Keep the Communication Lines Open

To a large part, training is all about communicating. You, as a trainer, have knowledge that your learners need. Somehow, you’ve got to communicate that knowledge to them, in such a way as they can understand it, grasp it and use it. Your communications task doesn’t end there however, you also have to communicate with all the stakeholders in that learning process.

It’s very easy to get so busy doing the work that you need to do, that you forget to take the time out to communicate something to someone. It really doesn’t matter who that person is, it seems like there’s always one or two who get left out of the loop. Usually, they are people who we don’t enjoy communicating with, so we put it off till later; only later doesn’t always come.

Your life is all about relationships. You have relationships with your learners; relationships with your customers; relationships with your co-workers, relationships with your family and relationships with your friends. Lack of communication with any of those people can turn a great relationship into a horrible one. Once damaged by lack of communication, a relationship is very hard to put back together again.

The most common self-justification that people use is that the other person should have communicated with them. Okay, let’s take that as a given for a moment. You have a communication problem with a client. Let’s say that the client is a large company which you provide training for. You do great at communicating with your learners, but you don’t do so great at keeping in contact with the Human Resource director. You really hate calling him, because he makes the stupidest jokes about your hair.

Fine; so you do your job, but you don’t talk to the one who hired you (the HR director). Everything is going along normal, with the normal cycle of training, when you find that your classes have been canceled due to a plant shutdown. Your first reaction is, “They should have told me.” Right?

While that may be true; what’s definitely true is that you should have kept the communication lines open with your main point of contact, just to make sure that you knew about the shutdown. Otherwise, you might end up paying for expensive resources for some training session, which you can’t use, because there is no training session. Who’s going to pay those expenses? Not the company.

You see, it really doesn’t matter who “should have” kept the communication going, you should have as well. It’s your training; you’re the professional; so act like it. As you keep the communication lines open, you not only avoid potential problems, but you might even open up some new opportunities as well.

That same company you’re providing training for may need new employee orientation developed. If you’re already doing their ongoing certifications, and you keep in contact with the right people, you could land the contract to do that training as well. If not, they might just go looking for someone else. If that someone else is good enough, they might even end up with your contract.