How do you communicate a tough message to your business?

Let’s face it, change is happening all the time, currently more and more businesses are having to make tough decisions about how the business is shaped to cope with the ever-changing market against the backdrop of Covid.

One question that I’m asked almost every week is around how to communicate a tough message to a team or an individual.

For me, there are five key areas (and I’m sure there’s a load more too!) but I think the five below will certainly help you on your way!

1: Create a plan

  • Don’t blag it – it’s not going to work and (especially if you’re talking to many people) you need to deliver a consistent message.
  • Plan what you are going to say, along with when and how – for many people they see this as a bit of a faff, it’s not. A great plan will mean that you have covered all bases and thought of any curved balls that may be asked.
  • Put yourself in the ‘shoes of the impacted’, try to think of all the questions that they’d be asking. If you can, this is where I’d suggest you engage with your HR function to make sure that they can put a ‘people slant’ on the situation.

2: Being clear and explain why

  • It’s at this point that you’ll need to explain what’s happening and why so they can start to understand the reasons for why they are there.
  • If you can, create a compelling message (some people call it a story) to explain why you’ve reached this decision.

3: Get to the point – don’t fluff it up

  • Linked closely with the previous point, but still important. You know what to say – the temptation is to veer off the subject and try and fluff it up – don’t.

4: Get feedback, listen more

  • Once you’ve said your bit, shut up and listen…
  • It’s important for the person impacted to ask as many questions as they can (this will help with understanding and helping them through the change.

5: Follow up

  • One thing that many people forget to do is follow up on the conversation, they’ll just “leave it and move on” – please try not to do this.
  • Thinking about the change curve (that I’ve included below) it’s important to get people through this process as quickly as possible (both from a business and a personal point of view)