You’re called to a VP’s office to discuss a new change initiative. After making you wait for five minutes, he calls you in and dumps a 36-slide presentation on you. What’s your first response?

A. Take the presentation back to your desk and scour it looking for details?

B. Start asking questions to uncover the essential facts you’ll need to communicate?

If you’re like the majority of communicators out there, your answer is A. Instead, why not channel your inner investigative reporter and ask questions when presented with a communication request? No 36-slide presentation will ever yield you more useful information than a five-minute conversation that asks such essential questions as: 

To uncover:

Target Audience, Try this
1. Will this initiative impact employees at all levels?
2. Does this affect both HQ and manufacturing staff?

Scope of change, Try this
1. What will this change mean for our business and employees?
2. What types of new processes will be implemented?

Areas of impact, try this
1. Will this be a global initiative?
2. Will these changes be implemented consistently across the business?

Timing of Change, try this
1. Will this be a phased initiative?
2. How close are we to launch?

Reason for change, try this
1. Why are we launching this initiative now?
2. What prompted this project initially?

Specific areas of change, try this
1. How will this initiative affect the way employees do their jobs?
2. What do employees need to do differently in order for this initiative to succeed?