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  • HelenMc

Are your leaders in comms lock up?

We trust employees with customers and keys – but not with words. That’s a bit daft.

There was a bit of a tradition in communications to create cascades. To give managers a pack of stuff to read out or pass on.

The problem with this is that they might just do that – read it out – without preparing – and then move on to the real work.

It’s a massive challenge to put information into the hands of 700 leaders that’s personalised and relevant. So let’s create most of the story and ask them to decide the last part.

Every team should be having the conversation that’s relevant in the room. One they find interesting; that cuts to the chase about what it really means for them and what they should do next. Equip managers so they can have this chat.

My top seven tips for conversations not control

Most of all don’t be boring. Be entertaining. No stuffy language and formality – use ordinary, everyday words. Content with humour, surprise, emotion and honesty will fair better than something dull. Play with images and layouts - avoid powerpoints with bullets at all costs!

Timing. Make sure the material you create doesn’t hoover up all the time available. No good creating a discussion pack for a 30 minute meeting that takes 25 mins to grapple with.

Brief like humans. The best way to inspire someone to have a great conversation is to have one with them. Start your ‘un’cascade with your senior leaders hosting the same session as a role model.

So what? Give managers permission to personalise and include plenty of questions to help their thinking and start the discussion. There should be a clear link between what’s happening and the overall strategy. A good leader will fill in the gaps inbetween – what it means for their team.

Talk about how. Start with simple messages setting out what’s happening and why. Describe the goal so it’s clear what the intent is; paint a picture of the future. The discussion can then be about how to get there, so people can get involved and decide what to do for themselves.

Invite opinion. Everyone can’t possibly agree with everything. Include questions to find out how people feel to start a discussion. Knowing what people like and don’t like is part of the conversation.

Invite people to surprise you. Some of the best ideas are spontaneous, bold and brilliant. There’s much more buy in from personalised and co-created activity.

How we can help

If you’d like more tips and help with comms that create conversation not control drop me a note –


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