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Author: wpadmin

How to Rally Internal Audiences Around Your Culture: A World Cup Story

If you’re like me you can’t get enough of the World Cup.  It’s an event that I look forward to every four years.  I have vivid memories of watching the U.S. national team play in the World Cup. You don’t forget waking up at 2 a.m. to watch the 2002 World Cup in Japan and Korea or standing in a packed bar in Auburn, Alabama watching the 2010 USA vs Algeria game.  These are moments that I will never forget.

But on October 10, 2017 the U.S. team lost 2-1 to Trinidad and Tobago and was officially eliminated from the 2018 World Cup.  This was a major disappointment, but I refused to let it ruin my World Cup anticipation.  All I needed was a new team to get behind.

This was an easy decision.  The club team I support, Tottenham Hotspur, plays in England and their star player, Harry Kane, is the England captain.  I was all in on England.   I began to learn about their national team fan culture, songs, traditions, and slogans.

If you watched the U.S. team play in the last World Cup I’m sure you’ll be familiar with the chant/slogan “I believe that we will win.”  It was easy to remember, it flowed well, and it was very catchy.  By joining in on the “I believe that we will win” chant you identified yourself as a USA supporter.  For England’s supporters “Football’s Coming Home” or simply “It’s coming home” has been the rallying cry.  The slogan has brought all England supporters together and is easily identified as being unique to England.

How do you rally internal audiences and engage them around a common theme or message?  Use these best practices:

  • Develop a slogan or message that is simple and memorable.
  • Be consistent. Use the same message over and over in all your communications.  When you’re just beginning to think you can’t say it one more time, that’s when it will finally get through to someone.
  • Create an engaging visual image.  Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text. Your message will be more memorable when a visual is incorporated.

How does your company build engagement? Please share your stories and idea with me: ben.clayton@insight-communication.com

Summer Reading List for Communicators (or Wannabes)

Looking forward to some time off this summer? While you’re relaxing at the beach or enjoying an early start to the weekend with Summer Fridays, make time to sharpen your skills. Each of these books listed below will help you become a more effective communicator and leader.

Inclusion: Diversity, the New Workplace and the Will to Change, Jennifer Brown
This book could not be more timely. Every successful business must ensure that all employees experience a welcoming work environment where they can perform at their best and are challenged to grow. Jennifer shares best practices and business cases that inclusion is an opportunity to make your business better. Share the book with peers at your business and start a conversation.

Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to your Biggest Challenges, Amy Cuddy
You may know Amy from her viral TED Talk where she contends that adopting a power pose, like Wonder Woman, can actually make feel more confident. Her book expands on this premise with practical tips for anyone who has to pitch themselves or their ideas. If you think of a witty retort after the moment passes, this book is for you.

Slide:ology: The Art and Science of Great Presentations, Nancy Duarte
Raise your hand if you’ve sat through presentations that include 50+ slides. For years I wrapped this book up as a holiday gift to clients, hoping they would read it and realize you don’t have to put paragraphs on slides. Nancy Duarte has carved out a unique niche as a presentation expert. If that doesn’t seem very exciting, consider that within corporations, presentations are the most used channel for delivering information. This book will help you strategize the story, content, and flow to impact and influence your audience.

Sell with a Story, Paul Smith
We can all agree that storytelling is a powerful communications tool. But it takes practice to create stories that instruct, inspire and ignite action. Smith provides fascinating examples on you can take even the most technical, data-driven content and fashion a memorable story.

What are you reading this summer? Send me your picks: Maureen.Clayton@insight-communication.com.

How to Save the Audience from Your Terrible Presentation

 

 

 

 

 

This is a true story.

We recently prepared a presentation for a client that had more than 100 slides…for a one hour meeting. Do the math: If you calculate time for introductions and leave even five minutes at the end for questions, that’s a pace of two slides per minute during the presentation. A blistering pace.

Then consider the content on the slides: lots of words, tables, and occasional graphics.  Typeface size was 18 to 28 point.  You get the picture.  The intent was to hammer home thousands of ideas and facts. The client could not be swayed.  They needed every one of these slides to deliver a successful presentation. They just wanted us to “make it pretty.”

I wish I could say we used our magical powers of persuasion to enlighten them to use a strategically messaged, visually compelling presentation.  Didn’t happen.  I did wonder what it was like in the room for the audience… and the presenter.  I imagine they were both exhausted when it was over.

Presenters often start with a bunch of slides and try to cram them into a narrative—and it shows. The most effective presentations look simple because they were planned that way.

When your objective is to communicate, educate or influence, the most important work starts with the result in mind:

  • What is the point you’re trying to make or what must the audience learn?
  • Why is it important to the audience?
  • What story can you use to bring the material to life?
  • What do you want them to do with the information?

Every presentation should tell a story or take the audience on a journey. This applies even if you’re sharing quarterly returns (some of the most important stories). Once you identify your objective, develop the slides that are clear and compelling.  Be concise. Use as little text as possible.  Because you don’t want them to be reading your slides, you want them to be listening to you.

Then practice, practice, practice.  The more comfortable you are with the information, the less you’ll need to rely on slides.  Your audience will be grateful.

Do your presentations need a tune up?  Connect with us and we’ll help you transform from boring to brilliant.  Get in touch: maureen.clayton@insight-communication.com.

Growing Employee Engagement on Earth Day

Consumers today are more environmentally conscious than ever.  Businesses are learning that sustainability and environmental awareness can drive purchase decisions.  A recent study found that 58 percent of consumers consider a company’s impact on the environment in purchase decisions and are more likely to pick companies that practice sustainable habits.

Your employees care about this too.  Earth Day is April 22 and is an excellent opportunity to showcase your company’s eco-friendly initiatives and promote green behaviors with employees.

Here are a few easy-to-introduce tactics that can reduce your business carbon foot print, save money and build engagement with employees:

  • Promote your company’s recycling and green programs.
  • Ask for volunteers for a “green team” to make recommendations about green initiatives.
  • Incentivize carpooling or car sharing programs for employees.
  • Promote electronic document usage to reduce paper waste.
  • Host a lunch and learn with a guest speaker from a community or government organization to discuss emerging technologies or eco-initiatives in your area.
  • Provide recycling collection areas and educate employees about what can be recycled.
  • Instead of stocking disposable water bottles, provide employees with reusable water bottles with your company logo.
  • Sponsor a community clean-up day just for employees.

What is your company doing to promote green initiatives?  Please share your stories and idea with me: ben.clayton@insight-communication.com

Avoid Disaster When Launching New Employee Programs

I was watching a movie the other night (Jurassic Park III, underrated movie in my opinion) and there was a conversation between two of the main characters that stood out for me.

Billy “You have to believe me, this was a stupid decision, but I did it with the best intentions.”

Dr. Grant “With the best intentions? Some of the worst things imaginable have been done with the best intentions.”

Now in this case, Dr. Grant was talking about building a dinosaur theme park that ended up getting hundreds of people killed. On a smaller scale, businesses sometimes make decisions that end up backfiring with undesired consequences.

Business Insider published an article recently highlighting a perfect example of this.  United Airlines announced they were making a change to their employee incentive program.  Rather than using the existing quarterly performance and attendance-based bonus program they were moving to a lottery- based bonus program.  Eligible employees would be entered into drawings for various prizes if the company hit performance goals during that quarter.  The news did not go over well.  Very shortly, United President Scott Kirby announced that they would be “pressing pause” on the new system after negative feedback from employees.

“Our intention was to introduce a better, more exciting program, but we misjudged how these changes would be received by many of you. So, we are pressing the pause button on these changes to review your feedback and consider the right way to move ahead.”

There was an obvious disconnect between the decision makers at United and their employees. In retrospect, this is something that could have easily been avoided.  When introducing a new internal program, particularly one that employees are passionate about, be sure to understand what your employees value and take steps to prepare them for the change.  Seeking input and instituting change management best practices will help ensure that new initiatives are launched successfully.

Employee Surveys

Conducting an employee survey is a low cost effective method to gather information on employee priorities and areas that need work.  Conduct an employee survey annually or use spot surveys for immediate input before launching a new program.

Focus Groups

Before rolling out new programs, test the concept through focus groups.  This will give you a good idea of how new programs will be received and identify any potential problems before launch.

Institute a Soft Launch or Pilot Program

Test the concept in one functional area or with a user group over a specified period of time.  This will give the pilot group time to ask questions and give feedback before the full program launch so the program can be tweaked before full launch.

Sometimes an idea looks great of paper but simply doesn’t work in practice.  Being prepared will make the entire process easier.  Get out in front of any potential problems and create a plan that simplifies the information with a clear and consistent message. How does your company communicate new programs? Please share your ideas and stories with me: ben.clayton@insight-communication.com