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Techniques to Create Awareness and Excitement

While you are selling your idea to the executives, you will need to be creating awareness and excitement. There are many techniques to do this; however, some lessons learned are that you should start gradually. Having formal presentations that are an hour or two long is a bit much early on. You can end up with departments of people who think you are pushing a gigantic process that will add work to everyone’s day and alienate them from supporting you. I have also found that “lunch and learn” or “brown bag” sessions add value, but typically later in the implementation process when awareness and excitement already exist. Having a group come to long lunchtime presentations, where their normal eating schedule is affected, has produced sub-optimal results. At this point, you should be focused on creating buy-in, not thoroughly educating the masses. Even with magic tricks and incredible presentation presence, it will be very difficult to keep your audience’s attention when essentially you are just trying to float the concept.

There are some techniques that have worked very well. One is that you ask to come to departmental meetings and give a five-minute overview, which should be your vision statement. Leave on a high note and keep the first contact short. Let them know that you would be happy to return and go over the foundation of RUP—the key principles—if they would kindly give you 15 minutes in their next meeting. This will plant the seed for future, more detailed follow-up and not encroach too much on their valuable time.

Another technique that has been effective is what I call the “Nick Wave.” I was at a company where one of the junior executives dedicated 10% of his time each and every week to walk the halls and meet with everyone he could. He had a funny little wave that he did to everyone he saw, whether he knew them or not. He would talk to anyone and everyone he came across. The duration would range from literally seconds to an hour; it would all depend on how long they would give him. He used this time to create awareness on a topic he was trying to drive forward, float new ideas he wanted to test, or find out what issues people were having. He did just as much listening as he did talking. This was a very effective tool for him to disseminate information as well as collect information, and everyone knew him. It became known as the “Nick Wave,” and I still practice it today, especially when I come to a new company or get involved with a new area that I have not had much, if any, contact with. This is a great technique to get the word out, begin to raise awareness, and generate interest in the RUP and Rational tools. Before you know it, others will be asking about it, trying to find out if anyone has worked with it in their past or knows someone who does. It will amaze you how much of a “buzz” you can create with something as simple as a silly little wave.

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