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It can be hard to find the right words during a time of crisis. You want employees to take the situation seriously, while minimizing their fears about the long term effect of an outbreak, natural disaster, or other major event. And if you’re worried that your talks will be poorly received, you should know that good communication skills — especially for hard conversations — can be learned quickly and easily.

When a sudden and dramatic change occurs — or anytime you need to have a difficult conversation — a workplace communication strategy called C3 is effective and easy to follow. Below you’ll find easy-to-repeat scripts and phrases you can use each time you need to have a conversation that involves conflict or correction. Here’s how it works:


Workplace Communication - The C3 Strategy

Comms During COVID-19

As companies comply with “shelter in place” orders to prevent the spread of COVID-19, effective communication is more important than ever. Use C3 to help employees understand why it's in their best interest to follow precautions from your company and local government.

C3 stands for:
  1. Express Care and Concern
  2. Support Constructive Conversation
  3. Close with Commitment
This simple framework reassures employees and provides opportunities for them to ask questions and feel heard. Here are some example COVID-19 messages using the C3 strategy:

1. Express Care and Concern
Focus on why shelter in place orders are necessary. Use current information to inform and educate employees. Here’s a sample message:

Out of concern for our employees’ and customers’ health and well being, we will be complying with the “shelter in place” orders as issued by our local government. We appreciate your support as we each do our part to reduce the spread of harmful pathogens. Learn more about COVID-19 and how to protect yourself at

COVID-19: What Drivers Need To Know

This brief lesson is packed with essential and timely info regarding the virus and what people can do to stay healthy at home and on the road

When communicating with drivers, who are exempt from ‘shelter in place’ orders because they provide essential services, focus on their well-being. For example:

Our first priority is the health and welfare of our employees. To that end, we are supporting you with all the necessary tools and resources to keep your vehicle and work environment as clean as possible to avoid the spread of the virus.


2. Support Constructive Conversation
Invite employees to share their concerns. Create an FAQ, and schedule open conference calls with managers and employees if possible. Keeping the lines of communication open helps employees feel listened to and valued.


3. Close With Commitment
Finally, close with commitment. If you don’t have the answers, don’t make them up. Commit to finding an answer and provide the information as soon as you can. Provide educational resources for employees whenever possible.

The C3 framework builds trust and understanding that will endure beyond the current crisis. Download these slides from our Certified Driver Trainer program and keep them at your desk for quick reference.

Get ITI's C3 Education Slides

We hope the information above is helpful. As a training company, our goal is to share great ideas that make our customers’ lives easier.

Want to improve your team’s ability to have constructive conversations? Connect with a training consultant online or by phone (360-576-5976 option 4) to learn more about ITI's online communication training and fleet management training options.

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