‘If you always do what has always been done, you will always get what you got!’ Change is the only constant. Change instills growth. Leaders implement change. However, being able to communicate the change in a way that is openly embraced requires tact and skill: enter the change talk.
Step 1: Convincing context
Start off your talk providing a compelling need for the change. With this type of talk you are allowed more flexibility in the use of body gestures and movement. Your vocal tone should depict one that is enthusiastic, passionate, and committed to the change.
You need to think of energy transfer. Right now, your audience is at a lower energy state than you as they might be unsure of the pending change. In contrast, your energy state is uplifting and positive as you are excited for the change. Your energy state transfers to the audience.
In everything that you say, be honest, be direct and be sincere.
Step 2: Share your personal story
Change is scary and people will tend to follow others whose story resonates with their own. Tell a story of why this change means so much to you. Perhaps you went through an experience and it convinced you to implement this change. Maybe you were in a situation where you needed to help someone else and it became apparent to you that this change is non-negotiable.
People connect to a story. Stories connect you to the change, and your audience is connected to you by your story, which indirectly connects them to the change.
Step 3: Scope of the change
Explain the nature, timing and logistics of the change. Depending on the change that is being implemented, you can provide illustrations, examples, show videos and images, to explain tricky concepts.
Step 4: Share the benefits
Include both primary and secondary benefits of the change. You might want to share facts, figures, and research to position the change as a ‘current’ and ‘future’ vision. Consider the range of stakeholders within your audience and customise the change to their specific role or responsibility.
Be open and realistic. Avoid ‘selling’ the change, as you can’t force people to accept the idea.
Step 5: Close and discussion
End your talk with a summary of the change and an uplifting statement of the possibilities to come. Open the discussion to Q&A and address any concerns that the audience might have.
- Show empathy to any concern raised. Avoid trivialisation. Acknowledge the legitimacy of the concern and respond directly to the matter being raised.
- Your energy state should be open, calm, sincere, conversational, and relatable. If you are too theatrical in your delivery, it will distance your audience from you and your message.
- Provide details and give complete answers to questions. Avoidance or overly summarising your response may lead to mistrust and uncertainty.