Communication

 

Through periods of change and uncertainty it is vital that we communicate effectively and that staff are supported throughout the change. 

 

Practical Advice

 

Sometimes groups of people or individuals have to be given news that they may find difficult.  In situations where emotions are high, it can be more difficult to get the message across.  It is therefore vital to ensure clarity of the message to avoid any confusion.

Communicating to Groups

The '7 Point Plan' outlined below provides a useful structure to prepare and deliver the message and to help deal with some of the possible responses.

1. Prepare

  • Preparation is essential
  • You can't control the message, but you can control how it is put across
  • Think about how you would like to receive the news
  • There are several aspects to preparation: timing, location, invitations, who will be there, their likely reactions, rehearse, ensure you are mentally prepared

2. Make the Announcement

  • Don't drag it out
  • Keep it short & simple

3. Acknowledge Impact

  • Acknowledge that people will be shocked and may react in different ways
  • Don't attempt to justify what you have told them
  • Pause for a while

4. Open for Discussion - Invite Questions

  • Stick to the facts when you reply
  • Keep calm
  • Acknowledge feeling
  • Put the announcements in context

5. Support

Give information about the support available (see Employee Support)

People will need help to:

  • Gather information about the future
  • Make decisions about the future
  • Release emotional energy and express feelings
  • Take action

6. Structure Expectations

  • Talk about the next steps in the process

7. Review

  • Recuperate and review
  • Talk it over with someone
  • Try to relax
  • Remember it's not finished - people may want to come and talk to you.

 

Communicating to Individuals

 

The "Structure of the Meeting" outlined below provides a useful approach to prepare and deliver the message and to help deal with some of the possible responses.

1. Initial Contact

  • Ensure you give an appropriate greeting, polite, serious but not solemn
  • Avoid chit-chat and be very wary of humour or 'banter'

2. Giving the Message

  • Get to the point quickly
  • Deliver the message, be natural, give reasons but don't over justify
  • Don't go too fast

3. Listening & Observing

  • Watch and listen to the reactions
  • Allow time for the individual to process the message

4. Checking Understanding

  • Ensure the individual has understood the message

5. Acknowledge Feelings

  • Show understanding through reflective listening

6. Establish Current Main Concerns

  • Check the person's main concerns at the moment if appropriate

7. Support Resources

  • Tell them about support available (see Employee Support)
  • Avoid telling them what to do

8. Structuring Expectations

  • Tell them about the next steps in the process and timescales

9. Settling Down

  • Give them time to settle down and express any strong feelings
  • Consider closing statements

10. Afterwards

  • Review what went well and what can be improved

 

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