The more you tailor your communication to the different ways people receive information, the more it will resonate.

Change is one of the few certainties an entrepreneur can count on in business. It comes in many different forms–whether hiring a new employee or moving to a new office or merging with another company. I’ve encountered all of these and more in my own company. For an entrepreneur, even a minor change can seem quite complicated and foreboding. And it may have big consequences.Experience has taught me that there is only so much you can do to prepare for change. The real test comes in how you help lead your team through the change. Every person has unique thinking and behavioral preferences, and as a result, everyone will react to change differently. But a leader leads everyone–not just those who are on the same page as she is.

Here’s what a good leader should say to effectively connect with people during turbulent times.

  1. A Person’s Name We all share a basic need to connect with other people. And nothing appeals to our social senses like the sound of our own first name. A leader who uses a first name also knows the person behind the name–there’s an implication of familiarity, trust, and respect. The difference may seem subtle, but “Nice job” and “Nice job, Mark” just aren’t the same thing.
  2. Nothing at All Leading others through change doesn’t mean you have to do all the talking. Some in your organization thrive on change and will relish the opportunity to express themselves; listen carefully to their ideas and alternatives. Others will have ideas but won’t express themselves openly. Give them space to write about it.
  3. Why No matter their behavioral preferences, your people will absolutely need to know the reason for change. People appreciate knowing the rationale behind a project so they can make their own judgments and asses the value of their roles.
  4. Exactly What You Mean And you need to mean what you say. The importance of integrity, clarity, and following through is critical during times of change. Mincing words, sugarcoating reality, or making unrealistic promises leaves room for misinterpretation at best, disaster at worst. Clearly define goals and expectations. If you say you’re going to do something, make sure it gets done.