communication on its head too. The traditional ‘corporate voice’, where everyone’s remorselessly cheerful and bad news gets discreetly airbrushed, is looking increasingly outdated. More and more organisations are declaring a social purpose beyond simply making money. Others are committing to not damaging the planet. Extinction Rebellion’s exhortation to ‘tell the truth’ strikes a chord with many. 
 
But old habits die hard. It’s tempting to say ‘no comment’ or pretend that everything is rosy when it’s not. And even if you have what my old Catholic priest used to call a ‘firm purpose of amendment’ – i e, you’re a sinner now but you really really REALLY want to be good – you have to start somewhere. 
 
So hopefully this checklist will give you some ideas. 
Are you feeling unusually warm today? It might be a random weather variation … or it might be that the world is getting hotter. 
Alternatively, it might be the uncomfortable feeling that those pesky media types will be knocking on your door any minute to demand answers to some awkward questions. 
I had an urgent request yesterday (Sunday afternoon) from the CEO of a company actively involved in the fight against Coronavirus. 
He’s a very proactive leader and wants to encourage his people by letting them know he’s doing everything he can for them even though he can’t get physically close at the moment. 
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