Effective Strategies for Communication Under Pressure

“You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.” Lee Iacocca


Crisis can be a major disruptor to our normal patterns of operation. It can also be an opportunity that allows us to adapt and grow as leaders in our industries. Communication specialist and Wharton professor, Sue Guiher, agrees. In our sixth podcast episode, Communicating Under Pressure, she notes that there’s a delicate balance of choosing the right words and expressions when all eyes are on us. 


Here are Sue’s top three tips for more effective communication during times of crisis.



Your audience is important. To increase your impact and influence, consider their thoughts and opinions before you speak. Using ethos, pathos, and logos is a great mode of accomplishing this.

  • Ethos → Establish trust and credibility with your audience to prove you’re worth listening to
  • Pathos → Consider whether you are emotionally connected and tapped into your audience
  • Logos → Do your statements make sense? Do they use rational facts and figures to validate your claims?

Do your homework on researching your audience. This will help you appeal to their thought process more effectively and influence them towards taking your desired course of action. 



Pause and take inventory of how you’re feeling about the crisis at hand. Are you feeling anxious? Angry? Frustrated? Once you categorize and give these emotions a name, it’s much easier to separate and organize your thoughts. 


Take these moments of self-reflection before addressing any crisis. This way, when you get on stage to address the situation before your peers, there is less risk of blaming others or flying off the handle.



When in doubt about her communication skills, Sue refers back to her favorite acronym—CARE.

  • C = CLARITY → As I’m speaking, am I being as clear, concise, and comprehensive as possible?
  • A = AUTHENTICITY → Am I showing up as myself and being 100% truthful?
  • R = RELEVANCE → Am I making the conversation relevant to what my audience cares about? Am I effectively tapping into their insights and accurately responding to them?
  • E = ENGAGEMENT → What is the call to action I’m persuading my audience to take? Am I giving them a clear message on how they can get involved and do something?

Implementing these core principles into your business presentations will upgrade your communication skills tremendously. Get the full scoop by listening to Sue Guiher’s full podcast episode here.

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