Communication Topics

Everyone communicates.

Now learn how to do it effectively and efficiently.

It's time to register: Each Friday, we're building up one new communication skill that will help you do your job better and faster. Though designed for new staff, anyone who wants a refresher or wants to explore a new area is encouraged to join. All trainings begin at 8:30 a.m. and last 60 minutes or less.

You must register for each training separately by clicking the training title. 

February 11
Creating and Organizing Custom (Short) URLs, with a bonus training: Creating an Email using Webtools
Ensure the public has an easy way to get to your webpages, videos, and registration sites by creating short, memorable URLs. We'll also demonstrate how to organize your short URLs, sent emails, and groups into Webtools folders.

As a bonus: We'll take a slow walk through creating emails, putting together all the things we have learned the last three weeks of training. We had hoped to get to that last week, but time got away.

February 18
Visual Branding Rules | Using Canva Templates
Branding is more than a logo and color palette. Branding is positioning your company to make a favorable impression so that potential customers think of you when making a buying decision. That said, the visual representation of our brand matters so that people can instantly recognize us as University of Illinois Extension. The 1-hour training will provide all you need to know to get the branding right the first time.

February 25
Copyright and Attribution Policy for Extension
Growing up, we learned not take what wasn't ours. That's basically what copyright laws say. Copyright laws protect the creators of intellectual property from the unauthorized use of their content. Violations have cost the organization hundreds of dollars. This is a training every Extension staff, regardless of job title, should take once, twice, maybe even three times for good measure. We will break down the law and provide practical advice on doing good work in the field.

March 4
Extension Policy for Required Statements
Funding for Extension includes federal funds and grants, state funds and grants (through the Illinois Department of Agriculture), local municipalities (both allocations and tax levies), and private donations. With this complex funding structure comes specific requirements for transparent acknowledgment of affiliations, as well as adherence to all non-discrimination and accessibility policies of the federal and state governments and the university. Ensure your documents meet the requirements.

March 11
Website Editing: Removing Text Formatting, Adding Photos, Adding PDFs, Writing
The website platform, Drupal, isn't hard, but it isn't easy, either. We'll walk through some basic functions of the website and how to use them to engage your readers. We'll see what industry research tells us about word choice, placement of photos, use of bolded text, and so many other tricks of the trade. 

March 18
Writing Your Staff Bio
Don't leave people guessing who you are. Extension communications has a step-by-step outline every staff member can use to create a professional online bio. Bios help improve our ranking with Google so more people can find us. It also builds your credibility as an expert and provides an easy way for others to introduce you. Help us meet our goal of every staff member having an online bio.

March 25
Creating Website Sliders: The How and the Why
Sliders add interest and provide easy ways for readers to find the content they want. Done incorrectly, they can make your website look unprofessional and confuse the user. This training will show how to size photos consistently, write optimum titles, and layer sliders. This session will be most useful for staff who have responsibility for adding and editing Extension website content. 

April 8
Creating Website Events
People have many options available to them, so it's important we use our best marketing practices each time we create a website event. It's not enough to just list the time and place for an event. It might surprise you to learn that messy graphics sometimes discourage people from attending. Join this session even if you've been creating events since the beginning of time.

April 15
Writing Press Releases
I heard it. That collective sigh across the system when you even think about writing a press release. We've got a formula that will turn writing releases into the best part of your day. In this training, we'll also review some of the common style errors that keep papers from using your content.

April 22
Stop Writing Emails No One Reads
It's frustrating to feel no one reads your emails, and worse, that no one acts on the emails you send. You don't have to be a storyteller to write effective emails. We'll show you a fool-proof way of organizing the content so people read and respond. It's not the impossible dream.

April 29
Understand What Makes People Act
There are two reasons people fail to act, according to Annie Niemand, research director for the University of Florida's Center for Public Interest Communication: They either don't understand what you're asking of them or they don't care. This workshop focuses on writing that inspires people to care enough to act on what we write. This workshop isn't just for content creators. We all have instances we need someone to act.