Thursday, October 25, 2007

One size doesn't fit all

I really enjoy delivering training. Actually, I enjoy the whole process of assessing a need; building a programme that addresses that need and then working through that programme with people who will really benefit from it.

It's something I do from time to time in house with clients, and also through CiB. In fact, the next O2O course is set to run on November 21. Of course CiB is a not for profit - its courses are, in the main excellent, but they're inexpensive: generally coming in at under £300 per delegate for the day. The downside is that I don't earn a lot from those days - but I think they give me a certain civic sense of having put something back in to my profession.

But sometimes I'm a wee bit gobsmacked when I see what other providers charge.....especially when I'm left wondering how much they're tailoring the offering - or not - for their local audiences. Marc Wright from Simply Communicate dropped me a note recently inviting me to take part in the Advanced Writing and Editing Seminar he's running in conjunction with one of the chaps from Ragan. On the surface it looks a good deal - a tad under £1,200 for a two day workshop delivered by two participants.

But two things struck me. First: Marc informed me that 'Written communication is pretty lackluster at 90 percent of companies ....' - okay, a sweeping statement, but do I want to go on a writing course in London where the provider can't spell lacklustre? It smacks of a bit of lazy marketing: taking an American promo piece and just cutting and pasting it in.

Second: Marc informed me that this was the course for me if......

  • You’re new to corporate communications; this seminar will give you the tools to succeed
  • You’re a veteran communicator; AWE will give you new ideas, recharge your batteries, fix some bad habits and get you out of a rut
  • You’re struggling with communication of any kind; AWE is the place to get some real answers!

So, it's something for everyone......which, from my experience, means a poor compromise for anyone. I've got 20 years plus in the business, and don't want to be spending my time going slowly over the basics with rookie writers. And if I was a newbie, I'd want to work with my peers, not the seasoned to cynicals looking to recharge their batteries.

The best training I've had has always been bespoke or tailored for a particular audience. O2O is definitely for experienced professionals and if any newbies came my way I'd point them to something more basic. Courses like AWE leave me cold: I get the feeling that they're about cramming as many delegates in as possible to maximise the return. With comms training, one size doesn't fit all and heightens the risk of pleasing no-one.

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