Tuesday, April 13, 2010

On a quest for communications training? Put the 5 Ws on your checklist

Who, what, when, where....you know them from constructing news stories, but how can those questions help you figure out your professional development? Whether you're looking for training to reboot your own skills -- something many communications directors neglect, by the way -- or seeking training for your team, the "5 Ws" approach can help you choose the right path to progress. (Trainers you interview also may want to know the answers to some questions on this list.) Make these questions part of your search:

  • Who really needs this training most?
  • Is the trainee going to take advantage of the opportunity?
  • Is the trainee likely to resist the training, making this a waste of time and money?
  • Would a large class or one-on-one coaching work better for this person?
  • If the trainee manages others, will she be trained with peers rather than subordinates?
  • In the case of topics like social media, is our team well ahead of, or behind, the curve? Will we need more customized training to meet us where we are?
  • Should this be an off-site training to avoid distractions and build focus?
  • Should this be an on-site training to make it easier for people to attend?
  • Does the location need to be secure in other ways?
  • Can I get the trainer to come here or be otherwise flexible in terms of location?
  • Can I schedule this earlier in the day to take advantage of better energy and fewer interruptions?
  • If I have a particular goal in mind--like prepping for a big speech--have I allowed enough advance time to work with the trainer?
  • Do I need this training now to push me past a plateau?
  • Have I thought through where this training falls in my career steps?
  • Should I put off this training until I've done some preliminary work?
  • If I offer this training to my team members now, are they likely to leave afterward--or can I use it to retain them?
  • Am I choosing training as a path toward promoting this person?
  • Do I want this training to correct a persistent problem? Is that realistic?
  • Does the trainee need this to fill blanks in experience?

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