Teachers and school administrators are born communicators – that’s why they are in education! Every day of their careers, they stress over how best to deliver their message to their students.
A crucial strength of the Finnish school system is the communication between schools and families. The Wilma online system, for example, ensures that all information – both routine and urgent – is available in a timely manner.
I have two kids in the system and I am fascinated by their educational path – much different from my upbringing in American schools. I love Finnish schools and the way they communicate.
Except for the semi-annual parents’ evenings!
Every year, we gather in an auditorium or a gym in hopes of learning how the school year is going to play out. And, then at the end of the school year, we gather again in hopes of learning how the school year went.
In the few years that I have been attending these events, I have been surprised that most of the speakers were not properly prepared to speak to a large group. Surprised because I am absolutely certain that all of them are solid professionals in the classroom.
Those responsible for organizing and delivering these events have a huge job. A big part of that job is ensuring that parents go home having learned something.
With that goal in mind, I’d like to offer some of my expertise as a communications trainer. The following are top tips that are relatively simple, but can make a huge difference.
Use the microphone and use it well. I’ve seen people try to “talk” to 300 parents without a mic. And I’ve seen people who were not at all comfortable with a microphone. A little practice does wonders.
Make sure your visuals help you. Typically, the screen is too small and the colors are not bright enough. Even more damaging to your message, there is too much text.
Choose information carefully. Because communication throughout the year is so strong, you can leave out a lot of details; parents will need to go into Wilma to check the exact date of the next meeting of the parent-teacher association anyway.
I have spent my career helping people to develop a strong speaking style and I would love to be a part of the continued development of Finnish education.
If your school’s presenters are ready to communicate effectively and memorably, please contact me and we will work out a development plan that will round out your excellent communication with families.