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by Laura Fox
on February 13, 2020

Acquisition Communications: Preparing Leaders to Communicate Change

This article was originally published in Forbes on January 14, 2020.

Acquisitions mean change, and change can incite questions. When preparing for and going through an acquisition, it’s important to prepare leaders for the questions they’ll receive from inside and outside the company. Consider adding these deliverables to your change communications plan to ensure leaders are armed and ready to answer questions that may come up.

Employee FAQs: 11 Must-Answer Questions During Organizational Change  Get the PDF

Leader Talking Points

Before announcing the acquisition widely, help leaders to carefully plan touch points that they will have with their teams. They should know the expectation, for example, that they are to meet with their teams later the same day that the announcement was made, and within two to three days they should conduct one-on-ones with any colleagues whose responsibilities may shift as a result of the acquisition. Provide them with leader talking points to utilize when speaking with their teams about the acquisition. The talking points should address what the acquisition means for both the company and the team specifically.

Internal Acquisition Announcement Script

For leaders responsible for announcing a change, prepare a script or bullet points to ensure that they hit on key information and address questions that will likely be at the forefront of colleagues’ minds. For instance, reassure employees if there are no planned reductions, or reiterate that for the time being, responsibilities will remain the same, and everything will be business as usual. Provide a timeline for when any changes can be expected and a place for employees to go if they have questions.

In the script, be sure to leave time for questions. This opens the door for two-way communication, which can go a long way toward ensuring a team’s comfort with changes.

Internal Post-Acquisition Announcement Follow-Up Email

Have a follow-up email prepared to send after the announcement has been made that reiterates the information that was shared. Link to support materials, such as press releases, answers to frequently asked questions (including answers to any questions posed during the announcement) and information on where colleagues can go with additional concerns or feedback.

Internal FAQs

Develop a running list of FAQs with vetted answers to questions that colleagues are likely to bring up or have brought up during all-hands or team meetings. Having answers at the ready will help quell fears and ensure alignment of the narrative. If a question comes up to which leaders do not know the answer, instruct them to let colleagues know that they will look into the answer and circle back with more insight.

External FAQs

Similar to the internal FAQs, prepare leaders with a list of external FAQs to use once customers and external stakeholders have been notified about the acquisition. Make sure there is a plan in place and a point of contact for escalations or concerns that leaders may not be equipped to answer.

Carefully preparing communication deliverables can go a long way toward ensuring a smooth acquisition. To discuss your acquisition communications plan, just reach out.