- Use--and reuse--the takeaway materials: For many trainings, I bring handouts, or, more often, links to blog posts you can refer to again and again. They're an easy resource for trainees, who might pull out 12 questions to ask reporters before a media interview, or Confidence: Fake it until you make it before a big speech. Communications directors who've hired me as a trainer can always ask me to resend links and handouts to use as reminders.
- Schedule practice time on a regular basis: In any training session, my goal is to help you identify and start work on factors you'll need to practice further. Think you don't have time for regular practice? Check out my 5 stealth ways to find time to practice for speakers.
- Build message strategy time into your regular meetings: Whether you're facing an interview or a presentation, taking the time to think through what you want to say and how to say it is vital for trainees and communicators. Don't assume everyone's thinking the way you do about how to respond, or that you've got all the answers. Once it becomes a habit, you'll gain confidence and real skill.
- Get a practice pal, or team: A thoughtful practice partner can help you advance faster--and make sure you really do practice. If you've been trained as part of a group, snag a partner who's been through the same training and meet weekly after the training to try new things or take more time to perfect what you began in training. Use a camera to record your attempts, so you can review and plan to correct mistakes, and give your partner my 8 things to look for when your speech is recorded after each practice round. (A tip: Some clients plan ahead for this and hire me to train entire departments or work teams so they can leave training with a built-in practice team.)
- Check in with trainees about questions and progress: Communicators can help if they follow up after my trainings with an email, and later, a phone call to ask "What did you learn that you'd like to work on?" or "Are there interviews/speeches coming up that you're concerned about?" That small action will build trust and encourage your trainees to come back to you with issues and successes...and remind them that you're focused on their good performance.
- Work in training reminders when the occasion arises: Once I've been in to do a training, you can extend the outside consultant effect without bringing me in weekly, just by working in a reminder here and there. Lots of my clients prompt trainees with "What do you think Denise would've told you to do?" or "Didn't we go over that in your training with Denise?" Use me as your excuse to reinforce good habits and dissect mistakes.
- Steal good ideas: The easiest way to reinforce media interview skills is to watch them on television, listening and looking for what you learned in training. (Listening on the radio and reading them on the web or in a newspaper works, too.) Same goes for public speaking: Watch TED talks online or speeches and testimony on television. Make your own critique, then think about what you might do differently--and good tactics, phrases or gestures you can borrow.
Use the 5 W's to figure out your communications training needs
9 lessons I've learned from my trainees that you can use
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