What we’re up to
How to stay on track when communicating change.
When introducing change – give one good reason why and actively acknowledge people’s most likely concerns. Failing to flag concerns doesn’t mean they will disappear. Instead, they will amplify. This is a particularly common mistake when announcing change in writing. If you find yourself doing this, re-imagine your message as a face-to-face conversation with your intended audience.
You will most likely find yourself taking a more consultative approach.
Here are five further ways to stay on track and avoid creating an elephant in the room:
- Test out ‘gut reaction’. Imagine delivering this news to friends who were going to be affected by it. How would they react?
- Build your empathy muscles. Spend time getting to know the audience in some way. And when you can’t know the audience, imagine what a day in their life in this context would be like? What makes their day fun, difficult or bearable? What are their priorities, drivers, frustrations and concerns? How does their work day, fit with their home life?
- Allow people to input and shape this change. Ensure you communicate early enough in the process to allow people to have some say in exactly how the change is implemented. And – if they are being asked to explain this change to others – ask for their help in shaping the communications’ packs and tools you would like them to use. Where possible, give choices within a defined framework rather than present a ‘done deal’. This focuses attention on the choice and retains an all-important degree of autonomy.
- Deliver your message respectfully – using natural language. Avoid a formal tone and give one good, solid reason why this is happening – one that you believe yourself. Avoid a list of other, weaker reasons. These then dilute your main case and open up arguments against the change. Acknowledge the concerns you believe people may have, being careful not to dismiss them.
- And when you’ve done the above, stand back and check the communications you are preparing? Can you see all likely perspectives? Can you guess at some less likely ones? Who else might know?
This summer has seen some extreme facilitation whilst working with teams across Europe. Sue was challenged to help a group of clinicians in Copenhagen reach new heights of decision-making while suspended from a crane 100ft above ground; Nicole, Deborah and Jenny coped with the enormity of the Stade de France in Paris for a major launch event and Adrian worked with a group of CEO’s while confined to a canal boat somewhere in Berkshire.
On top of that most of the team has been in London, Switzerland, Germany and Eastern Europe running strategy development sessions, helping establish best working practices and using narrative approaches to help marketing teams and client organisations develop the best way of externalising their stories.
We will be in London in September and October when most of the team are again involved in running our open workshops at Lynton House in Tavistock Square. See our workshops page for more information.
Attended a fantastic book launch last night for a brilliant and creatively produced book that is also a model of excellence in communication. The book, Clean Approaches for Coaches, by Marian Way, is about how to use language so that new insights and ideas emerge naturally from deeper levels of thought – levels that we don’t usually access unaided.
If you would like to know more about how language triggers thought and can mediate the boundary between conscious and unconscious processes, then this book is for you. Marian takes you on a beautiful, visual journey, pointing things out along the way in readily digestible chunks and adding knowledge and understanding in layers.
The book is available here. [15th March, 2013] » Read more
You can read more and order the book here.
Find out what has to be true for you to influence others successfully, sustainably and with integrity. Deborah Goodall will be speaking at the London networking event of the Healthcare Business Womens’ Association (HBA) on Thursday, 8th November. Her talk will focus on how we truly connect with people and will help you develop a style that works for you at both an individual and an organisational level.
The session will include a couple of activities to make networking fun and help you think about your communication in a variety of different ways. You can find out more and register to come along on the HBA website.
It maybe autumn and the leaves may be falling….. but it’s great to see how some companies embrace the idea of constant renewal.
Susan Mayor and Deborah Goodall have been in London this week working with the highly professional team at Galliard – exploring and extending understanding of how language works for sensitive, credible and persuasive communication in the healthcare arena. [12th October, 2012]
Speaking at the Healthcare Business Women’s Association in Basel this week on five things we commonly get wrong when we approach tough conversations at work – and what to do and focus on instead. If you would like to come along, you can register for a place on the HBA website here. You do not need to be a member and both men and women are equally welcome. [17th September, 2012]
Our recent leadership writing workshop, held at the 2012 Olympic rowing venue of Dorney Lake in Berkshire, allowed delegates to observe the fine-tuned communication found in top rowing eights and to develop a structured framework for thinking about their own business communications and what made them effective, excellent or in need of improvement [May 2011] » Read more
Dorney Lake, with its elegant buildings, open vistas and elevated terraces, is an inspiring venue for teams wanting to step out of their comfort zone, or even just the office, and reflect on what it will take to push themselves to the next level of excellence.
We were in the glass-sided building – the Eton Suite – overlooking the finishing line. More information can be found at www.dorneylake.co.uk
We now provide the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors with writing development in a leadership context.
In response to the growing demands placed upon leaders in this field, we have joined forces with Susan Mayor Medical Communications to provide workshops and programmes in strategic writing excellence for pharmaceutical leaders and healthcare communicators. [September 2010] » Read more
Business writing in these sectors has its own unique set of challenges and, with the increasing use of global teams and remote working, it is becoming ever more vital to write effectively as a means of influencing and generating results.
Managers in pharmaceuticals and healthcare need to write to translate technical complexity into clarity for their colleagues and for the industry’s multitude of audiences and stakeholders. They also need to write to inspire, motivate and build trust.
We believe we offer something that is truly unique – our programmes bring together an understanding of your business environment, deep expertise in medical journalism/writing practices and knowledge of the clarifying processes of communications psychology.
A number of clients have already reported considerable successes with our approach and are delighted with the positive changes achieved as a result.
We are continuing our work with Macmillan Cancer Support providing further workshops on resilience and on a range of leadership skills to help influence change in cancer care. [June 2010] » Read more
Some 4,000 clinicians, nurses and information specialists in the UK work alongside Macmillan Cancer Support to seek new ways of dealing with cancer patients to improve their care. For new ideas and projects to take hold, Macmillan professionals need the skills to engage colleagues in the idea of change and then act to implement it.