As you acquire experience with
people in crisis and with crisis situations, you will realize that crisis may
be, and usually is, a mix of red, yellow, and black. It is important to see that crisis color
refers to the mood or affect of the individual in crisis. As we talk with him, we usually see that his
mood tends to fluctuate. Occasionally,
we will see an individual who starts out very angrywho is in a red
crisis. As we talk with him, his anger
gradually softens and becomes less intense, but his mood or the color of his
crisis never appears to be yellow or black.
Similarly, we may occasionally see a person experiencing a yellow
crisis, and as we work with him, he is gradually able to calm down, become less
anxious, and generally think more clearly.
Throughout this process, however, we may not see his mood turn to anger
or his crisis turn black. In addition, a
person in a black crisis may gradually become more animated and involved in his
surroundings without reflecting any red or yellow dimensions to his
crisis. More typically, however, crises
fluctuate between red and yellow, and less frequently between red, yellow, and
black. The important thing in crisis
communication is for us to understand and tune in to the mood or color of the
crisis but remain sensitive and responsive to shifts in color or mood.