Finding Communications Training That’s Going to Stick

Finding Communications Training That’s Going to Stick

How often do employees in your organization engage with L&D? Quarterly? During compliance season? Only when something new and interesting comes up?

How often do employees in your organization learn something new during their day-to-day work? Constantly! This is especially true when it comes to communication; there are always new and better ways to use and improve this critical skill.

However, in the end, learning isn’t what really matters. Results — the outcome of learning and performance — are the only true measuring stick. To use that measuring stick, you need to get what people in your organization have learned to, well, stick. How do you do it? Read on, my friend.

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What to Look for in the Best Communications Training Vendors That Get Learning to Stick

We’ve all been there. You hired a supposed training expert to come in for a workshop and transform the lives and work of your employees — only to find that a month later no one remembered what the heck they were taught. You then went back to the vendor for a refresher or sought out a new trainer. Talk about a waste of time and money!

However, some vendors have mastered the art of getting their training content to stick with learners over time. These are the training companies that can help you improve your business communications, making it a central component of your organization’s success.

So what makes these super-vendors different? Here are three ways that top-notch communications training companies make their sessions relevant, practical, and useful over the long haul, giving you the best value for money and the best results:

Make it practical for everyday work

One of the most crucial keys to getting learning to stick may seem obvious, but is often overlooked: Make it practical for the people in the training. Many training vendors come in and focus a lot on theory. Their slideshows are beautiful, their lectures are quippy, and they end with a crescendo that leaves everyone in awe — even inspired. In the moment, everyone might be wowed by a trainer like this, but in the end, you may find that it was all just flashy rhetoric; it didn’t actually impact your employees’ daily realities or improve their output.

The best training vendors, on the other hand, provide relevant case studies and examples, which make it easy for learners to relate to, get inspired, and apply new strategies to their own work. We’ve all attended trainings where case studies came across as wooden or unhelpful. Inauthentic examples tend to oversimplify the lessons being taught, making it difficult to put theory into practice. In contrast, relevant and inspiring case studies can energize participants and provide a clear path for applying the strategies being discussed in the training.

In addition to high-quality, relevant examples, a top-shelf training vendor will encourage employees to bring in their own projects and apply what they’re learning to what they’re working on that week. That way, participants will be deeply familiar with the work being discussed in the training, so it’s easier to put theory into practice. This method also makes it more likely for participants to remember the lessons being taught in the training because they’re being applied in the flow of work — and can easily be applied to future projects as well.

When it comes to learning, there’s no substitute for practical, relevant examples.

Provide ample useful resources

Some training vendors think their primary duty is to give lectures to an (ideally) attentive, eager audience. The problem with this approach is that facilitators don’t take responsibility for the performance or results of their training long after they’re gone (although, they would be wise to do so).

Despite this tendency, after a session wraps, it’s crucial for participants to keep the learning — and practice — going. Otherwise, the learning simply won’t stick, and the training session is rendered more or less a waste of time. After all, training can’t yield results if participants can’t put their learning into practice.

The truth is, the best trainers work themselves out of a job. In other words, their training should be so practical and useful that employees can’t forget what they learned because they use it every day. And when that happens, there’s less demand for additional or repeated training from the same clients.

Some clients return to the same training provider regularly — every year, for example — to provide a refresher on business communications best practices. This is a good strategy for giving new employees a high-level overview of the skills, and helping veterans stay sharp in their storytelling practice. And while a yearly refresher is a valuable service, these super-trainers know they won’t have to start from scratch because their initial sessions set participants up to successfully use business storytelling in their daily work.

For example, after a communications training workshop, trainers can provide resources such as peer and manager training guides so participants (and their bosses) can support one another in their work. These materials should provide foundational and actionable advice, and will complement handouts that provide relevant examples and summaries of the material. Vendors can also provide recordings of any training sessions so participants can revisit them later if they need to be reminded of relevant details or suggestions.

Use good peer pressure

Peer pressure isn’t a good thing. At least, that’s what we were taught in grade school: If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?


Not necessarily. Social influence can be used for good. For the record, we’re not talking about “shaming” someone into doing what you want. That’s not good.

But it is good if your employees take away important lessons from the workshop that they can and want to use to help their peers continue to practice what they’ve learned. Employees — and their managers and senior leadership — can then become coaches, mentors, and cheerleaders to encourage the behaviors modeled in the workshop.

This type of positive peer pressure amplifies the training investment by helping it spread throughout the organization — and by helping it stick over the long term. In other words, you get more bang for your buck.

What’s good peer pressure got to do with business communications training? Plenty! One of the most important things a training provider can do is equip participants with the skills they need to provide support to their peers after the training is over. One option that works well is to hold small, internal group meetings each week or month where learners can remind each other of best practices or provide each other with the opportunity to give feedback on their communications. Whatever your “stickiness strategy” may be, individuals should be taught how to use their newfound knowledge to collaborate with colleagues and practice the skills they’ve learned. In doing so, all participants will be set up to put their learning into action on a daily basis, keeping lessons from the training fresh in their minds and evident in the work they produce.

Find a Vendor That “Walks the Walk” of Business Storytelling

If you’ve been through a business communications training that flopped — either because the training wasn’t as useful as you’d hoped, or because the learning quickly faded from the minds of participants — you’re not alone. Nevertheless, working with the wrong vendor can be frustrating. After all, if you can’t effectively communicate your organization’s value to potential customers or clients, what hope do you have of succeeding?

Luckily, there is hope. With the right training vendor, your organization’s communications can be transformed into something that can be a game-changer for your business. But finding the right vendor is critical. So the next time you’re in the market for business communications training, ask vendors a few questions. First, ask to see some sample materials or a demo. If the vendor “walks the walk” with their materials — that is, they tell a compelling story — you can feel confident they’ll help your people build these skills too. Then, ask how they’ll make their session practical for your people, what resources they’ll provide to help participants continue learning in the weeks and months ahead, and how they’ll equip your team to support one another after the training concludes. If your chosen vendor can promise to fulfill these needs, it’s likely they’ll be a valued partner for your organization.

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