It wasn’t just an elephant in the room, more like a genetically engineered woolly mammoth.
My friend Mark (a lawyer at a big bank) was sitting in on a presentation about their move to new offices.
The presenter was trying to sell the concept of hot desking to him and his colleagues, gushing about ‘agile’ working, ‘greater efficiencies’ and the use of ‘lifestyle pods’ (whatever those are).
But it wasn’t working.
No-one was listening.
Why? Because they were all distracted by their worries. Worries about how they’d work together as a team when they couldn’t sit together anymore. How they’d recreate the camaraderie, the teamwork, and the fun.
And, as long as they were fretting about their seating arrangements, they weren’t hearing a single word about any of the amazing benefits that the new office would bring, like the gym, yoga room, and free snacks.
(I know. They had me at free snacks.)
The presentation fell completely flat and a roomful of disgruntled, griping employees sidled out.
So what should the presenter have done instead?
Well, if you want to get people motivated, you have to address their concerns early on.
You’ve got to get that woolly mammoth front and centre and acknowledge its presence before you can move forward.
Try these 5 simple steps if you need to win over your audience:
- Acknowledge their concerns – ‘We know that some of you have concerns about moving from a static desk to a hot desk.’
- Empathise with them – ‘We completely understand that this new way of working might seem like a big change for some of you. Many of you have sat in the same desk with the same people for years, so it might feel a bit strange at first.’
- Offer proof to support your point – ‘However, studies have shown that after an initial settling in period, teams actually work better together when they’re not always sitting together all the time. This is because they interact more across the organisation and there are fewer distractions. When the New York office moved to hot desking, staff reported a 10% increase in efficiency and actually voted against moving back to static desks when given the choice.’
- Give guidance and support – ‘Here are some tips for how to make hot desking work for your team.’
- Inspire action – ‘Join our webinar on Thursday to hear first hand from the New York team about their experiences of agile working so you can start planning your move.’
You can use this technique to get any doubting Thomases (or Thomasinas) on board with your idea – anyone from sceptical prospects to belligerent bosses.
In short: face potential objections head on, early on so you can move on.
Give it a go!