How do you share information at your Architecture/Engineering/Construction firm? Are you communicating in an engaging way or simply sharing the latest directive?

If you want to capture the attention of your staff, use relevant stories. They’re more likely to be remembered. Stories provide many benefits. They can:

  • Offer solutions
  • Build your brand
  • Preserve knowledge
  • Teach staff

How can you celebrate a recent strategic win? Encourage your client contact to explain the process that led to the victory.

Frank Lippert, FSMPS, CPSM, of GO Strategies, Sacramento, California, explains that internal case studies can reveal how a relationship with a client matures over time. These client stories offer two significant benefits. “One is that these stories preserve some knowledge from the past that should be passed on. It honors the senior seller-doers in a really nice, meaningful way,” he says. “The second benefit gives the younger seller-doers some confidence that this process can work.”

Lippert emphasizes that stories must be concise and to the point — no longer than 15 minutes. Like any good story, it’s good to share obstacles that were overcome and explain how the technical team helped the client achieve their goals.

Selling work and doing work are both equally important. “We don’t know how to do either really well until we hear a story about it,” he says.

Highlight Best Practices

Over time, internal case studies can identify best practices that can help staff throughout a firm. Perhaps they’re shared at a smaller group session or as part of a companywide event. They also could be posted as internal videos or stories on a company’s intranet.

When you’re offering insights about a complex project, consider using infographics and interactive charts to help explain the process.

Lippert notes that each pursuit is different. However, technical staff at A/E/C firms can learn from each other. Lessons from a few projects may be applicable to a company’s next competitive pursuit.

For example, stories may reveal how a firm learned of an opportunity years before a prospect officially released the Request for Proposals. Perhaps a technical person asked a client what projects were coming up for the community. The proposed project may be outside that employee’s specialty area, but that doesn’t matter. If the information is shared, it could lead to more companywide revenue.

Another story could reveal how a governmental agency awarded a client a grant to help a community with an infrastructure project. A senior professional may note that it took years and many applications before the funds were finally obtained and the firm could begin work on the project.

With this kind of story, a younger professional will learn why these early conversations with prospects are so critical to future success.

Offer Ideas for Conference Networking

How do you get the most out of a conference? Some professional staff may look forward to learning about technical breakthroughs but have difficulty interacting with new people. Senior staff could share a short video or story of techniques they use to connect with others. A conference veteran could reveal how they formed strategic friendships in the following ways:

  • Sat next to someone at a meal and then sent a follow-up email
  • Shared a conversation on a conference topic and then emailed a contact with some related information
  • Connected with fellow attendees on LinkedIn before or after the conference

Use Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven analytics to recommend potential connections at conferences. Who should an attendee try to meet? AI can assess profiles to suggest people with shared interests and mutual connections.

Before meeting someone new, AI can suggest conversation starters and topics of mutual interest. You can also just ask someone about their work and what they’ve liked best about the conference so far.

Use Personal Stories to Introduce New Hires

Your firm just hired a new employee. How do you introduce them to your workforce? Companies may post announcements on their intranet, website, or related online media.

Depending on the format, offering a sentence or two about the new hire’s interests may be appropriate. Are they active with a nonprofit, or how did they choose their career?

This personal information may encourage co-workers to reach out to the new hire. I wrote brief stories announcing new professional staff when I worked at a multidisciplinary firm. My co-workers told me they liked these announcements. For instance, they learned the following about the new employees:

  • An engineer, who also was a swim coach, missed joining the U.S. Olympic swim team by less than one second at a qualifying race
  • A stormwater engineer used logs to divert a stream near his home when he was growing up
  • A landscape architect enjoyed touring historic buildings and gardens in Europe

Emphasize Cross-functional Collaboration

Encourage stories that reflect the interconnectedness of different departments, such as finance, human resources, and operations. Diverse teams are needed to build a successful company. This kind of internal communication can develop companywide unity and highlight a firm’s shared corporate mission.

Use AI to Analyze Data

What trends are you seeing in your firm? Use AI to quickly analyze data. Results may reveal patterns. Then, turn to one of your firm’s experts to interpret the results and comment on lessons learned and recent achievements.

What’s the impact of a new service or geographic expansion? Don’t just share data. Look for stories that show the impact of company successes.

Maximize Operations by Using Stories

Internal storytelling adds interest. In his book The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human, author Jonathan Gottschall says we’re wired to enjoy stories. He explains, “Story is the glue of human social life — defining groups and holding them together.”

How Do You Use Stories?

Stories can help companies share corporate information. A brief story, delivered at a team meeting or on a video, could be much more memorable than a report.

Want to Know More?

How do you use internal storytelling? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below or contact me at I’m here to help create content to build your brand for your internal and external stakeholders.

A/E/C Connect

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