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Best Training Practices
Will Kenny
3927 York Ave N
Robbinsdale, MN 55422

The Training Department Blog, II: What?

you have lots to write about, but it may not be what you think

(reprinted from The Training Tipsheet)

Want to scare people? Suggest they write, and often.

When someone brings up the idea of an internal blog to reach your colleagues, the company's employees, the reaction is often either panic, or immediate rejection of the notion because "it would be too hard to come up with something to write about."

So, please, humor me one more time, and let's look at the "what" of writing, what all that content is supposed to be, so you can make a rational decision about whether this is really so daunting a task.

First, let's calm you down about how much work is involved. Blogging software makes it very easy to post content, so that takes almost no time. While you will read hard-core bloggers insisting that you have to blog very often, nearly daily, to get people to follow what you are saying, that really doesn't apply to an internal company blog. Weekly is fine, but regularity is important. Once you set a minimum frequency, once or twice a week, perhaps, you really have to stick to it, or people won't bother to check back.

And remember, one person doesn't have to write everything. You may have several people involved in training around the organization, and all of them can contribute. And you can talk to the people you serve, the department managers who benefit from your training services, essentially interviewing them and using their "guest" material to provide content.

Which brings me to the most essential point about what you write, and that is that the blog is not all about you (you and your training function). It is, first, about the company, and second, about the units within the company that are enhancing their contribution to the organization's success through training and communicating with their employees.

Nobody wants to read an on-line diary in which you tell everyone how great the training department is. They will be interested, however, in encountering stories about situations similar to their own, about solving front-line problems by sharing best practices, by communicating better ways of doing things.

In other words, the more you can talk about the success other units are achieving with your help, the more you are doing to reveal your own value to the organization.

Okay, so maybe you are still saying, "But what do we really write about?" Instead of recycling the formal proposals, management presentations, and budget justifications that you typically share with company leadership, focus on "water cooler" or "party chat" topics.

When you go to a social gathering, or even when you come home from work, you get asked about what you do, about how things are going at work, etc.. And you tell stories about working with this department or that unit. You explain how you are trying to come up with solutions to help so-and-so get better results for the company. Those responses flow easily from your lips, because you are deeply engaged in your work.

So just imagine that you are in those more informal settings, chatting with people about your work, in the context of the company's strategies and goals. Ask yourself a few of those common "small talk" questions about your work, and you'll have more than enough material to share.

And once you get in the habit of putting this stuff out, it really does get a lot easier. Then you have a routine that builds your visibility, as a valued internal service, across the company . . . which doesn't hurt in the least the next time you have to make those formal presentations to management!

© 2009 Best Training Practices -- Will Kenny

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