Finding a good partner can be challenging, but it’s possible when you know what to look for — and what to avoid.
So you’ve identified a need for training. Now what?
Selecting a business communications training vendor can be difficult and time-consuming. But choosing the right vendor can transform your organization and make your company more successful. In fact, a study conducted by Towers Watson found companies with highly effective communication were 47% more profitable.
When it comes to ensuring your team communicates effectively, the stakes are high. But how do you know which to choose? 47% more profitable.
Before you make a decision, be sure to ask these five questions.
What kinds of results can I expect from the training?
There are more business communication training options today than ever before. But regardless of the program you choose, here are a few things you should expect from your training partner:
- Deep skills learning: It’s critical that your business communication training vendor teach more than isolated skills. Instead, be sure your vendor helps individuals engage in deep learning to build practical skills they can transfer to other situations. Your team needs to learn how to give a good presentation, but the right vendor will teach these skills in a way that transfers to running smoother meetings, creating engaging one-pagers, writing clearer emails, and more.
- Saving time for everyone: Leaders tell us they spend a lot more time than they’d like reworking high-stakes communications for employees. The same burden is carried by individuals who have been singled out as “the one who knows how to win over prospects and get executives to say ‘yes.’” With the right business communications training program, everyone at your organization will have the skills to create quality materials, saving time and energy. Not only that, the increased efficiency you’ll see will shorten work cycles. As a result, increased efficiency means you’ll get more done, and improve your company’s bottom line.
- A common language: When you choose the right training vendor, your organization will share a common language. Instead of each department or team developing communications in their own way, you’ll have a unified strategy. A common language will help your organization achieve consistency and quality in messaging while also increasing efficiency.
How “sticky” is the training?
No one wants to spend precious time and resources on training that doesn’t have a lasting impact. If the concepts from training are too theoretical or difficult to apply, it’s not worthwhile. When you speak with potential vendors, be sure to ask how they ensure your team’s learning will be sustained long term.
If the skills people learn in training are going to stick, they need to be used right away. For this reason, when considering a training vendor, one thing to consider is whether the concepts covered in the program are immediately applicable and practical for their everyday work. The program you choose should leverage the learning done during the training right away — with the next email employees write or the next slide presentation they design.
Will this training fit into the flow of my team’s work?
Here’s the problem with most business communications training programs: They tend to be compartmentalized or separated from day-to-day work. It takes effort to apply the principles of training to regular work. It’s like trying to make a square peg fit into a round hole.
With the right business communications training, employees won’t have to complete a lot of pre-work that’s unrelated to their ongoing projects. Instead, seek to minimize disruption to your employees’ workday by focusing on what’s immediately relevant to your team — the projects they’re working on right now.
Be sure to ask your potential vendors if participants can use actual work examples within the training. That way, people can shift seamlessly from training to work, and inspiration from the program will show up in the flow of daily projects.
What kinds of tools does the training provide?
Before selecting a training partner, you’ll want to know what your team will get out of it — during the program itself and after it’s done. Teams need to be equipped to continue learning and applying the skills they’ve developed in in the weeks, months, and years that follow. Whether it’s templates, guides, videos, a book, or some other resource, it’s essential that individuals be able to revisit training materials and reorient themselves to key concepts whenever they need a refresher.
In addition to resources, be sure to ask potential vendors about access to training that will create opportunities for peer and manager coaching at your organization. The ability to provide ongoing training helps keep everyone’s skills sharp. Access to peer and manager coaching will allow effective business communication practices to permeate the culture of your organization. It also equips your team with the tools and knowledge needed to maintain your momentum long after the training ends.
What modalities do you offer?
Modality matters. With so many teams working remotely and scattered around the world, you need a training partner that’s as flexible as you are. If your team works best face to face, find a partner that offers training programs that will allow you to gather in a physical space. If your workplace is decentralized, make sure your vendor provides high-quality virtual training led by a live instructor. With a vendor that offers top-notch instructional design and technological expertise, live virtual sessions provide training that is just as effective and engaging as face-to-face options. Or, if your team prefers to learn asynchronously in an online environment, find a vendor that offers on-demand training so employees can learn anytime, anywhere. Whatever your situation, be sure that your vendor provides the delivery methods that are right for your team.
Make your investment in training count
How do you know if you’ve selected the right training for your organization? It’s a simple question, but perhaps without a simple answer. The truth is, not all business communications training programs are the same. To make sure you’ve selected the right training, think about the kinds of skills you want people within your organization to build and what training modality will best serve your team.