Episode 150: How to Get People To LOVE your Ideas with Toby Moore
You might have some great ideas about the changes you need and want at work, but the reality is not everyone will welcome them — even when you’re sure they make sense. If you want to see your ideas come to fruition, you’ll need a communication strategy that convinces people to choose change without patronising or manipulating them.
Toby Moore joins us in this episode to share communication techniques that can convince the people around you to change. He shares his insights and advice that can improve how you speak to people, whether to an audience of hundreds, a sceptical team, or to a key decision maker or colleague. Toby shows you that your ideas don’t have to stay on the drawing board. You’ll learn how to structure your message and find content that can convince your audience.
Want to learn the best communication strategies to convince others to change? Tune in to this episode.
Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:
Understand the importance of structuring your what, why, and how to create a convincing message
- Find the communication strategy that helps your audience understand, believe, and connect with you.
- Learn how you can have a call to conversation with your audience.
[03:15] Change for People
People need to see that changes are necessary for the good of the staff and the patients.
- Everyone wants change, but no one wants to change themselves. Instead, they hope their environment and situation changes.
- People who aren’t in leadership roles don’t see change as part of their job. They don’t want to be told to do something differently.
[06:40] Elements of a Better Communication Strategy
- Convincing people comes down to your communication strategy. People often use the wrong elements in their message.
- First, convince your audience to listen with your what and why, but the majority should be about how.
- The largest part of the message should focus on the how. People want to know the plan for how things will happen.
- Scaffolding the risk is when you show the process step by step from the easiest to the most difficult
‘People ultimately want to know how something is going to happen, and that’s ultimately what they want.’ – Click Here To Tweet This
[11:13] Starting With Your What and Why
- Starting with your why means that you yourself, understand your reasons.
- Your ‘why’ can be a deeper story and reason you can share with others. Use your experiences to authentically show your audience your why.
- ‘What’ is the first thing that people want to know. It wraps up your message and conveys what you’re trying to do using easily understandable language.
- Mirror your audience’s thoughts and feelings to connect with them and help them understand.
‘Your thing is this and the language that you resonate with is this. But then, how do you put that out there in the world where people look at it and be like, “Yeah, I get that.”‘ – Click Here To Tweet This
[16:43] Connecting Your Reasons
- You will need to modify your communication strategy to suit your audience if you have different reasons for wanting change..
- Don’t talk to your audience as if they don’t know anything. Look at what’s valuable to the people and groups involved.
- Be honest with yourself and be open to feedback and insights. Recognize how you and your audience differ in your wants and find where you can connect.
[19:28] Understand, Believe and Take Action
- Consider your message’s understandability, believability, and actionability. People need to understand before they can believe and take action.
- Proportion your message. The first 10% is for understanding. The next 20 to 30% is to make your audience believe in it. From here to the end is your call for action.
- Your message is an invitation to take part in change. Allow people to see what change vs no change may look like. Give them space to choose which path to take.
- One of the most compelling things to encourage change is to imagine a future without change. Reflect on whether or not this is a good or bad outcome.
- Ask your audience whether it’s better to face the risk of not changing or endure the work needed to change.
‘One of the most compelling things that you can do to convince people to change is to get them to imagine what the future looks like if they just carry on the way that they are.’ – Click Here To Tweet This
[24:19] Use Lived Experiences as a Communication Strategy
- Logic and facts can support your point. However, people’s lived experiences will show how changes can affect lives.
- Sharing lived experience is much more real than a story. It creates empathy, leading to trust and fuelling change.
- Value the lived experience within the stories of people. Understand that what you’ve gone through can be valuable to your audience
- Allow for space in the conversation for your audience to share their experiences. Find the points where these meet and use that to build relationships and trust.
‘Empathy creates trust. Trust is the fuel of change.’ – Click Here To Tweet This
[27:49] The Importance of Structuring Your Message
- The structure is the absolute essence of conveying your idea successfully. Start with showing your audience the risks, opportunities, and choices they have.
- ‘What’ is 20% of your message. Name what you’re trying to achieve and create an expectation for it.
- ‘Why’ unpacks the risks and opportunities, and comprises 30% of your message. Your experiences can help your audience understand and believe in what you’re saying.
- ‘How’ names the steps, timeline, or process that makes change tangible and physical. It makes up 50% of your message.
- Learn more about how structuring your message can help you convince people of change by tuning in to the episode with Toby.
[34:01] Overcoming Objections
‘People are very rarely actually upset or frustrated about the thing that they first say. It’s just question, listening and wait for someone to give you the solution, and then you just repeat it back to them.’ – Click Here To Tweet This
- Be ready to answer questions and objections. What’s important is to listen and talk to find the problem and a possible solution.
- An excellent communication strategy is to listen to your audience, and apply their insights. Solution will often come up in your conversation.
- You don’t need to solve the problem immediately. Attempting to do so can lead you to jump on the wrong issue. Instead, find a solution through discussion.
- It’s okay to shoot an idea down — especially when it doesn’t fit in with your vision and goal.
- Understanding and sharing a clear and focused ‘why’ helps when dealing with many people. It keeps your end vision clear.
‘It’s okay to shoot something down if you do it carefully. It’s just like giving people feedback. You can be kind with feedback.’ – Click Here To Tweet This
[40:36] Top Three Tips to Encourage Change
- Get the structure right before you put the content.
- Have clarity of knowledge. Find the language that allows you to be authentic and connect with the audience.
- Create a call to conversation instead of a call to action. Conversations allow the other person to feel heard and reach a meeting point with you.
‘When someone says that this doesn’t work, don’t see that as a kind of like, oh, what’s the quickest route to getting them on board? It’s kind of like what conversation needs to happen here in order to make that person feel heard.’ – Click Here To Tweet This
Toby Moore is the Curator and Director of TEDxBrighton for the past 10 years. He has helped them become one of the longest-running and largest TEDx events in the UK and Europe. His work as an author includes writing the books Trust at Scale and Make It. Toby has experience as an event marketing and communication specialist. He currently works with the youth to help them build brighter futures at The Hummingbird Project and Brighton Youth Center.
You can learn more about him on LinkedIn.
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Rachel Morris: Do you get frustrated when you’ve had a really good idea about something, but you just can’t convince other people of how brilliant it is? Or perhaps you’re sick of trying to make changes at work, which you know would help everyone, but you just can’t seem to get anybody on board? This is something I’ve struggled with a lot. So this week on You Are Not a Frog, I’m joined by Toby Moore, communication specialist, writer, musician and curator of a TEDx Brighton event.
Toby joins us to help us figure out just how to communicate your ideas, so people will listen. Toby shares some amazing insights and practical advice which will change the way you communicate forever whether it’s presenting a talk in front of thousands of people or just sharing an idea in a practice meeting. In fact, directly after I recorded this podcast, I rewrote a talk I was doing the following week, put some of Toby’s tips into action and improved it massively.
So have a listen to find out what people get wrong in communicating the what, why and how of an idea. Why a traditional call to action really works and a simple framework which will help you nail it every time.
Welcome to You Are Not a Frog, the podcast for doctors and other busy professionals in high stress, high stakes jobs. I’m Dr Rachel Morris, a former GP, now working as a coach, trainer and speaker. Like frogs in a pan of slowly boiling water, many of us don’t notice how bad the stress and exhaustion have become until it’s too late, but you are not a frog. Burning out or getting out are not your only options.
In this podcast, I’ll be talking to friends, colleagues, and experts and inviting you to make a deliberate choice about how you will live and work so that you can beat stress and work happier.
If you’re a doctor who could do with more joy and less stress in 2023, join me for a free online anti challenge in January. Why are we calling this an anti challenge? Well, everyday, we’re going to share a tiny activity that will actually make your life a lot less challenging. If you know you often put your own well being last, join us to connect to other doctors, get brilliant tips to help you make time for yourself and have the chance to win fun prizes and goodies. We start on January the third, and you can sign up now at the link in the show notes. Oh, and it’s open to all doctors so invite your colleagues too.
It’s wonderful to have with me today, Toby Moore. Now, Toby is a writer. He’s a teacher. He’s the curator of the TEDx Brighton event. In a past life, you’ve been a marketing and communications specialist. So welcome to the podcast. It’s wonderful to have you with us.
Toby Moore: Thank you.
Rachel: I wanted to get Toby onto the podcast because Toby is an expert in selling stuff. Right now, when we talk about selling stuff, we’re not talking about convincing people to buy second hand cars. It’s more about convincing people about ideas, isn’t it, selling ideas.
Toby: Yeah, yeah. Taking what’s inside that is compelling to you and turning that into the language, the ideas, the stories and so on, that can equally compel others to act as well. Yeah, for sure.
Rachel: I thought this was really, really important for my listeners, because particularly in healthcare at the moment, we need massive change. We need massive system change. Often when we’re doing workshops, we get a lot of pushback about, oh, well, I’ll never convince them of this, even though it’s a really obvious thing that needs to happen.
So people need to convince their peers of things. They need to sell their ideas for change to their practices in their departments. They also need to convince people that certain changes are needed for the good of the staff, also the patients. If I’m honest, in health care, it doesn’t always work, that, because something’s a good idea and we know it’s good for the patient, that it happens. I guess the problems I’ve seen, I’d be really interested in a second about the problems and the issues. Usually when people tried to sell their ideas is that we try and convince people out of logic and out of what is in the patient’s best interest. Sometimes when that falls flat, we get very, very puzzled. Is that similar to what you’ve seen, this sort of non healthcare setting?
Toby: Yes, there’s the old cartoon, which is like, who wants change, and then everyone’s like, yeah, we want change. Then it’s like, but who actually wants to change? Then, everyone’s like, no, no, we don’t want to change. We just want change to happen for us and around us, but we don’t actually want to change what we do. I think that’s ultimately where the issues come from, is particularly this idea of change.
If you’re talking to people that are not in leadership roles or in senior leadership teams or whatever, change isn’t their job. It’s somebody else’s job. There’s an issue here that needs to be fixed. I’m here doing my job, and it’s the job of the people who are paged to think rather than do to make the change happen. So the idea of then sort of coming in and saying, okay, well, now you need to work these hours, or you need to use these tools, or you need to communicate in this way or not that way.
That’s what people don’t want to do. They don’t want to be told what to do differently. They want the thing that is different to happen around them in order to enable them to do the thing that they believe they do so well, and I think that’s where ultimately a lot of these things fall down is that people run off to conferences and leadership retreats, and bla bla, bla, bla, bla. Then they rush back with all of these big ideas, and they do them to people, not for people, because so many people in their jobs and their work have experienced this so many times.
So that’s ultimately where I think a lot of this comes from, and even if a change is coming from a really good place, a default position is this is being done to me, because that’s how it has happened so many times in the past. Does that make sense?
Rachel: That makes a lot of sense. People just completely hacked off, and we’ve got changed for taking stuff. Also, what I’ve noticed, though, is that when change is coming from the bottom, as it were, it’s very, then, difficult to convince the people at the top that this change is needed, or it’s a good idea, or it’s going to be beneficial. Often, people argue for the change with the wrong premise.
They often argue the change because it’s going to make us feel better, because we’ll be less hacked off and annoyed. Actually, the people at the top actually don’t really care about that. What they care about is getting the service delivered and meeting their targets. So there’s a complete mismatch of needs and expectations, and it just doesn’t work.
Toby: Yeah, well, I mean, this immediately comes down to messaging, particularly when you’re coming from a position of I’m afraid of how I’m going to convince people of this thing, immediately start jumping to the wrong elements. People ultimately want to know how something is going to happen, and that’s ultimately what they want. That needs to be the largest percentage of the message of the thing.
When we see politicians going up in such a time of turmoil where people just keep popping up on our phones and our screens going, ‘Oh, we’re going to change everything.’ You’re like, I mean, sure, like I believe you. Then they go on TV, and they’re like, ‘Well, how are you going to do this?’ They’re like, ‘Well, we’re still ironing out the details. We’re still deciding that we’re not announcing any policies yet unnecessary.’
You’re still dealing in just soundbites and compelling ideas or whatever. So they’re trying to do this whole kind of like, sell the what, sell the why and worry about how later. But people ultimately want to know how things are going to happen, but you do have to convince them of what and why first. But the majority of this message has to be how, and just basic sales training stuff is like, there has to be a plan that people can say yes or no to.
So I could come to you, Rachel, and be like, ‘Oh, I’m gonna quadruple your podcast listeners, and we’re going to 8x your exposure. It’s going to be the most fantastic thing. All I need you to do is sign here.’ If I just offered you those things and they were easy to do, you’ll just be like, ‘Great times, that sounds great.’ But there’s this bit between convincing you of those outcomes, where you’re just like, ‘Yeah, but how are you going to do this?’
I’m like, ‘No, no, no, we work all that out later. Don’t worry about it. Don’t worry about it.’ You’re never going to say yes to that. So you need a plan, and even if that plan is just like, oh, well, in month one, we’re going to implement this tool, and then we’re going to measure that, see how it goes in. In month two, we’re going to write a new plan for how we find sponsors and so on, and then we’re going to find someone to help do the outreach on that.
So you can at least see some steps where it’s just like, ‘Yeah, okay, I get this.’ In creative practice, they call this scaffolding, so scaffolding the risk. So it’s kind of like this idea of if you’re doing a workshop or creative practice workshop and within the next 15 minutes, you want to get people singing operatic solos to each other. You don’t start there. You start by just going, ‘Let’s just clap, and now, let’s just make some little notes.’
Just start going round, and then 15 minutes later, everyone’s like, ‘Wow, yeah’ They’re all singing at each other, but you could never ever stop people in that place, you know what it means. So you have to create this scaffolding, the risk is what they call it in creative practice, and it’s the same. It’s the same as selling a plan. It’s just sort of letting people know that the easy thing that we do first is this, the more difficult thing we do next is this, and then the very difficult thing we do later is this.
That’s what you would want. If I’m getting you to change the way and the times that you come into work in the order that you see people over the course of the next six months or whatever, that’s what you would want.
Rachel: Well, that makes so much sense, and I have been chuckling away to myself, Toby, for two reasons. Firstly, I think you promised me you were gonna do like a new jingle for the podcast.
Toby: I mean, that was a couple of glasses of wine into the evening. I promised you that but I’m pretty sure.
Rachel: We’re still waiting, or I could just use that lovely little bit that you’ve just done. But secondly, I received so many emails from companies saying, we can 10x your listeners to your podcast, just get in touch and let’s do it. You’re right, because I read it and go, ‘Oh, how? How are you gonna do that?’
Rachel: How? Tell me and there’s nothing in there about how, so all those emails, it’s just like, delete, delete, delete, delete, delete. So you absolutely hit the nail on the head, and that example you gave at the end, exactly, we got to sort of how we see our patients and how we do it in a resilient, sustainable way. Just telling us we’re going to do that does not help. If you said, right, well, we’re gonna start with this, then we’re gonna go on to do this, and then we’re gonna go on to do this.
So totally, I can totally see how that’s really important. It was really obvious, but I must say, it’s not something that I would have thought of, or I think most people working in healthcare because like we’ve never been taught how to do this stuff. We’ve never been taught how to sell our ideas or market ideas. So you mentioned about thinking about the what and the why, and we all know this Simon Sinek start with why thing, and so it’s drummed into us. You just got to tell them the why.
Toby: There’s a misleading tenet within the Simon Sinek start with why thing, because the start with why thing is all around you understanding what you do.
Toby: The premise is that if you don’t understand it, then you’ve got fuck-all chance for somebody else understanding it. So you need to get clear on your why, and I do a lot of work in my teaching. I do a lot of work with artists, musicians, that sort of thing and trying to get them really clear on kind of like, yeah, but why are you writing an album? Why are you doing a tour? Why are you creating this musical brand?
Then it’s like, oh, well, I just really like playing guitar, man. It’s just like, yeah, but why and you scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch. All of a sudden, you get to the heart of this thing of just kind of like, oh, well, when I was a child, I experienced this sense of loss. Then this happened, and then that happened. You’re like, oh, my gosh, there’s a story. There’s a reason, and then you can capture that.
Then you’re just like, oh, okay, there’s that why, and if they know it, then they can put it in front of people, and they can do that in subtle ways, which is just kind of making sure that when they create songs, music, art, like writing, branding. All of this stuff is informed from that place of why so then that why is always showing up authentically, whether it’s easy to spot or not, or you can be very, very direct about it, then it becomes the headline of the article, it becomes the album name. It becomes the title of their TED talk, or whatever all of this stuff, but the important thing is, is that you know what it is.
So that’s kind of like the why bit, and it’s more important for you to understand it than it is for somebody else. Not more important, but like that has to come first. Then there’s the what. Quite typically when we’re explaining things, and I think this is one of the, again, one of the kind of misconstrued rules of the start with why is that actually people want to know what first, ultimately, but it’s all about proportion, so what has to be over in seconds.
You can come back to it later if you want to, if you want to justify it, but like, if I just say oh, you’re gonna go through this door and see someone now because of the gangrene on your leg. Obviously, you want that gangrene to go away, because you want to have a blissful life where you can be mobile again, right? So just walk through this door and see this person, and you’re like, ‘Who’s this person? What are they going to do?’
Whereas if I just say, oh, there’s a doctor on the other side of this door that specialises in gangrene legs. So what you would really like is to go and see the doctor so that she can give you some treatment and some ideas on how to move forward with your gangrene leg. So you need that sort of wrapping paper of what around the thing, and it’s the same when you arrive at websites for consultants and stuff or coaches or something, and they’re like, ‘Oh, I work with individuals and groups of collectives in order to enable the greater potential within our inner selves and unlock greater prosperity and life.’
You’re just kind of like, ‘Yeah, but what do you do?’ I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m a life coach.’ You’re like, ‘Okay, yeah, I get it now.’ But all I needed to know is that you’re this person that I can put 45 minutes to talk about this stuff, and then tell me what the stuff is, so it’s the same with these projects. This is why getting the kind of like, the what bit of a big change project. I remember being a part of, and this was a done to me story, where I was working for a very big organisation, and we’ve just been bought by a private equity company.
They brought in one of the big four big consulting firms to come in and do this transformation project, but really, what it was a cost savings project, and it was called EFG, efficiency for growth. That was the name of the project. This company owned lots of private schools, and it just immediately got nicknamed by all the teachers within the school as efficiency for greed.
Of course, they came in and whatever it was, they were just kind of looking at this thing, and then they were like, oh, yeah, oh, well, the biggest cost is teachers. So let’s get rid of the teachers and within six months, they got rid of 30% of the teaching workforce. Then six months later, they had to bring them all back in on part time contracts, because they were like, ‘Oh, yeah, we can’t run a school without teachers.’
Rachel: Funny that we need the teachers.
Toby: Bonkers, but you’ll see it in like, I’m sure you see in big projects where like NHS Trusts come in, and they’re like, ‘Oh, we need to get rid of the consultants or the nurses or the lab technicians or something.’ Then they’re like, ‘Oh, what, where did the people go?’ Who will do all the work.
Rachel: What we need is more managers.
Toby: Yeah, sorry. Just to circle back to what I’m really talking about here, it’s kind of like, what do you call this thing? Sometimes you have to call a duck a duck, right? What are you trying to do? This is the important thing, and this is where the snappy headlines matter. This is where language really matters, because words that people can connect with and understand and don’t need explaining to them and feels like their language, the magic in all of this is mirroring people’s thoughts and feelings back to them. That’s where the magic comes between your thing and their thing, because your thing is this and the language that you resonate with is this. But then how do you put that out there in the world where people look at it and be like, ‘Yeah, I get that.’
That’s about finding this kind of intermediary language where it feels like you and authentically you, but it also to the audience, to the listener, to the reader, it mirrors their thoughts, feelings, needs, etc, back to them. Particularly with internal projects, that’s always missing.
Rachel: Oh, 100%. What’s going through my mind now is what do you do when the reason it matters to you is very different to the reason it matters to the people you’re trying to sell it to.
Toby: Then you can’t win. So then you have to articulate the reason differently, or you have to make the reason valuable. There’s that kind of like, Well, we’re not stupid. Don’t talk to us like we’re stupid kind of mentality.’ There’s a lot of truth in that because people go, ‘Oh, well, if we just say it like this, they won’t know.’ They know. They know that you’re measured on this, and they know that these numbers and these things are important to directors of this and senior whatever’s of that. They know that stuff’s important.
So it’s that kind of like, okay, well, what let’s look at this, like a matrix of things that are important to you, things that are important to me, things that are important to the patients, things that are important to the communities and so on. Really what it is, it’s about being honest, but it’s about being honest with yourself first, so then you can then mirror that honest feedback to the people that you’re talking to.
It’s okay. It’s okay for me to want something that you don’t want. That’s okay, but just tell me that you know that I know that you don’t want it. That part of doing this work is I would like to achieve this, but I also recognise it, so it becomes mutual. It’s quite basic at a human level.
Toby: But it is quite complicated at an organisational level.
Rachel: It is basic at a human level, and we all know it. If you’re trying to get a five year old to brush their teeth or eat a piece of broccoli, you know you’re not going, ‘Darling, I really want you to do it, because it made me feel better.’ You literally try to put it in terms that they understand that it’s going to make them want to do it, right? You don’t tell them.
Toby: ‘Do you want to eat chocolate again?’ ‘Yes.’ It’s like, ‘Well, you need to.’
Rachel: Yes, exactly. You don’t start lecturing them about vitamins and minerals. You give them some consequence. You get some outcomes. You show them the transformation that will happen to them. With my son, it was that Lewis Hamilton eats broccoli, and Wayne Rooney eats potatoes cause he looks a bit like one, and that part works. I still try news on him, but he’s 16, and he sees through it.
I think that is something we fundamentally get wrong is, particularly in healthcare, when we’re trying to convince people of our ideas and particularly when I’m thinking about resilience and a lot of the stuff around putting boundaries and how are we going to make this a better place to work, how are we going to make it so that we can thrive in this work, that is good for everybody. Because when people don’t thrive, when they burn up, they leave more pressure on everyone else, eventually, the system collapses.
So actually, it is better for everybody. But what we do is we go in sharing ideas or trying to have conversations thinking entirely about ourselves, not thinking about the customer. Well, we don’t see that person as the person we’re trying to sell something to, we see that person as a person who is there to fix all of our ways and all of our issues.
Toby: I think one of the important modules to remember when thinking about explaining and bringing people on board with these ideas is you got to hit up the marks of understandability, believability and actionability, and you have to kind of do it in that order. Because if I can’t understand it, I can’t believe in it. If I can’t believe in it, I can’t act on it. This is where that sort of proportion of message and structure of message comes in.
So you have to kind of make sure that you’re giving yourself those objectives as your finding the language, finding the ideas, finding the stories, etc to unpack and explain this stuff. Are we making sure that in the first 10% of this message that people are going to really understand it? Then in the next 20%, 30% of the message, they’re going to believe in this by the time that we get to the end of this.
Then at the end is, well, I will begin to give them the tools and the opportunities and the options and the tasks and so on and the plans in order to take an action and become a part of this insight. There’s this journey going on, and you’re on this journey. At some point, you need to start inviting other people on the journey, otherwise, it won’t work. It has to be like an invitation to take part and to be a part, and it’s about convincing people of a change.
So it comes back to challenging the norm, and normalising the challenge, which is like how I always to try and top and tail when I’m working with TEDx speakers. That’s all about this sort of fork in the road moment. One of the most compelling things that you can do to convince people to change is to get them to imagine what the future looks like if they just carry on the way that they are.
If you just say, okay, well, we’ll just carry on seeing people like this, and we’ll just carry on communicating like this. We’ll just carry on wasting money on this, and we’ll carry on not investing money in that. Where do you think that takes us? What does the year look like? What does five years look like? What does the decade look like? Doesn’t look good, does it? Do you want to be a part of moving towards a different future?
Again, when people just feel like something’s been done to them, they’re getting on a bus, and the bus is going down a different road to the road that they would normally want to take home, and that’s scary. That’s really scary. Whereas it’s kind of like you’re getting on the bus, and they’re like, oh, there’s two buses coming. One of them takes this route round, and then one of them takes that route round. Which one do you want to get on? You get to choose.
That’s a part of making people feel like they’re contributing to the thing. They are looking to you for direction and vision and leadership, but they also want to be a part of the design and the delivery of that. They don’t want to feel left out. So you have to make sure that you’re creating space for all of those things, or both of those things.
Rachel: So is it true that people fear loss more than they feel gains? So if you’re trying to convince someone that this imagined future, it’s actually almost better to start with what happens if you don’t change, what happens if this carries on rather than oh, look, well, we could be doing this blah, blah, blah.
Toby: A really powerful question is like, what is the risk of not doing this? I learned that from my sort of social innovation projects days is just kind of like, if we don’t do this work, if we don’t take this action, what risk are we actually creating here?
Rachel: When I’m thinking about all the things that people could do in their teams, or the system to make things better for the staff that work in health care for doctors, for nurses, yeah, a lot of it gets blocked, because of the potential tiny risk that might not work, or it might go wrong, or we don’t have this or this is the way we’ve done it, and that person might get a bit peed off or whatever. Nobody ever says, ‘Well, what is the risk of not doing this?’
I was with a practice one lunchtime a few weeks ago, doing a talk about, saying no prioritising, and someone just kept coming back with, ‘Yeah, but the risk is we might get complaints. We might get this. We might get this.’ There was all this yes, but yes, but yes, but, and I said, ‘Well, what is the risk of not changing?’ Two of them just sat there and said, ‘Well, the risk is that everybody leaves and literally the practice goes under.’ That is a much, much bigger risk than a few complaints, right?
Toby: That the living in the pain, this is the thing they’ve not made their way through the pain wall yet and into optional suffering.
Rachel: But I think that’s what we’re not looking at all. There are all these barriers to change or doing things differently, because what if they fail? What if they make things worse? Yeah, something I know that you bang on all the time is about telling stories, to illustrate things, and to connect to emotions, because like I said right at the beginning, I think one of the big mistakes we make is that we try and convince people with logic, logic and facts, which all have to be in there, right? But are most decisions made with logic and facts or not?
Toby: Now, I mean, that’s useful, that supporting data domain, but that’s not the story. Numbers don’t tell stories, people do. The thing about stories is, I actually try to avoid using the word stories where I can and try to use the word experiences instead, because I think stories has this kind of like, I can tell you a story about Paddington Bear, or I can tell you about an experience that I had over here.
I think it’s really important that as people like privileged professionals, that when we’re trying to make changes, particularly when those changes affect the lives of people that have different lives to us, that we understand the lived experience of the person or the people or the communities that we’re trying to reach and change. So this idea of lived experience is much more real than a story, a story about an asylum seeker, a story about a single parent claiming Universal Credit, a story about a nurse in a rundown hospital or something.
That’s a thing, because that’s the idea of a shared experience or a shared perception or something. That’s what creates empathy. Empathy creates trust. Trust is the fuel of change. So valuing experience with the stories is actually, for me, the first big step. I always wondered why I felt uncomfortable with the concept of storytelling and marketing, and now, I know it’s because it didn’t value the lived experience of either the person telling the story or the person listening.
So that’s the starting point. So really understanding, kind of, what experiences have I got that would be useful, valuable, offer something to the people that I’m trying to communicate with, and then where’s the space in that conversation for their experience and experiences to come through as well. Then being thoughtful and strategic but not manipulative, around kind of understanding where those points meet, and then using that as an opportunity to build a relationship and build trust.
So I appreciate that sounds a bit lofty, but it’s important to understand to de fluff that process. It sounds fluffy. It sounds fluffy, because it’s hard to do, and requires great levels of emotional intelligence and strength and so on.
Rachel: I think you’re absolutely right that the way to de fluff it is just to talk about your own experiences, because I’ve heard a lot about storytelling when presenting. I’ve had, with you and with other people, presentation skills workshops, and it’s all about tell a story, tell a story, tell a story. I’m like, ‘Well, I don’t have a story about that.’ Then you said to me, but yeah, you don’t need to say, once upon a time. I was like, you just need to go.
The other day, my friend turned to me and said, that is just as much a storytelling, but that’s a lived experience as is. I think that that really helps people just having snippets of lived experiences rather than thinking they have to be a brilliant reconciler, because not everybody is, right?
Toby: Yeah, and storytelling is very different to the story. Then the experience that informs the story is very different to that too. So you get to choose where you come in.
Rachel: Then I think the good thing about lived experience is people can’t question it. People can’t go, no, that didn’t happen to you like, well, it did.
Toby: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Rachel: And feelings as well.
Toby: For me, it’s about understanding the basics of this stuff first. It really is, and I’ll bang on about them, and I bang on about it. But if you can’t get the structure of the thing right, the explanation of the thing, the idea that whatever it is, you’re doing a talk right book, putting a PowerPoint presentation together. Structure is the absolute essence of being able to convey an idea successfully, so you have to start there.
Rachel: Can you just say a couple more things about structure? I know we haven’t got that much long left. In two minutes, how would you suggest people structured things?
Toby: For me, there’s some really simple best practices here, which is mentioned earlier, the top and tail of the challenge, the norm and then normalise the challenge, so that’s about understanding where you want to start on, where you want to end up. So start with painting the picture of the two futures, the future where you do it and the future where you don’t. That immediately creates the risk opportunity profile in front of people and presents them with a choice.
Now, they go, ‘Okay, well, if I listen to this person speak for the next 20 minutes, I get to understand how I make this choice.’ Then it’s understanding that what why how structure. Again, starting with what, like name the thing, create an expectation. You don’t need to justify anything. You don’t need to provide any evidence. You don’t need to provide data. You don’t need to tell stories.
You just say, ‘This is what this is. This is what we’re trying to achieve.’ Again, seeding expectations, so it’s like, if you listen to me for the next half an hour, I’m going to tell you why this is important, how we’re going to achieve it together, if you choose to. Then you get to start talking about why and that’s all of your reasoning, that’s unpacking the risk, that’s unpacking the opportunity, that’s bringing in that element and that layer of experience and story and so on.
I always like to make that. If we want to proportionate, it’s like, what is 20%, why is 30%, then finally, it’s the how just 50%, and that’s the thing that everybody came for, but you do need to convince them that the plan is worth pursuing in the first place. So you have to get that what and why over the table and convince them at first but like then just park it.
Then be like, okay, well, if you all believe that carry on the way that we are, ain’t gonna happen, ain’t gonna work, it’s not going to serve any of us. We need to change. This is the vision that we have for where we would like to end up. This is what we’re calling it. We’re going to name this. We’re going to call this as our destination. This is where we’re heading. This is the things that we want to achieve when we’re there. The reason that we want to do that is because our incentive is this. Your incentive is this. The patient knows we need to experience this and so on.
These are important things. If we don’t do it, no, X amount of people will experience this. This suffering will happen. These issues will get worse and so on. Then it’s like, so how do we do this? It’s all good and well. We can dress this up, and this miracle place, but like, how do we actually do it? Then it’s just step one, step two, step three, step four, first thing is, second thing is, third thing is, show it as a map, draw it as a timeline and make it a set of steps, turn it into some kind of analogy or whatever, make it a thing that people can be like, okay, yeah.
Then it starts to become a tangible thing. It’s a product. It’s a brand. Whatever is that thing that people can leverage onto. I recently saw someone where they just use the word build, and then it’s B as be braver, U is unite, and it’s just kind of a simple stuff just for people to hang around. But that’s where the how stuff really is to make it really physical and tangible.
Then it comes back to the top and tail, the challenge the norm, normalise the challenge, and it’s about quote, it’s kind of Dr. James Mannion that did this work with recently where it’s just like how do you take the impossible and turn it into the inevitable? This is this normalising the challenge piece was making it feel normal, then it’s about making it feel achievable, and getting everybody in a place of belief.
Rachel: As you were talking, I was thinking, will this work for really small things as well? It’s so totally would.
Toby: It totally does. It works for everything of every size. Just to break it down, just really simply, it’s challenge the norm. What’s wrong? What could we write? What is it like, name it, create an expectation of what that future could be? Why sell the risks and the opportunity? How? Sell the plan, normalise the challenge, make it feel real, and if you compartmentalise your thinking your ideas, your language into those boxes and then whatever you’re doing a PowerPoint presentation, talking in a conference, putting it in a how to guide with staff or whatever, always follow that structure, making sure that things get unlocked in that sequence.
All of a sudden, the language starts to just come out of you, you know what I mean, and the experiences just start to come out of both you and them and in the ideas, flow. People feel included, and people feel heard and so on, and this is important stuff.
Rachel: Yeah, yeah. So funny. So as you were talking, I just thought, what’s a really small change that would make a big difference? When in practice, it’s literally having a coffee break, once a day to get people together. Oh, yeah, coffee. So you could cut the clinic. You get out of your room. You get free from your phone and get some food. It’s for everybody, everyday. There you go. That’s how you do your coffee break, and that’s your plan.
Toby: Give yourself really tight constraints with these things. Start with a sentence in each one, and in five sentences, that’s 25 seconds worth of talking. If you can convince someone to take a coffee break in less than half a minute’s worth of talking you might be winning, right?
Toby: But by seeing what’s not there where the additional work is required.
Rachel: That’s really helpful. One thing that I think people miss in all of this, well, the first thing, I think they missed, they missed the how. So coming with a how, and often this happens in one to one coaching. People saying, ‘Oh, I want this, and I’m trying to get them to do that.’ I said, ‘Well, have you ever suggested how they could do it?’ No, no, I just tell them the problem. It’s like, well, go to them with a solution, and then they might listen.
But the other thing is we’re really surprised when people raise objections. So you get to the end of your idea, and they’re like, oh, yeah, but this, but that. We’re like, oh, no, they’ve asked me really difficult questions. But one of the things, if I understand this right, you have to predict people’s objections and meet them, meet them early. Is that right? How would you do that?
Toby: Well, yes and no, because like understanding, it’s a bit like why do websites have frequently asked questions or something? It’s not about guessing it. Sometimes it’s about just sort of seeing what comes up, and then sort of being ready to answer those things. Ultimately, the thing that’s missing is listening. Because if you were to say to me, ‘Hey, Toby, you want to come on my podcast?’ I’d be like, ‘Oh, no, sorry. I’m busy.’
You’d be like, ‘Oh, when are you free? I can work around you.’ I’m like, ‘Oh, no, sorry. Those days.’ You’re not giving just by jumping in and trying to solve the immediate thing, and I’ve said, I’m busy, but what I’m really saying is just kind of like, hate podcasts. Do you know what I mean? It’s just like, I think they’re stupid. No, I don’t listen to them. I think people that, you know, ‘Do you listen to this podcast?’
So really, what I’m saying is that I don’t think podcasts are any good or useful to your domain. So immediately you’re solving the wrong problem, and then the only way that you do that is it’s questions and listening, questions and listening. So if someone says to you, oh, that sounds like a crap idea, rather than you going, it’s not a crap idea. I promise you, we’ve thought about this, is going on, why do you think it’s? Then I go, ‘Oh, well, we tried that once before.’
Then he goes, Oh, so tell me a bit more about when you tried it, like what did you experience? Then like, oh, well, we try this, and then so and so said that, and duh, duh, duh, duh. Also, when you did that, so as people said this, and they’re like, yeah. Oh, so what do you think we could do differently this time in order to stop, stop them from thinking or feeling that? Do you think there’s anything we could do?
Well, if only we had this then it would have happened so I was like ‘Oh, so do you think if we found a way of making this, then this might work?’ They’re like, ‘Well, yeah, but only if it-‘ Well, maybe the next step is trying to work out how we create the this that you’ve just described, because that sounds brilliant. All of a sudden, people like, ‘Oh, I feel listened to. I actually got to the heart of the thing.’
People are very rarely actually upset or frustrated about the thing that they first say. It’s just question, listening and wait for someone to give you the solution, and then you just repeat it back to them and just really boring gumpy sales bullshit, but it stems from real human behaviour. Yeah, you just try and, people know when they’re being palmed off, and it’s frustrating. It actually makes things worse, rather than makes them better.
You don’t need to solve the problem there and then. If you’re trying to do something and it’s going to take two years, then you’ve got two years to figure it out.
Rachel: Interesting, what you just said about them coming up with the solutions, and then listening and you listening. That one of the things that I’ve noticed that often happens is that there’ll be a really good idea that will be presented, but you just then leave it and the committee goes, ‘Yeah, well, that sounds really good. So we’ll think about that. We’ll talk about it next committee meeting, and then we’ll talk about it next committee meeting.’
Then the person that’s brought the idea thinks, oh, then they’re not going to do anything about it, or they’re really enthusiastic. Yeah, they got my idea. They’re gonna do something about it. Then nothing happens, and then people think it’s because their idea wasn’t worth it, or they didn’t want to do it. But often people do need to know what the next steps are quite specifically, is that right? I mean, so this is me asking about call to actions. How do we do that so that people actually do take action?
Toby: I guess it’s felt like promises and commitments, isn’t it? It’s okay to shoot something down if you do it carefully. It’s just like giving people feedback. You can be kind with feedback. You can very kindly tell someone that their ideas fit in. But it’s also being very, kind of, like this is why, this whole start with why thing has come all the way back to the beginning of our conversation is important.
Because if something doesn’t fit in within that, sort of that very clear vision, so being really clear on that, I think, it doesn’t make the boat go faster, but kind of is like the Olympian rower or something. It was just like the whole decision making framework for everything that they did as a rowing team was, will it make the boat go faster in that fight? Should we have chicken or lettuce for dinner? Or should we go to the pub?
Everything was just built around does it make the boat go faster, but if you don’t know, that’s a really easy one, because the finish line is over there. The boat is here. There ain’t that much in the way of a bit of water, maybe a duck. It’s a very simple goal. Whereas some of the things that we’re working with, when there’s lots of people involved, lots of moving parts and so on is the end visions and the finish lines and things can be much more, much more complex and obscured, which is why it’s really important to find the right language and ideas and so on to explain them.
But once you’ve got that, it’s much easier to then create those swim lanes of focus where you can go well, actually, that sounds like a great idea, but it’s not in focus. It doesn’t enable the vision.
Rachel: Brilliant. There’s so much in there, and I think I could do another 10 podcasts just picking your brains about this. In a minute, I’m gonna ask you for what your top three tips are. But in the meantime, if someone wants to learn a bit more about this, and someone wants to get hold of you, or learn your process, how can they do that? What have you got? What have you got out there that people can access?
Toby: First thing is at the time of recording, I’m about to publish a book, and at the time of publishing, it should be out. It’s called Make It: How to Work with Clarity, Confidence, Creativity, by me, Toby Moore, available on Amazon. That basically for me, this book is a whole unpacking of all of these we’ve talked about experiences. It’s really looking back at my whole career’s worth of experiences when it comes to, A, believing in your own ideas and having clarity over them, but then allowing yourself to compel others to come with you on those journeys too.
It’s a real exploration into creative freedom as well. So that should be out now, a time of publishing this podcast. It takes you through the lots and lots of models and ideas all the way through from kind of like just understanding the power of your ideas, through to how do you explain and articulate those ideas, to how do you actually just build your career and your work around your ideas for how you want to be and what you want to create? Yeah, I like it. I think it’s a good book.
Rachel: I think it would be an excellent book, and I want a copy but it’s not out yet, so I can’t get one. So I will be first on the list. We’ll put the link in the show notes there as well. So, Toby, that’s been so helpful. What would your top three tips be for someone who wants to sell their idea to someone?
Toby: The first is structure. So as I mentioned earlier, I really think that’s the first thing to get, right. So tip number one is nail the structure before you start putting content into the structure.
Number two is around clarity of language, so be really, really thorough, but also ruthless with the language that we’re using. We talked about earlier on this idea of it, like has to be authentically your language, but then it also has to be language that people feel like is their life mirrored back to them. So it’s about finding those words and those meanings that create that connection between you and them in an authentic way.
Number three, what is number three? That’s the hardest one, I think it’s, you mentioned call to actions earlier, and I think a much more valuable tool is a call to conversation. I guess, to be really blunt about it, the tip three would be to replace your calls to action with calls to conversation.
Rachel: Love it.
Toby: That sort of leans into that stuff you were saying earlier about when someone says that this doesn’t work. Don’t see that as a kind of like, oh, what’s the quickest route to getting them on board? It’s about kind of like what conversation needs to happen here in order to make that person feel heard, and to take it all the way back to the sort of sales, sales training type stuff. It’s about waiting for someone to tell you what they want, and then be like, ‘Okay, well, if I gave you this thing that you want, would you say yes?’
Rather than going, you want this thing, right? You want this thing? You want this thing, because it does this, because it does that, because it does this, because it does that. That’s what I call benefit bingo is you just list all of the reasons why somebody might want something and hope that you strike gold on one. Whereas actually, if you just ask enough questions, they’ll tell you what they want, and then you can decide whether you could offer them that thing.
So yeah, one: structure before anything else, always get the structure to be like writing an essay or something. It’s just like write the questions first, and then come up with the answers. Number two: language is really nailing your language and just really spending time on that. Then number three is: it’s calls to conversation. It’s not calls to actions.
Rachel: Brilliant. Toby, that is absolutely gold. Thank you so much for being in the podcast. Will you come back another time because there’s lots more I’d like to ask about?
Rachel: With or without a new frog jingle.
Toby: Yeah, that’s my ticket to entry. Yeah.
Rachel: Brilliant. So thank you so much, and have a good rest of day. Bye.
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