Symptoms Or Cause?

Frances Ferguson
Training Design Manager
Glasstap Ltd
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As Glasstap’s Training Design Manager, a large part of my job involves the process of creating training material for both Trainers’ Library and Managers’ Library.

Another significant role, that I really love, is helping trainers pull together training sessions to deliver. The topics I get asked to assist with are many and varied; this week's topics have included Managing Upwards, Empowerment, Working with Customers and Handling a Dysfunctional Team.

The more I talk to trainers and managers, the more it becomes apparent that almost every request involves helping people become better at communicating.

I firmly believe that there is very little behaviour-based training that doesn’t have the need to communicate skilfully at its core; even the perennially favourite topic of Time Management includes the need to learn how to say “no” or to ask for help.

So, I did smile when the following quote popped up in my Facebook feed recently:

“The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.”

It’s such a simple, yet powerful observation that gets to the very heart of what successful communication is all about; considering the needs and feelings of both/all parties when deciding what to say or do.

Think about those training topics I mentioned earlier: Managing Upwards, Empowerment, Working with Customers and Handling a Dysfunctional Team. How much more effective will your learners become if they realise the importance of understanding both their own needs and feelings, and those of the people they're communicating with?

The answer is, lots! Communication skills are key in all these training topics.

And this gets to the heart of the challenge we often have as training professionals. What the 'client' says they want is not always precisely what they need.

Whilst it might be tempting to adopt a 'customer is always right' approach (especially when we are under immense time-pressures) if we do so, we risk only dealing with the symptoms of the problem and not the underlying cause.

Which takes me back to our quote:

“The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.”

If we get our communication right at the start of the process; if we ask great questions, listen to the responses and really probe to understand the situation, then it will be so much easier to design and deliver training that genuinely makes a difference.

About Frances Ferguson

Frances Ferguson

I work with busy L&D professionals who understand the power of great training to effectively develop and grow the skills of the people in the organisation(s) they work in. They know that standing at the front of the room, armed only with a large deck of slides and a couple of sheets of flipchart paper, is never going to deliver the results that makes their contribution count.

My mission is to help busy trainers (whether part of a training team, or working as an independent freelancer) have access to training materials that are engaging, memorable, enjoyable and, above all, effective in changing behaviours back in the workplace.

So if the idea of delivering training like that makes your heart sing, but you don’t always have the time and resources to make it happen, then I am the perfect person to speak to because I can make it happen.

 

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