Prep Sessions Q&A

I understand you work in a ratio of one consultant to every four participants in communication labs. I have used just one consultant for a group of about ten people. Could you do the same for us?

While we could, this wouldn’t allow us to deliver the results needed to prepare your team for a high-stakes situation. The CCA approach optimizes time, with 80% of a session devoted to coaching and performance and 20% devoted to learning new concepts. While off camera, participants are hammering out strategies and responses to address issues, and learning new skills. This “total immersion” approach produces dramatically positive results – results which spring from a high level of personal attention and individualized professional coaching while working in small groups (1:4).

How many of my people can you accommodate in one session?

From one to 20 – the typical group size is nine to twelve.

We have a group of people who have varying objectives. Some are corporate, others handle media inquiries, and still others deal with regulators and sometimes provide testimony. We don’t want to schedule four different labs. What do we do?

The short answer is we will build a session for you that provides the core system that each participant can build on. Utilizing CCA’s issue resolution workshop may also be helpful. The lab accommodates a variety of communication environments – media, legislative and regulatory briefings or hearings, presentations – and a wide spectrum of issues. This allows you to accomplish several objectives at once and gives all attendees an understanding of how to address a large number of issues facing your organization.

Doesn’t your question-and-answer system tend to make answers sound scripted?

Just the opposite is true. Because the system is very flexible, and straightforward, it adapts to an individual’s style and geographic culture. The main consistency a decision-maker or stakeholder will see in a CCA graduate is a direct and very honest approach to tough questions, and solid proof for each claim made in responses. In fact, many of our graduates have been complimented by legislators, commissioners, members of Congressional Committees, and members of other regulatory bodies for their “refreshing honesty and substance provided in answers.”

When we have used communication consultants in the past, they have normally requested only news clips or a telephone conversation to get up to speed on issues. Why is your level of research necessary?

For several reasons. In-depth research by our team helps ensure that hidden issues won’t pop up in the future to bite you, because they will have been addressed first in our lab. In addition, lab participants almost instantly engage in the learning process once they realize we know their issues as well or better than they do. A solid knowledge of your issues helps make certain that CCA’s strategic counsel and coaching are on target and meet your goals.

Do you run shorter sessions?

Yes, in some situations. The three-to-four-day lab produces better results because it provides more issue-based coaching and “soak-in time” at the end of each day to help lock in new skills. It’s like learning how to fly a plane. To become a pilot you must finish ground school, and of equal importance, you must log hours actually flying the plane. CCA labs are constructed the same way. Short sessions simply provide an awareness of ways to handle high-stakes situations. Full sessions equip your team with the skills and tools needed to succeed under fire by providing ample “flight time.”

Do you ever work with individuals one-on-one?

Quite frequently. This work often involves a CEO or other senior officer, a key witness, a spokesperson, or any individual who feels uncomfortable addressing tough issues in front of colleagues.

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