When children learn to read, they build up their knowledge of words and grammar over time, not in just one day. They spend time reading alone, looking at picture cards, saying the sounds out loud in groups and working through tasks to stretch what they know.
The same principles apply when they become adults, go to work and need to learn new skills. Their brain doesn’t work differently just because they’re wearing a suit. Learning isn’t a one-off event, it’s on-going. And learning is most effective when it’s relevant.
We work with companies like yours to created blended programmes that are aligned not just with the business strategies and goals but are also a part of the culture of the organisation and use the most appropriate interventions for the individual.
Our common sense approach means no two learning journeys look the same. They could involve any delivery method, including coaching, virtual webinars, workshops or individual tasks. Our design process for creating a flexible, blended solution is consultative. We work in partnership with you – and really get into your DNA.
We work within your parameters and budget, drawing upon 30 years of experience in learning to recommend the best solution for you and the participants, in order to achieve the best possible outcome.
Thirty years ago when Speak First began, we delivered almost exclusively face to face, classroom workshops. We’ve spent the last three decades perfecting what makes training effective, adding innovative techniques that enhance the learning experience for participants.
When people are geographically spread, face-to-face time is precious, so we use it to its maximum, focusing on interactivity and practice so your people get the most from their time together – often using video recording with freeze-frame coaching to help participants make rapid progress. It’s impossible to create such a rich learning environment in an e-learning module or webinar – no matter how good the facilitator is.
Face-to-face training is essential with subjects like influence, personal impact, sales and negotiation, where trying techniques in pairs and groups with feedback is central to achieving a successful learning outcome.
We take a coaching approach, honouring the experience in the room but then building on it with practical tools and techniques they can immediately use in the workplace. This means that your people feel confident to apply what they learnt as soon as they return to their roles.
Face-to-face executive and skill-based coaching
People seek out coaching for many different reasons, but typically there’s a gap between how things are and how they – or the business – would like them to be. The coach’s role is to support them in bridging it.
Sometimes all that’s required is a single session to sort out a pressing concern, but more typically there are several over a period of weeks or months, building momentum and accelerating progress.
We work with clients worldwide and are able to provide coaches locally to them. This gives them the confidence in knowing their people are experiencing a consistent coaching style and approach, aligned to what their business wants to achieve, but with a strong individual relationship and chemistry between coach and coachee that really makes the difference. Our coaches can have conversations in English and in local language, allowing for the people they coach to feel as comfortable as possible.
Perfect for anyone wanting to make rapid progress, coaching is results-oriented, specific and effective. It can be skill-based – such as preparing a CFO/CEO for a major presentation – or have a wider ‘executive coaching’ focus.
Coaching is a powerful way to target specific development areas for your people – and for time-poor senior executives far easier to schedule than attending a workshop. For those who travel extensively, we offer the ultimate flexible option – virtual coaching.
Delivered via Skype, Adobe Connect or your own video-conferencing platform, it provides the personal connection that’s essential in a longer coaching relationship – but means your executive can be supported wherever they are in the world.
For six monthly or year-long coaching programmes, it’s common for some sessions to be face-to-face and for some to be virtual – but sometimes they have their entire relationship without physically meeting.
We also offer virtual skills coaching as part of a blended programme. A format that many companies favour when they require presentation skills training for a global team is to start with a virtual webinar followed by virtual coaching that gives each individual the chance to present virtually and be given individual feedback that enables them to improve their public speaking skills.
The great thing about virtual coaching is that it makes it accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world. Development doesn’t have to stop because they’re travelling, and it also allows you to involve people of a similar level on a consistent programme no matter their location.
Sometimes it’s not easy, desirable or even possible for staff to be away from the business for a whole day or even half a day. That’s where Learning Bites come in. Engaging and practical, these 45-120 minute workshops give participants a short, sharp burst of insight and inspiration – making them highly cost-effective and hugely time-efficient.
While a 90-minute session can’t obviously cover as much as a full day, it’s amazing how much valuable information can be conveyed in that amount of time. Not that it’s a lecture though. All Speak First Learning Bite workshops are interactive, with facilitated discussions, ‘real-play’ in pairs and small group work. Participants leave buzzing with enthusiasm and wanting to put their learning into action immediately.
If you’re looking to provide your staff with new perspectives, stimulate their thinking and give them a practical toolkit, there’s no more efficient way of doing it than with a Speak First Buzz Learning Bite.
You’ll never find us condensing learning to fit the time. Learning bites are always built for your need, perfectly targeted and also a great option to use for conferences or keynotes.
Anyone who attended webinars when they first appeared will know how terrible virtual learning can be. Delivered as a lecture with an occasional poll thrown in to show the facilitator hadn’t forgotten there were people listening, they had limited engagement and effectiveness.
Speak First virtual sessions aren’t like that. We use a variety of interventions including group chats, pairs work, breakout rooms, editable workbooks, role-plays and instructor-led discussions to replicate a classroom environment as closely as possible. The sessions are practical, effective and no longer the poor relation of classroom training, perfect when your travel budget stops face to face being an option.
The most important thing for us, is to allow participants the opportunity to practice behaviours. If they’re not able to do this, they’re unlikely to apply the skills they’ve learnt.
Virtual webinars are the ultimate 21st century, flexible delivery method, allowing the transfer of knowledge, quickly and effectively, to individuals whatever their location, via a laptop, tablet or mobile/cellphone. They can break off for just 90 minutes to join the session and then get straight back to work afterwards – all the time sitting at their desk, working from home or travelling.
There will be individuals where it’s either not possible or isn’t appropriate for them to attend a training session with colleagues. In our core subject areas – including presentations, personal impact and management skills we’re able to offer high-impact courses from a Central London location.
If someone is handling a difficult situation they generally appreciate the opportunity to bounce their experiences off peers, who all work in business roles. Open courses allow them to gain strategies from other delegates who come from a range of industries and bring different perspectives to the learning. They also gain insight from an expert facilitator who can work through each person’s specific situation.
Open courses are also a great option if you have one or two individuals who need training and you don’t want to have to pay for an in-company course for them. With group numbers of no more than 6 people, we can guarantee you that they will get the 1-2-1 time they need.