Communicating with internal stakeholders in a crisis with David Wales

Series 10, Episode 5 of the Future of Internal Communication podcast

10 Jul 2024

David Wales’ interest in human behaviour stems from his career in the UK Fire Service. While there he held roles as investigation and research lead, emergency incident command and he helped develop national policy. In that time,  he became fascinated by the difference between the advice given by professionals and the actions taken by people when they were confronted with emergency situations.

In this episode, Cat, Dom and Jen hear what David has learned about crisis communication. By focusing on human behaviour rather than cost, efficiency and standardisation, organisations can create shared language and communication that aids understanding for an optimal number of stakeholders.  


  • Effective crisis communication requires understanding human behaviour and the lived experience of individuals in crisis situations.
  • There is often a communication breakdown between public service providers and recipients, leading to a lack of understanding and satisfaction with the services provided.
  • Empathy, humility, and relatedness are essential in crisis communication to connect with individuals on a human level.
  • Emotions play a significant role in crisis situations, and communication needs to consider the emotional mindset and psychology of individuals.
  • Building relationships and trust with the community is crucial for effective crisis communication. Understand and respect the perspectives of others in communication
  • Build trust and involve employees in decision-making processes
  • Prioritize community preparedness and responsiveness in crisis situations
  • Shift from top-down approaches to bottom-up approaches in organizations
  • Build relationships, be curious, and work with people to create effective communication strategies




S10 E5 Communication with Internal Stakeholders in a Crisis with David Wales


About David Wales 

David advocates for rethinking the relationship between organisations and people to improve the wellbeing and performance of both.

He is the Founder of the SharedAim Ltd consultancy which has a unique approach to helping organisations deal with the cost and disruption of unexpected behaviours (for example by employees, customers, partners or any other groups it interacts with). He is also the Founder and host of the Purposefully Human Community which provides a space for anyone interested in the benefits of creating organisations that work with, and celebrate, what it means to be human.

A multi-award winning professional, established presenter, facilitator and author, he is currently writing a book outlining how organisations can authentically work with human behaviour, rather than against it.

Prior to this David was an operational fire and rescue (FRS) officer with responsibilities for community safety and fire investigation. It was here that he first developed an understanding and interest in all aspects of communication. He also led a pioneering research programme into human behaviour (when encountering a fire in the home) which remains influential on international thinking and practice. And this subsequently led to David being appointed as the first Customer Experience Manager in the FRS.

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