Sharon Leifer Clarity Trainer
The news has already circumnavigated the world and will make headlines for weeks, months and years to come. But today it’s about emotion. Raw disbelief, sadness and loss.
Becky Clark from the Church of England nailed a crisis response with her succinct statement. She demonstrated empathy and compassion.
“The fire and the destruction it has caused are heart-breaking.”
She was also inclusive.
“We stand together in prayer with all who love Notre Dame: its worshipping community, those who have visited, and those who only know it from afar.”
If it’s your own crisis, your response should include concrete evidence to show you mean it - typically actions you’re taking to fix the problem. In this situation, the Church of England, a different religion in a different country, included evidence that they 'got it'.
“We understand their sense of loss, and the uplifting connection people feel with cathedrals and churches the world over.”
Finally, the statement closed with a call to action - something people can do - in this case a message of hope:
“But no matter the destruction, the spirit of what it means to be a cathedral can and does survive such catastrophes. In England, the spire at Lincoln collapsed in the 1500s, St Paul’s was destroyed in the Great Fire of London and Coventry was destroyed by bombs. All have been rebuilt, sometimes taking on new forms, to stand as reminders of eternity and resurrection which are the foundation of the Christian faith.”
Becky Clark caught the feeling of the day.
In contrast President Trump did not:
“So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!"
After a token nod to emotion, President Trump hijacked the crisis to position himself as an action-focused leader. A response which, unlike then Cathedral fire, was quickly extinguished with some world class smack downs on twitter.