Many of the world’s most talented and esteemed athletes achieved their level of success by staying calm even when faced with adversity and pressure. They learned to develop and maintain a particular state of readiness. The same is true of each of us. Learning how to stay calm and level-headed during COVID-19 is the key to making the best decisions possible, particularly when our actions ultimately affect others.

With that in mind, taking a deep breath is the first thing you should do in a crisis. Use that moment to have a moment of calm, and to steel yourself to get ready to work. You may have been through crisis training or a preparedness course, but here’s some pointers that you might not to brush up on or familiarize yourself with in the face of COVID-19.

Take Action

Before rushing into action, take the time to develop a plan even though time is of essence and immediate action is needed to be taken. Think through your options, develop a plan, gathered resources and set that plan in motion.

Consider Your Priorities

Your organization should have the proper protocols in place should disaster strike. This is where a crisis plan is a must. The middle of a crisis is not the time to write or develop a crisis plan. It must be done in a time of non-crisis. When a crisis strikes, take that deep breath, grab your crisis manual and start developing your plan of action. The crisis manual will help you gather the right team, focus your priorities and begin work on addressing the crisis.

Internal Communication is a Must

Your internal team and communication will make the difference in a crisis. Your team needs to be able to help your company address the crisis, enable the proper messaging to be communicated, support you in your action plan, and ultimately, together you will weather the crisis storm and come out stronger on the other side. Keep your team close and in constant communication during the crisis. Everyone should have specific roles and responsibilities.

Don’t Get Lost in the Crisis

Step up to the challenges, speak to your team from the heart and learn that doing the right thing actually works in your favor.

External communication is the difference between telling your story or having someone else tell it for you. When there is a crisis, don’t get caught up in the “no comment” loop. Your organization needs to be transparent and empathetic and address the crisis head-on. Consumers need to know they can trust your brand rather than see you skirt over the truth, tell inconsistent stories or hide altogether. Be sure to equip your crisis spokesperson, or yourself, with the facts and help them anticipate answers to potential questions. But, the most important thing to communicate is your heart. Be open and honest. Lead with empathy and understand others perspectives.

According to Ragan.com, the first 48 hours are the most critical time when your organization faces a crisis. When you have a plan, if you execute that plan and remain visible to clients despite adversity, your organization is more likely to survive.