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Planning for Effective Communications Regarding Changes
When you need to tell others about major changes - such as new management, a shift in the
company's strategic direction, layoffs, mergers and acquisitions, etc. - there are a number of
things to consider:
Purpose: Consider why you are communicating, what you want to accomplish, and what do you
want the audience to do with the information you are communicating.
Planning: Determine who is playing a leadership role in managing the change, and who is playing
a supporting role.
Audience: Determine who your primary audience is. It could range from one person to the entire
Some questions you'll want to consider:
What is the audience's role in this communication, and in general? Are there considerations of
organizational etiquette to address?
What does the audience know about the subject? What assumptions or interpretations might
How will the audience react?
What's in it for the audience? Why should they make the effort to understand and agree?
How will the audience use this communication?
What previous attempts have been made to communicate with this audience? What happened?
Tell what has happened in an honest, candid way. Provide as much information as possible
(remember that employees will always fill in the blanks with negative stories so give as much
detail as possible while focusing on the positive).
Identify who is sponsoring the change, implementing the change, and affected by the change.
Talk about what's next -- where the organization needs to go and why, the business
justification for the change (e.g., customer needs, industry demands/trends, internal
efficiencies) and what things will look like once the change is complete.
Be as specific as possible. Try to give details about timi