Charlie Long is passionate about helping others learn to communicate effectively.
With more than two decades in the education and facilitation business, Charlie has a talent for meeting people where they are and helping them stretch to another level of proficiency.
Whether he is teaching presentation design and delivery skills, instructing a department to write better emails and letters, or working with executives to develop their corporate story, Charlie’s approach is engaging, relatable, and relevant.
In addition to his work in the classroom, Charlie has a strong background in counseling and organizational behavior. He is also an award-winning author of children’s books.
Charlie has worked with diverse organizations, among them: BAE Systems, the Department of Homeland Security, Omnicom, the United States Postal Office, Lidl, the Food and Drug Administration, Merck, Novartis, Sandia National Labs, and First Information Technology.
Upon graduating from college, Charlie began his career as a lecturer in biological anthropology at the University of Wisconsin.
In that role, he gained experience with technical writing, academic writing, and the process of translating complex ideas, so technical and non-technical audiences alike could understand the subject matter.
After several years in front of the class, Charlie returned to college as a student and earned his second graduate degree. That schooling opened the next chapter in his career, and he began his work with a series of churches and parochial schools.
At St. John Lutheran Church in Grand Haven, Michigan, Charlie streamlined operations, documented policies and procedures, and guided people through change as they grew the organization and transitioned from a paper-based office to a digital workplace.
Comfortable with school and church management and able to run annual-giving and capital campaigns, Charlie was recruited by Redeemer Lutheran Church and Preschool in Richmond, VA. There, he performed a similar role before he was asked to spearhead a multi-million-dollar capital campaign to open a new church and school in the same city.
Throughout his years with churches and parochial schools, Charlie’s day-to-day responsibilities revolved around strategic planning and plan execution management, governance, organizational revitalization, managing group dynamics, and public speaking.
In tandem with his nonprofit work, during his career Charlie has worked in the corporate world as a trainer and facilitator.
Before partnering with Business Training Works, he supported Coram and Associates on a series of engagements in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. Throughout his tenure with that organization, he taught presentation skills, communication, listening, and conflict resolution.
Now retired from the non-profit world, Charlie maintains a robust counseling practice and focuses on writing, training, and facilitation.
He began his work with Business Training Works in 2014.
- Momma Tree (winner of a Gold Moonbeam Children’s Book Award and Mom’s Choice designation.)
- A Farmers Alphabet (winner of a Silver Moonbeam Children’s Book Award and a Bronze Evergreen Medal for Nature Conservation)
Education and Certifications
Charlie holds a BA in anthropology from Brooklyn College, an MS in biological anthropology from The University of Wisconsin–Madison, and an MDiv from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.
An Interview with Charlie
What three or four words describe your facilitation style?
Relatable, adaptable, and interactive.
You’ve spent a lot of time working with parochial schools. How does that work relate to your corporate projects?
While the nonprofit and for-profit worlds are different, the communication challenges most organizations face are fundamentally the same. Regardless of where they work, employees, boards, managers, and engineers need to share their ideas to make them actionable. Likewise, customers, clients, and stakeholders expect and deserve clear communications.
How do you prepare for a workshop or keynote?
My preparation begins with questions. Some clients know exactly what they want, and others present symptoms. I’ve worked with both situations. My job is to get to the root cause of whatever is going on and to develop a solution I can execute in the time allotted.
What are your favorite topics to facilitate?
I enjoy anything connected to communication. While that includes written, verbal, and electronic exchanges, there is so much more! For example, listening is an underappreciated skill. Whether I’m helping people learn how to lead, manage, negotiate, or just get along better with each other, listening is the cornerstone of that work.
How do you manage program participants with different levels of mastery?
I believe everyone brings something to the table.
I often have groups where some people with decades of experience sit next to participants with far less tenure. Both groups have a lot to contribute. From what I’ve observed, the novices often ask the best questions, while the seasoned veterans are better at seeing the big picture.
I stress the importance of setting goals and working toward improvement in all my courses. That’s going to look different for each person. Once people adopt that mindset, most of the time my sessions become very collaborative.
You’ve written two award-winning children’s books. How does that experience help you with your corporate work?
My book work has a lot of parallels with what I do in the business world.
First, writing children’s books is all about distilling an idea to its simplest core. Through writing for children, I’ve learned to be economical, exact, and direct with words. I find most business communication could benefit from the same strategy.
Second, writing and publishing a book is an exercise in project management. Books, like projects, have deadlines, dependencies, contracts, specialists, marketing, vendors, staffing, budgets, etc.
Finally, children’s books are great examples of the power of storytelling. My understanding of simple storytelling translates well to the corporate world. In business, people don’t have time for the great American novel. They want a story that gets to the point.
How do you stay current with what’s happening in organizational development, coaching, and counseling?
First, I learn a lot from my clients. Second, I pay close attention whenever a colleague or student recommends a book. I discover some of my favorite material this way.
When you’re not working, what are your interests?
I am always writing. Currently, I am finalizing two novels for publication and have a non-fiction work brewing in the background. I am also an avid musician and songwriter. I play several instruments and regularly perform with various ensembles.