Following a recommendation from one of our past workshop participants Urban Transport Group got in touch to see how we could help them use storytelling to make the case for their members – the public sector transport authorities for the largest city regions – including Metro in West Yorkshire and TfL in London. They could see that effective stories could be the key to successfully communicating the need for funding, powers and policies – so were interested to find out how we could make that possible.
Since we had already delivered training for the NHS, had worked in partnership with the 2 Civil Service unions and had led training for the Association of Directors of Public Health we had a solid understanding of the type of communication that would take place between the Urban Transport Group, the public, funders and policy makers. We delivered a 1-day workshop for the team of 6 – which included their researchers, their Senior Economist, their Policy Manager and Director. They each arrived with a presentation they had or would be delivering soon that we would deconstruct and rebuild as a story and present to each other to finish the day.
The participants came away with a better understanding of what they needed to communicate to make a connection with their specific audiences and to successfully argue the needs and benefits by using personal, organisational and national contexts. One participant used our content structuring techniques to select from his extensive and expert knowledge, that had been confusing rather than illustrating or proving his arguments. Another was able to use his own perspective to emphasise the value and importance of Urban Transport Group’s work and impact. As well improving their presentation skills, in response to ideas being discussed at the end, the group also started to look at how they could use the ingredients of story as a way to plan the progress of projects over time.