Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Webinar Review: Talking About Change

Summary of a webinar on communicating about change.

Recently I attended a webinar focused on how to communicate most effectively about change. As you have heard before, the only constant is change. Whether it in business, school, or personal life, something is always changing or in transition. This webinar focused on crafting clear and concise messages about change within a business setting.

1-2-3s of Influence

1 Golden Rule
The 1-2-3s of Influence was the structural model used during the webinar. Step 1 is the golden rule of communication, always focus on the audience. In thinking about who we need to influence, ask the following questions:
  • Are the various audiences to whom we need to communicate familiar with the change initiatives?
  • What do you want your audience to do differently after hearing your message about change?
  • How will the upcoming changes benefit them?
  • How well do the various audiences know you?
  • Where will you meet resistance?

Write out responses to these questions for each audience you hope to reach. Once you have taken a few minutes to analyze your audiences you can begin to craft your message.

2 Commandments
The two commandments for communicating about change are to (1) create clarity and (2) connect personally. Start by writing out three points that you hope to communicate to your audiences. Next craft a message using analogies and metaphors to help your audiences better remember your message. Ideally, if you can incorporate stories of successful change into your message, you increase the likelihood of buy-in.

3 Powers of Persuasion
While the two commandments focused on crafting the message, the three powers of persuasion are all about the delivery of your message. The three powers are (1) presence, (2) reason, and (3) inspiration. To change the way people thinking and behave you must reach them using both facts (reason) and emotion.

An excellent example that the facilitator showed during the webinar is Martin Luther King, Jr's "I have a dream" speech.

Presentation design expert Nancy Duarte spoke at an independent Technology Education Design (TEDx) conference several years ago. In her talk she presented her analysis of King's speech. She identified an alternating pattern between "as is" and "what if."

Our final exercise of the webinar was to take our metaphor-filled three points and redesign our messages to reflect the pattern identified in Duarte's talk.

Are you undergoing any type of corporate change? If so, try following these steps to create an audience-focused message that will help you talk about change.

Title image created using Canva. Photo credit: Ed Uthman "HSCP 2009 Seminar 078"

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