Is your company merging with another? Then get ready to field the questions coming your way. These 3 important reminders will help you effectively communicate the details of this delicate business decision.
Have a communication plan.
You’re not in this alone, but you are central to office communication. Emphasize to management the need for a companywide communication plan, one that speaks to three critical audiences—Company shareholders, employees, and community residents.
Each audience has a particular stake in the company and what a merger will mean to them. Get your thoughts together and come up with talking points for each group. (Check out our 10 tips on speaking human)
Use proper tone in answering questions.
You’re going to get questions from every direction. Wouldn’t it be nice to get out in front of the local “coffee shop chatter?” But if the chatter is already out there, don’t be passive. Set people straight, by voicing the merger benefits for not only members, employees, and the company, but also the entire community.
As you and your management team prepare your positive answers for the who, why, how and what’s in it for me queries coming your way, remember to be:
- Attentive – they’re nervous about change – don’t blow them off!
- Clear and direct – have your answers ready.
- Specific – give concrete examples of what’s good about the merger—for them!
Address all concerns with empathy. Maybe you don’t know the answer to a question, and don’t be afraid to admit it! Refer the questioner to someone who knows or get back to them with an answer, as soon as possible.
Be prepared for questions like these.
The following are some of the most frequently asked merger questions. Answers will differ for each situation—remember—emphasize the positive.
I thought we were doing so well. Why do we need to consider a merger?
- The time to change is when we’re in a position of strength, not one of need.
- We want to take advantage of the synergies of our two companies.
- We’re seeking benefits that can be gained from greater scope and scale in doing business.
- Instead of operating separately in a number of areas, our collaboration will increase our flexibility and presence in the marketplace.
- Organizing our workforces will help both companies benefit from the synergistic, tactical and logistical advantages of working together, while maintaining the strength we have as two separate businesses.
- We want to sustain our position and remain viable in the face of competition.
- Coming together will put us in a better position for future opportunities.
- A merger will keep us relevant and ahead of the game in a constantly changing market.
- It’s our goal to remain competitive and keep our companies on a solid growth path.
- We need to stay current on the technology front and remain price competitive.
- With greater buying power, we’ll be able to get supplies cheaper—a win for our investors.
- A larger organization is better able to fund the capital improvements necessary to keep pace.
What is in this for me?
- This alliance will bring good things to you as an investor/shareholder.
- The merger will enhance our profit potential and maximize our value in marketing together, resulting in greater return to you as a shareholder.
- It gives us a better seat at the table when dealing with suppliers—a savings to our bottom line; greater profit to you.
- A merger will generate savings that can be passed on to our bottom line.
- We can build an infrastructure capable of delivering the level of service our customers expect.
- By merging, we can strengthen equity retirement benefits for our shareholders.
Do I need to worry losing my job as a result of this merger?
- We are positioning ourselves for future growth which will actually require more employees.
- Our expanded services and greater scope of our operation will require more employees and a greater opportunity for you.
Effective communication during a merger is just one scenario you may encounter in your current position. On a daily basis, we interact with clients in various sensitive business situations and work with them to find the best solutions. We’re committed to passing our ideas and solutions on to you. We have created a great reference guide to ensure your audience understands your message. Please download, and keep it handy when planning your communications.