Change is hard. No one in your organization whether it is small or large wants to change their behavior. Let along their business processes. For class, I have been reading a lot about employee engagement and how communications can be used to help, “turn the tide.”
Regardless of the communications vehicle, you need a compelling story to help move people from resistance to acceptance. So how do you tell a story that motivates your employees and stakeholders?
- People like to connect to stories. It’s all about understanding the individual highlighted in the story and how we relate. Tell folks how this change will impact them. Draw it out for them.
- Figure out what emotion you want to invoke. What do you want the reader to do next? In communications, you need to identify what your call to action is. Same for change management communications, what do you want your stakeholders to do?
- Stories allow us to break through the noise. Telling a parable may help break the ice with your stakeholders on a topic that may not be so pleasant. According to SAP’s Chief Storyteller, “to break through the clutter, meaningful, one to one conversations with our customer is now more important than ever.” Check out her video.
- Check your ego at the door. You should persuade not talk at the reader. Ultimately, you are trying to get them to do something, whether that is listening or participating in a new initiative. Think about how your story will accomplish your goal and motivate your internal folks.
- Listen. Listen. Listen. You can’t affect change until you listen to your internal folks to their side of the story. Empathy goes a long way.
- Think like a movie director. I watched Argo and was mesmerized. My favorite scene is when the embassy workers were shredding the “classified documents.” Where they going to make it? Would the “bad guys” going to get the documents? I was hooked for 2 hours. Not only was the movie compelling, but the director did a fantastic job of telling the story. Storytelling isn’t just for the movies. Just because you’re in a B2B market, doesn’t mean you cannot be compelling.
- Paint the picture for your audience. What will success look like? Sometimes folks resist change because they are afraid to picture what success looks like.
Bonus: Use humor. After speaking with a few fellow communicators, I realize that telling a funny, personal story is a great way to connect with people. Who doesn’t need a laugh in their life?
Rachel DiCaro Metscher has worked with many organizations to build their communications and marketing programs, including Fannie Mae, American Psychological Association, and The Princeton Review. She is currently working in the DC metro area building content marketing programs from the ground up.