The Dallas-based regional office of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) employs an array of workers spanning several states. These employees often deal with different stakeholders—from state governments and organizations that run high-dollar grant programs at the local level to national office team members needing to tactfully navigate regularly changing regulations.
Noticing opportunities for improved communications both internally and externally, their team came across our website in their search for persuasive communications training.
With so many government-related topics involving legalities and nuance, there are plenty of opportunities for miscommunication. They needed help training their employees on how to communicate complex, high-stakes topics with clarity and tact, using research-based communication tactics.
“Transactional Analysis” as described in I’m Okay—You’re Okay (Harris, T. A., 1967)
In order to provide the most effective communications training, we needed some additional context. We agreed with our DOL contact that a foundation of persuasive storytelling knowledge would be helpful to communicate effectively, but we needed to understand more about the specific scenarios where these communications occurred.
As part of discovery, we explored a day in the life of an average federal project officer (FPO), analyzing the different social transactions involved in their daily communications—i.e., conversations with state government contacts, local managers in Dallas, and national-level program specialists. We took a look at three major areas:
- What each relationship looked like;
- What each side’s goal was in the communication; and
- What challenges were present on both sides of the communication.
Complicating the training was the lingering effects of COVID-19 and the geographic spread of their team, meaning we needed to create an engaging virtual environment for our seminar.
With this knowledge and our communication expertise in hand, we assembled a presentation to guide a five-hour training seminar. We approached communication from a holistic standpoint, starting with basic communication interventions and the psychology behind why those interventions work. With the presentation itself crafted as a story, we framed the attendees as “heroes” navigating complex communications, expressing different types of empathy, addressing cognitive biases, and more.
After covering each tool in their new arsenal, we hosted breakout sessions for attendees to use their new skills in a practical application. We helped them apply the Boileau & Co. Persuasive Storytelling Framework to realistic problems they might encounter in their day-to-day lives.
- Customized Team Presentation
- Five-hour Remote Training Seminar
- Persuasive Storytelling Worksheets
The training session provided the DOL employees with the tools they needed to communicate more effectively with relevant stakeholders. The breakout groups and hands-on portions were core to the seminar’s success and elevated the attendees’ understanding of the topics. The attendees left feeling more confident in their communications and adequately prepared to apply their new skills.
The majority of the workshop’s 16 attendees were FPOs, our intended audience. In the NPS survey we sent out after the seminar, attendees gave us an average quality score of 9.125 out of 10. Despite the five-hour runtime, some attendees even said they wished the training was longer. In their notes, attendees noted how helpful the training was, and our DOL contact noted they’d never had so much positive feedback after a training session.