Strong communication skills training can provide substantial benefits to organizations of all sizes. Unfortunately, training employees how to communicate professionally via email, telephone, social media and in person can be a great deal more difficult than it sounds. If you’re considering launching a new training program, it’s essential that you take some time to think about what does and doesn’t work when it comes to communications training. Be sure to avoid these 10 mistakes that can destroy your training program.
- A Lack of Relevance
Failing to match training goals to corporate objectives is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when it comes to training. The truth is that few employees are enthused about getting sucked into training courses in the first place. Demonstrating clearly how training is relevant and why it’s important helps combat employee resistance and encourages personal engagement.
- No Coaching
Providing skills coaching during training is essential to the success of any training program. Why? Your employees want to do more than just learn new skills. They want to have the opportunity to apply and master them as well. That means providing role-playing opportunities and providing plenty of feedback as you go along.
- Using the Wrong Tools
Dynamic training is increasingly important in today’s workplace. Employees are exposed to a variety of media in their personal lives, and they expect variety when it comes to corporate training, too. Investing in eLearning that engages and utilizes media and graphics should be a priority for any organization. Switch up the tools you use during training to keep the course fresh and keep employees engaged. In addition to keeping employees engaged, you’ll also have opportunities to illustrate how different tools can be used to craft effective communications.
- Ignoring Different Learning Styles
As you plan training, remember that there are four different learning styles:
Speaking to only one of these learning styles ensures that your training will fall short of its goals. It also teaches trainees that sticking to one communication style is perfectly fine.
- Failing to Give Feedback to Trainees
If you’re doing communication skills training, giving immediate feedback to trainees is essential. Feedback helps trainees hone their communications skills while providing an active demonstration of how to interact effectively with others. Of course, the biggest reason to give feedback is that doing so improves overall performance. If you don’t give feedback, your trainees have no opportunity to improve their existing skills.
- Falling Short in Creating Value for Trainees
It’s easy for corporate leaders to think of training as a one-way activity that is aimed solely at meeting company aims. However, it’s important to create real value for trainees, too. No matter how dedicated they are to your company, your employees don’t want to sit in an all-day training session that offers them no personal or professional benefits. Instead of thinking of communications training as a corporate development activity, think of it as professional development for each of your employees. You’re helping them gain valuable skills that will last a lifetime, and that benefits your enterprise.
- Using Only In-House Resources
You have stellar communicators within your own organization, and you plan to draw upon their expertise when it comes time to train others. It’s important, though, that you don’t neglect outside resources. Your trainees want to hear from independent experts, and everyone in your organization will benefit from getting an outside perspective on fostering more effective communication skills.
- Boring Visuals
In the past, corporate training was often dominated by dull PowerPoint presentations and boring handouts. That strategy just isn’t effective. Strong visuals are compelling to humans on the whole, so including them in your training is a must. Adding a little graphic design savvy to your eLearning course goes a long way towards creating an immersive training environment and getting your employees to buy into training goals.
- Ignoring Differing Opinions
It’s unlikely that everyone in your organization will agree 100 percent on the best ways to communicate with others, and that’s fine. After all, failing to listen is one of the biggest communication SNAFUs anyone can make. If you fail to listen and respond to differing opinions during your training session, you send the message that your trainees don’t need to listen in order to be effective communicators.
- Failing to Follow Up
Experts say that many organizations completely ignore training metrics, which means that leaders are left in the dark about whether or not their communication skills training efforts are really working. Be sure to evaluate the success of your training as soon as you’re finished, and follow up with employees several weeks later too. Take their feedback seriously so that you can make improvements that increase the overall value of your training.
Ultimately, following these tips will help you to save your communication skills training from utter failure. They will help you form a great foundation for your employees to use as they interact with clients and customers positively and effectively. If you’re looking for additional help getting started creating rockstar-quality training of any sort, our eLearning templates and assets can get you up and running quickly.