A Clear Vision for Internal Training

Internal training is an excellent option for companies that want a focused, cost-effective solution that empowers talented people within the organization. It’s an excellent way for high-potential professionals to deliver results through teaching and leading their colleagues.

Internal training faces one main hurdle; most of it is not very good.

Your training is only as good as your participants’ actions after your program:

  • Have they acquired new skills and knowledge?
  • Will they use their new skills and knowledge?

Whether your training is internal or external, participants are often handing off, deferring or postponing important work to be in your training. Participation may or may not be their choice. They’re investing their time and attention and deserve value for their investment.

Optimal internal training includes:

  • Highly prepared trainers
  • Action-oriented training material

Highly Prepared Trainers

Clearly, I believe they should be excellent presenters. But being a good trainer is most importantly being a good mentor. It means having a vision for your participants and placing your knowledge at their level; not above nor below. It also means coaching in a way that motivates participants to improve, balancing praise and corrections. Highly prepared trainers are speakers, listeners and observers—Always alert and focused on guiding their participants toward learning objectives.

Action-Oriented Training Method

When you choose or design an internal training method, evaluate:

  • What specifically do I want participants to know/do after the program?
  • What are my criteria for choosing participants?
  • Does it continue or counter a past practice—if so, why?
  • How/when do I measure success?

We have been fortunate to facilitate and witness the success of excellent internal trainers. Few things are more effective to build the confidence of trainers and the skills of their participants.

Core Skills

After acquiring product and technical knowledge, every professional, to be more successful, should be trained in 4 core skills:

  • Presentations
  • Business Writing
  • Selling
  • Negotiating

Here’s a brief explanation of why.

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Presentation Skills

All professionals have to present. They have to prepare clear, concise and compelling content and they have to deliver it to different audiences.  Whether they present standing in front of a live audience, virtually on a call or on a videoconference, presenting is always a huge challenge:

  • How do I control my nervousness?
  • How do I make my message more interesting for my audience?
  • What do I include or omit in the content?
  • How do I prepare quality visuals?
  • How do I handle questions, comments and attacks from my audience?

Your professional image is at stake. Your company’s reputation will be evaluated. Winning or losing is on the line.

Business Writing

Professionals today basically write all day. Whether it’s an email to a client, an internal document, a text or a tweet; writing presents its challenges. Our readers have minimal time to read and digest a message. The writer has  a short time to draft the document. It has to be organized, clear, concise and convey the proper tone. Spelling and grammar should be correct.

Business Writing is a must-have core skill and a good training investment.

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Selling

Whether you’re part of a sales force or work in Operations, Finance, Administration, Marketing, IT or any other division, selling and consulting are core and critical skills.

True, the sales force has to be highly trained. They provide the gasoline that keeps the motor running. However all employees have to sell ideas, strategies, improvements. They must learn when and how to pitch and how to listen and probe. Better selling skills lead to targeted solutions that are key for success.

Negotiating

Once again, quite obvious for the sales force. However so often, the sales force lacks a negotiating methodology, They make excessive concessions or show inflexibility. They need to be well trained.

All professionals need these skills. Internal negotiations are critical for efficiency and harmony in an organization. All areas need to negotiate agreements and require skills to do it well. 

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A well-trained team in these core skills will produce  a more motivated staff,  a better professional image and reputation , a more positive work environment and better company results.

The Vocation to Train

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Training wasn’t my first choice. I spent much of my youth collecting heroes and role models; Salvador Dalí featured prominently, so I pursued a life in the arts. I loved, and love creating and pursuing art. When it comes to Business Communication Training, I’m a legacy. My parents are excellent trainers. I also belong to a family of great educators and communicators. I mention this, because part of my adolescent rebellion was moving away from this world. Something changed in Mexico.

During my four years at Parsons, I would mostly spend September-May in New York and May-September in Caracas; where ERC, my parents’ company generously supplied me with summer work as a graphic designer for their training material. Early on, I approached my work with the ignorance and arrogance of youth.

The summer after my junior year, my father invited me to join him on a training trip to Guadalajara, Mexico. My job was to film participant videos and to assist him. He was delivering our presentation skills program. It was a two-day course. By the time we took a lunch break on day one, I was shocked. I had witnessed changes that I hadn’t expected to see at the end of the program, a quarter of the way through.

Education equips you with new lenses to observe the world. I remember that after one of my first drawing classes, I was never able to see the horizon the same way again. I always looked for the curving at the edges, observed what was above and below it and connected my fingers in L-shapes to frame what I saw. After Guadalajara, I observed my teachers, looking for their strategies to maintain focus and inspire action. How would they present? What role did anecdotes play? Would they show their own work or other artists’ work? Why? Drawings, quotes and notes on education were filling my sketchbooks.

I have worked full-time in training for 13 years. One of my favorite jobs is developing new colleagues; training trainers. My guiding philosophy is defined by a simple statement: It’s not about me. My success is defined by my participants’ experience and success.

Delivering training is an easy way to pad your ego. Great presentation skills, results and applause can go to your head. But, just like when you’re a presenter, the audience is the star (hat tip to Nancy Duarte) — when you’re a trainer each participant is the star.

Its wonderful when I see the vocation take hold in a new trainer’s eyes. I’m inspired by the skill, confidence, sensitivity and passion that I see in people who are prepared to change lives, through teaching new skills and giving participants new lenses to experience their world.

Communication in Times of Crisis

When countries are internally stable and economies are growing, most companies achieve their business goals. During these times, their teams are equipped to present products and services that are of interest to their clients. Their clients are more apt to buy because there is less risk, cost-cutting and fear to make a wrong decision. 

However, when a country is facing internal political, social and/or economic strife, when there is threat of recession, most companies and teams are not prepared to do business in these challenging environments. This is when the truly creative, innovative, brash and solid organizations survive and even thrive.

How does a company succeed during challenging times? Their leaders assess the situation honestly and focus on the opportunities. They create innovative strategies that differentiate their services from their competitors. They focus on benefits for their clients. And so importantly, they train their teams to communicate, sell, negotiate and succeed in these times of crises. They teach their key players, not only what to say, but how to say it, how to sell it and how to win. 

Yes, when others, in times of crisis are employing the myopic policies of cutting back, reducing and minimizing due to fear of losing, these innovative companies and leaders are investing intelligently with the sole goal of winning. That’s why you measure the quality of a company and its leadership, not when successful in times of bullish abundance, but when they prosper and succeed in times of crisis.

 

 

 

 

Uncertain Times Call for Confident Communication

We live in interesting times.

Our headlines read of scandal and corruption. Trust in leaders and businesses has deteriorated from finite to rare. So, how can we grow our businesses in the face of these odds?

Rebuilding trust is a long process that requires vision and discipline; it also requires clear, confident communication.

We believe that businesses communicate their vision through their people – all their people. Mass communication efforts are most effective when they also include a shift on a more human scale. Individual employees in conversation with clients and colleagues provide warmth and gravity to abstract messages.

To Craft Crisis Communication Messages:

  • Probe Audience/Counterpart for concerns
  • Summarize and play them back
  • Honestly acknowledge and lay out the current situation
  • Communicate your Company’s Changes and Solutions Specifically
  • Present a Realistic Timeline

We wish you success and growth in these interesting times.

Alex Charner

As Training and Design Consultant, Alex is responsible for designing and refining programs, as well as, delivering training to professionals and new trainers.

Achieve Internal Training Goals

Welcome to the training business!

Amongst our clients, in industries ranging from pharmaceutical and biotech to media and high finance; developing powerful internal training is key. Across all sectors, training has become a core component of how businesses work.

Training builds new skills, empowers talent and reduces turnover. Internal training aligns individuals around common goals, with tools to achieve them.

As experienced trainers, we believe that most internal training efforts could be better:

  • Objectives are often unclear
  • Content is not properly tailored to specific audiences
  • Trainers are under-prepared as presenters, coaches and as models of the skills they are teaching

The presence of these three factors can lead to unmotivated participants and costly, underwhelming results.

Improving internal training requires discipline, cooperation and communication. Like most successful communication strategies, you need to begin by answering two fundamental questions:

  • What is my objective?
  • Who are my participants?

Answering these questions is important. They should be clear, declarative, necessary, specific and achievable. You are beginning with the end in mind:

“When this training ends I want my participants to…”

Once you answer your objective and participants questions, and your team agrees with them; discipline is key. Everybody in your organization has preferences, suggestions, ideas and interests – Some helpful, some hurtful.

Knowing which elements to incorporate is aided by embracing your objective and knowing your participants. Debates can become prolonged and sustained if you veer too far away from agreed-upon goals.

We understand that internal power dynamics often dictate the extraneous elements that are added to training. We have also seen good initiatives fail due to a lack of focus. Use your objective and participants as a filter for your own ideas and the suggestions of others.

When you design your exercises, try to make them as practical as possible. Also, try to train leaders and managers first, with tools to help sustain the learning.

One more thing, the role of the trainer is powerful. Trainers should be gifted communicators, with excellent presentation skills. They should also know that their role is that of a mentor, not a star. The participant is the star. Beware of trainers who shine more light on themselves than on their participants’ goals.

Need help achieving your internal training goals? Let us know. We will be happy to listen, understand and help you exceed expectations.


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