3 Lessons Shared Services Leaders Can Learn From Virgin America

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Editor Coda
May 7, 2014

Airline carrier Virgin America has got it right.

What am I talking about? Okay – let me ask you this: what’s the most boring part of your flight? That’s right – the safety instructions.

Virgin America knows that in order to get passengers to listen, they need to do one thing: be engaging.

They brought together a great director, dancers, rappers, actors and airline crew, and under the watchful eye of the safety experts, they created a fun, catchy, addictive 5 minute film that guides you through all the safety instructions. And what are the passengers doing? Paying attention! All of them! THAT must be a first!

So what can shared services leaders learn from this, when thinking about how they convey their messages? A lot.

Firstly, you might not have a multi-million dollar budget, or be recognized as the most innovative company in the world, but we all have messages to convey, and although the subject matter might sometimes be considered a little dry…the way we convey it doesn’t need to be.

Secondly, listeners are changing the way they listen. Attention spans are shrinking, and listener  engagement is by no means a given. It’s up to the teller to excite and fascinate. If you scoff at these obligations, your message will likely land off-center.

Thirdly, we share messages for a reason. We are looking for an effect… a response, be it more love, to get a laugh, to appear knowledgeable, to help, to influence a behavior. In this video, Virgin America wants its passengers to listen fully, and remember the instructions, so that if there is an emergency,  the passengers will behave appropriately.

So I ask you – looking at the messages you have to convey in the next few weeks or months, what are you expecting the listener to do as a response? And what is the best way you can convey the message, to up the chances of getting this desired response?

During the evenings and weekends, our senses are being excited by signals and messages that we are now getting used to, and expecting. And then we come to work, and most messages are flat, dry, and a little uninspiring. So we need to up our game.

Change happens at an individual level, so set your message for the people - one by one - instead of the company, and you will see how the message really sticks!

To get inspiration, watch the Virgin America video now!

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