Training is Communication

As I have been developing and providing training in communication skills over the past decade, I have continuously discovered that so many things we do are primarily applications of communication skills.   For the past two years, I have been working on developing training programs in a manufacturing context. Like so many other tasks, good training is developed by applying effective communication skills to the development process.

Intelligent Communication 3.0

Intelligent Communication 3.0 is a simple yet comprehensive model for applying communication skills in various situations.  The model consists of three many parts. In my most recent update to the model, these parts are the body/behavior (what we say and do); the heart (consisting of the perception, mind, gut, and will), and the line (sometimes considered a guideline and other times a life line). It is this third component that plays an important role when beginning to develop training programs.

The line component of Intelligent Communication adapts to how the model is being applied.  The line, however, follows a general pattern of “Context” on the left and “Goal” on the right.  In any interaction involving communication, we generally begin with context. Effective communication then moves towards a predetermined goal.  In a recent blog post, I wrote about using the model as the basis for an integrated model of insider threat identification. In this application, context is life stressors and the goal was the perceived goal of the potential insider threat.

Intelligent Communication 3.0


When we are developing training programs, we need to consider the context of the training.  We generally apply context by asking ourselves a series of questions. For example, we begin by asking what we want to train.  We then may work through a number of additional questions. What is the current competency level of our students? When, if ever, have we provided this training before?  What materials do we currently have? What resources do we have available? 

Working through a series of questions helps us to determine the context for our training.  As we consider this context with our goal (which we discuss below), it helps us identify how we will conduct the training.  How we will conduct the training is part of the behavior component of the model. That, however, is a topic for another time.

Goals and Objectives

Now, let’s take a look at the other end of the line component:  our goal. Prior to getting too far into the training development process, we should work through the context and identify a clear goal.  What do we want to accomplish with this training?

At this point, it is important to point out that the goal in the Intelligent Communication Model is our ultimate goal.  Therefore, we need to carefully consider exactly what our ultimate goal is. What do we ultimately want to achieve through this training?  We must think about this carefully. Too often we short change our training by having the wrong goal.

In manufacturing, and in most contexts, the ultimate goal of training is not just passing on knowledge, but getting results.  We generally want to improve productivity, quality, or safety. The students developing knowledge on the topic trained is actually a necessary interim objective that helps us achieve our ultimate goal.  In most contexts, achieving specific results is our ultimate goal. The transfer of knowledge is one interim objective. Motivating students to apply that knowledge on the job is another common interim objective.  Achieving both of these interim objectives will help us achieve the results we identified as our ultimate goal.

Training and Intelligent Communication

Training, like conducting interviews and holding meetings, is an application of communication.  Therefore, we can use the Intelligent Communication Model to provide us a more deliberate approach to planning and executing training programs.  Training that is carefully constructed and effectively delivered is more likely to achieve our desired results.  

I’ll share more on training as communication in future articles.

Be quick to hear and slow to speak,


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