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How to Communicate Boring – But Important – Subjects

man giving speechEver been in a really boring meeting? Probably.

Let’s face it – some topics are just dry. No matter how engaging the presenter or how much coffee is served, the presentation is just…not that fun to listen to. But just because you and I might think a topic is boring doesn’t mean it’s not important!  In fact, often the topics that seem the most boring are the very topics that are the most important for employees to pay attention to!

Think about what “boring” topics could be. Internal processes. Policies. Ethics compliance. Audits. Confidentiality.

Most of us might not get too excited listening to presentations about internal audits (sorry, auditors!) but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be paying attention when auditors present a list of important “do’s and don’ts.”

In fact, often the topics that seem the most boring are the very topics that are the most important for employees to pay attention to!

Those boring topics might be dry, but they’re the backbone of your company. Can you imagine how quickly things would fall apart if you didn’t have solid processes and company-wide policies? Someone had to create those – and someone had to convey them to your employees.

So how can we make sure that employees are paying attention when the information is dry as sawdust?

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Three signs your internal communication isn’t working

icommsToo often, internal communication is an afterthought. Or it’s a lofty ideal that seems unattainable. Yet, effective internal communication is imperative to any business, no matter the sign.

Why does internal communication matter? When management and staff aren’t on the same page and communication breaks down, it has a ripple effect through every department, ending in lost revenue.  The symptoms can be everywhere: confusion about projects and deadlines, frequent mistakes, disgruntled clients, and disengaged employees. Over time this too often leads to a culture of distrust, demotivation, and a loss of productivity.

On the flip side, good internal communication can be the secret sauce to success. In fact, companies with highly effective communication practices have a 47% higher return.  What’s the difference? These are the kind of companies that work to alleviate confusion, place an emphasis on employee engagement and satisfaction, and empower people to do their jobs and seek help where and when they need it.

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Strengthen your internal communications with an animated video

VideoImagine you are about to launch a new product line. You’ve had a team working on it for a year. Your board is thrilled. Your marketing department is ready to launch a multi-channel campaign. All you have to do is announce the launch of this new product line. You send a detailed company-wide email with the subject “Important: new product line”. And no one reads it.

While no doubt your subject line might be more interesting, the fact remains that an email will simply be overlooked by the majority of your employees. Imagine instead that you create a short, humorous 90 second animated video and circulate it via email. In under two minutes every employee has watched the video and is as excited about your new product as you are.  Just like that, you’re all on the same page.

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Four Creative Ways to Engage Your Employees

lightbulbIf your employees aren’t engaged, they’re costing you money. According to research by Gallup, organisations with a higher level of engagement reported having 21 percent higher productivity. That translates to higher sales and a healthier company overall, and TNS Global research  recently published a report that shows “that highly engaged employees have a clearer understanding of job responsibilities and receive the proper training to do a quality job”

So how can you invest in your employees in a way that engages them in a meaningful way?

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Why use an explainer video to communicate a new policy to your employees?

Well, to answer that question, it might be easier to check out the alternatives first.

  1. Have a face-to-face presentation with your employees and talk to them about it
  2. Write an email explaining the new policy
  3. Post the information on the intranet with a link to the policy
  4. Send a physical copy of the policy to each employee, complete with a cover note attached
  5. All of the above? (Gasp!)

Let’s face it. Would you attend a presentation knowing that you were going to have to sit through an hour of someone talking to you about a new policy (regardless of how great a speaker he or she may be!). Would you read an email if the subject read ‘Launch of new policy (required reading)’?

When’s the last time you eagerly browsed your intranet looking to find some information about newly launched policies at your workplace? And those hard copy manuals and policies you received during your induction should be a good indication of how popular that format is going to be.

So, really, the question should be… why wouldn’t you use an explainer video  to communicate a new policy to your employees?

It’s short, to the point, memorable and perfect for sending out to audience segments not geographically confined to one location. Plus, it can make a very clear call to action so that employees knew exactly what to do or where to go for more information.

Recently we had an awesome opportunity to work with our good friend and former colleague, Kamales Lardi (from Lardi & Partner Consulting) on an animation. Kamales’s firm was working with her client (an international bank based in Zurich, with over 65,000 employees worldwide) to design and develop a global employee social media training program.

Her team built the concept and wrote the script, while we produced the animated video. Our illustrator (who prefers to remain nameless) designed the characters and backdrop  to adhere to the client’s strict visual design and illustration guidelines.

The time difference between Melbourne and Zurich worked like a charm though. Every time we finished a segment and sent it off for review, we’d go to bed, and in the morning the feedback was always ready in our mailbox, all set for us to get started on. The voice over artist we worked with, Alan, was based in London, and so that arrangement too worked well in our favour.

It took about 3 weeks of development to get the video produced which was then embedded on the client’s intranet. It was certainly well received and was one of the top five most viewed intranet posts globally in the week of its launch.

Check out the video below.

and…we’re ready to launch!

Well… technically (and aesthetically) we’re still not 100% there yet. For example, I have yet to land on a logo design that I am happy with. And without a logo design, I won’t be printing my business cards just yet. But really, those things can wait.

Like Chris G says in his awesome blog The Art of Non-Conformity,

“get your offer out to the world ASAP!!”.

It has been three very intense nights, but we’re ready to launch this baby. Beta launch of course. So, if you have feedback for me on how I could improve this site, please leave  a comment – or use the contact form to send me an email. Thanks!

 

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