Public Speaking Training as a Lever for Manufacturing Improvement

For years the emphasis on communication was from the 'front office' to the 'shop floor'. Many companies had training programs which helped the white-collar workers develop and improve their communication skills, however these same skills were not seen as being necessary or even useful to the blue-collar work force. Much of the communication, therefore ended up being too technical, or not technical enough for the people who were in a position to actually act on the information. In today’s agile and reactive environment, the information flow must be bi-directional, in many companies this 'reverse flow' of information has become increasingly critical to the success of any company. However, communication training has often not kept up with the needs. It requires more than just speaking (or listening) but an interactive exchange of useful and timely information, everyone needs to be aware of the need to actively communicate. There needs to be an understanding of a 'shared vocabulary, even when people use the same words, this does not always mean they are saying the same thing. This does NOT mean dumbing things down, but rather understanding the wording that will mean the same thing to all parties in the exchange. Technology may be a component, but often it becomes an inhibitor of real information exchanges. How many times has the response "I put it in the shared drive, or SharePoint or website", been used as an explanation of how communication was missed?

Dave Watkins