Key Words to Use When Conversing About Change

Written By Alla Levin
January 21, 2020

Key Words to Use When Conversing About Change

Talking about the change in a positive way is crucial to ensure it is implemented correctly. Here we offer some guidance on keywords and terms to use when conversing about change.

Using the right words when communicating change within an organization is crucial to ensure the message is delivered in a positive way, even if this means some hard work while change is taking place.

Here, we offer some advice on what to include in conversations about change.

Nothing stays the same as conversations about change

Change is a part of life, and the workplace is no different, but many employees are afraid of any change because this is how our brains are naturally wired to react!

The status quo is what we know, even if it’s not working very well!

The worst fears for an employee are usually tied into job security and earnings and what changes may mean for them.

Conversations about change: morale can quickly fall with no real interest in getting work done if the staff feel as though they won’t even be employed by the company for much longer!

Converse ahead of timeConversing About Change

Employees should be afforded as much notice as possible before any changes will occur, and if these do involve redundancies, then the transition period can be eased by helping affected staff to look for further employment.

Facilitation skills such as providing positive feedback on past and present work, holding 1-1 meetings where grievances can be aired and just generally offering support where necessary, can go a long way to keeping employees as positive and focused as possible.

Talking = trust

Honest and open communication throughout the company is paramount because nothing is worse for morale (and office gossip!) if staff start to feel as though they are being kept in the dark or lied to.

As well as the spoken word, communication can be via a company notice board, forum, and/or internal emails – the key theme is to have everything out in the open to decrease speculation and increase feelings of trust and security despite it being a time of insecurity for some.

Choose words carefullychange management training

It is just as important, therefore, when conversing about change, that you carefully consider the keywords you can use in any method of communication to help put employees at ease and avoid confrontation, and this is what change management training is all about.

Delivering bad news

For example, when you have bad news such as redundancy to deliver, it may feel just as difficult to give it as to receive it!

Opening up and setting a genuine, empathetic tone by starting the conversation with the words “It’s difficult to tell you this especially when you’ve been such a good employee but…….” helps to reduce the stress for both parties.

Open-ended phrases encourage two-way conversations and the sense that the other party’s views are being respected, so, for instance, it could also then be helpful to say, “Were you aware that this could be a possibility?”

“Is there anything you would like to ask me?”

If an employee does get upset or confrontational, then using empathetic and constructive keywords and phrases such as “I understand how upsetting this is” and “Can we work together to resolve this?” can help to move things forward.

The important thing to remember is that combining sincerity with positive keywords when conversing about change goes a long way to ensure a positive outcome for all.

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