Storytelling to paint the picture

I just don’t see how that’ll work

‘… truly flexible, fully integrated, adaptable IT infrastructure using an SOA approach to develop modular, easily integrated and reused…blah blah blah…’ Does this mean anything to your staff, apart from those in IT?

How can you make this message sound exciting? Why not get them to visualize it and paint a picture instead? For example, ‘Just think after go-live, all you have to do is to click on the client contact, and from there you can complete all the transactions. You no longer have to open several applications, or photocopy documents, or scan in information. Our new system will do all that for you behind the scenes.’

Tell stories so staff can visualize outcomes. Many cultures prefer a narrative approach, rather that the abrupt, business-like approach that we often adopt. In everyday life, most people tell stories to get their point across, or illustrate their viewpoint by giving concrete examples. 
Storytelling is relevant to all stages of the change process. At the outset, encourage staff to visualize what the changes will look like. Then they can see exactly what needs to be done. Visualization is very powerful when it encapsulates a positive view of the future. This is especially useful when trying to get staff to move from ‘Could this work for me?” to ‘I can see how I can make this work for me.’

Building scenarios makes change seem possible and gets everyone past blinkered thinking. This is partly because many people are not comfortable with abstract ideas and theory. Making your project concrete makes it real, and making it real makes it happen. Creative visualization has long been recognized as an effective tool for planning and implementing change. So add it to your toolbox.

This is part 9 in the 11 part Series: Tips to Communicate Change Effectively to Staff

This series is based on an article by Communications specialist Sarah Perry. Sarah is a Director of Snap Communications,, a company which provides specialist Internal Communications tools and Employee Communications Solutions.

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