Participants learned how social entrepreneurs and change agents can bring change within their organisation and society at large through effective communication. The audience consisted of students from RSM’s MSc Global Business & Sustainability programme, RSM alumni and business professionals. During the workshop, attendees explored what techniques lie behind effective communication skills and learned in what ways this can lead to real change.
The power of communication
Prof. Cornelissen talked about the change in global leaders and their communication styles. He explained that global leaders such as US President Donald Trump are very effective communicators as they know how to use powerful and enigmatic body language.
But when it comes to discussing complex societal issues, such as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, Cornelissen explains that people often fail at listening to each other and debates are polarised. This is because of so-called motivated reasoning, with every single person holding their own opinion. So, the question is how to bring everyone’s different ideas together to ultimately solve complex social challenges.
Framing dynamics model
Cornelissen suggested that the best way to send a message that all groups with different opinions are susceptible to, is to use different framings for the messages. He further discussed a model of framing dynamics that can be used around grand societal issues, by providing examples of the new sustainable frame of Coca Cola and Ray Anderson’s complete change of Interface’s mission to have zero impact on the environment in 2020.
Convincing while communicating
In the second part of the masterclass, Dorothy Grandia discussed how to convince when presenting challenging ideas. She suggested that people who want to lead change often have to face ambiguity and resistance as people in general are afraid of change. So, change leaders need to live according to their values and make them as transparent as possible to their audience.
‘’We’d all like to live in a world where the most influence in leadership is awarded to the people who intend to create – and do create – the positive change the planet and the people living on it need and deserve,” said Grandia. “But humans are not ‘designed’ to recognise those people easily. We’re inclined to pay attention to people who communicate in a confident and engaging way.”
The masterclass concluded with an exercise where participants practised in pairs how to promote a social or environmental change to a diverse audience of employees.
Evening masterclasses at RSM
RSM offers continued learning about marketing and business information management in a series of evening masterclasses this spring. Each masterclass blends theory and practical insight about a topical issue, as faculty members team up with leading practitioners. These sessions will not only broaden business professional’s knowledge on the latest developments in these sectors, they will also serve as an opportunity to share your experiences and network.