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3 steps to help you communicate with impact

Step into our SPA to help you communicate with impact. Simplify. Personify. Amplify. StrategyStory's Kate Hooper takes you through three key steps to help you communicate any strategy, vision, ambition or big idea.

Hi, folks, I’m really excited today because I am sharing my three step framework to help people communicate those big ideas, visions, strategies or ambitions… whatever they may be!

Born from experience of years of working in programme-making and communications, (across both small and large businesses), we use this framework to help teams and leaders shape their own communication practices. We hope it helps you too.

This is all about communicating to drive engagement and emotional connection with the people that matter- the people who really need to understand your idea. Those people could be your staff or colleagues, your customers, your stakeholders or your board members.

StrategyStory co-founder Kate Hooper
©Image Highlands Photography

So, why do we care so much about this at StrategyStory?
Well, its born from experience of a number of challenges.

The ‘Big Divorce’ between strategy and communication
You might know the story: big plans created in boardrooms, plans that folk across the organization don’t ‘get’, or aren’t given the opportunity to ‘get’…which is why, so often, those plans fail.

Information sharing is not communication
We’re addressing the misconception that information-sharing is communication. It’s not. Communication is very much a two way street, and often more like a spaghetti junction. It’s a human, emotional, social process.  Communication is the creation of meaning, together. It’s the key to making things happen, yet we still seem to adopt approaches that most probably began in the industrial era, and are now, quite simply, not fit for purpose. They’re not fit for purpose largely due to the fact that we are people, not machines.

People need to see themselves in it
Getting people to see themselves in the big vision: to be part of it, understand it, and feel like they want to do something about it isn’t an easy feat. Strategies and plans are delivered by people yet so often the communication around these initiatives overlooks the inclusion of people, and by that we mean, really good people stories.

Raise communications to the top of the agenda!
Communication is what defines us as people – so it should be at the top of the agenda! And it’s a craft – it takes time, attention, commitment. I really believe that it will soon be seen as one of the top strategic capabilities in organisations of the future. Good communication and storytelling are the keys to unlocking meaning, learning and connection amongst people in organisations and beyond. It’s the key to driving action, and making things happen – of helping people to ‘get it’ so they can bring those ideas to life, and ultimately, make them their own and take ownership.

So those are some of the challenges we’re trying to address. I could go on and on. But I won’t. I need to practice what I preach…


Step 1: Simplify
If you’re saying too much, you’re not saying much.

So often we see ‘big’ strategies with lots of technical data, graphs, charts, numbers, facts and ideas. A jumble sale of business statistics and concepts. That is so unlikely to mean a great deal to many people.

You’ve really got to scale that back and deliver a clear, concise message. Get that big idea into a couple of sentences that you can communicate.  Get your strategy into one paragraph (yes it can be done), or simply create a statement of intent. come back to these questions all the time:
– What is the focus here?
– What is the ‘why’ or the purpose of this strategy?

That is what will help to drive hearts as well as minds. And that’s what you really want to help people get engaged.

 Step 2: Personify

Sometimes I call this ‘people-fy’ as well. There are two areas to work through here:

  1. Your audience
    Really think about the audience that needs to receive this message. Who are they? What is it about their lives, their day-job, their motivations, their challenges, their needs? What is it about those things that is really going to drive them to action? Be specific about who they are and name your audiences. Really bring them to life in your mind’s eye when you’re practicing communicating that message before you deliver it.
  2. Bring your idea to life with stories of the people!
    Lead with the people story. Draw people in rather than turn them off with too many things like stats, data and abstractions. Transform those high-level concepts into something real and compelling with stories of people who are already doing it. Get people to see themselves in it. For example, if you’re trying to communicate values across an organisation, think about a great story of someone delivering that value. If it’s about creativity, tell a story about someone being really creative in terms of delivering for a customer. If somebody’s shown exceptional teamwork, bring that story out. What do you want to see more of that will help turn that strategy into a success? Think of those stories. Bank them and tell them.

Step 3: Amplify

This is all about getting that idea, vision or strategy out there. Think about your audience again. Where are they? How do they do their job? What does their day look like? What’s the best way to communicate with them?  Reaching folk on a shop floor will require different methods from folk who are sitting at computers all day, for example. Talk to colleagues about the best ways to reach people across the organization. Think beyond newsletters and powerpoints. They have their place but they are not the only – or best – way in many cases. Make it enjoyable for folk. Organise story sharing sessions, drop in to team meetings, create podcasts or a newspaper. Amplify the story in a way that is best for your teams or customers, and really reach out to those audiences.

So there you go…three steps to think about: Simplify. Personify. Amplify. Book your comms into the S.P.A.!

Good luck, folks. Happy communicating!

The SPA communication treatment: Simplify. Personify. Amplify.

Want to find out more?
 Listen to our podcast episode on the very subject or mail hello@strategystory.co.uk and we’ll send you a worksheet to help you think through your own SPA treatment.

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StrategyStory supports businesses to develop their strategies and their stories.  We deliver through partnership programmes, online learning, workshops, seminars and public speaking. We also deliver lectures, talks and sessions on strategy and storytelling at private and public events, and host events, workshops and training in Strategy, Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Storytelling in our studio in the Inverness Creative Academy. 

If you are interested in finding out more please get in touch. hello@strategystory.co.uk

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