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10 top tips for effective conversations about change

How can we effectively share ideas for change within our firms and ensure that our point is correctly heard? And how can we do that without overstepping the mark or upsetting colleagues?

At the CISI Paraplanner conference, professional workplace coach and behavioural change consultant Cathy Stewart of Cathy Stewart Associates, provided 10 top tips to help ensure an idea is heard, thereby giving it the best chance of being acted upon.


1. Firstly, decide why this is important to you. Seize the moment – don’t leave it too long to share your idea once you have got all the information available to deliver it.

2. Believe 100% in your case – integrity, conviction, establish in your own mind why you feel the need to raise this idea. Be fair and non-personal.

3. Have confidence in yourself and be aware of your unconscious bias.

4. Rehearse what you want to convey (subject, order, outcome) and practice what you would like to say. Don’t forget to prepare for the opposing viewpoint or criticism – constructive or otherwise.

5. If possible, you choose the location and time – take control as it’s your conversation.

6. Set the scene when you start the conversation: what led you to this idea; why it is a good idea. Set boundaries such as confidentiality etc. If you do not want to be interrupted until you have delivered your idea, then say so.

7. Speak clearly, don’t mumble and don’t repeat/labour the subject – be concise.

8. Look up and engage with the person you are talking to. DO NOT talk to the floor (stand up right, if sitting, no fidgeting).

9. Remember, ask if the other person has understood your idea and to listen to their response – be fair, this is not personal.

10. Leave on a professional basis, agree to disagree if necessary and don’t take the discussion outside the room.

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