Step 4 - Communications and Content Planning

Credits Daniel O'Clunaigh, Carol Waters, Ali Ravi, Lindsay Beck, Chris Doten, Nick Sera-Leyva Last Updated 2016-03

This multi-part resource details the basics of the event planning process, built from the documented experience of several experienced trainers - among these steps are gathering inputs, analyzing these inputs, and their subsequent impact on the design, preparation and orientation of a training event.

Training Agenda

A major component of preparing for a training is crafting an agenda - the content of this will be informed largely by the findings of the initial needs assessment, in addition to relevant operational realities emerging from context and risk analysis.

Please see the Planning Your Event Agenda guide for further information and guidance on this step.

Pre-and-During Training Communications

Given what you know about the operating environment, and from your initial communication with either the participants or intermediary contact(s), what is the most appropriate means of communicating with participants before and after the training? What will your own communication protocol be as part of your operational security plan?

If circumstances allow for it, one suggestion is to create a participant mailing list. Create a group list (using Riseup or another trusted service) a few weeks before the training to use for logistics, pre-training homework (if any), and anything else relevant to your event. Continue to use this list during the event for any relevant communications, such as alerts for changed times or locations, and possibly for post-training communication as well (see the next section).

Your ability to do this will, of course, depend on the operational security situation of your participants; in some cases, it may be better to use a secure chat room instead or to simply send one-on-one emails as needed.

Post-Training Follow-up Communications

Good follow-up is very important to the success of a training. It’s a good practice to check in with participants to gauge what their needs are some weeks after the training. However, you should be clear about what you can offer in terms of follow up and, if follow up will be difficult, consider people who may be able to do it in your absence.

Another practice for follow up is researching who the local source of trusted tech support is. If there isn’t one locally available, you may try to broker an introduction with one regionally who is available to assist them. Otherwise, the needs of the trainees and their organizations may have no available resource for advice and troubleshooting. Some trainers have the time to provide this assistance on an ongoing basis, but often trainers are strapped for time and resources and struggle to meet the demands for assistance from past trainees. Be reasonable about what you can and cannot provide in the way of follow-up, and help communities advocate for better structures to meet this local demand.

A post-training option is creating a PGP-encrypted schleuder list; if you do this, you will need to train on PGP and do a key signing party at the event for the list. A schleuder list can be a great way to continue to reinforce good communications practices by participants and give them an opportunity to continue practicing what they learned at the training. Otherwise, you can continue to use the initial (non-PGP-encrypted) list after the training.

Additional Resources