How to Avoid Unpleasant Surprises in the New Hybrid Training World

For immediate release                                  Contact:    Ed Barks
Tuesday, June 8, 2021                                                       (703) 533-0403


Communications and public affairs officers need to prepare for a new and untested training regimen. That is the thrust of If You Thought 2020 Was Challenging; The Future of Professional Development in a Hybrid Working World, a new research report published today by Barks Communications President Ed Barks.

“Get ready for a seismic shift in communications training programs,” cautioned Barks. “We are in for twice the headaches we experienced at the pandemic’s onset in March 2020 when we swung from in person to remote sessions.”

As he writes in If You Thought 2020 Was Challenging, “This imminent shift will, in many cases, necessitate a move from one type of learning — remote — to a hybrid system that must cater to two separate audiences — 1) in person and 2) remote. Imagine the possibilities for misfortune.”

The report sheds light on challenges companies face such as less interactivity, the uneven learning levels between in person and remote participants, and potential disparities between those two groups in areas like promotions and pay. It also deals with the obstacles that consultants hired by those businesses will encounter, and warns that not all consultants will be prepared to overcome them.

Advice for conquering these challenges is a key part of the report. Among Barks’ recommendations:

  • Initiate conversations about the upcoming changes internally and with your communications training consultant.
  • Ensure a level playing field as much as possible when you engage in hybrid professional development.
  • Examine your technological capabilities.
  • Refuse to settle for lazy learning approaches, such as recording a session then offering the recording as an equal value.

He also includes five steps for communications training as businesses approach the new and largely unfamiliar hybrid environment. They include striving for equitable learning for both in person and remote participants and securing a consultant who has taken time and done the research necessary to think through the new landscape.

“The challenge of getting spokespeople up to par is going to get harder under a hybrid process,” Barks believes. “If You Thought 2020 Was Challenging aims to pave the way for businesses to better manage that impediment.”

The report is available online for a limited time from Barks Communications.

Ed Barks works on extended engagements with Fortune 1000, Inc. 500, and association clients that want to refine their message and sharpen their executives’ communications skills. They gain an enhanced reputation, greater confidence, more opportunities for career advancement, and achievement of long-term business and public policy goals. He is the author of three books: Reporters Don’t Hate You: 100+ Amazing Media Relations Strategies, A+ Strategies for C-Suite Communications: Turning Today’s Leaders into Tomorrow’s Influencers, and The Truth About Public Speaking: The Three Keys to Great Presentations. As President of Barks Communications, he has taught more than 5500 spokespeople how to succeed when they deal with the media, deliver presentations, and advocate before policymakers.


Editors: For a copy of the full report, contact Ed Barks at (703) 533-0403 or via email.