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Communication in Change Management

written by: Misty Faucheux • edited by: Jean Scheid • updated: 7/6/2011

Communication is key when instituting change management methodology. But, how do you effectively communicate what you need to say to others in the organization? Learn what you need to say to your organization and how often you should communicate.

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    Whom, When and How Often

    Change is never easy. But change without communication is even harder. When implementing change management methodology into your organization, you need to communicate to the people involved everything that is known about the change and communicate it often.

    There are some basic rules to all communication. First, you must provide your audience with a clear, concise and authentic message. You shouldn't reply to a question to which you don't know the answer. Nothing makes you lose credibility more than lying to your employees.

    Next, your employees, staff members and end users must want to listen to your message. They need to be engaged in what you are saying. If not, they will not embrace the proposed change. You should have meetings often and welcome any and all questions. You need to make it a conversation, not a lecture.

    Your communications delivery is just as important as the message itself. Small groups work really well when trying to communicate the change. Discussion is healthy during change management. And you need to communicate how the change will affect those directly involved. You need to help them understand why the change is happening, the mission and the vision for the new direction.

    You need to connect with your audience. Most people like the status quo. They don't want to change. About 20 percent of the people that you work with won't change. Instead of trying to focus on these people, concentrate on the majority that will listen and accept the change.

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    Create a message that will resonate with the people involved. Your message should inspire others but be reasonable. You should reinforce the message that you want them to hear often.

    Above all, you need to help those involved understand why the change is really needed. You need to communicate often. If you allow rumors to start circulating, you have not done your job well enough. And, most rumors about any change are usually negative. You need to proactively communicate everything involved with the project.

    Those who are heading up the change should be available to others. They need to be open to questions and not act defensively. You need to listen to others. Without successful communication, whatever changes that you planning on instituting will not be effective.