Finding The Extra Spark

It’s easy to send an email blast, but if you want your idea/initiative/announcement to have real impact, you need to use your company’s catalysts.

You’ve seen them – the people who seem to know everyone, see everything and be everywhere. Identified not by title, but by the influence they have, these employees are information hubs for the rest of the organization.

So if you want an idea to spread, you need to tap into their vast network.

Catalysts combine respect with likability – that’s why they are so popular – and influential. They don’t really chug the company Kool-Aid, but instead sip it like a fine wine. If you’re not sure who these people are, ask for recommendations. You’ll soon see the same names being mentioned across the organization.

Using Them at Your Next Event

Pre- and post-event communications usually follow a familiar pattern –

An email – “Hey! Our meeting is coming up!”
App updates – “Here’s what we’re doing!”
A video – “Wow! Look how much fun we had!”

It’s time to change that.

Your catalysts can be a powerful channel for delivering great content to your audience. It takes a little more planning, but will go a long way in engaging your audience.

1. Invite your catalysts to special pre-event meetings.
Consciously or not, your catalysts have worked hard to achieve their elevated status. Why not reward them with an insider track as your plan your next event by inviting them to your brainstorm or planning session?

2. Encourage Two-way Communication
Ask them for their input, then show how you can incorporate it. This is a mutually beneficial relationship, so make sure that you’re listening as much as you’re talking.

3. Provide Talking Points
These are omnidirectional communication channels, so feed them plenty of content to spread your words. But also remember that they are busy, with jobs to do, so keep the talking points simple. Three supporting bullets for each main subject is a good rule of thumb.

4. Co-Create with Them
Since they already have an informal platform, imagine the power of an official one – an intranet blog, participation in a video, or a presentation slot at your upcoming event. Better yet, ask them how they would like to communicate what they know with other employees.

5. Instill a Little Friendly Competition
The best get better by the company they keep. Solicit their ideas for what would make the next meeting even better. Give them parameters so they have a clear idea of what the deliverable can be. (“Elephant rides, no. Employee-provided TED talks, yes.”) After implementing them, take a survey as to what resonated with attendees and then give a prize – and credit – to the catalyst with the winning idea.

6. Make them Look Good
Find ways to showcase their pet projects. This may be something at work – their team’s performance, for example, or an extracurricular activity, like the soup kitchen they volunteer at on the weekend. It’s a simple way of saying thank you for the time they’ve invested with you.

7. Show Them Off
After the event, give them a chance to share what their takeaways were from the event – both the planning process and the meeting itself. And if your budget allows, take your Influencers on tour with a road show. Sure, it’s important for executives to be visible, but it’s equally important to promote your catalysts.

Catalysts are a powerful – but often overlooked – group. By tapping into their network, you’ll create more bang for your internal buck.

About The Bricolage Group (56 Articles)
Creative Corporate Communications. Use what you have. Say what you mean.

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