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COMMS – Training


The purpose of the Training section is simply to ensure the people are ready to receive your new product.

Before you jump in to sorting out venues and writing training guides, you first need to consider what people will need to become ready. You’ll also need to define how you’ll know when people are trained ‘enough’ and are ready for the launch of your product.  That’s why we had the example of user entry criteria in the Criteria section of Comms.

Get the product ready for the people.

Get the people ready for the product.

You’ve developed a great product so what do you need to do to get your people trained and ready? We won’t tell you how to be a great trainer, how to write training materials and workbooks or run great training courses. But we must ensure you use the ABCDE method to acknowledge “I might need to help people get ready to do something different.”

Training enables you to get the different groups of people ready for this great thing that you’ve built and make sure that they’re able to make use of what you’ve built. Different people will have different needs. Some people won’t need any training at all. Perhaps they’ll just need a quick communications update.

The 3Ms: Market, Message & Media

Pinching the 3 M’s from Marketing: market, message and media, we can apply this to training too. Training can take very different forms.

The 3Ms
The 3Ms


‘Market’ simply means who. Who is your target audience or market? Who is your message or training for? It’s important to define this because different people will have different needs.


‘Message’ is the what.

What is there for me to see here? What do I need to do differently? And by when do I need to do that different thing? What are you asking me to do? What’s the call to action?”


‘Media’ is the how. What method of communication will you use? What will suit your intended audience best? Consider the volume of the information and choose the right method accordingly.

Training Needs

How do we know who needs what? Before we start any training, we need to work out where we need to get to with our different groups of people. This might look nice and simple but you know by now that common sense isn’t that common and simplicity takes careful crafting.

How to identify who needs what
How to identify who needs what

Step 1

Work out where people are now in terms of their knowledge, or what we sometimes call the as-is, where they are today. If this product is a brand new invention, they might have zero knowledge about the product. If it’s a new feature on an app that they already have, they might already have some knowledge about it.

Step 2

Identify what it is that’s changing, the key factors for change.

Step 3

Consider where you need people to be in terms of their level of knowledge, or what we sometimes refer to as the to-be.

The Action Plan

When you’ve done that and written it down, you’ll need to suck it all up into an action plan. All that means is that gap between the as-is and to-be forms the training materials that somebody needs to write and deliver.

It could be as simple as forming the communications and the messages that you need to give people. The action plan could be all extremes. It could be:

  • Train 50 people face to face for a week (big job)
  • Email the operations team to let them know that their screen will be pink on Monday instead of blue (quicker job)

Refer back to the Criteria section of Comms, where you defined what good looks like in terms of people getting trained. For example, you said:

“I need to train at least six internal trainers to a good standard first.”

– You in your next project ????

That’s where you need to get to.


If you have a lot of training to do, you can’t just take them all away from their day job at your leisure.

This is where the concept of an SME, a subject matter expert, comes in to play. You know that users are going to be impacted by your change. You know that the Operational team are going to have to answer the phone to the customers to deal with queries.

I strongly recommend you secure some SME resource temporarily to join your project team. Perhaps one or two operations people’s time to be involved in this project from the get-go so that we’ve always got that operational interest and stakeholder representation in from the start.

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