Imagine that you’ve seen a spokesperson on the TV news from the city’s utility department instructing people in the area to boil their water due to damaged sewer lines. You check the health department’s website, but it says that your neighborhood is not in the affected area, so you don’t need to boil your water. So you call the phone number for the health department to figure out what’s going on. The front desk receptionist says she hasn’t heard anything about a boil water order.
When people get conflicting information about what to do, it's not only confusing but may also lead to many people getting angry. If they cannot decide who is giving the right information, they may decide that none of the sources are credible. It's absolutely necessary that you are dispensing the same information as your partners at the national, state, and local levels. Create systems for communicating with each other, such as frequent conference calls or email distribution lists. Make sure that the people who answer the phones receive the same messages as your spokespeople.