Home' The Franchise Review : March 2016 Contents THE FRANCHISE REVIEW
directly and factually. If you find yourself becoming defensive
with your franchisees, try adopting an attitude of curiosity, and
engaging with them as respected colleagues. Not only will the
discussion flow more constructively, but you may also learn
Do not use 'town hall' meetings to gather people's
Giving the most opinionated individuals microphones in
large group meetings tends to create an unsettling, political
atmosphere of point scoring. There are more effective
methods of ensuring that everyone gets a say, the mood
stays positive and actions are agreed upon. For instance,
our 'Group Scoop' technique -- a facilitated open forum that
allows franchisees to give feedback -- is now used by many
franchisors to ensure that the opinions of all franchisees are
Coordinate franchisee communications through a single
Franchisees have better things to do than wade through a mass
of random, verbose emails from different departments. Have
a process for simplifying when and how emails are sent -- for
instance, by having one person responsible for coordinating
a biweekly mail out with key information. Ensure that this
information is interesting, relevant and to the point.
Minimise lecturing to franchisees at regional meetings.
More than 50 per cent of the content at regional meetings
should be devoted to interactive discussions and workshops
on topics that will help franchisees drive sales, deliver a better
customer experience and improve their profitability. Think
about what you want franchisees to know, and get them
involved in the communication process; for example, by using
small group huddles. They will always remember and be more
committed to discussions they were involved in.
Train franchisor executives in effective presentation
Maximise engagement through the effective use of voice
modulation, confident posture and a light, easy pace. Use
pictures, infographics and simple charts to bring your
messages to life. If you are just going to read points verbatim
off a slide, you are better off providing this information online,
or using a handout. It amazes me how many executive
presentations are filled with unreadable type and tiny rows of
numbers. The result, of course, is a room full of glazed eyes
and disengaged minds.
Prepare for meetings by imagining what success looks like.
Consider what you would see happening if your meeting went
really well. How would franchisees respond to your messages?
How would they feel afterwards? What outcomes would be
achieved? Discuss this as a franchisor team prior to the
meeting, making your goals as specific as possible. Review the
meeting afterwards, checking on how you went against your
goals, what went well and what was learned.
Set an example of constructive participation in group
Franchisor executives that wander in and out of franchisee
meetings, or sit at the back of the room catching up on
their emails, are making a statement that the meeting is not
important. If you are running a roadshow, you may have
heard the messages before; however, this is the first time
franchisees in each meeting will have been exposed to the
information. If you look disinterested or are not in the room,
it can come across as a lack of commitment to the issue
Use regular webinars with top leadership to keep
franchisees up to date.
A 30 minute webinar with senior leaders every few weeks
will keep franchisees feeling connected and in the loop on
important strategic information. Webinars should start and
finish on time, be well managed, and provide an opportunity
to ask questions. Pay particular attention to your technology,
and have a backup plan in case of internet problems. Unlike
face to face meetings, webinars work well with detailed slides,
as this keeps people engaged.
In summary, franchisor executives need to take responsibility
for the quality of communication with their franchisees. Best
practice communication involves being non defensive when
faced with feedback, putting adequate effort into keeping
messages clear and simple, and using effective group
If I were to add one last tip on this topic, it would be this
(apologies for the cliché): franchisees don't care how much you
know until they know how much you care.
Greg Nathan is a psychologist, an author, and Founder of the Franchise
Relationships Institute (FRI) -- global thought leaders in fostering profitable
partnerships. For more information about FRI's tools, publications and
learning programs, go to www.franchiserelationships.com.
A 30-minute webinar with senior leaders every few weeks will keep franchisees
feeling connected and in the loop on important strategic information
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