Candid Conversations

This workshop will help people to communicate in an open and honest way. Why is this important? Because organisations with an open communication and feedback culture thrive.

Being able to have a candid conversation is a skill that comes with practice.

Employees will learn why and how to seek feedback, receive it graciously and give respectful feedback to their colleagues.

  • For people at all levels in your organisation.
  • Full day course. Half-day option available.
  • Run at your offices or virtual classroom
  • Understand the benefits of a candid conversation culture
  • Understand how people are different and how to flex their style
  • Request and receive feedback; understand why it is important and how to do it well
  • Deal with criticism
  • Listen actively
  • Communicate assertively and understand the difference between aggressive and passive communication
  • Give regular positive feedback – not praise
  • Give constructive feedback.

Our facilitator will adapt the content and workshop style of this candid conversations course to the needs of the group.

The following is a one-day program outline, which we can cut to a half-day workshop based on agreed topics.

Introduction and workshop overview

Participants will understand the objectives of the course and link them with their personal objectives.

Why a candid conversation culture?

The group will talk about the benefits of an organisational culture where communication is open and honest. Where relevant we will link the program to the organisational values.

Adapting to different communication styles

Participants will learn to identify four behavioural types: Drivers, Expressives, Amiables and Analyticals. Through a self-assessment team members will find out their own style and they learn some tips in dealing with other styles.

Asking for feedback

Through the Johari Window particpants will explore the benefits of receiving feedback and how to ask for it.

Receiving feedback and dealing with criticism

Receiving constructive feedback is tough.  And awkward. Attendees will discuss how to deal with feedback and the emotions that go with it. They will learn how to develop the emotional intelligence to choose their reaction instead of responding to their impulses.

Active listening

Participants will learn techniques to show they’re listening.

Giving feedback

Giving good feedback is such an important skill. Participants will learn to use the SBIA model to give positive and constructive feedback.

Getting over feedback fear

Giving constructive feedback is challenging for most of us. We’d rather avoid those tricky conversations. The group will look at what holds people back and how to build up courage to assertively give feedback.

Planning and having a challenging conversation

Participants practice using a framework for having any difficult conversation: how to open; how to follow through, and how to close.

Dealing with resistance

What if the other person is offended or denies the topic of feedback? The team will learn to deal with push-back.


We know that the most valuable part of training is putting the new skills into actual use in day-to-day work. We ask the attendees to set concrete goals and make themselves accountable so that the value of attending has a far-reaching impact, and the organisation starts to benefit from their new skills.

Open conversations allow for “a bulls**t-free zone where people love their work and working together.”

-Kim Scott, co-founder of Candor. Inc

Emotional intelligence (EI or EQ) - the capability of individuals to recognise and manage their emotions and those of others.

Being aware of the concept of EQ and then developing it is essential for employees, regardless of their role. High EQ is no longer an add-on but a ‘must-have.’

Workplace conversations

Learning how to have candid conversations at work requires a degree of assertiveness. How do you rate your assertiveness? How would you answer the following questions?

Are you able to:

  • Set expectations and goals for your team?
  • Handle difficult people and situations?
  • Create positive team relationships?
  • Negotiate tricky situations and stand up for yourself in a polite but firm way?
Whether or not you feel confident in all the above, it is worth noting that as well as being being assertive, can you be assertive and remain compassionate? If you are in a leadership position are you able to assert authority while displaying emotional intelligence to show sensitivity to your team member’s feelings? To be an assertive manager, your team must understand their duties and respect your authority as a leader. Instead of dominating employees, you support your team and allow them to flourish. Here are some things to consider:
  1. Set boundaries
Be friendly but at work you need to maintain professionalism and firm in your requests and decisions. Set clear boundaries and expectations, so your team members understand the conditions for their success and can count on you for consistency.
  1. Listen
Listen carefully and actively to what you team members are saying, especially when they are raising concerns. Ask questions to understand the full picture and if you do disagree then be sure to explain your reasoning.
  1. Set clear expectations
At the beginning of every project, explain the expected results and how success will be measured. Allow employees to ask clarifying questions to be sure they understand the scope of their responsibilities.
  1. Give honest feedback
Feedback should happen often and consistently so that your team get used to hearing the good and the bad. Often feedback is only given when someone is underperforming. Create an environment where feedback becomes routine, so that when there are issues your team can see that you are taking a balanced view and respect your honesty.
  1. Support your team
Make an effort to work alongside your team, to collaborate and co-operate. This shows that you have a shared goal and purpose which can inspire them to put in the extra yards. Assertiveness and maintaining open communication lines are skills that can be learned. After reading the above, can you think of one thing that you can start doing (or stop doing) from today to be more open and assertive with your team?