PUTNAM COUNTY, N.Y. -- Eleven school district administrators from Brewster, Briarcliff, Chappaqua, Croton-Harmon, Garrison, Haldane, Hendrick Hudson and Putnam Valley school districts learned how to communicate at a two-day workshop presented at Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES by executive coaching experts from Decker Communications.
Tailored to school districts, the "Communicate to Influence" workshop addressed both public speaking skills as well as the myriad of other ways that administrators communicate: in meetings, with email, webinars and teleconferencing.
“We know that effective communications is essential to good leadership, whether you’re sending an email, chairing a small meeting, in a one-on-one conversation, or addressing an audience of 200,” said BOCES Assistant Superintendent Lynn Allen. “It’s something our school district administrators face every single day so we wanted to give them a great training opportunity to enhance their communications skills.”
The workshop was offered through the BOCES Center for Educational Leadership, which provides school leaders at all levels with a comprehensive array of practical learning opportunities.
Diane Bowers, superintendent of the Haldane School District, found the videotaped presentations very valuable.
“Looking at your presentation style was very helpful. I learned a lot,” she said.
Joe Hochreiter, superintendent of Hendrick Hudson School District, also believed the workshop was effective.
“The video exercise with feedback from the trainers and other participants was very effective,” he said. “It really made me aware of things that I need to work on.”
Trainers gave participants tools to improve content and delivery to get and hold audience attention, such as the Decker guide to SHARP speaking: tell a Story, include Humor, and use Analogies, References and Pictures.
The workshop also addressed presentation skills with tools such as PowerPoint, noting excessive use of slides with too much information.
“People remember images and visuals, not the bullet points,” said program leader John Galvin. He also recommended use of black slides, with nothing on them, to draw attention back to the speaker.