The best way to communicate ‘change’

10th October 2017

I like change.

But many people don’t.

So, if you’re communicating that something’s changing, you must do it well. Or things can kick-off in big, bad ways.

You need to cover five things:

  1. The sad ‘now’ ( = ‘Why it’s needed’)
  2. The happy ‘future’ ( = ‘The future vision’)
  3. The journey from ‘now’ to ‘future’ ( =’The journey’)
  4. The hurdles to overcome
  5. The actions

In more detail…

  1. Why it’s needed. Start by showing why things need to change. People have to see that change is essential. If they don’t, they won’t embrace it
  2. The future vision. Explain what the world will look like after the change. Make this as exciting as possible. But, remember what’s exciting in your eyes might not be exciting in theirs – like a political party repeatedly saying “strong and stable”, for example!
  3. The journey. Show the key steps, to move you from where we are now (point #1), to where we want to be (#2). It’s often best to show this on a timeline, highlighting who’s doing what, when
  4. The hurdles, and how we’ll overcome them. There’ll be challenges along the way, of course. And your audience will be very aware of what they are! So, call them out yourself. And then show how you’re planning to overcome them. This shows them you’re mindful of them – and also stops colleagues raising the hurdles themselves
  5. The actions. End with everyone’s next steps – your’s and their’s

And then, of course, keep the communications flowing. Don’t make the all-too-common mistake of thinking “I told you about this once, three months ago. How come you’ve forgotten?”

Instead, ask them how often they want updates. Ask them what info they want you to share with them. Ask them who they want to update them.

And then do what they want.

Yes, it’ll take you a bit of time to deliver these communications.

But it will cost you a lot more time and hassle if you don’t.

Action point

Identify the change programmes you’re working on, or about to start.

For those you’re about to start, create your Initial Communications using the five headings here.

For all the ones you’re in the middle of, prepare your Updates. Remember, with change, silence is never good. So make sure you aren’t being too silent for too long.

Finally, a key element of Change Communications is writing compelling presentations. So, more than content, what should the visuals look like, how best to deliver it, handle awkward questions etc. For more tips on how best to do this, watch this free video from Month 4 of my online video club

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