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Fully Engaged: Staff Training Can be Fun & Informative!

Kanawha County Public Library System, in West Virginia, hired Fearless Future to talk about marketing at their staff development day. One staff member remarked, “Everyone was dreading a 3 hour presentation, but Mary Evangeliste was such a dynamic speaker that I didn’t realize we spent so much time on marketing. I felt like we had time to actually settle into a topic and really discuss some issues with our library and how to resolve them.” 

I was particularly struck by Mary’s enthusiasm and gift for keeping the 150+ attendees engaged in lively discussion. The staff agreed, commenting that she was “just what we needed to get us going.” The first thing she did was get everyone up and moving so that they could work cooperatively in groups. The KCPLS staff was skeptical at first but soon found that Mary’s group activities were “engaging and fun.”

During the 3 hours, Fearless Future related marketing to everyday experiences, brought the concept of marketing down to an understandable (and fun!) level, and explained the why behind good marketing (instead of listing “commandments”) all with the purpose of increasing staff buy-in. Mary specifically discussed facebook for the benefit of staff members unfamiliar with this next phase in word of mouth marketing. She led the staff though an exercise to develop their own “elevator talks” in order to make all staff members advocates of their library.

The last hour was devoted to talking and listening to KCPLS’s specific marketing questions and concerns. The staff appreciated “the opportunity to voice marketing concerns without key department heads present,” which was at Mary’s suggestion. We later relayed those comments and concerns to KCPLS’s management.

Overall, Fearless Future had a blast working with the staff of the Kanawha County Public Library System! They were a fun and energetic crowd that clearly loves what they do and want only further success. A special thank you to Marsha Alford and Rachelle Beckner for all logistics and all-around good vibes. We hope to see them again soon—and any other institution interested in having Fearless Future work with their staff! If you are interested in having the Fearless Future crew come to your library for a workshop on staff development day or any other day, please contact me directly: