Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

Six Times—Six Different Ways

Think about a time when you’ve felt that you carefully and clearly communicated an important change strategy to an individual, a team, or your organization. Have you ever experienced someone challenging you soon afterward with a question about something that was already well clarified in that communication? Have you found yourself wondering why, if they read your message, they didn’t “get it”?

I first heard the term—six times, six different ways—from the facilitator of a change management workshop years ago. He suggested that in order for people to internalize or “get” a communicated message of any significant or complex nature, they need to hear it six times, six different ways.

I find this especially true when the communications reflect changes or strategies that may have a significant impact on individuals or teams within an organization.

Examples of six different ways might include: a formal presentation; an email summary; reiteration in a newsletter or org chart; a letter from the president; a casual follow up conversation; and perhaps an effort by first-level managers to provide an opportunity for discussion in smaller staff meetings.

So the next time you find yourself having to communicate significant organizational news or changes, remember what it may take to be heard. 




  Dan McCarthy wrote @

Donna –

You’re right, when it comes to communication, especially during change, more is always better. And if they’re not getting it, don’t just “tell them harder”… use asking as part of communications.

Keep up the great posts!

  Donna Rawady wrote @

Thanks for the comment and reminder to ask questions Dan—even while we’re trying so very hard to be heard! So simple, yet easy to forget.

Btw, I’m always glad to see a message from Great Leadership in my inbox. Consistently interesting, down-to-earth, and helpful information. Thank you!

[…] Although change has become an expected and common denominator in business, it still presents its share of complexities. Here are a just a few things that I’ve either experienced or observed relating to organizational change—along with a few strategies that you may find helpful to consider as you lead yourself and/or others through change. – Effective communication sits at the core of any effective and sustainable organizational change. How people are engaged and how eloquently and frequently the change, its impact, and the standards for meeting the challenge are communicated, via leadership, is key. And, in order for people to internalize and retain what you’re communicating they may need to hear it six times, six different ways. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: