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Keys to Risk Communication: Anticipate, Prepare and Practice

Branding and risk management
Branding and risk management

By Mary Branham, CSG Managing Editor
Three is the magic number for people under stress.
That’s according to risk communication expert Vincent Covello.

“People under stress process information not in terms of seven but in terms of three,” he told attendees at the first-ever Economic Summit of the States, sponsored by The Council of State Governments May 20–23. “When a person is upset, worried, anxious, that shift in the brain takes place in three messages.”

Covello, director of the Center for Risk Communication, said there actually are three magic numbers—27/9/3.  That translates into 27 words, nine seconds, three messages. He advised state leaders to prepare their messages with the 27/9/3 principle.

“If you don’t keep it short and simple, someone else will make it short and simple for you,” he said.

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