The best way to communicate ‘change’

26th July 2016

People don’t like “change”.

Or so I keep hearing.

But, three years ago, my son Tom was born. That was a change. And I loved that.

A few years before that, my wife Emma and I got married. That was a change. And we loved that.

More recently, in the last month, I started working with twelve new customers. That’s a change. And I love that too.

So, I think “change” can be a good thing…

       …if it’s communicated properly.

In other words, such that people sees the benefits it will bring them.

So, when you’re selling ‘change’ to others, here’s a great way to do it. It’s a combination of some Harvard research, plus things I found worked brilliantly with my customers. There are five steps:

#1 Why it’s needed

Start by explaining the driver for change. In other words, why change is better than staying as you are. This will be one/both of:

  • the problem with the way things are now and/or
  • an opportunity to take advantage of in the future

And, as you explain these, be crystal clear on how they impact the people you’re speaking to. Remember: you want people thinking ‘I’ll be better off if we make a change’.

#2 The future vision

Now, explain what their world will be like after the change. In other words, be clear on the future state they can expect once the change has happened. Again, adapt your messaging so people understand how this future will benefit them personally.

#3 How we’ll you get there

The third step is to explain the journey – how we’ll get from the present (#1) to the future (#2). Maybe use a timeline, showing who’s doing what, by when.

#4 How we’ll overcome our obstacles

Any change will have obstacles you need to overcome. And, if you don’t pre-empt what they are and how you’ll overcome them, people will worry about them. So, an important topic is ‘here’s what could easily get in the way’, followed by ‘and here’s how we’ll ensure they don’t’.

#5 Our immediate next steps

End by ensuring everyone knows their actions, to take things forward. Two important points:

  • Make sure everyone has an action. If someone doesn’t, they can feel the change is happening to them, not with them. So they all must contribute to it in some way
  • Remember START and STOP. It’s easy to list loads of actions for people to start doing. But, unless you also specify what parts of their current role they should stop doing, they’ll feel you’re adding work to their already-hectic lives

So, for the next ‘change’ you have to sell…

Action Point

… Identify the “change” you want people to buy into. Then, ensure your communications contain some/all of these five steps. After all, “change” can be a great thing… if it’s communicated right.

And, if you want more guidance on how to sell change, you can get my ‘Three steps of selling’ videos here.

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