The Trust was about to embark on a change, which could be perceived negatively, overshadowing the actual benefits and improvements that would take place. In order to help the team, who were responsible for the change, to communicate it we suggested a practical workshop using storytelling techniques to explore what the change would be like for different individuals or groups.
30 participants (drawn from staff, patient groups and unions) worked in small groups to create a story that described the change as it interacted with others. They focused on particular audiences and how they inform what needs to be communicated or what story is most useful to tell them. Having created the story, one person from each table told the rest of the room the story of the change. Each story had a different protagonist and an intended audience, which shaped each story of the change in a different way. We concluded with feedback on everything we had heard; picking and choosing elements from each story, identifying common narratives that everyone could use, finding themes, arguments or angles that had greatest impact and identifying ideas, problems and solutions that had not yet been considered.
The workshop helped those involved in the change to find some clarity in what had become a very complicated and lengthy process. Exploring the change as a story reconnected the participants with the day to day and long term impact and benefits it would have on individuals (staff and patients) and the hospital as a whole. The participants felt more confident about approaching the audiences and groups that they would need to communicate the change to and had a selection of narratives that could be chosen from as needed. After this first workshop, to find the story of the change, theWholeStory’s voice coach Ben Joiner developed the teams communication skills further, to help each individual feel more confident and be more successful in how they used their voice and body to tell the story of the change.