Trainings

Water Words That Work, LLC got its start providing professional development training courses at conferences and workplaces around the country. It's still a big part of our practice today. 

In 2016 and 2017, we will expand our training practice by rolling out a complete suite of online training courses that you can complete. You can develop the skills you need to approach your outreach responsibilities with confidence. And you can earn CEUs and professional certificates along the way. 

Click the links below to explore our training services in more detail. 

Workshop Descriptions

Water Words That Work

Make a splash with your communications! Relearn the language that everyday citizens use and you will become more confident and successful as you set out to enlighten the uninformed and persuade the undecided to take a stand or take action on behalf of our rivers, lakes, and oceans.
  • Part 1. The Perils of Preaching to the Choir. Learn how and why most environmental messages fail to connect. After completing this training, you will be able to spot the signs of "preaching to the choir" and recognize when you are sending messages that miss the mark or aggravate your audience.
  • Part 2. The Environmental Message Method, Steps 1-4. Learn to transform professional level conservation writing into messages that are suitable for everyday citizens. You will learn steps 1-4 of the "Environmental Message Method:" Begin With Behavior, Foolproof Photos, Swap the Shoptalk, and the Words That Work.
  • Part 3. The Environmental Message Method, Steps 5 and 6. You will learn to approach others to vouch for you in your message, and how to measure the difficulty of your writing to determine if it will educate -- or irritate -- your audience.
Updated in 2015 to include:
  • Results of an in-depth national assessment that provides even deeper insight into what triggers environmental stewardship from everyday citizens
  • Startling new findings on photos and logos
  • Message approaches that conservation communicators can "borrow" from Amazon, Netflix, and other online powerhouses
  • Tips on grammar choices that makes your readers mad and how to avoid that

More Than A Message

Even the strongest message won’t deliver itself! Learn how the pros plan their campaigns, measure their accomplishments, and do it even better next time. The More Than a Message training provides big concepts and practical tips you need to plan and carry out your effort. The workshop trains you how to target specific audiences, deliver your message to them, and hold their attention long enough to have your desired impact.
  • Part 1. What happens to your message once it's out there? In this workshop, learn how you can use "the slope" to predict and measure the number of people who notice and respond to your message. Discover what it takes to turn simple actions into big steps that really make a difference.
  • Part 2. Ready, Aim, Fire! or Ready, Fire, Aim? In this session, we will explore how to research your target audience and deliver your message using mass media, direct marketing, and online techniques.
  • Part 3. Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan. You will learn to distinguish successful and unsuccessful communication efforts and how to draw up the best plan possible with the resources you have available.

Perfect Outreach Projects

On time, on budget, on message. So easy to say. So hard to do. In this course, you will learn how outreach projects can go wrong and how to reduce your risk of a self inflicted disappointment. The Perfect Outreach Project series provides a practical introduction to the art and science of "project management" -- leading teams of people to successful outreach outcomes.
  • Part 1. Constructive Committees & Securing Signoffs. We will study the hilarious example of the worst outreach project ever and what mistakes caused the committee to tie themselves up in frustrating knots. Then you will learn how your team can work together to avoid the same fate.
  • Part 2. "Role" Up Your Sleeves. "Role" with the Punches. Don’t do it all yourself! Get the most out of the people on your team and learn where to find people who have the skills that you need at a price you can afford... even if that that price is “free.”
  • Part 3. Chickens and Eggs. Overwhelmed by deadlines? There’s a cure for that. In this session, you will get tips for breaking big projects into manageable pieces. And you will learn what to say to secure cooperation from whomever is holding you up.

Breaking Through Barriers

Foreign languages. Cultural differences and isolation. Low education levels. More often than not, you will encounter these barriers when working in the very communities that are most at risk of catastrophic weather and environmental hazards. And you will also encounter these barriers when reaching out to those who catch the fish, cut the trees, dig the mines, drill the wells, and drive the bulldozers. The Breaking Through Barriers series provides big concepts and practical tips to help you reach out to "underserved" audiences from all walks of life.

  • Part 1. Culturally Sensitive and Targeted Outreach. If they don't read the paper, visit your website, or come to a public meeting, how can you reach them? In this session, we will review some of your options for finding and delivering a message to underserved communities.
  • Part 2. Messages that Connect. You have delivered your message. Can they understand it? In this session, we will explore the concepts of “readability” the art and science of writing for audiences that don’t read well. And then we will review your options for translating English language materials into foreign languages.
Move Up to the Majors

For every $1 that a foundation gives to a nonprofit organization, private donors give $5. So why is your organization stuck on the foundation fundraising treadmill? The "Move Up To the Majors" series provides big concepts and practical tips for setting up a fundraising program to tap the deep pockets of wealthy and generous individuals in your community. 
  • Part 1. Finding and Approaching Major Donors. What are the demographic and psychological traits that make somebody a promising major donor candidate and how can you find those people in your community? In this session, you will learn how to efficiently build a list of prospects and take the first steps towards developing a relationship with them.
  • Part 2. Schmoozing for Dollars. Major donors have very different needs and goals than foundation officers. Earning their trust requires a different approach. In this session, you will watch a variety of conversations between donors and fundraisers to see how it's done. Then you will rewrite the scripts and role play the conversations yourself. You will leave this session ready to approach that prospective donor without feeling like a beggar or a used car salesman.
Combat Communication for Conservationists

Conservation and controversy go hand in hand. Sooner or later, the mud will fly and your work and your reputation will be on the line. In this training, you will hone messaging skills you need to set the record straight and come out on top!