At this time of year many of us have turned our thoughts to what we want from the coming months. This often includes the new skills we want to develop. Sarah Browning, one of our senior associates, writes about how she recommends you think about your communication training needs
When it comes to communication skills, I recommend considering what you hope to achieve and how strategic or tactical you will need to be.
These suggestions will help you to think in more detail about what you need.
Some workshops or courses are focused on a specific task, such as presentation skills or social media training. Attendees at these kinds of sessions will typically have very particular objectives and training needs, such as the desire to be as professional as possible in presenting to senior leaders and potential funders or achieving higher click-through rates by improving their use of Twitter.
Practical skills and tips help them negotiate the challenges that they face.
Other communications workshops take a broader, more strategic approach. These sessions typically look at the core of what an individual or organisation needs to achieve. Participants will learn to consider how a better understanding of their target audience and their messages can contribute to achieving these core objectives.
Going beyond tactical actions to look at the fundamentals of engaging particular groups with well-crafted messages addresses wider strategic communication challenges. The principles and skills on offer can be taken and applied in other contexts too.
Typically, participants will finish with the tools and tips to apply this strategic approach in their day-to-day work.
What do you need right now?
Both approaches to comms training needs are useful. Each has a role to play in successful organisational communication. Skills from the more strategic approach in particular can be applied in different contexts, whether you are looking to market your new service to a particular group of beneficiaries or involve volunteers in a different way.
The key to getting the most out of any development workshop that you attend is to go along with an open mind, ready to learn new approaches and test them out in realistic scenarios, both in the training room and back at your desk.
I don’t think it’s an either/or situation between tactical or strategic, but rather an assessment of the most helpful approach for your particular goals at that time.
Training in communication skills can take many forms, so finding the ones that best suit you and your learning needs is key. At Holy Brook we cover a range of areas and formats in the training we run for our clients. Find out more about how our training team works here.