Lessons from a summer of fun

This summer season, the Enthuse team’s social calendar has been jam-packed full of festivals, events, arts and culture. We just can’t get enough! We couldn’t help but reflect on these experiences and how they captured the audience’s attention, so we thought we’d share the lessons we took from them with our thoughts on how they can be used to improve internal communications.

Lesson One: There’s still a buzz about storytelling
You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again, storytelling is an inspiring, captivating and memorable way to get your messages heard. It’s not something that comes naturally to many of us, it is a skill that needs to be honed. Take time to plan and think through your message and consider:

  • your audience: the best stories touch the audience emotionally - how do you want them to feel, what do you want them to think, what do you need them to do, and how will you achieve all of these?

  • your script: all stories have a beginning, a middle and an end and there’s a clear purpose to telling them – what’s your purpose? To entertain, teach, influence, stimulate self-reflection, change behaviour?

  • your performance: human beings like to be entertained, otherwise we wouldn’t spend millions of pounds every year on sporting, theatre and cultural events, so think about how and where you will tell your story - is your audience sitting comfortably before you begin? If it’s in your control, think about food, drink, room temperature, location/environment, start and finish times. Think about what they see: appearance, body language and what they hear: are you loud enough or do you need a microphone?

Lesson Two: Know your audience’s expectations and rehearse
Andrea went to see the first ever showing of a play that will remain nameless and, halfway through, the actors were all given paper scripts and spent the rest of the play referring to them. This made the audience feel uncomfortable and, for a time, stopped them from listening, as they mentally and silently questioned why they were holding scripts. Here’s the lesson: know your audience, be in touch with what they expect and respect them enough to rehearse and know what you’re supposed to be saying.

Lesson Three: Saying sorry, warms the heart
Suze attended a festival that fell foul to a month’s-worth of rain in one day. It was devastating for the festival organisers who had to stop cars entering the car park, preventing festival-goers joining in the fun. How did Suze know the festival organisers were devastated? Because, they said so, loud and clear via text, email, social media and through their dedicated team of volunteers who went above and beyond. In a time where social media backlash is prevalent, the feedback for the festival organisers was nothing but positive. So, here’s the lesson: saying you are genuinely sorry and admitting your faults can be a positive move – embrace humility.

Lesson Four: Connect with where you’ve come from
We had a team trip out on the 16th August to join in a guided walk to commemorate 200 years since the Peterloo Massacre in Manchester. In the current turbulent times we live in, it was refreshing to be reminded of where the values of the UK have come from and how democracy has evolved. Don’t ignore your organisation’s past: it’s made it what it is today and may have much to teach you about the future, especially about the purpose of why you are here doing what you do.

Lesson Five: Create a call for action
Andrea travelled over to France to watch England v USA in the Women’s World Cup semi-finals. 55,000 fans filled the Lyon stadium but at least 75% were USA fans! Where were all the England supporters? Well, the Women’s World Cup had never been televised in England on BBC One before, ticket sales hadn’t been publicised, and there was barely anything in the shops to promote watching this world cup, as there is with the men’s competition. To put it simply, there was no call to action to come and support the England team. If you want your people to get behind something, make sure you promote it loud and clear and bolster it with the right activities to support your message and create enthusiasm.

Lesson Six: Would people pay for your performance?
Edinburgh festival is awash with street performers. Not only do people willingly stop and listen but they also hand over cash if they think the performance is worth watching. As a leader, what would make your performance so good that people would choose to come and listen, even if they didn’t have to?  What would make your people enjoy it so much they’d give their hard-earned cash voluntarily? ...not that you’d ask them!

What did you experience this Summer that has stimulated your creativity to do something different?

If you need some help to refresh your internal communications and engagement and add some new creative ideas, as well as good old-fashioned best practice principles, then drop us a line at hello@enthuse-comms.co.uk you can also call 07812343310 or message us on LinkedIn.

Suze Howell