Case study: Making positive change

Sean was preparing to announce the relocation of the company’s head office. Some staff might react badly to this change. How could he get everyone onside? Sean needed to prepare his presentation very carefully. I helped him use NLP framing techniques to build a positive message. You can use the same techniques whenever you need to announce a change or introduce challenging news.

Get the first seven words right

Your first words set the frame for your entire presentation. You need to make them memorable. People remember short, snappy statements best. And they respond well to active, positive language. Keep your first sentence constructive and action-oriented. Sean’s first words were brilliant. He said “Our success means we have to move.” In once sentence he had acknowledged the productivity of his people, whilst casting the move in a positive light.

Compare the past, present and future

Successful influencers use ‘temporal frames’ to make the future look bright. You can do this, too. Start by describing how things used to be – in less than perfect terms. Next, quickly refer to ‘now’ as an important time of transition. Then describe the future in glowing language.

For example, Sam said “Think back five years ago. We’d just opened the business. There were only fifteen staff and we had five key customers. Today, the team has grown to thirty. We have a dozen good clients. And we know that next year we’ll be expanding again. We’ll be a bigger, more dynamic team.”

Tune your team into WIIFM

WIIFM stands for ‘what’s in it for me?’ Great influencers know the power of answering this question. Don’t tell people why you think the change is a good thing. Tell them why they should think it is. What benefits will each individual gain? How will each team profit from the change? What is new and compelling about the future? Spell out the benefits in concrete and specific ways.

Sam, for instance, highlighted features of the new building which catered to staff needs. He handed out a map, which showed how close staff would be to a gym and childcare centre. Then he distributed a building plan, which had the staff café and lounge areas highlighted. Next, he talked about how expansion of the business would mean new career opportunities for people over the next twelve months.

Watch my video How to Influence and Persuade now for more practical tips like these.