Whether you are a leader or not you need to plan your communications when you will be sharing ideas, changes or updates with others. Have you taken the time to think about the message you want to deliver?
If you are involved in a project, particularly one that involves change, you need to stop and think about what you are going to say to people, how it will be shared, and how frequently you will update them. Change is really difficult for the majority of people to accept so you need to pay attention to what you say to them and how you say it.
Here are 5 steps to follow to ensure your message gets through properly:
- Address WIIFM: Each of us wants to know “What’s in it for me?” so address that is all your communications. This may be the impact the change will have on them; it may be why the change is happening. Helping them understand why they should care will help get them on board.
- Vary Delivery: People need to receive information multiple times before they will really get the message. Some people will want to hear it and others will want to see it, so mix up how you deliver the message, use presentations that include great visuals, send emails, use newsletter, send postcards, do posters, discuss it at department meetings, or have town hall type of meetings. There are endless variations of how you can share the message so use a wide variety.
- Change the Message: Make sure you change the wording of your messages. Address questions is some, share vision for future in others, present information from different perspectives, give the business case, or share personal stories. Change is often complex and breaking the information up into a variety of different messages will make it easier for people to absorb.
- Repeat Often: Since it takes multiple times for people to grasp the entire message you will need to share information more often than you think is needed. Keeping the lines of communication open means that you will need to be frequently sharing information with others. You can enlist the help of your project team and early adopters to spread the word.
- Be Open for Questions: There will be questions about what, why, how and when. Make sure you have a forum for people to ask the questions and get answers. Maybe it’s a meeting or series of meetings. It could be a Q&A area on your company intranet. Use a newsletter with FAQ’s. Let people share their fears by asking question and honor their concerns by taking time to provide answers.
Take the time to craft a solid communication plan to help ensure a smoother project. Address why this is happening, how it impacts people and what they should expect. Find different ways to share information by using different media, different words, different pictures, and so on to make sure people get all the information they need.
The hardest part of almost every project is making sure the people involved or impacted understand what is happening and what they need to do. Take the time to plan your communication well and your project will encounter fewer people issues.
How do you make sure your message is getting to all the right people?