A recent article in Entrepreneur Magazine stated 85% of employees believe better communication training would significantly improve their job performance. Yet, a staggering 75% have never been offered this type of training in their current roles. Global Public Speaking Director of Client Solutions, Cara Paulan, shares her experience on how to make the case for communications training.
Effective communication can make or break a successful organization.
As the Director of Client Solutions, I work closely with leaders who recognize the need for communication training within their organizations.
“You’ll never move up in this company without strong speaking skills, yet we never teach them” is a constant refrain we hear from clients. In addition to impacting individual career growth, this critical skill significantly impacts team cohesion, client relationships, and the influence of leadership.
When I partner with clients to include communication training in their annual professional development budget, I leverage Global Public Speaking’s hands-on experience in transforming leadership communication skills for Fortune 100 companies, global nonprofits, and individuals.
To build a persuasive case for decision-makers, we demonstrate how communication training can address pressing challenges and achieve business goals.
Here’s how to make the case for communication training in your organization:
Know Your Goal and Audience
What are you hoping to achieve through communication training?
Do you want:
- 1:1 coaching to help you answer difficult questions and speak off the cuff?
- A group workshop to upskill your sales teams to pitch in a tough budget environment?
- Group programs to help onboard young professionals?
- A program to build and nurture the existing and future female leaders of your organization?
When addressing your audience, consider if they will appreciate a direct approach, where you make a recommendation upfront because they’re short on time, or an indirect approach to build support before making a recommendation.
Then, tailor your main message to your audience’s needs, interests, and pain points to ensure it is relevant and compelling.
Identify Three Main Points to Support Your Argument
What are the most significant points that support your need for communication training?
For example, consider the benefits of communication training for onboarding and retention, and select the three most relevant to your organization’s needs.
Then briefly elaborate on each point, using the Three Modes of Persuasion outlined by Aristotle in his work, On Rhetoric.
- Ethos: support your argument with your authority and credibility
- Logos: craft a logical argument using facts that reinforce your main message
- Pathos: incorporate your passion and emotion to connect with your audience
Connect to Your Audience with a Story
What story will resonate with your leaders and inspire them to act?
As I met with a newly-appointed executive to discuss training for their senior staff, I couldn’t help but notice their discomfort and unease with speaking.
Taking a moment, I shared my own personal journey—a time in my life when a lack of confidence and communication skills held me back from countless opportunities. I vividly recalled how my voice shook and hives spread every time I spoke.
With encouragement from trusted mentors and friends, I embarked on a journey to improve my communication skills, learning that confidence and authenticity – not perfection – were the goals. I explained that my journey ignited my passion to help others find their unique voice and build their confidence.
This exchange sparked a connection with the executive, who shared their own journey and committed to personal growth alongside their team.
Compelling stories are a tool to connect with and influence our audience backed by science. Stories trigger the release of dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins that affect our focus, bonding, and decision-making (to learn more, watch “The magical science of storytelling” by David JP Phillips).
Welcome questions from your leaders and be prepared to address their concerns.
Before your meeting, consider if your leaders will say:
- “We see the need, but it’s not a priority right now.”
- “We agree, but we don’t have the time or resources.”
- “We don’t agree – we’re great communicators.”
- “We already have internal trainers who can learn about communication and help you/your team.”
Then prepare a strong counterargument by highlighting the benefits of communication training that reinforce your main argument.
Remember: Influence is a Process
A mid-level manager came to us to train their sales marketing team to improve cross-functional collaboration, build trust, and increase the confidence of team members. However, senior leaders opted instead for internal training, and the results were disappointing.
So the following quarter, the leaders agreed to engage outside experts. The response from participants and leaders after their workshop with us was unanimous and positive: “We should have done this sooner!”
If your first attempt isn’t successful, don’t give up! Use it as a learning opportunity and continue to refine your argument.
View colleagues who agree with the need for communication training as allies. Try to understand the perspective of leaders and address their concerns constructively.
Let’s Build Your Case Together
Communication training is never a one-and-done activity. Professionals at every level of an organization have opportunities to practice and improve their public speaking skills every single day.
By investing in consistent communication training, your organization can foster a culture of collaboration, trust, and confidence, empowering individuals and teams to succeed.
Need help building your case for communication training?
Reach out to Global Public Speaking today for a complimentary strategy session and to learn how we can help you and your colleagues speak with confidence, authenticity, and impact to drive professional and personal success.