Creativity in the World of Internal Comms is our latest report.
It features the results of a survey all about the levels of creativity amongst IC folk.
The survey revealed the top barriers that IC pros face when introducing more creative practices to their roles.
54% of respondents cited objections from managers as their biggest hurdle.
‘Leaders lack understanding of what’s needed to engage employees….’
‘Managers just want to do it the way it’s always been done…’
‘They just don’t have the necessary skills to communicate with their teams.’
The aim of our report was to investigate such issues, presenting some thoughtful and effective solutions and sharing experiences of comms experts from across the globe.
This post touches on some of those thoughts. If you’d like to receive a full copy drop us an email with your name and address.
Establishing and developing creative communication skills
Managers can be given a hard time when it comes to communication. In many cases, they’ve never been through any kind of formal training, they may lack the confidence to communicate with real people, they may not fully understand the messages they are expected to share or the pressure of the workload just wont allow for it.
It’s our job as skilled communicators to help them embrace communication as a skill that must be developed and continually sharpened if it is to remain effective. We must empower them by providing the tools and frameworks to communicate effectively with their employees. When we do this, we will begin to work through those common objections.
Enhancing energy levels, creativity and flare!
Continually looking for new and exciting working methods and seeking imaginative and creative ways to encourage and support leaders with their comms responsibilities is a key task of any IC pro.
Some of the following strategies you’ll already build into your roles, but it’s great to reflect on additional thoughts and ideas:
Talk! Ask managers what tools they’ve found useful in the past. You may be able to suggest some additional ideas on extending the scope of previously tried and tested methods.
Introduce ideas gently. Taking people by surprise can kill a great idea before it’s even begun. Talk to leaders and managers individually before bringing them together to discuss a new approach or idea.
Spell it out. Ensure managers understand what you’re looking to achieve and why it needs a fresh approach. A lot of misunderstandings can be avoided when people are clear and upfront from the start.
Seek a mentor. Approach someone from within your network, your own L&D department, someone from a professional body or an IC coach who has experience with tackling managerial objections. Arrange a weekly meeting, call or Skype session to run through specific issues and suitable solutions.
Join them! Take managers out on the road with mobile staff, or work a shift alongside employees on the front line with them. It will help them understand the importance of communication whilst giving you the opportunity to offer support.
Get them involved. Managers and leaders are also human beings. They like to be involved and have fun, just like the rest of us. So ensure they have plenty of opportunity to join in with special events, fundraising days or sporting activities.
Practice storytelling. Storytelling is big business. That’s because it works. You may already build it into your own style of communicating and it would be highly beneficial to encourage managers to do the same. Here are some storytelling tips to get you started.
Introduce the idea of explosive TNTs – Tiny Noticeable Things are small emotional engagers that make a BIG difference. Thinking a little differently and helping managers to engage more emotionally with employees will go a long way towards breaking down those barriers. So begin to collate and pass on powerful information.
Give them something to say no to. When sharing ideas with your team it may help to add something that will be challenged or rejected. Expect that they will want input and create a sacrificial lamb.
Inspire them with what’s possible. Convince them that taking a creative approach will support the strategy and help to deliver it in line with business objectives. Paint a picture of where you could be in 3, 6, 12 months time with the help of creative communication.
All aboard. Having managers on board will support cultivating broader acceptance. Creativity thrives with senior support, even if they’re not creatively ‘inclined’ themselves!
We have a key role in supporting leadership and managers’ comms, developing different styles, formats and ideas that will appeal to them and acting as trusted advisers to understand and work with the pressures they face. And whilst continuing to sharpen our own skills, it’s important to share what we’re learning in order to achieve business objectives.
Share your thoughts! Tweet us @Alivewithideas – we’d love to hear from you.