Propeller recently hosted the Association of Change Management Professionals PNW group to discuss the powerful effects of storytelling in times of transition. There are three simple steps that our speaker, Ann Smith, shared with the group. Individuals and organizations can use these steps to tell an authentic and impactful story that inspires change.
Step 1: Craft your message to make the change familiar
When planning your messaging, remember to:
1. Provide your team with a stable foundation and reassurance.
2. Keep your message simple and don't sugarcoat the truth.
3. Keep your audience's attention through the entire message.
Try this: Use a story, game, experience, humorous skit, metaphor, image or even a song.
Answer these questions to guide the storytelling process:
1. What is changing?
Share the specifics of what will be different in how the team must think, act, and perform
2. What does this change mean for what each individual does and how they operate daily?
3. How will this make a difference in the business? How will it help the business or team?
4. How will success be measured? How will you know the ROI?
Establish how employees will be held accountable or rewarded.
5. Who supports this change?
Establish where the change is coming from and who orchestrated it.
Step 2: Be authentic in your delivery
Don't forget! Try to include a story with each point you make.
Remember: authentic does not equal perfect.
Watch your body language. If your body language doesn't match your words, your verbal message is not believable.
Optimize the power of inclusive relationships. Anything leaders can do to nurture mutually rewarding relationships will also enhance the change readiness within your team and throughout your organization.
Step 3: Allow for interaction from your audience and respond to them
Allow for an emotional response, but use it as a growing point.
Listen to your audience's emotions and ensure they feel validated.
Remember: Emotions can be infectious, so upbeat and optimistic leaders are likely to make the entire team feel energized.
Let people own the change for themselves.
Individuals respond positively to change if they play a role in managing it.
Founder and owner of A.wordsmith, Ann Smith is passionate about a lot of things, including her family, loud country music concerts, adrenaline-pumping Burncycle rides, and St. Louis Cardinals baseball. At work, this energy centers on building strong partnerships with her clients, connecting them with their target audiences and delivering exceptional results. With more than 15 years of strategic communications experience, Ann has worked in both agency and corporate settings, providing a broad range of support to clients.