Frequently Asked QuestionsGot a question about us and our emotional engagement? Here's a selection of the questions we get asked a lot...
What do you actually DO?
We engage people at an emotional level. We look for ways to excite, motivate, inspire, create connection and increase understanding. We do that in a variety of forms, in whatever way is appropriate for the context and the message that needs to be conveyed. We do not limit ourselves to working in any particular content area or industry, but we do specialise in taking corporate messages, information or changes and crafting interventions or materials that allow them to resonate emotionally; increasing the likelihood of people adopting the change, understanding the message and ultimately putting it into action. Whether that be an in-person piece of facilitation or an artistic intervention, you can guarantee that we will ALWAYS be thinking of the emotional effect that this specific piece of work will have.
What is employee engagement?
“Employee engagement is a workplace approach resulting in the right conditions for all members of an organisation to give of their best each day, committed to their organisation’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organisational success, with an enhanced sense of their own well-being” – Engage for Success
In short, it’s how you feel about your work, your company, your colleagues and yourself at work. It’s not a buzz word, it’s not a box to be ticked. Our friends at E4S are right. It’s an approach, and an approach will need a plan, maybe a different viewpoint, an external perspective; it may even start with a survey. But a survey on its own won’t change anything. It is what happens after the survey where the real work begins.
Read more here.
Why should I use you?
You should use us if you want to communicate something with impact or want to try an approach that might seem different to those you have tried before. We like to think we are genuinely different. We all have a background that isn’t just business; some of us were and are artists, some of us were actors, performers, comedians. That doesn’t make us ‘wacky’. Wacky isn’t that useful in business. But it gives us a unique perspective on people. As artists, we have observed people and considered audiences all our working lives. For the first part as creative artists, now we do it in business as creative practitioners. Oh, and you will enjoy our company, we’re good fun to have around and we are ruthlessly determined to do a good job.
What is emotional engagement?
To answer that we have to take a step back. We know what employee engagement is. We’ve learned it’s an approach. But you get that commitment, motivation and sense of well-being from an emotional place. Things might happen, things might be given to you, things might be taken away from you but those things will affect how you feel. And that’s it. It’s how you feel. We know that how you feel influences how you behave and how you behave influences results, so when we are trying to fix an issue, we are tempted to look at the outcome instead of looking for the emotional catalyst. Fix how people feel about something and you will get different results. That’s why fixing engagement issues is so hard. You’re dealing with people’s feelings. Engagement is a feeling not a process. Uh-oh!
Read more about emotional engagement here.
If I wanted you to run a conference for me, what sort of thing would you do?
Each conference we run is designed specifically for that client. We don’t do ‘off the shelf’; however, we do have a suite of tried and tested tools and techniques which have been developed and refined over the past 20 years. We focus on what you want to achieve and how the people will help you get there. We will look for the emotional hook, then design activities and interactive exercises that will allow delegates to experience those emotions for themselves. We can’t tell you here what exactly we would do, but you can guarantee that we will be more interested in the way the content is received than the content itself. We will be more interested in the delegates than the speakers and much more likely to ask you to consider a different way of setting up the room in the first place.
I just want some fun bringing to this conference – what could you do and how much would it be?
We love having fun, in fact we thrive on it and try to bring fun into all our work with clients. On the other hand, fun for the sake of it can be gimmicky and actually just annoy people rather than engage them. We will always look to combine fun with relevance, creating activities which are fun and entertaining but have a clear business message or behavioural outcome. We do have a suite of tried and tested exercises and activities that have been used 100’s of times before, all of which are fun but have a specific message or point to them. Our facilitators are skilled in delivering them; however if it’s just fun you’re after, there may be more suitable suppliers out there than us.
Can you just do an ice breaker?
As part of designing and running a conference or workshop, we will always focus on setting up the right environment and atmosphere. This is, on occasion, simply allowing people to meet each other and start building relationships. We have a range of exercises we use to do this, but it’s not cost effective for you if we just do a single element of an event.
How much do you cost?
That is a wide and varied question, and like any good open question the answer is…it depends. We work on day rates, which vary depending on the level of experience and skills of the individual doing the work and the type of work it is. So, our most senior facilitators, our Directors, have a higher day rate than our senior facilitators and artists who, unsurprisingly, have a higher day rate than our associates, etc. We estimate the number of days that we will spend on the work and the seniority of the people it will require, and so the more days and the higher the level of person we think the project will require, the higher the cost. Simple really.
To get an insight into how we charge, and look at how to spend less money with us, take a look at this article.
Can you do a team building day/exercise?
We don’t believe that you can build a team in a day. Similarly, you can’t build a team with just an exercise, but we know what you mean. You want an exercise that demonstrates collaboration and teamwork. Any of our conferences or workshops will always focus on setting up the right environment and atmosphere and this will almost always focus on allowing people to meet each other and start building relationships. We can start the journey towards team building and we would insist on weaving the necessity for teamwork throughout your day. We have a range of exercises we use to do this, but as with one off energisers or icebreakers, we can’t charge you less for just a slot in the day. It’s more cost effective for you to consider how we can weave your team requirements into the whole day.
How much does it cost to run an employee conference?
We know, from 20 years of running conferences all over the world, that one of the key challenges when organising such an event is cost. So how do you ensure that you are spending money in the right areas? Costs can vary massively from conference to conference and so we hope to help you understand how best to approach it for your particular purpose and to ensure that you focus your spend.
For a list of areas to consider and the options that are likely to be open to you, take a look at our article here.
I already have the conference designed, can you give me a cost for you guys to facilitate it?
Yes…but…we are specialists in emotional engagement, and the facilitation on the day is only a part of that process. The real value comes from the thoughtful and well-considered design where all elements contribute to the emotional arc of the event. It is a collaborative process. If the event is already designed and locked down, it’s then very difficult for us to help you achieve that, meaning you won’t get the best value from our service.
What are the advantages of using you vs. me doing this myself/using internal facilitators?
We would always encourage using internal employees/leaders in conferences and workshops, especially when it comes to delivering key messages. This way, the ownership of the message is very clear and visible, which is critical when building trust. However, for that to have the required results it needs to be well scripted, well-rehearsed, and with a narrative that is thought through, communicated with clarity and can be easily understood and digested. This is where our skills come in. Similarly, to us, facilitation is more than a skill set. It is a way of being. Using humour, inclusivity, opening up often difficult conversations, creating and then unpacking exercises with an emotional lens, is difficult to achieve – especially when you work inside the business in question. Our external and people-led perspective allows us to challenge areas you can’t, question the unquestionable and provide an insight that is likely being missed. Working together is the very best way to achieve the most memorable outcome.
Why are your rates higher than an independent communications adviser?
We are a commercial organisation who have been in business for 22 years this year. That means that we bring with us a whole playbook of experience from the hundreds of clients and thousands of people who have come across the Monsters in that time. Now, that in itself doesn’t explain why we might be more expensive, but it’s worth remembering that you do pay for experience. We are a group of people with an office and employees, which will mean higher overheads than an independent. We know that our rates are competitive with people who are in the same field as us, but if you can find someone who has our experience, knowledge, skills and understanding and who can do it cheaper, then of course you must make that decision. Also, let us know their number…because we could do with rewarding that skill too.
We'd like to do things differently- we don't want the same old, same old- can you help?
Yes. Thank you. We love that question. One of the things that we ask when first working with clients is, ’Have you done change before?’ most of the time the answer is ‘yes’. The next question of course is, ‘did it work? Most of the time the answer is ‘well, yes, mostly, um not that great, in parts…’ you get the picture. Approaching things differently the next time around is a good idea. If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got. So we would love that challenge of approaching things differently. What will we do that is so different? We don’t know yet? We don’t know what your particular challenge is. But we’ll have great fun taking it on.
We want to use some actors to bring this to life. Is that what you do?
Not really. We know actors, some of us are actors. But if you’ve worked with companies before who bring actors in to do role play with your people, then there are better organisations out there for doing that than us. We are experts in emotional engagement and we will always use the skills and techniques learnt as artists and actors, but that is more about the people than the performance.
We'd like a session on storytelling- do you do that?
Yes. As artists, actors, teachers and performers we’ve been storytellers ourselves for years and know that storytelling in business is a hugely effective way of engaging people. We approach it from the perspective of the audience and can give you a check list of questions to ask before you decide to share. As we will tell you, you reveal a lot from a personal story, so be comfortable first with what you are sharing. We have always loved Chip and Dan Heath’s book Made to Stick and their SUCCES (sic) mnemonic has formed the basis of a great storytelling session for a few years now.
How much is an animation?
Animation is one of the most popular services we provide. Organisations appreciate their simplicity, their ability to convey complex messages in an easily-understood way, and the level of consistency they provide, especially when messages need to be cascaded or shared with a wide audience. You will notice that we are not an animation studio and that is not our purpose. We are, first and foremost, engagement specialists, so our animations and films are designed and crafted with engagement in mind. We consider the characters, the storyline, metaphors and visual cues. We craft bespoke images using our in-house artists and don’t use off-the-shelf packages or drag and drop technology. In terms of price, you can expect to pay between £6,000 – £10,000 for one of our films. The lower end is for a whiteboard style with artwork created by our art team, or towards the top end, we can combine animation with film footage and special effects. Examples can be found here.
What possible challenges are there working with you?
Well we hope that working with us would be a fulfilling and good experience, but our approach and style may not be for everyone. We might ask you to do something that you’re not used to. We might suggest an approach that leaves you feeling uncomfortable. We might come up with a plan that may be deemed too ‘out there’ for your organisation. And that’s ok. We have no desire to take anyone so far out of their comfort zone that they are in the panic zone. But it’s probably best to know that we will definitely challenge the status quo to grasp your particular issue. And take some comfort in the fact that we have been in business a long time; we have a lot of clients who’d be happy to tell you that though we may be called monsters, we’re not that frightening.
Take a look at our flowchart to see if this allays your fears… Are you ready to emotionally engage?
Do you do more than whiteboard style animations?
In short, yes, we do. The whiteboard style is by far the most popular because of its simplicity; however, when a different style is required we can use colour, vector graphics and different pen styles. Our skill is in crafting the narrative and supporting artwork and that is what we primarily focus on. Take a look here for more examples.
I can create one of those animations myself – why would I pay you to do it?
Technology in this space now is incredible and allows anyone to create animations in a matter of hours. Technology such as this allows you to do that cheaply and easily. Bear in mind, however, that this technology cannot create an engaging narrative or storyline, it can’t advise you on adding humour or wit, it would struggle to come up with amusing characters or metaphors which allow the messages to resonate without explaining all the content. Most of all, you are limited to a library of stock images, whereas, we will hand draw any image you require. How can we put this cheekily? “Just because you can paint by numbers doesn’t make you the next Van Gogh.”