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Date: 31st January 2018
Category: Toastmaster Professional  

In June 2013, I was working with a software services company. I was having a normal day at work when out of the blue, I had a call from my manager asking to see him in his room.

We have a big organizational change Subbu, our client is selling the healthcare business to a VC. This move is going to impact all of us. (The entire Hyderabad team including me were working on the healthcare business of the client). To make matters worse, we have a significant organizational change coming up within the company. Our delivery heads and one of the Directors are coming to address us this afternoon.

I don't want to create panic and confusion in the room when these announcements are made as we are not sure as what will happen to the overall headcount. If our efforts bear fruit, we might even add more people. However, our team might not trust our words. They would have their fears and that would hit productivity.

I've spoken to our leadership and they are giving us the freedom to come up with a strategy to communicate this. Since you have been with Toastmasters for quite some time now, can you help us?

The thought of working with a delivery head and a director pumped me up. I got an understanding of what the changes were going to be and an hour later, went back to my manager with a plan.

I came up with a one-line specific purpose, "The audience must understand the changes that are coming their way and should look forward to them with zeal and enthusiasm."

I followed the CC3 objectives and ensured that every slide spoke about the change in a positive way. While we did not hide the facts, we went the extra mile to tell the benefits of change.

I convinced my manager about the need for a good opening and a grand conclusion. We decided that I should do a 3-5 minute story underlining the importance of change. We planned the presentation such that one senior leader would speak about the client-side change and another would speak about changes within the organization. We also wanted the leaders to conclude on a high, highlighting the positive prospects that the change could usher in. We planned the time so that we spend 30% speaking about the importance of the change and 70% about the actual change.

Things went per plan and the meeting was a big success - far from complaining, people were looking forward to the changes. They did have apprehensions but were sure that the change was going to help them. The success of the meeting can be gauged from the fact that my manager started coming to Toastmaster sessions after this meeting and was encouraging members in my team to take Toastmasters seriously.

All I used to handle the situation were CC2 and CC3. We got down to the specific purpose and ensured that every line of the speech pointed to it. We organized the content in a way that kept the audience glued to their seats and allayed their fears towards change.

From that day, I've used CC2 and CC3 as golden rules for all my communications. I start with the specific purpose in my mind and ensure that every line is aligned with that purpose. I filter information based on its relevance to the specific purpose and then organize the content before sending it. This technique has given me great results.

This is mere CC2 and CC3 at work. If these simple learnings can yield such humongous results, just imagine what the rest of Toastmaster learnings can do to us when we apply them judiciously at work.

- Edited and compiled by Karan

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