How to inspire your people

We train people around the world. Some we help to write more effectively. Some we offer ways to overcome a fear of writing. Some we teach techniques to embrace their own brand’s tone of voice. When we can’t facilitate a workshop, we share tips with our clients. Simple things they can do to run great training.

A client has been in touch. They’re looking to run a brilliant brand language workshop: inspiring, engaging, memorable and behaviour-changing. They’ll create and facilitate it themselves. But they asked our advice on how to make it successful. What simple things can they do to make sure every second of the workshop counts?

We offered five quick tips…

Set the tone early

During workshops, we usually find a mix of people who love brand/language, some who have little interest, and some who feel intimidated. It's a good idea to bring people together early by setting a healthy tone: encouraging, creative, supportive. Make it a safe space to explore and express.

Share plenty of inspiration

This can be from other brands, or from the world outside. Brilliant writing, powerful design. We go to It's Nice That or The Brand Identity or Creative Review for the industry latest. Or we dip into new or favourite books and magazines. Demonstrate early all the wonderful possibilities of words and design to make change.

Get people writing

There's nothing like writing exercises to help brand guidance sink in and make sense. The more practical the session the better. After an intro, we tend to aim for roughly 20% theory, 60% writing, 20% recap/discussion on each subject of the session.

Encourage sharing and gentle feedback

In that 20% recap/discussion, encourage people to read out their work. Make clear it's a safe space, somewhere to share in order to develop. It's not about publishing the perfect novel; it's a rare chance to explore the brand away from the real world. In feedback, always start with a positive. Encourage others to do the same in peer review.

Make it fun

Brand can intimidate, especially when it's verbal brand (the number of times delegates at workshops share stories of awful or terrifying school English lessons that put them off writing). Make the workshop fun and playful, and fears melt away. Create a word game as a warm-up, get people to share their favourite book or film. During exercises, encourage people to try things, to explore guidance, to push, stretch, challenge, but most of all to enjoy.

Because as brand language legend David Ogilvy once wrote: “Where people aren't having any fun, they seldom produce good work.”