• Andy Goram

Internal Communications That Connect

In episode 12 And Goram is joined by Katy Kurn of Showoff Communications to chat about the secrets of creating internal communications that really connect with your internal audience. Billions of pounds and work-hours are spent crafting customer communications that aim to cause an emotional response, but normally far less effort is put into trying to get the same response from your people.


Katy Kurn (left) and Andy Goram (right) chat about creating impactful internal communications that really connect.

In this conversation, Katy and Andy discuss audience planning, segmentation, story-telling, the use of familiar language and how The Three Little Pigs makes for a perfect communication template, amongst many other things. As always, 3 helpful Sticky Notes are left behind at the end to help you make an impact with your internal communications, today.


00:00:10 Andy Goram

Hello and welcome to Sticky From The Inside. The Employee Engagement podcast that looks at how to build stickier, competition-smashing, consistently successful organisations from the inside out. I'm your host, Andy Goram, and I'm on a mission to help more businesses turn the lights on behind the eyes of their employees, light the fires within them and create tonnes more success for everyone.


This podcast is for all those who believe that something worth going after and would like a little help and guidance in achieving that. Each episode we dive into the topics that can help create what I call stickier businesses. The sort of businesses where people thrive and love to work, and where more customers stay with you, and recommend you to others, because they love what you do and why you do it.


So, if you want to take the tricky out of being sticky, Listen on.


00:01:10 Andy Goram

OK, here we go again with another episode and you know in recent times over the last 12 months or so, there's been a lot of pressure put on, I guess the communication skills within businesses, you know, explaining the impact of furlough schemes, new working practices, redundancies and that's just not without the everyday stuff that keeps businesses ticking along and moving forwards.


Yeah, it's been tough. Even businesses with experienced internal communication teams have been up against it and not everyone, even the seasoned professionals, have got it right every time. So, communicating effectively with empathy and clarity, but that actually results in things being done is an absolute key foundation for engagement, as I see it.


And I am so delighted today to have someone else with me to help pull back the curtains and look at some of the mysteries involved in this topic and help, as always with the podcast, by trying to offer up some practical advice that you can take away to help you, in this case, improve your communication plans.


She is the founder of the successful engagement and marketing consultancy, which I think is brilliantly called Showoff Communications. It's the lovely Katy Kurn. Hi Katy!


00:02:27 Katy Kurn

Hi Andy, thanks for having me.


00:02:29 Andy Goram

Oh, delighted mate. I’m looking forward to this. A fellow Northamptonian.


00:02:33 Katy Kurn

Yeah, rocking it for Northampton, right?


00:02:35 Andy Goram

Rocking it for Northampton and hopefully will have an engaging conversation about this stuff today, so can you tell me and the listeners just a little bit about you and Show Off?


00:02:40 Katy Kurn

Absolutely. Yes, so Show Off Communications, I think it's summed up really well in our strapline which is communicate - engage – inspire. So, we provide basically an outsourced marketing and communications department, helping businesses and charities to communicate and engage more effectively with their employees, customers, donors, etc. so that they can then inspire their audiences, increase income, improve culture internally, and achieve their strategic objectives.


00:03:14 Andy Goram

Lots of lovely things to get stuck into there for you, and I guess, so maybe over the last 12 months things have kind of blown up for you and the company.


00:03:17 Katy Kurn

Yeah absolutely. You know, I feel so honored that so many businesses chose to work with us. And you know, we saw the greatest growth that we've ever seen throughout 2020. So, it was just phenomenal.


00:03:42 Andy Goram

I'm gonna say it's not all COVID related stuff that you end up dealing with because as we sort of said in the intro, communication perse, is an important part of engagement strategy going forward right? So are you coping with a whole wide range of communication topics and projects?


00:04:00 Katy Kurn

Absolutely. I mean as a side there were obviously the things that blew up because of COVID, but actually what it also did was unpicked the need to really look at communication strategies with working practices changing and probably changing for the long term, for many businesses, moving to remote working, re looking at priorities, it really shone a spotlight on the need to actually improve the level of communication and engagement that probably hadn't been noticed before. So, it's kind of been blown up out of the need that has then shown that it's something that needs to be focused on as a long-term thing.


00:04:42 Andy Goram

Yeah, I know I couldn't agree more my little business stems from, I guess my time in corporate sat with a marketing hat or badge, depending what day, I had sat in the middle of marketing, HR and operations trying to align everything to one clear story. And as a marketer by original trade, you know you're always looking for a connection, right? You’re always trying to find that stimulus that resonates with your audience, OK? And businesses put tonnes and tonnes and tonnes of focus on that external customer communication, right? Find that connection. Tell that customer why we're great. Why choose us?


But not so much on the inside, right? Not so much in the inside. Again, one of the reasons why this podcast exists is to try and bring a bit more focus on that internal audience. So, I think today we're probably gonna have a quite a good conversation I hope about that connection topic. Do you agree? Is that one of the fundamental parts of getting this communication right for internal audiences?


00:05:43 Katy Kurn

Absolutely, and that is the message that we've been shouting from the rooftops, really since the business began. As you quite rightly said, there is so much emphasis on how do we create connection with our customers? How do we create connection externally? But actually, if you haven't got that connection with your employees, you're holding your business back because they are the ones that will unleash the power of your business.


But to do that, you've got to engage them. And to engage them effectively, you have to create that connection with them, understanding what is it that drives them? Why do they or, why should they want to help your business move forward? And the way that you do that is through connection.


00:06:28 Andy Goram

Yeah, and do you find that it's pretty... it’s difficult to sort out everybody with the same brush, but do you find when you talk to a business that they recognise this lack of connection or, need for connection? Or do they think they are getting a connection? How does it sort of manifest itself to you?


00:06:45 Katy Kurn

Initially, I would say most businesses believe that they have created that connection. What they tend to do is create connection through job role. So, they may assume that someone working in sales is connected to money. That is what drives them. That is what engages them. But actually, once you get beneath that, you start to see that it isn't money itself that drives them. It's what that money can help them with or what that money can provide in terms of a feeling or a sense of self. So, it's actually uncovering what that top layer of engagement is. But actually, then starting to delve deeper into what drives that. And that's what businesses sometimes miss.


00:07:31 Andy Goram

And also, I mean I'm interested in that word connection, not to try and overplay it, but, are businesses that you talk to, actually even using that word? Are they saying, “Oh yeah, we're making a really good connection with our with our people?” Or are they talking around the topic?


00:07:50 Katy Kurn

Yeah, very much so. Talking around the topic. I think when you talk about the power of connection, it can sometimes be misinterpreted as something very fluffy, and sitting in a room and you know, sort of talking about your feelings. But actually, it's fundamental to the psychology of human behavior. Humans connect and they want to connect to things that align with their internal self. So, once you can tap into that and understand that, that's when you start to unleash the power of the engagement side of things.


00:08:27 Andy Goram

Oh yeah, 100% agreed. I mean that rational side of your brain helps you think about stuff. But we talked about in the introduction of actually doing stuff. And it's the emotions in your brain that trigger action. So, a rational connection is one thing you might sit there and go, “OK, that's interesting.” An emotional connection will get you to act, and so that's, I guess, that's my philosophy in life. If I can tweak someone's emotion, I’m going to get a reaction and hopefully positive one. And hopefully it's going to drive some good action.


So, typically then when you walk into a business, how do you start to help those business leaders or the communications owners that you're helping when you walk in, how do you get them to start thinking about connection on that more emotional level and what are some of the sort of things that you end up helping them with?


00:09:20 Katy Kurn

Yeah, so I've worked with so many different businesses and when you're looking at what creates connection, the first thing is to actually get the business owners to realise that they probably don't know as much about their people as they maybe thought they did. And we start by assessing how they're communicating with their audience and the messaging that they're putting out. You know, are they tailoring it to the segmented audience? Are they looking at what drivers are there? And once you start asking those questions, they start realising that there's more work to do. So, a lot of what we do initially is walking the business through the process of finding out what drives people? What do people want to hear? How do they want to hear it? What resonates with them in terms of messaging? Where everybody is, and that's quite a big piece that will generally get missed out when people go on this journey alone, without a company like ours stepping in.


So that's what we tend to do first of all, to walk them through. And from there once you understand those drivers, once you understand where the connection is missing, you can actually start to proactively plan your communication campaigns as opposed to firefighting. Launching a communication that suddenly you don't understand why people haven't liked it, why you face a backlash against it. Because you understand where your people are coming from you can avoid that.


00:10:59 Andy Goram

So, earth-shattering announcement number one in this conversation right, is good businesses wouldn't think twice about talking to their customers, finding out what they like, finding out what interests them, finding out what motivates them and then targeting communications, product strategies, whatever it may be to that. Oh my gosh, shock horror! It's the same for your internal audience. That's what we're saying here, right? And yet it's not a common practice.


00:11:22 Katy Kurn

No. No.


00:11:25 Andy Goram

It may be common sense, but it's not common practice.


00:11:28 Katy Kurn

Absolutely, absolutely.


00:11:29 Andy Goram

And I think it's I think this point you make about firefighting with communications to generating decent connection.; that's really... Can you elaborate that on a little bit more? So, in a firefighting style of communication, what are you seeing and how does that differ to what you're trying to bring in with more planned, proactive, more connected comms?


00:11:50 Katy Kurn

Yeah, so generally firefighting comms will come about through times of change. So, a team will decide this is what we're going to communicate and when, but they don't do that background piece, so they launch their communication that says, “This is changing, and this is what we are going to get you to do differently.” And all of a sudden, they don't get the reaction they expected.


For them, it might be something really positive, but the audience that receives it sees it in a totally different way. So, when they click into firefighting mode, which is, “Right! Quick! We've gotta now sort out even more communications to address those issues that we hadn’t seen. That backlash that we haven't thought we were going to get.” So, it then becomes firefighting communications to try and correct the initial communication work that had been done.

When you've done that first piece and understood the connection drivers, you've understood how your people work. You've almost got your personas, and you know how to speak to them. You can avoid that firefighting piece.


00:12:52 Andy Goram

And how much in the style of communication do you move from a one-way channel of “tell” to for me, engagement is about two-way. It's about a conversation. So again, when you look at the good, connected, empathetic communications out there that you see, is there a marked difference between the kind of the one-way dictat and the...actually, let's have a continual conversation rather than a series of staccato instructions? Do you get what I mean? Is that you're seeing that sort of differences out there.?


00:13:29 Katy Kurn

Yeah, definitely it is about 2-way conversations. You can go too far the other way, where it feels like you're not taking lead taking ownership. You're not being the leader that a business needs. But actually, it's about being really clear in where are we trying to get to? What are we trying to achieve? And creating that future state through your communication. And then almost you start to map it out backwards, so you start off with the end in mind, and then you think OK, so we're here; this is where we need to get to. How do we bring our people on that journey? You can't achieve that journey without those two-way conversations.


So, it's announcing a communication, but giving people the right to reply and taking that seriously, not just having it as a tick box stuck at the end of a message. “Contact us if you've got any queries,” you know, it's about creating real, authentic ways and genuine ways 'cause people see through that, you know. If it's just a sentence at the end of a column, they kind of know that you don't really want to know what they think.


00:14:38 Andy Goram

It's almost whispered at the end of a message in another language, just in case.


00:14:41 Katy Kurn

Yeah, absolutely. Or they do the classic of “speak to your manager with any queries about this.” And their senior manager maybe doesn't actually know themselves what it's all about.


00:14:53 Andy Goram

Well, I think you're touching a really interesting point here, right about that management layer within a business, because often they can almost be leapfrogged, right? So, you have your leadership team sending out the communication to everyone.


00:15:09 Katy Kurn

Yes.


00:15:09 Andy Goram

And then you get a message like that at the end of, “oh, you can speak to your manager if you want to find out more.” and the managers may be reading that going, “I don't know more!” I have this feeling that there's a whole layer of people in the business, the management layer, that can get missed or forgotten in these communications, and when you're putting this stuff together, how do you stop that happening? And what's the techniques that you would you employ to make sure that “go speak to your manager” actually results in somebody feeling really confident about helping someone understand a bit more?


00:15:44 Katy Kurn

Yes, this point about missing out middle managers is fundamentally something that we see happen all the time. It's you know, “tell us how you communicate”. “OK, well we send a comm out, we send it to everybody and they've got their managers to go to.” OK. So, at what point are you pulling those managers aside and saying, “look, here's what we want to do. Here is how we want you to support it”? And I would say probably 8 out of 10 businesses aren't doing that. They just communicate to everyone at the same time.


And what businesses miss is that the middle managers are probably the most important people to have on your side, because they are the people that will be embedding that message. They are the people that will hear the chatter. They're the people that will get a sense of how messages are landing and if they themselves aren't engaged in the message or understand it or know what their role is in helping it to land, then you've lost the audience straight away.


So, then I would say through any part of communications planning, your middle manager level, that line manager level is one of the most important to get right, and you've got to treat them with care and respect and doing the same thing about connecting with them. Connect with that manager 'cause they're in a tricky place. They will have their own thoughts about changes, yet they also have to be the all-singing, all-dancing, rah-rah person for that message. So, you have to treat them, in a different way to the rest of the population and really take them on that journey before any messaging goes out anywhere.


00:17:31 Andy Goram

Yeah, I think that's true, especially on the bigger pieces of communication. There's a whole piece around. Well, I liken it a little bit to, you know when you're sitting watching a film on your sofa and whether it's your partner or your kids, none of you have seen this film before, something's happening in the film, and the question is, “why is that happening?” And I boringly, and my kids will roll their eyes if they ever hear this. I boringly say, “I didn't go to the pre-briefing for this movie. I don't have the kind of director notes in front of me to explain that to you.” And it's a bit like that with these sorts of comms.


00:18:00 Katy Kurn

Yeah.


00:18:04 Andy Goram

And I think you're right when it comes to the... certainly the bigger pieces of communication, there's going to be a need for these guys to make sense of that message first. To have some time to understand it. And I think, really importantly, be able to, if it's practical, ask some questions on interpretation. Because what they interpret from what you say, there could be 2 very, very different things. And if you don't have that sense-making opportunity and that kind of like sense-check that I've understood this correctly and they go away and communicate that to their people, very quickly you multiply the number of splits or crevices that you're about to put into the business, and understanding is huge, right?


00:18:48 Katy Kurn

Absolutely, absolutely. And I've seen it first-hand where a middle manager, when I was back in my corporate career when I was a customer service advisor, and changes were announced, and our line manager would sit in our team meeting and be asked questions and I remember him saying, “I have no idea. I think these changes are rubbish. I don't even know what to say to you.” So, the message we got as a team was, “OK. Well, he's not on board with it, so we won't be either.” And it was so powerful in the terms of he was our leader. He was the face of the company for us, and he was telling us, “I don't get it. I don't like it. I don't understand it.


00:19:33 Andy Goram

Wow!


00:19:34 Katy Kurn

And you know you that lost us as a team in that messaging. We were lost in that moment because our manager was telling us they weren't on board with it.


00:19:44 Andy Goram

I mean and, and you cannot underestimate the impact that has. I mean, even with people who are on board, I've always had this thing in my head about every time the message is passed on, you're turning the volume down a little bit.


00:19:58 Katy Kurn

Uh, huh, uh huh.


00:19:58 Andy Goram

So, you know, unless that person upfront is turned up to 11 on their understanding, and their enthusiasm for it. If they are at 11, they tell it to the next person, it’s likely to come through about a 10 or a nine. And then that person tells somebody else, it’s likely to come through at about an 8 or 7. So, if you start off with a lower number, actually, by the time it goes through the organisation, it's just a whimper. It's just a whisper. So, I think you're bang on. I think it's absolutely crucial to get these guys bang on board right up front, in full technicolor, you know, turned up to 11 or 12 or whatever it might be, to have any hope of these things coming home.


00:20:38 Katy Kurn

Yeah.


00:20:42 Andy Goram

And so, when you're going into businesses and you're finding this stuff and you're putting in new strategies and tactics. What are the most useful things for this particular cohort of people? The management team. What sort of things are they asking for?

What things do they need? How are you treating them differently?


00:21:02 Katy Kurn

Yeah so, we tend to have quite a standard process we would encourage businesses to follow and that is: you determine the messaging and you brief the managers first. When I say managers, I'm referring to like your line manager population.


00:21:20 Andy Goram

Yeah, no cool, yeah.


00:21:21 Katy Kurn

You bring them together. You talk them through it. You share the intended communications with them, and you give them an opportunity to ask their own questions. OK, so how does this impact my team? How does this impact me? What do I need to do? And you just have that, well, honest conversation.

But so, then what we do is we send them back out when they're comfortable. They play a big part in releasing the message to their own teams. And once that's done, we bring them back, and we say, “How did it go?” “What questions did you get asked?”

And they give us such rich data and information about what the teams are saying, that really helps us to then start to proactively plan our next step of the communications journey. So, it's involving them at every stage. And by doing that, that's how you create the connection. We go back to connection again. But that is how you create the connection with that middle manager population.


00:22:18 Andy Goram

I think that's so true. I mean, in my own experience and things that I've been part of, or I've helped other businesses with, where you have the opportunity to, yes, do the sense-making blah blah blah, but have some time for practice of that message.


00:22:32 Katy Kurn

Yeah.


00:22:33 Andy Goram

So, you understood the message alright, you're aligned. Have some time to practice and to your point, put it into your own language.


00:22:41 Katy Kurn

Yeah.


00:22:41 Andy Goram

That's a hugely beneficial process to add in. Because then when the message comes across is not me trying to deliver Katy's words. It's me delivering my words, in language that you've heard me talk previously, so it feels authentic, genuine. It is authentic and genuine. All part of making that connection.


00:23:03 Katy Kurn

Absolutely, you're so right, and I think the worst thing that you can do is send managers out armed with a script and or delivering something in an unfamiliar way to them. I worked with an organisation and their middle managers, as you would expect were wildly different. One of them absolutely loved getting their team into a room, standing up on the stage and doing this real, showy presentation. Another manager used to do a Friday lunchtime at the pub, and he'd take his team to the pub and they'd sit and just chat openly about changes that were coming up. So, we allowed them the freedom to deliver the message in the way that their team felt comfortable with. Because if the manager that took their team to the pub were suddenly told, “Right, you've got to stand up on that stage and tell your team this...” the team would immediately have felt like, “Oh, this isn't what we're used to. This isn't how things happen in our team.” So, don't be afraid to do things in the way that feels comfortable, as long as the same message is getting across. It's actually about delivering it in a way that resonates with the audience, not the author of the message.


00:24:13 Andy Goram

I think that audience thing is so important and come back to that practice thing, one of the things that I've seen really effective, is that you start with giving someone, I don't know 90 seconds to get the message across, and then you practice, and then it's 60 and then it's 30 and then you go, “Right now tell the story to somebody who's going to be on the bus, who's going to run around telling everybody for you 'cause they're bang up for it.” Then, “Tell the story to somebody who you know is going to be a Dementor. They're going to suck the life out of anybody trying to talk to. How are you going to get the message across?” So, practice, not just the official line. Practice the way you need to nuance it, right? I think that's quite important.

So, if we were to sort of get an overview of the process or the background to getting more impactful communications, Katy? What is that sort of flow that you would follow?


00:25:08 Katy Kurn

Yeah, well, interestingly, I've worked with so many different businesses, but there are, I would say there's probably 3 key things that determine the success of their communications. So, the first one would be around giving context. You as a senior leader will know the full story behind your communications. Why it's happening, why it's happening then. Why you're saying what you're saying. But your audience won't. So, everything you share must have some context to it and explain what to you is, you know, that's just what we know. But remember your audience don't know that.


00:25:48 Andy Goram

I'm laughing because it's so true. I can't tell you how many leadership teams I've been involved with or spoke spoken to, you know? And been part of 'cause I've committed sins in my past, right? And you've spent so long on a project and usually this is the dénouement of it all, the bit of communication, and you go “we can gloss over that we don't need to do that, they don’t need to know that, they don’t need to know that. This is the thing that we want them to do.” And you just put yourself in the picture of, “Well, I know this much. Therefore, they must know this much. Therefore, I tell him that much.”


00:26:22 Andy Goram

Yeah, that’s total rubbish!


00:26:23 Katy Kurn

Absolutely, absolutely I would say to people, to managers that would come back on this and say, “Well, I don't think we need to share that much.” And I say “OK, imagine you go home tonight and your husband, wife, significant other sits you down and says to you, OK, so I've decided that we're moving house, and my job is changing and that's it. So, we're going to do that next week.” It just wouldn't happen. You know their husband, or wife, or significant other would quite rightly say, “Well, why are we moving house? Why are you changing job?” And without that full story, it could be, “OK. Yeah, I'm being made redundant. We're going to have to down-size. How do we get through this?” That would be the normal path of conversation. You wouldn't just accept, “OK, my life is changing, and I don't need to know why” and that is the same within business.


You know these people are invested in your business and they are emotionally bonded to it and you need to give context. You need to give the full, as much of the full story as you can so they understand what it is you're communicating, and more importantly, why.


00:27:30 Andy Goram

Yeah, that's important and the zoom connection didn't help us out there, but that “why” piece is so important in so many things, but particularly in communication, particularly in getting action done. Why are we doing this? What's the compelling reason behind it? OK, so we get some context.


00:27:45 Katy Kurn

Absolutely.


00:27:47 Andy Goram

What's next?


00:27:47 Katy Kurn

Yeah, so number two I would say is understanding the audience to create connection as we've spoken about throughout this podcast, it’s anticipating the feelings and thoughts of the audience. Working with your managers to know how will they react, what questions will they have and actually building these into your comms planning. Because people will feel a lot more comfortable and secure if you're already answering the questions that they have. So yeah, I understand the audience to create connection.


00:28:19 Andy Goram

But I guess once you get into the regular process of this, you ending up building muscle memory. Because you start to understand with greater certainty what sort of things people are going to want to hear, what sort of questions are going to need to be answered? So, you can, you should be building muscle as you go, right? On that on that audience, understanding.


00:28:41 Katy Kurn

Absolutely, but also not forgetting that it changes over time.


00:28:45 Andy Goram

Yeah.


00:28:45 Katy Kurn

So, if you do a phenomenal job with one communication, it doesn't necessarily mean the next one will land just as effectively, it's a constant thing because as people move through their own internal change, you need to think about that when you're doing communications, so you always whatever you're planning in terms of the comms campaign, go back. Is the connection driver connection drivers still the same? Are we in the same place that we were when we did this? Does anything need to change? It shouldn't be a one-size, you know? We do this really important piece of work and that's the same for the rest of their career. It's a constantly moving piece.


00:29:28 Andy Goram

So, keep it targeted, keep it fresh, but you know, learn some lessons as you go.


00:29:35 Katy Kurn

Absolutely yeah.


00:29:36 Andy Goram

OK, cool well, anything else that you would bring to the party?


00:29:40 Katy Kurn

Yeah, definitely storytelling. And this is, you know, not the traditional, Once Upon a time style story, but for everything you want to communicate, think of it as a story. And everyone that you're communicating to are characters in your story. How do they fit into that story? What is their part? What is their role? Where do they start? Where do they end? And target your communications according to your story and the characters in your story, and that can be a really nice way to look at it, because quite often communications start, another one gets released, another one gets released and there's no real clear pathway. But having this storytelling approach, you can right at the start, map out where do the characters start? Where do they end and what are the milestone points? That's something that we use quite often, and it works really, really well to keep everybody on track.


00:30:45 Andy Goram

Oh! I 100% agree with that. I have used such complicated stories as The Three Little Pigs, to illustrate that with groups and what have you in the past, I think that is a fab exercise, because of the milestoneing and the characterisation. And I think one of the most important things within any sphere of engagement is... I think that your results often are determined by how well you can put the employee in the centre of those communications. In that story, can they see themselves in that situation? Do they understand how this thing, reason, action is going to affect them, and do they know what to do with that come the end of it?


I think if your story can do that and be like The Three Little Pigs and be so easy as to communicate those milestones. Everybody embellishes, but they all know that there's a house of straw and sticks and bricks, and there's a Wolf, and he huffs and puffs.


00:31:38 Katy Kurn

Yeah.


00:31:40 Andy Goram

If your story can have those elements, it doesn’t matter how people stick 'em together, the story is still going to be the same, right? I think.


00:31:46 Katy Kurn

Absolutely. Absolutely.


00:31:49 Andy Goram

So, it's always heartening when I have conversations like this, because you know more effective, more impactful communications are absolutely possible in the way that you have talked about it. A little bit of empathy, a little bit of connection, a little bit of thought about your audience and a bit of consistency. I mean you when you were talking about, you know lots of different communications. I think this is where the strategy part and the tactical part have to kind of come hand in glove. So, what's that North Star that should always be a backdrop to your communications? That we’re always heading towards a consistent thing, but here's another way we're going to get there. I think that's so important.


00:32:30 Katy Kurn

Absolutely.


00:32:31 Andy Goram

Thanks for sharing that path. I mean, I pretty much think I know where we're going, but at the end of my podcasts I have this little thing called Sticky Notes. Which is where we, effectively, because of my small brain capacity, try and summarize what we've talked about today into three, little, practical sticky notes for my audience to take away back to the shop and start improving, in this case, more impactful, engaging comms.

So, I've got an inkling as to where this might go, but if you were going to write your three, little, sticky notes Katy, what would you put on those for me?


00:33:06 Katy Kurn

Yep! OK, so the first thing I would encourage people to do is to hold communication sessions. Sit down with representatives from your different audiences and just talk to them. Find out what they need and want in terms of information and channels, and this should be for day-to-day comms, not just change comms. I can guarantee you will be amazed at what you uncover when you find out that your weekly newsletter that you’re so proud of actually only gets read by about three people. It's amazing.


It takes a bit of time, but you know, get that cross-section of different audiences throughout your business and hold these comms sessions with them. It would be brilliant.


00:33:53 Andy Goram

OK, brilliant. That's your first sticky note stuck on the wall of the sticky studio. Beautiful. What have you got next for me?


00:34:00 Katy Kurn

So, the next thing leading on from that is to create your own audience segmentation plan. So, it sounds a lot more technical than it actually is. In essence, it's once you’ve held your comms sessions, what you then do is map out all your different audiences and work out how you need to connect with them through communication. Based on what they've told you, you can create your own plan. You can give each audience a different name and you can then map out exactly what they've told you, what, what resonates with them. How do they like to be communicated with? And you can refer back to this every time you’ve got an internal comms campaign coming up, you can go back to your segmentation plan and think, ah, this audience needs this. This audience needs this.


00:34:48 Andy Goram

Nice. Nice, a bit of strategy planning. There’s always room for that.


00:34:50 Katy Kurn

Yes, yes.


00:34:52 Andy Goram

And then finally, what's Sticky Note number three?


00:34:54 Katy Kurn

So finally, yeah, it's about storytelling.


00:34:58 Andy Goram

Of course!


00:35:00 Katy Kurn

For each communication set the scene, give the information, create the ending, and involve your characters in the story. they are central to your story, your characters, your employees, your managers. And create those stories for each of your communications.


00:35:18 Andy Goram

Fab. Lovely, straightforward, practical advice there, Katy. There's no reason at all, I don't think, anybody following those three steps can't put more impact and get more connection out of their communications. And thank you very, very much for sharing your thoughts and your time with us today. I really, really appreciate that.


I'm convinced listening to what you've got to say today there's going to be a whole bunch of businesses, not just in Northampton, really bringing forward much better communications as a result of that. So, thanks for sharing that today. That's really good of you.


00:35:48 Katy Kurn

No problem, Andy. I geek out on this sort of stuff so you know, I love it. I could talk about it all day.


00:35:54 Andy Goram

This is nothing wrong...there's always room for geeks on this podcast. Thank you very much.

OK, Katy, thanks ever so much.


00:35:58 Katy Kurn

Thank you.


00:36:00 Andy Goram

You take care, speak to you soon.


00:36:00 Katy Kurn

Thank you. You too. Thanks bye.


00:36:04 Andy Goram

OK guys, if you'd like to find out more about Katie Kurn and Show Off Communications you can check out all the useful links in the Show Notes.


00:36:15 Andy Goram

So, that concludes today's episode. I hope you've enjoyed it, found it interesting and heard something, maybe, that will help you become a stickier, more successful business from the inside going forwards.


If you have, please like comment and subscribe, it really helps.


I'm Andy Goram and you've been listening to the sticky from the Inside podcast until next time. Thanks for listening.

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