Here’s the final installment in our occasional series dedicated to those in need of communications training services for their organization’s executives.
It is vital that your training consultant of choice be skilled in message development. Some organizations have forged clear and concise messages; others have the bare bones; still others have paid no attention whatsoever to their messaging.
Regardless of where you stand on the message spectrum, a skilled consultant can help you fine tune your message and show you how to frame it for optimum impact.
Nearly every training consultant will say he is adept at message development. But how can you tell for certain? Tempting though it may be, it is not appropriate to ask what messages he has crafted for other organizations. Such information is highly confidential. Would you want him unveiling your message strategy to someone else? Of course not.
Rather, ask him about his approach to message development. If he tells you about sound methods he uses to logically construct messages, that is a good sign. If, on the other hand, the explanations sounds nebulous or he just rattles off a collection of unstructured facts related to your issue, look elsewhere. Your corporate messaging is too important to be entrusted to an amateur.
Another means of discovering his approach is to ask what he has written on the subject. He should be eager to share any articles, columns, or excerpts from training guides to demonstrate his proficiency.
While on the subject, I suggest you ask your consultant what he has written about media relations, public speaking, or witness preparation. Request some samples to give you a better feel for his philosophy. Thought leaders in any field should be published regularly; this includes communications training consultants.
The same principle pertains to training guides. I recommend you work with a trainer who includes as part of your package a book or comprehensive training guide that reinforces the high points of your workshop. Some offer formal publications while others provide only a few quick-copied sheets. You need to decide which format you prefer.
What learning resources—written, video, or audio—do you recommend for those seeking to improve their communications skills?