The only thing as hard as change itself is communicating effectively because chances are whatever you say, you might not be believed, trusted or your motives may be questioned. Here are some tips to help you during change.
Communicate throughout: Don’t make one big speech and leave it at that. Make sure you have good content with core messages, otherwise generalised information could fall on deaf ears. Stress what is not changing so that your team is not left wondering about the extent of the change and therefore start to panic. Make sure your decisions are consistent with your messages.
Be clear and concise: So that people know quickly exactly what you mean. The woollier the message is, the more likely it is that people fill in the gaps with their own assumptions. Be clear about the timeline of the change process is and any key milestones the team should work towards.
Emphasise what will improve: Don’t let your messages suggest that nothing is to be gained from the changes. Let people know how the changes they make will help bring about results. Co-opt others to help communicate what’s needed so that communications about the change are not coming only from senior managers.
Be open and engaging: Use language people understand not corporate language. Be ready to handle the difficult conversations and questions. If questions are not forthcoming find a way to gauge what’s on people’s minds. Find out how people have reacted to change in the past and learn from what worked and what didn’t.
Call people to action: During change the main goal of communication is give people the information and understanding they need to make required changes so be clear what the specific changes you want everyone to make and how they will be supported in the process. Explain what’s at stake if things don’t change and reward those make the critical changes
Now take action: How do you tell if your communication is working?