By Chris Veltos, Cyber Risk Strategist; Digital Trust Advisor; Dr. InfoSec
April 15, 2020

This past month has been one for the record books. IT and cybersecurity staff across the globe have managed to move tens or possibly hundreds of databases, applications, and services online so their organization could continue operating. That initial shift happened with a laser-like focus on continuity of operations, with everyone doing the best they could with the time and the information they had. It worked and got us this far, but the adrenaline is slowly wearing off, and with it so is our patience for poor or ineffective communications.

So what can you do to improve your ability to communicate more effectively in this age-of-online? We’ve assembled a few resources to guide you — or simply to refresh those communicating-at-a-distance skills.

  1. Remember Ethos, Pathos, Logos, or the appeal to authority, to emotions, and to logic respectively. Take a minute to reflect on your message and which of the three pillars you are leveraging, or a mix of them.
  2. Don’t forget about Kairos. Kairos refers to the time and place. Is this the right time to send that communication? The right place or medium? The right audience? Make good use of the delayed-send feature, and whenever that’s not an option, add a quick reminder to send that pre-written message.
    “An argument at the wrong time or to the wrong audience will be wasted; to be effective, you must also consider when you are speaking and to whom.” — Ethos, Pathos, Logos, Kairos: The Modes of Persuasion and How to Use Them
  3. If you’re communicating outside of the cybersecurity function, remember to translate cyber into an appropriate domain of reference. Do you know how to most effectively message to your stakeholders and what those KPIs look like? “In security, understanding who your stakeholders are, what they need to know, and how to best get it to them is the fastest way to effective communication.” — Yael Nagler
  4. But what if you could test run your communications and get feedback ahead of time? With a trusted “back channel” you can do just that (and more). Back channels can not only help you receive input/feedback on your message and tone ahead of time, they can also help you get the pulse of the “room” —whether a virtual or physical room— and plant seeds of change that are already active by the time you deliver your message.

Yes, we’re all in this together, so let’s make the best of the situation by continuing to evolve our ability to communicate effectively.

– Chris

Chris Veltsos, aka Dr. InfoSec, is a leading member of the Cyber Security Summit Think Tank. He is also passionate about helping organizations take stock of their cyber risks … full bio