5 minutes with... Kristin Graham

For the last several years, Kristin Graham has trained 20,000+ Amazonians on narrative business writing, showcased Amazon’s Leadership Principles and worked to highlight the company’s self-described “peculiar” culture.

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At simplyIC, Kristin will share why she sees internal communicators ditching the microphone for the megaphone, and how a hybrid approach is needed to engage teams through the power of snackable storytelling.

We caught up with Kristin to get the lowdown ahead of her session on the 20th of May.

What did you learn most from your time at Amazon?

We need to respect that the audience aren't going to want all the pretties. We need to redirect our creativity, so the cognitive capacity is still there for our people. We can still bring our best thinking to the table, which isn’t about writing 200 emails a week. Nobody majored in emails!

The narrative process is less about the medium, as Amazon condensed their PowerPoint presentations into a sheet of A4. It's more about critical thinking and capturing what's relevant versus what's interesting. As comms people, we need to focus on being audience obsessed.

How do you adapt your creativity to a hybrid environment? Tell us more about snackable storytelling.

It's long been a theme, but with the digital environment, it's about doing fewer things better. Our industry has given everything to everybody in lots of different ways – we created a buffet and now our people and audiences are overwhelmed. They can't even consume what we've been creating. For our own sanity and their palatability, we must do more with less.

We need to continue to be students as we are leading forward and producing, which means making time to go to conferences like simplyIC and making time to ask ourselves and each other: What did you learn? What didn't work well? We need to break down barriers, by not only showing the perfect and polished and trying to win awards.

What are your thoughts on the return to the office?

If companies don't offer flexibility, they won't have the chance to recruit the best people. Flexibility is the new currency as is corporate culture that incorporates everybody. The pandemic and subsequent remote working has changed the stakes on how we retain talent and has had a massive impact on the economy and career progression, especially for women in the workplace.

The companies who are going to win are those who allow choice and don't get wrapped up in the details. For example, if an employee moves to a lower cost of living whilst working from home, their salary shouldn’t be adjusted because of their geography. The employer may pat themselves on the back for being so ‘pivotal’ in the last year, but long-term innovation and flexibility will set companies apart. An exodus of critical talent is coming if organisations don’t adapt.


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Go to the profile of Marc Wright
5 months ago

"The companies who are going to win are those who allow choice and don't get wrapped up in the details."

So true