Urban Transport Group Sharing the Message

Beginning

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.

Middle

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.

End

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.

Research Partnership Finding the Story

Beginning

Research Partnership are a global pharmaceutical market research company who already recognised the importance of story to effectively communicate, but wished to refine and extend their use of storytelling to ensure they stood out in how they communicated and shared their results to clients. The Marketing Director took part in one of our taster workshops and went on to commission training for the company’s Directors to help them find the story which best encapsulated key research findings and insights. This story could be told as an animation for clients or would become part of their face to face presentations.

Middle

Our half day workshop helped the Directors to consider what qualities they wished to adopt, from what they believed or had experienced as good storytelling. In the workshop the Directors experienced our practical process to realise those qualities, explore and better understand what to share from a piece of research and found the story which best illustrated and effectively communicated the points they wished their audience to take.

End

During the delivery of the workshop to 3 different groups from Research Partnership’s UK, Asian and US offices, the Directors noticed immediately the power of examining their findings through the lens of storytelling. Presenting insights from previously unconsidered perspectives gave their research new weight and impact. They have come away being able to present in a more interesting and efficient style with a greater enthusiasm for what they communicate.

“We asked The Whole Story to come and give a half day storytelling training session to all our Directors with the aim of helping them to find the story in their global market research findings. All the attendees came back enthusing about the course and how useful it was. All said it exceeded their expectations and all said they would recommend it to others.”

Marketing Director, Research Partnership.

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Wakefield CCG Preparing for Authorisation.

Beginning

The board were preparing for authorisation, and wanted their many experiences and expertises to come together to create a compelling story for Wakefield CCG. This would be of further help when communicating the changes and benefits that were coming into place, whether speaking to patients, clinicians, councillors or other stakeholders. We were recommended to the board’s OD consultant by colleagues, who had attended workshops we delivered to Management in Partnership members.

Middle

We were asked for a half-day workshop that would allow the board to work collectively on the CCG’s story; helping each other confront and answer the difficult questions they foresaw being asked. They then individualised each story, making it relevant to their specialism and their target audience.

End

By incorporating all the techniques learnt, each board member had a well constructed, 3-minute piece they could tell confidently, clearly and engagingly. A few were told, giving an opportunity to offer group feedback, and creating a much stronger and cohesive understanding as a team of their joint values and goals.

“The Whole Story ran a fantastic workshop with NHS Wakefield CCG as part of our Board development. We are really keen to use storytelling to positively convey the vision and priorities of the CCG to our patients, member practices, partners and staff. Learning and practising the skills of storytelling with TheWholeStory was interactive, insightful, and extremely memorable.”

Chief Officer Designate
Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group

 

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COEO Vocal and Physical Presence

Beginning

COEO supports how businesses use and optimise their data software. We were asked to help how their technically brilliant consultants communicate with individuals within their clients’ businesses, who usually do not have the same expertise. Our client at COEO was particularly interested in how we could help the consultants to enliven their presentations and be able to better use their personal impact and presence. Ben Joiner met with our client to best plan the form and content of the workshop to ensure the participants would feel comfortable with the training and be able to get the most from it.

Middle

The 1 day workshop with 10 participants started by introducing the principal that communication is as much what you do as what you say. The workshop then went on to explore and practice how to make the most natural and effective use of the participants’ voices and body’s. Ben helped the participants to use their body language, how to hold the space they are in, being inclusive and responsive to their audience and how to use inflection and modulation of their voices to help make the delivery of their technical, analytical and factual content interesting and enticing. At the end of the day Ben tackled particular problems or issues, by working with each individual with the whole group present. Instead of this being a stressful situation the group were able to support each other, share in common problems and learn from each other’s development.

End

The thought provoking day enabled the group, who usually didn’t get to work together, to find creative and collaborative solutions to how they communicated. They left feeling more confident to communicate with their clients, as they could now deliver their technical subject matter with more energy, applying their deeper understanding of how to successfully use their physicality and voice.

“Thanks for the workshop, the feedback has all been positive and I think the group found it sufficiently ‘left field’ (in a good way) to be memorable.”

Professional Development and Operations Manager, COEO

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Individual Coaching Preparing a Presentation

Beginning

R had taken part in our workshops “Sharing the Message” and in “Vocal and Physical Pressence” and wanted to use the same techniques to work intensely and one to one to develop an important upcoming presentation. She wished to explore and refine her content and to improve how she used her body and voice to be able to confidently present to a challenging audience. She had some fears that were holding her back from sharing her content, which she knew was important and valid.

Middle

R spent the first half of the morning with Lily, deconstructing her content and rebuilding it as a narrative, they explored who her audience was and how she could tackle any problems or issues they may raise in a positive manner and they distilled the ingredients of her story to ensure it worked towards the outcomes and meanings she wanted to reach. In the second half of the morning before a late lunch, Ben guided R in how she could best use her voice and pbiody to hold and deliver her message and build an effective relationship with her audience. In the afternoon R had time to apply her learning before giving her presentation to Ben and Lily, who gave her feedback and practical comments for her to be able measure her improvement and areas for further work.

End

R left feeling enthused and energized and looking forward to practicing her presentation further. She had some simple techniques to draw on that gave her a strong foundation for her confidence. From the day she gained greater insight, both on her content and how she could deliver it, that helped to make her presentation more powerful.

“I just wanted to say thank you for an excellent day yesterday and express how grateful I am to you both. There were a couple of insightful nuggets that were particularly powerful which I think have the potential to make all the difference for me. I know I need committed practice and focus – but I am smiling whilst I write this – as the thought of practicing actually feels like it could be fun?!. Hopefully the results will speak for themselves! Thank you again for an invaluable session.”

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Hampshire Hospitals Seeing the Story of Change

Beginning

The Trust was about to embark on a change, which could be perceived negatively, overshadowing the actual benefits and improvements that would take place. In order to help the team, who were responsible for the change, to communicate it we suggested a practical workshop using storytelling techniques to explore what the change would be like for different individuals or groups.

Middle

30 participants (drawn from staff, patient groups and unions) worked in small groups to create a story that described the change as it interacted with others. They focused on particular audiences and how they inform what needs to be communicated or what story is most useful to tell them. Having created the story, one person from each table told the rest of the room the story of the change. Each story had a different protagonist and an intended audience, which shaped each story of the change in a different way. We concluded with feedback on everything we had heard; picking and choosing elements from each story, identifying common narratives that everyone could use, finding themes, arguments or angles that had greatest impact and identifying ideas, problems and solutions that had not yet been considered.

End

The workshop helped those involved in the change to find some clarity in what had become a very complicated and lengthy process. Exploring the change as a story reconnected the participants with the day to day and long term impact and benefits it would have on individuals (staff and patients) and the hospital as a whole. The participants felt more confident about approaching the audiences and groups that they would need to communicate the change to and had a selection of narratives that could be chosen from as needed. After this first workshop, to find the story of the change, theWholeStory’s voice coach Ben Joiner developed the teams communication skills further, to help each individual feel more confident and be more successful in how they used their voice and body to tell the story of the change.

“Your session was really enjoyable, informative and helpful and the whole team have gained something from it. It was a pleasure to work with you”

Chief Nurse/Chief Operating Officer, Deputy Chief Executive, Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust

 

 

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CSLE Collaborative Story

Beginning

The Cross Sector Leadership Exchange brings together strategic partners across the public and third sector to provide an environment that facilitates the development of their leaders. To close their regular Leading Without Boundaries 3-day intensive course, they needed a collaborative workshop that allowed groups of participants to tackle the difficult issues raised and to understand how to address them. These ideas and solutions then had to communicated back to their respective organisations, winning over both hearts and minds for the challenges ahead. A CSLE board member attended one of our open workshops and recommended us for the 2016-2017 programme.

Middle

Over our full day workshop, participants were challenged to work in teams to see how their different organisations could work together to solve complex problems from the course. This involved negotiation, listening and collaboration, all within a very tight timeframe. They were then split up to pull apart their thoughts individually and by pairing up with members of other teams before regrouping in their teams to reach an agreed final story that could be presented back to the room.

End

Each cohort, who has taken part in our Collaborative Story workshop, found that the humanising aspect of storytelling, allowed their solutions to be tangible and actionable, both in their own eyes and in that of their audiences. By considering the many different perspectives of individuals and organisations involved, unexpected insights were revealed which helped them tell their story engagingly and with awareness for the ramifications of each solution.

“The step-by-step tools were simple to understand and provided obvious benefit, even if used in isolation. The technique of using story-telling, particularly telling the story from another’s perspective, was very powerful and has stuck with me.

Josh kept a good control over the proceedings, moving things forward when necessary and maintaining the energy in the room through enthusiasm and building on suggestions. The session didn’t drag because it was interesting, light-hearted and memorable.”

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Balfour Beatty Rail The Strategy Story

Beginning

Balfour Beatty Rail had a new strategy that needed to be communicated to all levels, from senior managers to the workforce on the railway lines. The strategy existed as highly detailed information and as a visual overview to introduce each element of the strategy. What was missing was a way to share, explain and present the strategy that was specific and relevant to each audience without it being either over generalised or irrelevantly detailed.

Middle

TheWholeStory spent a day with 50 senior managers. During the morning they explored the strategy in relation to each of their functions, digesting the detailed information to identify what areas of the strategy they could implement. In the afternoon, in a 2-hour workshop, we facilitated how the senior managers could each communicate the strategy to specific audiences in a variety of environments. We focused on the participants finding real examples to demonstrate the rational, process and benefits that would mean something to the different audiences

End

From the process of the workshop the senior managers gained a greater insight into the strategy, expanded their understanding and could give an authentic and adaptable expression of it. Throughout they were encouraged to become comfortable in “being themselves”, to build an authentic rapport with their partners in the workshop and ultimately with clients, employees and colleagues. By using the framework of a story the managers had a simple and adaptable method to organise and access the contents of the strategy so it could be delivered in an effective yet spontaneous manner as and when required, to suit the occasion or audience

“Things are going very well with the managers after your workshop. The follow up 10 top tips were really well received and helpful.”

Internal Communications Manager

 

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EDF Energy/Q5 Past Achievement and Future Priorities

Beginning

The consultancy Q5 were working with EDF Energy to plan and deliver how a diverse group of departments would work together on the next year’s aims and objectives: Priorities. TheWholeStory were asked to facilitate some practical activities as part of their Away Day to ensure the next year’s Priorities would be understood fully – in terms of their need or rationale and in how they could be applied

Middle

Before looking forwards, participants to the Away Day were asked to write a short story to celebrate and reflect on their achievements from the previous year, a time of considerable change for the business. The contributed stories, which gave personal perspectives on organisational successes and individual achievements, were available to read throughout the Away Day on a Story Wall. Before the participants looked at specific action plans within their functions Directors, in 5 mixed groups, were taken through a process to build a future-story about 1 Priority and how it would affect or involve 1 protagonist over a year.

End

By acknowledging the achievements made already in the past year the Story Wall succeeded in creating a mood of celebration and shared enthusiasm to achieve more and identified specific behaviour, ideas and actions that could be emphasized and continued into the year ahead. The future-story creation allowed the groups to collaboratively explore what could happen, how, why and to whom, and see within the focusing and engaging elements of a story, the Priorities in specific, achievable and tangible terms. Groups looked at a Priority that they might not have previously considered pertinent to them and yet were able to provide and learn useful insights. The lessons of the story, and the perspective the exercise gave, fed directly into the team’s action plans and the ways in which they would communicate and implement the Priorities.

Phoenix Community Housing Our Future Success Stories.

Beginning

Phoenix Community Housing has residents as shareholding members and who play a central role in decision making. Having overcome a challenging time Phoenix had a lot to celebrate and wanted to continue to build on those successes with their strategy for the next 5 years. As part of their Staff Day they wanted to involve staff in exploring what Phoenix’s strategy could be. We designed a workshop, to fit within the rest of the afternoon’s activities, which employed some easily applied techniques of storytelling. Staff would learn more about each other and the benefits of what they do; to identify what could happen next to make Phoenix even more special and what its successes could be in 5-year’s time.

Middle

Despite the challenges of a small space we involved a much larger number of participants than expected in creating Future Success Stories for Phoenix Community Housing. Each group was hosted by a Phoenix staff member who had been trained to co-facilitate with us. The groups were set a strategy theme each and using a series of questions to prompt ideas the groups identified what they together felt was important to either improve or change. Within that theme and given their joint expertise what could they imagine being responsible for over 5 years. Using a narrative structure to build the detail of how their success story unfolded they also added in descriptions to create characters that made the story more real and applicable. Each group shared their story to another group and their stories were recorded and transcribed.

End

Each cohort, who has taken part in our Collaborative Story workshop, found that the humanising aspect of storytelling, allowed their solutions to be tangible and actionable, both in their own eyes and in that of their audiences. By considering the many different perspectives of individuals and organisations involved, unexpected insights were revealed which helped them tell their story engagingly and with awareness for the ramifications of each solution.

“A big thank you to Josh and Lily for a great event and for pulling it together so quickly and giving us the skills to be able to craft and tell our future story. We are pulling together the stories created on the day, into a storybook to launch our innovation related staff schemes.”

Director of People Services and Communications, Phoenix Community Housing

 

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