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Motivate Managers With Creative Comms

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Motivate Managers With Creative Comms

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.

People said…

‘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!

In Summary

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.

Be motivated by the Academy masterclass…

6 Steps to Successful Creative Campaigns

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Jo Hobbs — Communications Manager

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Sarah Crowdy — Campaign and Media Officer Communications, South East Water

“We went to ‘Alive’ for ideas on how to run a specific employee program in Europe. Alan and his team were brilliant in coming up with fresh, creative and practical approaches. The team took charge and executed brilliantly. We are pleased with the progress made so far and hope to have the same level of partnership and commitment going forward.”

Sobha Varghese — Tata Consultancy Services

“We had the privilege to work with the Alive team. It was our first time to be involved in creating an animation for our patients within paediatrics. The team were approachable, friendly, creative and very accommodating. Your vision for what you want to create, is at all times acknowledged, appreciated and accommodated by the team. They worked effectively and with great passion towards our project and worked not only alongside health professionals but also our patients who really enjoyed the experience of working with the Alive team. It has given our team the confidence and inspiration to do further projects in the future. We highly recommend Alive and their exceptional team.”

DR ELENI ATHANASAKOS, Lead Paediatric Clinical Scientist — NHS Barts Health

“‘The short animation developed in co-production with clinicians and young people is outstanding! Informative, developmentally appropriate, vitally fun and engaging. We are really grateful for the expertise of the Alive with Ideas team for their innovative approach in building children’s health literacy.'”

Kath Evans — Director of Children’s Nursing at Barts Health

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Louise Burnard, Head of Marketing and Communications UK — Be | Shaping the Future

“I think the team have done such a brilliant job, particularly with responding to our requests. It's one of the best mental health videos I've ever seen. Very proud to be associated with your exemplary work. Thank you so much.”

Dr Anna Batho — Clinical Psychologist – Critical Care, UCLH

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Georgia Beech — Internal Communications Specialist, Ocado Group

“This is brilliant. I wanted to give my heartfelt thanks to all of the team who worked on this. You all understood exactly what we wanted to communicate and why, and then managed to do it in a way that was far better than anything I could have imagined. I’m a bit choked up to be honest!”

Sarah Wright, Head of Communications and Campaigns — NEA

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Alana Khaytin, Communications Specialist — Braskem America

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Sara Langston, Patient Engagement & Marketing Manager — italk

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Alexander Mills, Communications Manager — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

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Emma Wright — South Yorkshire & Rescue

“We worked with the team at Alive to create our staff recognition video.
At a time like this, its never been more important to share the amazing work that our staff have done and continue to do on a daily basis under very difficult circumstances. We wanted to shout about this and recognise that when the time came, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue stepped up to the plate. We didn’t want an ordinary thank you post on social media or a basic email sent out internally, we wanted something special. Enter Alive. ”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“This looks amazing - brought a smile to my face scrolling through it :-)”

Jack Ford, Head of Marketing — streamGO

“Our company is fun, we have great brands, but most importantly we’re all about our people – and I wanted an agency who would understand that and help us bring it to life through our website and other comms. Straight away I felt that Alive ‘got’ us and provided the creative inspiration exactly where we needed it, as well as the technical expertise to deliver a well-functioning website.”

Keren McCarron, Head of Corporate Affairs & Communications — KP Snacks

Thank you so much. Incredible work done at incredible speed by incredible people.
Outstanding work as ever and what a turnaround. As for the concepts – wow. These are that good it would be an insult to describe them as just good. It’s a joke, quite frankly. This is exactly the Alive effect I was after. Right now I feel like I am living in an Alive With Ideas wonderland. Thank you!”

Jack Grasby, Campaigns Manager — SYFR

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Amy Lilja, IC Manager — Hennepin Healthcare

“Alive were there to help when we were working every hour to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. They gave us the creativity, ideas and support we needed to deliver campaigns which empowered our residents in the most difficult time most of us have ever seen, personally and professionally. The team understood what we needed, worked closely with us and delivered fast without any compromise on quality. Working with Alive has been a joy in the darkest of times and I have no doubt will have helped to save lives. Thanks team x”

Julie Odams, Assistant Director of Communications & Customers — Derbyshire County Council

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Gavin Buckle — B&Q
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