How to Communicate Decisions Effectively

By Dawna Jones

Transparency of information creates trust, which is important in business environments and vital when change is being made. Decisions made behind closed doors are always suspect. Therefore, after the decision is made, you need to communicate it. How you communicate the decision is everything.

Basically, you want your message to summarize the decision you’ve made, why you’ve made it, and what it means for the audience you’re addressing. When you communicate your decision, include the following:

  • The reason the decision was necessary: Include a brief summary of the opportunity or issue the decision and action plan address. Explain the “why.”

  • The final decision: Pretty straightforward.

  • The implications: What the decision means to both your internal network and your customers or clientele. Address how the solutions will help and speak directly to the changes that these groups would be likely to see as losses.

    Few things are worse than hearing that tired old phrase “Out with the old, in with the new.” People fear loss and change more than they value gain. Meeting emotional needs when you are both making and communicating a decision is frequently overlooked but of vital importance. People are less interested in the decision itself and more interested in what that decision means to them.

  • What will happen next and what you need them to do to support the decision: Feedback and feed-forward information allows for adjusting to change.

To avoid a backlash, make sure you address the key concerns that were raised during the information-gathering process.

Credibility comes from speaking from the heart, genuinely and honestly. Tell your team and all parties involved what you know and what you don’t know. Don’t feel you have to cover the nitty-gritty details. What they need to know is just what is expected and what the resulting decision means to them personally and professionally.