Thursday, April 17, 2014

What's new in my workshop for comms pros on working with experts

I'm giving my popular workshop for communications pros, Be an Expert on Working With Experts, twice in the next couple of months: Next week, I'll lead it as a pre-conference session at the annual conference of the National Cancer Institute Public Affairs and Marketing Network in Columbus, Ohio. In June, the session in Washington, DC, is open to anyone who registers here. And I've just finished adding new content and revising the workshop to reflect some new research and tactics I've learned since the last session.

The workshop is one I wish I'd had earlier in my long career of working with scientists, engineers, policy wonks and subject-matter experts of all kinds. Over the course of my career, I've seen communicators with a wide range of relationships with the experts whose work they're putting forward, from cordial but distant to stand-offs and outright hostility. You may have pleasantries, but no participation, or a big-ego expert who insists on all the attention and publicity at the expense of others. None of those situations really works for either the communicator or the expert.

I think there's a better way, so this workshop takes communicators through something they've rarely seen, a look at the personality preferences and default behaviors of experts, with an eye to how those impact your communications goals. Often, behavior you'd be tempted to label as "balky" or "uncooperative" is something else entirely, if only you knew how to decode it. You'll learn what to give experts to meet their needs while accomplishing your goals more effectively.

This time, I'm adding exercises to help you practice eliciting more information from the experts with whom you work, using listening tactics and cues to which you should pay attention--it's a new expansion of the workshop's theme that communicators need to be listening for experts' motivations and needs along with the goals of the organization. And we'll spend time on big-ego experts with a new discussion about how to tell whether your expert's signaling a big ego, or a big vulnerability.

In addition, the workshop always includes plenty of time for your specific questions, for interactive exercises and assessments, and to listen to others' experiences and tips. For communicators who work with smart people, it's also a great networking session--rarely do we end this workshop without a request to share everyone's emails. And, music to my ears, past participants say it's the "Best training I've ever had. Informative and eye-opening," and a "truly great workshop."

As noted below, you get an early discount if you register by May 9--and if you think that's working well ahead, consider that people are already signing up. Make sure we save your seat!

On May 15, I'll be convening another session of Be The Eloquent Woman in Washington, DC. It's a subversive new workshop that helps women executives and public officials learn how women speakers are perceived and how to turn those expectations on their heads with confidence, content and credibility.  Go here to read how the first workshop went and what participants had to say. But hurry: Seats are filling and all registration closes May 8.

On June 19, also in Washington, DC, I'll convene a session of Be an Expert on Working with Experts that's open to the public. Designed for communications pros who work with subject-matter experts, scientists and policy researchers, this is a popular workshop--and you get an early discount for registering by May 9. This is the workshop I wish I'd had earlier in my career, based on my own effort to understand why the smart folks I work with weren't always willing to cooperate with my communications efforts.

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