Transcript: Design your Strategy Introduction


Hi, Davina Stanley here. Business communication is hugely varied. The context, the concepts, the complexity and the audiences vary wildly. And yet my goal is, through this program, to give you a single tool kit that you can use whenever you need to communicate so that every time you've got a go to strategy, so you know where to start, you can save yourself a ton of time and get better results at the same time. So in this short video, what I want to do is give you an overview of our approach so that you can design your strategy and hit the right target every time. Now there are three parts to it.

Firstly, I want to make sure that you know how to start slow so you can go fast. Secondly, I want to make sure you can correlate your effort with your in game. And thirdly, I want to make sure you know how to adopt a go to framework for all communication as we go forward.

So let's dig into these and look at the first one first, starting slow to go fast. Now my colleague, Mark Donaldson, this is from years ago, and he said this thing which stuck with me, and I've referred back to up many, many times, so I want to make sure I give him the credit for it. He said, we should race to the finish line, rather than racing to the start line. And I've seen this play out time and time again. If we have a clear and concrete way to think before we act, we end up in a much better place and we don't end up in places like this. So the chain of pain is slow and leads to confusion and here's how it works. Somebody requests an ad hoc paper. And then somebody takes that request, does the very best they can with it, writes a paper or an email or a PowerPoint and sends it off to someone else to read it. Now that person will use track changes, and I'll make a few changes and then pass it on to the next person in the chain, and it'll go around, sometimes multiple times, doing this group editing of a piece of communication. It's a bit like communication by committee. It's frustrating, it's slow, and it rarely leads to a really fast and high quality outcome. What it does lead to, is a paper that's a mishmash of views, that people have a great deal of difficulty finalizing because they don't feel like they own it, nobody owns this paper. And then when the audience gets it, they have to do a frightening amount of thinking to actually understand what's going on, and read through the lines with different voices and different strategies and different ideas being all mishmashed together. Now another approach is what I call the nervous parade of knowledge. And this is where an individual or a team isn't clear about what they need to say. So what they do is just chuck more and more and more stuff in the document and that way, they can't be wrong because I've covered off on everything that should be said on that particular topic. So these are two things, two strategies that I don't want you to employ. I suspect you're familiar with both of them to some degree and what I'd love to do is encourage you to anchor all of your work going forward around a storyline. If it's a big piece of communication, a page like this in PowerPoint, or vizeo or another tool, if you like, but a single page, if it's something simpler, then I want you to think about focusing around your thinking that underpins these ideas, which of course, is what we're going to get into in the program. So, there you are, what I want you to do first of all, is start slow to go fast.


Now, the next thing I want you to be mindful of is correlating your effort with your end game, I'm giving you a strategy here that you can employ for all of your communication. But you do need to adjust the amount of effort you put in, according to what you want to achieve in your end game. And so I don't want to suggest for a moment that you should be going to 10 out of 10, for a really short email to a small number of people that's highly routine, I do want you to know how to do this when you need to. So we've got a bit of a way of thinking about that.

So the first thing we want to think about is the size of our audience. The bigger our audience, the greater the risk that we're going to be fighting a lot of fires if we get it wrong. So big audience, big attention. Now, the other dimension we think about here is the importance of our message. Because we want to make sure that we get as fast a decision as possible, particularly when we've got something really important. And so if something is really important, then we want to invest more. And you've probably worked out by now just from looking at this, that if you've got a big audience, and you've got an important message, of course, that's where you're going to invest the most of your energy. But equally when you have got a small audience, and you've got something informal to a small number of people, three out of 10 I call it, just smash it out, get it done. And that might be short informal emails, personal notes and voicemails, things that are not of great significance although they are there to help you get things done, of course. Now, the bigger the audience and the more important the message, the more you need to invest, I think, so six out of 10 be pragmatic, you know, moderately formal emails, innovative features, things that matter, but I'm not really, you're not going to bet the farm on. Now, eight out of 10 formal emails, steering committee papers, repetitive communication, like a letter of offer or procedures or things that are going to be used again and again. So you've got a real potential for magnet, magnifying the impact of them, then do spend more time on it. So that might be things like boards, or excuse me, an executive committee papers for more presentations, speeches to a large room of people, proposals, pitches, formal letters, announcements, anything published like white papers or opinion pieces, anything where your brand is really going to be affected in the external world. So I want to give you that just briefly to have a sense of perspective about the work that we're doing together because I am going to be teaching you a deep strategy, but you will cherry pick out of it and use your common sense to know what to use, where. And particularly by focusing, you know, correlating your effort with your end game.


And lastly, I want to talk to you about this go to framework for all communication that you're going to use at a depth that's appropriate for the communication you need to deliver. So we talk about three steps here in our So What Strategy framework, firstly, Design your Strategy. Secondly, Develop your Storyline. Everything's about the storyline in this program. And then thirdly, Deliver your Communications. So if I give you just a bit of a taste as to what's coming, firstly, when you are designing your storyline, you need to clarify your purpose, understand your audience and plan your process. So that doesn't sound like rocket science, and it's actually not but the discipline of going through these steps of clarifying your purpose, and I've got one very specific strategy for you there, and then understanding your audience deeply. I have five questions I want you to think about there where you've got a really important piece of communication that needs to be planned out. And then thirdly, some practical things about planning your process up front, so you don't get tripped up by the obvious stuff.

So thanks so much for watching this video. I look forward to talking to you in the next one. Bye for now