The way we look, what we say and how we say it, our tone of voice, our actions (or inaction) all say something to those that observe us.
A communication plan is an essential part of your change management programme
At the heart of a change programme is a comprehensive communication plan. When it comes to communicating change, it is best to plan ahead with your communication strategy.
Holding off on communicating until you have every scrap of information about a change is a common pitfall. Lack of communication sends its own message (one that you can’t control!). And people abhor a vacuum. They will fill it with speculation and gossip. A good rule of thumb is to communicate early and communicate often. To read more about the dangers of delayed communication, read our article: I Heard it Through the Grapevine.
Be clear and get heard
Organisational change can be a difficult and challenging time for people. Make sure that your messages about the change are consistent and clear, so that you don’t inadvertently create confusion.
Clarity of communication is assisted if you make it two-way (such as on the phone) where the receiver of the information can ask questions. When you add in a visual element, such as in a meeting, the sender and receiver of the communication can then add body language and facial expression to enrich their experience.
Make sure all elements of your communication say the same thing. If your body language and tone of voice do not support what you are saying, it will not be believed. If you tell people that their phone call is important to you, but keep them on hold for 30 minutes, then they will get the opposite message.
Consider your options
Choosing the right communication channel for your message (for example: phone, website, email, video, or face-to-face) is important. Some topics are complicated and emotional (redundancies, for example) and require two-way channels. For multi-site organisations, it may be impractical for your CEO to deliver their message in person, so a compromise could be to stream a video and follow up with Q&A sessions locally. Simple, uncomplicated messages, such as reminders of key dates, can be covered by one-way channels like emails and the intranet.
Variety and frequency of communication will also help cut through the clutter of organisational life to deliver your message, as will ‘branding’ your change programme.
Getting your message across is easy, if you know what your options are and what works best, when. For more information about how Change Factory can assist with your communication strategy, get in touch with us today.