Ever wondered if there are some internal comms storytelling lessons you can learn from kids? This blog covers 5 storytelling techniques internal communicators can learn from kids.
As adults, we feed ourselves a lot of scary stories that limit us from reaching our full potential. Have you ever looked back at your childhood and wondered how you were able to feel so passionate and fearless about many situations in your life.
The older we grow, the more fearful we become. As a child, I was never afraid to climb trees, jump for hours on a trampoline or run with wild abandon.
Now, I have to make a conscious effort to let go of the scary stories I tell myself when I want to do something different, such as jumping on a trampoline, preparing to give a presentation or performing in front of a crowd.
Since it’s Halloween tomorrow, I felt it was the perfect time to write about the scary stories that haunt us as communicators and how we can learn to let go of these scary stories we’ve fed ourselves.
The key to becoming fearless is to channel our inner child because kids are born fearless.
Kids can’t comprehend what failure is or what humiliation feels like. Fear and self-consciousness is something we start adopting as we grow older.
That’s because we’re taught these scary stories throughout our childhood and adolescent years until they become second nature to us.
We learn in school that we should be afraid of failing. Our parents tell us to be careful every time we try to climb trees for fear that we may fall down and hurt ourselves.
As we grow older and start jobs and careers, we’re afraid of making a mistake at every turn for fear we may embarrass ourselves or ruin our careers. So much so that we stop being creative and embracing our true, authentic selves.
This Halloween, let’s vow to take off our fearful masks and let go of these fake personas we’ve created for ourselves. It’s time to be silly and embrace our authentic selves by channeling our inner child.
And let’s not just do this for Halloween, but for the rest of our lives. Once we start peeling away the scary stories we’ve fed ourselves over the years, we’ll start bringing the best versions of ourselves to work, leading us to become more energetic and authentic internal communicators, which will further lead to happier, more productive employees.
Here are 5 storytelling techniques internal communicators can learn from kids.
Internal Comms Storytelling: 5
1) Channeling Your Inner Artist to Master Internal Comms Storytelling
Whether it’s your two-year old drawing relentlessly with crayons on your house walls or creating a mess with play-doh, creativity comes naturally to kids.
Somehow, as we grow older, one of the scary stories we tell ourselves is that we don’t have time to pursue our creative side or that it isn’t pragmatic or logical for us to indulge in creative pursuits.
Just because you’re stuck in a corporate job doesn’t mean you can’t channel your inner creative. As an internal comms professional, you need to truly nurture and hone your creative skills as it’s the one thing robots can never simulate.
As much as you need to be a strategic thinker within internal comms, you also need to have creative problem solving skills that enable you to communicate creatively.
This means you should be spending your free time channeling your inner child and indulging in all kinds of creative pursuits. It can be as simple as doodling and drawing various scenarios in your head to get some creative inspiration.
Or it could involve you signing up for an improv class to learn from others and improve your communication skills.
You could even join a clay class or get an adult colouring book to nurture your creative skills. Colouring has recently emerged as a great way for adults to channel their inner kid, help bring back mindfulness and focus into their work and alleviate anxiety.
So, if you’re scared of taking on more expressive forms of art, such as writing a book or performing live, you may want to start with something as simple as colouring. You never know how such creative pursuits will impact your creative comms strategy.
Perhaps you could end up creating a snakes and ladders inspired comms strategy the way Sarah Yates, Corporate Communications Manager, for Broxtowe Borough Council did.
It’s definitely time to let go of the scary story or that voice in your head that tells you you can’t be creative. It’s time to embrace your inner child and shine!
2) Asking Questions for Stellar Internal Comms Storytelling
One of the scary stories we tell ourselves as we grow older is that it’s wrong to constantly question everything.
If you have kids, you probably get sick and tired of the endless array of questions they throw your way. Kids definitely do ask a lot of questions. As we grow older, we stop asking questions.
This is especially true once you enter the workforce. A lot of the times you’re scared to question authority figures for fear you may lose your position or won’t attain that seat at the table with the C-suite.
But it’s even more important, as an internal comms professional, for you to ask questions and constantly remain curious.
You need to be out there, talking to your employees about what changes they like seeing within the company, what kind of engagement initiatives will impact them and why they think a certain policy or procedure won’t work. It’s only by constantly engaging and asking questions will you be able to communicate effectively with employees.
You should also take the initiative to ask upper management why they think a certain direction for the company is the right move or why they feel the need to hide the change from employees. It’s only when you ask a lot of questions will you be able to communicate the reasoning behind disruption effectively to employees..
It’s also important to constantly ask yourself questions as an internal comms professional. As Advita Patel says:
“Call out your inner rebel to start asking yourself why you’re doing certain tasks such as sending out info about ‘Patty’s leaving Party’ or spending hours formatting a presentation. There’s no denying that you will get a ton of gratitude from the person you’re helping but ask yourself how much value that’s adding to your role.”
Once you start questioning and challenging things that are not necessarily benefiting your organization, you’ll be able to attain better business outcomes.
3) Embracing Chaos to Master Internal Comms Storytelling
One of the scariest stories we tell ourselves is how awful chaos is.
Life is messy and one’s career path can be equally messy. Chaos is inevitable and if you fail to embrace chaos as a regular part of your life and your jobs, you’ll always be afraid.
One reason kids are always fearless and happy is because they aren’t afraid to get messy. Whether it involves throwing tantrums, making a mess with their food, emptying cereal boxes on your brand new carpet or sliding around in mud, kids are always ready to throw caution at the winds and embrace chaos.
We somehow lose that side of ourselves once we start working. But chaos is natural and the sooner you start embracing this concept, the more successful you will be at life as well as in your careers.
Moral of the story: Don’t be afraid to adopt disruptive tools and technologies to embrace chaos or try innovative new techniques to garner employee engagement, even if these appear to be outside the norm.
This will definitely help you master internal comms storytelling.
4) Being Open to the Concept of Failure to Master Internal Comms Storytelling
Ahhh…failure! The fear of making mistakes and failing is probably one of the scariest stories we tell ourselves.
Failing scares us the most. Failing to keep our nerves in check during that important presentation. Failing to complete that huge communications project we were put in charge of. Failing to secure that salary raise or that big promotion. Fearing you’ll say the wrong thing at that significant meeting or upcoming office party.
Failure keeps us up at night. We’re so afraid to make mistakes that we often don’t end up expressing our thoughts, ideas or creativity for fear that we’d be laughed at or rejected.
Kids aren’t afraid of failing or making mistakes. They make mistakes and fall again and again but aren’t afraid to get back up and look failure straight in the eye.
Failure is something we learn to become scared of as we grow older. Think about it. When you were learning to walk as a child, how many times did you fall? I’m sure it was several times. Chances are you got a few bumps and bruises along the way as well. But did you give up walking? Were you consistently afraid of it?
No. You got back up and learned to walk, didn’t you? It’s because failure wasn’t a concept you were familiar with or something you were afraid of.
It’s time to let go of this scary story you’ve been feeding yourself. It’s time to move on from your past mistakes that keep holding you back. Make mistakes and keep falling down. Trust me, you’ll get back up and emerge stronger every time.
After all, if we’re too scared to make mistakes, how will we ever learn?
5) Pursuing Your Passions Relentlessly to Master Internal Comms Storytelling
How many of you dreamt of becoming an actor, writer or singer while growing up? I hardly doubt you dreamt of becoming an Internal Communicator as a child.
Chances are, you had a specific dream that you kind of let go of in favour of being more “realistic” and “pragmatic.”
It may be time to chase those dreams again.
As kids, we’re almost never afraid to pursue our passions, Whether it’s indulging in a game of hide and seek, jumping on the bed with reckless abandon or diving into the pool, kids always approach whatever they do with passion.
As adults, if you truly want to learn from kids, you should start indulging in activities you feel passionate about. You may still be passionate about many of the same things you loved to do as a child.
Whether that was horseback riding, writing, drawing or jumping on a trampoline, you should pursue it with passion and fervour.
Once you start indulging in activities that make you feel happy and passionate, you’ll be able to bring that same passion and vigour into your workplace, making you a better and more productive communicator.
So, there you have it. 5 scary stories haunting you and holding you back from embracing your true self. Don’t you think it’s time to let go of these fears and bring back the fearless child you once were? I think it’s high time! Go on. Live a little.
And Happy Halloween!
Are you ready to let go of your fears and master internal comms storytelling? You could start by trying out ContactMonkey for Internal Comms. We can set up a personalized demo for you and your team. Just click on the button below to let go of your fear and master internal comms storytelling!