Are your line managers stuck in a rut when it comes to their communications? Do they need a few quick-hit ideas to reenergise and reboot their creativity?
The answer could be as simple as a change of perspective.
There are many ways they might do this, but one of our favourites is to encourage them to harness their inner child. Why?
Because pre-schoolers can teach us so much about being creative. They are masters at grabbing attention, can quickly adapt their delivery for different audiences and situations, and often see things in a completely unique way.
So, how might a line manager apply this kind of thinking in practice – for example, to improve their team meetings? Here are 10 steps designed to make creative comms child’s play.
Have a change of scenery
Cabin fever isn’t just an issue for pre-schoolers. It can benefit everyone to have a change of scenery, especially if that change involves getting outside into the fresh air and sunshine. Get team members into a different headspace by taking them to a new environment.
Children rarely sit down for long, so get rid of the chairs and have standing meetings instead. Or taking it one step (or many steps) further, why not take a walk round the park or book in an ideas hike in the country?
Children love surprises, so try and capture some of that joy by doing something totally unexpected. Have some planned surprises as part of the meeting, or even a ‘Top secret’ entry listed on the agenda to spark the imagination.
If children are hungry, they won’t listen. Give them food and they soon start smiling again. Never underestimate the power of snacks. The way to your audience’s heart could well be through their stomachs. Make meetings an experience for all the senses, especially if they are planned around mealtimes.
Have a phone amnesty, whereby everyone puts their mobile on silent and into a box so they’re not tempted to look at them, then give out coloured pens and paper. Encourage team members to get doodling during the meeting. This has been shown to work wonders for active listening.
Children love stories and rhyme. Think about your language and use storytelling to share information. Try to paint a picture in the minds of your audience. Use characters and describe situations, to help take them on a journey with you.
Have a laugh
Children are thought to laugh about 300 times a day, compared to just 17 times for adults. Grab some of that spirit with an injection of humour, which has been shown to positively impact on productivity. Find a funny video clip or meme to kick things off, or open proceedings with a joke. You could even play a mini version of the game truth or lie.
Music can be super powerful and again help make any meeting an experience for all the senses. One way to capitalise on this, is to get participants to sing their update (yes, we really mean it!). Nothing else is going to grab and maintain the attention of the audience quite like this idea. See for yourself.
And plan a STAR moment, (Something They’ll Always Remember) for every meeting. This could be the addition of an unusual prop or the sharing of an emotive story. Anything that is a break from the norm and will grab attention.
Children’s attention spans are short, which is why kid’s shows are typically just minutes long. Aim to capture attention by changing the format every few minutes. For example, tell a story, do a Q&A, hand something out. Jumping from one style of comms to another helps make each section distinct.
And there you have it. A change of perspective can be a great way for line managers to inject some creativity back in to their communications. So, if they’re tired of seeing a mass of uninterested faces who are just going through the motions, then maybe it’s time to harness their inner child and start having some fun!
We’d love to know how they get on with these pre-school antics.
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