Is Training the Right Word?

Does your business partner or SME care that what they are calling “training” is in your words a “communication?”

Should you care? 

Not as long as long as there is a common understanding of what the word means.  When you are working with one of your business partners, resist the temptation to educate them on what different terms mean…at least not to start.

I have seen this fail many times in different organizations.  L&D professionals can have this conversation too quickly in their partnership and risk alienating themselves from their partners.

Learning and development professionals can get hung up when others are not using the “correct” words when describing things. I suppose this happens in any profession but don’t get caught in this trap:

That is a meeting, not training…

That is social learning not collaboration…

That is performance support, not a job aid…

That is an online course, not a class…

That is blended learning, not a curriculum…

And so on…

If you fall into this trap, try saving these discussion with your partners for something more productive.  If you have time and want to discuss these words with your learning and development colleagues, go for it.

Words are powerful and important but the meaning of the word is most important.  When you work with business executives or other leaders, they don’t have much time.  Who does?

When meeting with partners, one of your goals should be to understand the context of the issue or opportunity while using the least amount of their time.  This is how you build trust and end up working with them more in the future.

If the solution to your partners needs appear to be a “communication” and they keep referring to it as a “training”, don’t get hung up on the definition of communication vs training.

Just listen and ask questions.

Each organization has its own culture and language and each person within the culture has their own filters, experiences and word preferences.  Start in a place where your partners are comfortable with their words and “meet people where they are.”

At some place along the path together there will be the right time to discuss, but usually not to start.

It might not even be the right time on this particular project.  The time may come on another project after you’ve built more trust with your partner.  Help them solve their needs.

If you’re someone who is having challenges working with a partner, SME or someone similar due to language – give this approach a try to see if it helps!



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