Transcript – 4.3 – Deliver – Prose – 2021 0710

Welcome back to The Sowhat Strategy. Today I'm looking forward to talking to you about how you can deliver your communication in prose format. So there are three parts to that work. Firstly thinking about how we package it. Secondly, thinking about how we communicate it. And then finally, how we get feedback. Because we want to continuously grow, we want to continuously get better at communicating.

So firstly, let's have a look at how we package our storyline into a prose document. Now there are three parts to that work as well. Firstly, being very conscious about how we visualize the high level structural links between the storyline and the document. Secondly, knowing how to test those links, and finally tweaking the copy to suit the prose format. Now, you'll be very familiar now with what a storyline looks like on a single page. And as you know, we recommending that when you're preparing a complex piece of communication, or something that needs some stakeholder engagement, we encourage you to build that one pager out, either in PowerPoint like this, or look, it doesn't have to be beautiful, it could be on a whiteboard. But you've got a map of your ideas that's visual, so that you can have some really good discussions with your stakeholders about the ideas before you then go and convert your storyline into a document.

When you do go and convert though, once your message is nailed down, we want to make sure that the hierarchy of the thinking that's in the storyline matches the hierarchy of the formatting in the document. And so when we do that, if you'll see here that the title is quite large and prominent, you'll also see that we have an executive summary there at the beginning, where we preview the story.

And then you'll see that there's no question we take that out because it's a bit clunky to include it. Very occasionally, we include it but usually not. Now, when we get into the executive summary, for example, we want to make sure we add some things that are not in the storyline. So we add transitions to help the rate of follow us as we go through. And I've highlighted those in yellow, you'll come up with your own language for those. But as one example here, before I dive into the details, I'd like to outline our position. That's a neat transition from the into the context and the trigger, then into the supporting points.

Once I've covered the supporting points, I've added below, I discuss each of the above points in more detail that transitions the reader on to what's coming next. So it helps them follow where I'm up to structurally. And I continue that habit of offering transitions throughout the document, again, you'll have your own way of doing this. And then you'll see that the high level supporting points in the body of the document there match the high level supporting points in the storyline. And then finally, you might see that we close with a summary with some next steps or just perhaps with a summary. So if I think back to my own schooling, I was taught to tell them what I'm going to tell them, tell them and tell them what I told them. And that's what I'm doing here. So we can bring the structure of the storyline together, along with that common practice of previewing, telling the story and closing out at the end. Now, once you've got the basic storyline architecture reflected in your document, you want to be confident that you've got that right, and we've got a way of thinking about that to help you. Now you'll be familiar already with the 10 point test for storylines, we've been talking about that through the other modules.

So your storyline hopefully, will have had a high score. And you will have sorted that out when you're working in the one page storyline format. Now what we're going to do is show you another 10 point test that is compatible with that, that helps you connect the dots between that storyline one page and the document itself. So you can see here that we've got three sections within the test. The first one is just reminding ourselves to focus on the storyline. So they're the high level points that we're thinking about in terms of the structure. The second section there for questions five, and six is all about each section and chapter. So we're asking ourselves, point five, is there a context trigger? And so what for each section so you might think of each top line message for each section as a so what for the section? And then we're also asking is the supporting structure within each section solid? And then once we've got the architecture, right, we're looking at style. So we're looking at a few things there for in particular, we're looking at the signposting is that clear, that's trackers if you're using PowerPoint transitions if you're using Word or Google Docs, Number eight, do the headings tell a story rather than just announced topics. Now topics are useful, they're a category, but we want to have message there as well, are the visuals right and clean. Finally, is the language clear, meaning best practice in plain English standards.

So once we've got those ideas very clear in our mind, we've got the ideas visualized really well, we know how to test those links, and we've got that right, then we got to tweak the copy to suit the format. And here's what I mean by that. We've got our mini introduction or CT cue for some of the sections where we need to so here we have the middle section, the middle chunk of the storyline that I showed you, and we've got a short introduction for that, then what we might do is remove duplications. So this is a really subtle difference between a storyline and a document. When we're building a storyline, we leave the duplications in as a way of thinking about testing our thinking, making sure ideas are parallel. And the first limb of the story here is a great example of that. So if we have a look at the ABCD points, they start with the same words. Now in the actual document. We don't want to repeat ourselves like that. But we do in the storyline want to be confident that our language is parallel, because that means our thinking is parallel. So where we've got there in in the top line point four possible ways.

Here we go, we've got 1234 possible ways they match, that's great. But in the document, we want to do something slightly different. And we've sharpened the language to help with that. So if you look here, we've made a change, we investigated four options rather than four possible ways. We just want to tighten it to shrink it a little bit without changing the meaning.

And then we've been consistent here in the transition, the options we investigated rather than the possible ways. And if you have a look, I'll read that sentence to you the options we investigated to deliver intelligent cloud based data storage capabilities are and then look, we don't say we investigated, we investigated, we investigated because that would be repetitive, we just go straight into it. So we want to look for opportunities like that, to strip out unnecessary repetition in the document itself. So hopefully that gives you some ideas about the connections between the storyline. And the document itself gives you some strategies to make sure that you make sure your document is fit for purpose. So thanks so much for your attention. I look forward to talking to you again soon. Bye for now.