According to McLuhan & Davies Communications, fear and uncertainty can cause waves of emotions and stress within an organization. In times like this, leaders are often in a position where they need to provide an action plan, counter sweeping statements, and show empathy, in order to communicate next steps while calming their team members.
Here are some examples of how to structure your message to deliver it in a clear, focused, and empathetic way.
1. Communicate an Action Plan by listing a few points in time:
Communicate the next steps using logical points in time. This gives the listeners clear focus and allows them to see practical actions and progression. Example: “As of September we will be putting this project on hold, by mid-October we will re-evaluate the bottlenecks and resources needed to complete it, and in November we will notify all departments about the new timelines and action items.”
2. Counter Sweeping Statements by focusing on a specific solution:
Counter generalized statements by focusing on a single solution that makes your point. This will help your listener look at things from a different perspective. Example: “Overall, yes, we have seen a decline in sales. However, we have come up with a few solutions. Specifically, we are going to increase training for our sales managers.”
3. Show Empathy by recognizing and acknowledging feelings:
Acknowledge a person’s feelings of fear and uncertainty by recognizing their question. This shows empathy and connects you better with your listener. Examples: “We welcome that question”; “We appreciate you asking”; “We were expecting that response.”
Although we can’t control how a person feels during times of fear or uncertainty, we can help calm their nerves and answer questions with confidence. When we deliver our message in a clear, focused, and compassionate way we will calm our listeners.
Reach out if you would like to learn more about Fuse's workshops which help employees of all levels communicate more effectively, during times of certainty and uncertainty.