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‘Communication is just drafting some emails, isn’t it?’ ‘No, it isn’t.’

Change and / or Communication Managers often face this question ‘Comms is just drafting some emails, isn’t it?’ I’m sure most of us who work in Organisational Change Management have been through this experience at some stage of our career.

Is it really that simple? No, it isn’t. We bet.

Communication is not just drafting an email or writing a three-page PowerPoint pack. Then why do often others working in an organisation think so? If it was so simple, then why would all methodologies put such an emphasis on communication? And why would organisations hire professionals only to ‘draft some emails’? PROSCI®, to quote one key methodology, refers to Communication as one of the pillars of Change Management.

For a moment let us step out of world of project management. Be it an army, or be it a family, a cricket team, Communication is always important.

Yes, the mastery of language / grammar / style is a requirement for the Change / Communication Manager to draft a piece of communication, but what happens in the background is also critically important and requires a lot of maturity and sincere efforts of the professional. I think, most people who do not know the things that happen in the background are of the opinion that ‘comms’ is all about emails(!).

A Change / Communication Manager has to find the critical pieces of information by asking these questions:

  • Who are the audience for it?

  • What is the message that we are attempting to send?

  • Why are we sending it?

  • How are we sending it?

  • Who should be the issuer of this message?

  • When is the best time to send this message?

  • What is the best channel to convey this message?

Based on the answers to the above questions there can be innumerable scenarios with their own challenges for the Change / Communication Manager to handle.

The key activities that a Change / Communication Manager has to do happen in the background are:

  • Doing the required research, i.e. reading the business requirements document and other artefacts, identifying key SME’s and key stakeholders, coordinating the sign off process, archiving the sign off and emails / the outcomes.

  • Understanding the nature of the change that triggered the creation of the project, i.e. regulatory / technology / anything else.

  • Understanding the nature and the structure of the organisation.

Each of these requires meticulous efforts. Communication plays a critical role in preparing the target audience for the change, addressing their fears, telling them what is in it for them, and last but not the least, making the change journey a seamless process. It is, complex, fascinating, and anything but ‘just drafting some emails.’


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