The need to make a public statement may seem irrelevant to those living private lives.
Announcements of various scopes riddle our lives however. An announcement is the delivery of news to, typically, more than one individual. An announcement is not a conversation per se, but the reactions to your announcement often are.
Your announcements can take the shape of an important email to your colleagues, or a dinner table revelation with your family around.
The conversations that take place after you make an announcement of any kind can birth unforeseen negative effects. Whether serving to taint your announcement, to discredit it, or to make it out to be malicious in nature, preparing yourself for the unanticipated reactions of the people you announce news to is a wise move.
This article aims to communicate the benefits of implementing a simple auditing process prior to making announcements of any sort.
Below, the focus is on accurately visualizing negative reactions to your announcements and preparing mitigation strategies for them.
1. Stakeholders and Their Interests
The announcements you make vary in their importance depending on whose perception they encounter.
An announcement at a family dinner which entails confirming an upcoming trip to DisneyLand would obviously pique your children’s interest most. In such a case, though they’d be important stakeholders in the matter, your spouse would be as important (if not more) of a stakeholder as they are.
Ensuring that the trip’s timing lays comfortably within your spouse’s busy schedule would be key to a positively received announcement. An oversight of your spouse’s potential reaction to your announcement would entail you disregarding their interests in the matter.
The simple example above hopefully illustrates that every announcement you make has stakeholders who hold differing interests in the content of those announcements. Life’s complexity is sure to always make its mark, and the stakeholders you announce important things to will often have competing interests (more on competing interests later).
Your first step in the effort to protect your announcements from negative reactions is to list all the stakeholders in the matter, along with their interests.
Rather than being intimidated by a group’s negative reactions to your announcements, do your best to segregate them into smaller groups of stakeholders who share the same (or similar) interests.
In addition to being less intimidating to prepare for, the act of segregating your audience into stakeholders will allow you to more accurately prepare mitigation strategies.
2. The Worst Interpretation Each Stakeholder Can Have
Since you’d be preparing for – and protecting against – negative reactions to the announcement you’re about to make, you should familiarize yourself with what the worst case scenario can look like.
You’d now have your announcement, your stakeholders, and their interests. As you run over the gist of the announcement you’re about to make, visualize the worst reaction each group of important stakeholders can have to that announcement.
Familiarize yourself with what may surprise you after you finish making your important announcement. Prepare yourself for reactions which come out of the leftmost field.
To your surprise, your management may not appreciate the initiative you show in realigning the focus of your assigned task, and your children may not be as excited for a trip to DisneyLand as you may have expected.
Though you should follow reasonable pathways to the possibility of negative reactions from your stakeholders, don’t discount the chances of there being reactions you don’t foresee.
This step of the process thereby relies on familiarizing yourself with the spectrum of possible negative reactions to your announcements. As you place yourself in the shoes of each one of your stakeholders, some negative reactions will begin seeming more plausible than others.
It is here where stakeholder interests play a massive role in your anticipation of possible reactions to your announcements.
You can accurately gauge the likelihood and scope of a negative reaction by diligently assigning particular stakeholder interests to yourself and analyzing how you’d react to the announcement you have planned.
3. Preparing for Those Interpretations
As you work through the act of anticipating the negative reactions that may come from your stakeholders, you’ll have the choice of two actions to pursue:
The first, would be changing your announcement to better interact with particular stakeholder interests.
This is the optimal action to pursue when a particular stakeholder’s interests are not only bound to elicit a negative reaction from them, but also go on to fully destruct the primary intention of your announcement.
Such a case occurs when an individual deemed important to your group of friends can’t make it to dinner on a specific day. Your announcement of booking a reservation on that day would thereby need to change in its entirety. That particular stakeholder’s interests resulted in a reaction so negative (so to say), that your announcement would need to change at its core.
The second option in a scenario when you anticipate a negative interpretation of an announcement you’re about to make is to prepare mitigation strategies.
The anticipation of negative reactions is a cheat of sorts; enabling you to prepare a selection of methods to combat the negative reactions you encounter. Preparing mitigation strategies differs from making changes to the announcement itself. The announcement will remain as is, and you’d only prepare dialogue which eases the pain particular stakeholders undergo in the face of that announcement.
This course of action is optimal when a particular stakeholder’s interests do not fully derail the intent of the announcement you’re making. Whether you’re announcing a plan of action or simply divulging department news; a particular stakeholder’s negative reaction in such a case can be attended to, but the announcement remain untouched.
Continuing with the dinner example above:
You can anticipate a negative reaction to the announcement of going to a Sushi place for your birthday from one individual in your group of friends. You’d be able to cite that particular stakeholder’s interest (or lack thereof) in Sushi as someone who knows them and their tastes. Since one individual’s disdain for Sushi wouldn’t warrant the alteration of a plan for a whole group, you’d be able to mitigate their reaction with selected dialogue.
You’d be able to put them at ease by telling them of the various buffet options on the menu which are unrelated to seafood. By sending this individual a link to the menu, they’d be able to see that there would indeed be selections of pasta, pizza, and salad at the establishment.
In such a case, you’d have mitigated a negative reaction by anticipating it and preparing an interceptive series of actions and dialogue.