I am increasingly trying to eradicate Powerpoint from my stakeholder engagement sessions whether for employees or external people. Tomorrow I'm jetting off to deliver the first of many energy awareness sessions for a major manufacturer armed only with a flip chart, pens, Post-its and some A0 prints of the Terra Infirma Brainstorming Tool (above).
Why? Well my favoured approach to engaging employees is to get them involved in developing new solutions. The benefits of this approach are:
- People feel they are being taken seriously;
- Individuals find it hard to switch off in exercises - so you get more attention;
- You get automatic buy-in as people get excited about their ideas;
- You usually get some cracking new suggestions;
- If those suggestions are implemented then they're more likely to be accepted by employees.
The problem with Powerpoint (or any other presentational form) is that people reflexively sit back in their chair and go into passive listening mode. It is very hard to get their brains warmed up again to start generating ideas - much better to challenge them from the start.
The A0 sheets are highly effective too. They are fresh and novel for most participants, a big group can crowd around them, they encourage a more kinaesthetic approach to the problem, and the big sheet takes a lot of filling with Post-its, encouraging more ideas. The brainstorming tool itself is a simple fishbone diagram designed to ensure that all four main bases are covered. The top of the diagram is about doing the right thing, the bottom about doing it right. The left of the diagram is about people, the right about kit. This gives us four bases: formal procedures, actual behaviour, choice of technology and the application/maintenance of that technology.
Paper - it's the future!
BTW: Check out our new white paper on Fostering Green Behaviour At Work.