communication skills training
Communicating with EQ
We have been communicating since the day we were born. By adulthood you’d think we were all pretty much expert at communicating with one another. What is there to learn in attending a communication skills training course? But you will be surprised how much of how we say or write something affects our work relationships.
- Everybody can benefit from this communication skills training course, no matter their role in your organisation. For intact teams this workshop has the effect of a team building day.
- Full day communication skills course. Half-day or shorter course options available
- Run at your offices or in a virtual classroom
Training goals are to:
- understand the value of emotionally intelligent communication in the workplace
- learn the things that make communication difficult or less effective
- understand different communication styles and being able to adapt
- ask different types of question to gather information
- learn to listen actively
- build rapport
- communicate with empathy
- write effective emails.
Our facilitator for this communication skills course will adapt the content and workshop style to the needs of the group. The following course program is for a full day workshop:
Introduction and workshop overview
Participants will review the agenda and discuss their training objectives.
So, what actually is communication?
The group will explore their ideas of what communication is and where they see their strengths and what they find challenging. They will look at the role of emotional intelligence in effective communication skills.
It goes without saying
Participants will study some of the science behind human communication and find out how little of what we communicate is done with words. They will learn about the important role of non-verbal communication, such as body language and vocal tone. Participants will learn how useful EQ is: how tuning in to a speaker’s body movements, facial expressions, posture, and how something is being said can provide more information than simply the words that are being spoken.
In this segment the group will look at different communication styles, also called behavioural styles. Participants will learn about the DISC model and how they can adjust their style to put the other person on-side rather than off-side. Being emotionally intelligent in communicating with other team members allows for more productive dialogues and ultimately builds better relationships.
Questions and answers
Often, asking the right questions helps in finding solutions to issues. Further to asking the right questions, is asking the right type of question. Extending on this topic of effective questioning skills the group will learn to actively listen to the answer. The group will understand how active listening through observations, effective probing, clarifying and summarising can provide them with what they actually need to know in an effective and emotionally intelligent way.
The ‘r’ factor
In communication, a lot of relationship and team development comes down to building good, old-fashioned rapport. For ‘people-people’ this comes as second nature and for others this is not as easy to master. Here the group will explore in which ways we can build and maintain rapport with team members and other work colleagues.
Feedback v criticism
Giving feedback is essential in a workplace so that people can grow and develop and see what they themselves cannot see. Yet it can be perceived as criticism. This session will help all group members master the skill of giving both positive and developmental feedback in a respectful way.
As well as giving feedback the group will look at receiving feedback. Negative feedback can be hard to get to grips with, so we will demonstrate some techniques to process the information and use it for our own benefit.
The group will spend some time focusing on emails. Email communication is for many a main way of communication these days and effective written communication is critical. Some people prefer to email their colleagues rather than have a face-to-face discussion and this session will guide the participants when email is and is not the best medium to use.
The group will be given guidance on what makes a good email, and how they can structure emails to deliver messages with impact and clarity.
The most important thing about this communications skills training is putting things learnt into practice. The participants will therefore consider what communication techniques are most relevant to them and how they can best put them to use. They will also plan for the results they hope to see from using these new or refreshed skills.
Why is emotional intelligence important to communication skills?
Where do we start? Emotional intelligence or EQ/EI is integral to good communication skills and therefore it takes a central role in our communication skills training course.
Emotional intelligence is everything in understanding others. It gives you the skills to tune into others. EI allows you to interpret how other people’s emotions influence what they say and how they act. This helps you choose how to respond with emotional intelligence, which is in ways that build relationships.
EI also helps you ‘read’ your own emotions and help you communicate with a filter for each situation. You will be better in making sure your feelings don’t get in the way of what you mean to communicate. For example, when people are angry, they are often more direct and others are likely to take offense. EQ then helps to notice your emotion of anger and steer communication in a way that achieves the results you’re after. Usually that is not hostility or an argument.
In summary, communication skills and emotional intelligence go hand in hand.
"The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives "
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.’
Communicating with your remote team
The COVID-19 pandemic has made remote working much more normal for many people. Imagine how hard this would have been without the technological advances we have today. At least with widespread and high-speed internet connectivity, and phone and video conferencing many people have been able to keep working, meeting, and connecting with their teammates.
A temporary requirement for remote working has become much more long term for some. Extended periods away from colleagues and building relationships with staff who are fairly new is challenging when done remotely, so it’s a good idea to introduce some new forums, or change existing routine meetings, to promote connection.
Remote working for some organisations is normal where the team is spread out geographically around the country, or in different countries. In these cases, time zone and technology challenges and possibly even cultural differences play a part in the quality and frequency of our connections.
We humans are resourceful and the benefit of connecting to our colleagues outweighs challenges that are thrown at us. Armed with our laptops and 4G, possibly 5G, internet we can strive to maintain a high level of communication with our teams and dispel any sense of isolation. It is worth being aware of some of the challenges of remote communications as opposed to being physically present with our teams, so that we can prepare and plan for these interactions.
Video conferencing is a lot more intense than meeting in person since everyone is focused on the screen. Keep meetings shorter than they normally are by being strict on the agenda and purpose. Where some discussion is required, ask people prepare beforehand and possibly submit information to the group prior to the meeting. This can be really helpful for team members where English is not their first language. Also, reading material beforehand rather than listen to a long discussion can help them be more involved in the decision making.
Social video meetings are a great idea to connect the team and, again, you will need to be more structured than you normally would so that you can involve everyone. A quiz or a fun survey will be more effective than a general catch-up, when shy team members will generally not get involved in the discussion.
Another useful idea, especially for camera shy team members, is asking each team member to share a photo each meeting which they can present and talk about for a couple of minutes. Have a theme that each person gets a chance to talk about e.g. a photo taken on their regular walk; a photo or map of the place they grew up; a photo of their favourite meal. This may feel like ‘show and share’ at school, but this is simple structure is effective in allowing people to get to know each other, and have a non-work conversation, now that there is no coffee break banter.
For team members who are overseas this is a great way for them to show aspects of their lives and for the whole team to appreciate differences, but also similarities.
Lots of other activities you can do with a remote team to enable social interaction here.
People’s households all operate on different timetables and some people will find it hard to be as focused as they can be when in the workplace. Be flexible when meetings are held, especially one-on-one meetings. For colleagues with young children, or a partner who works shifts, a coaching catch-up meeting during the regular office hours, may not work as well as an 8am meeting or a 6pm meeting. If it’s mutually convenient then the meeting can be much more productive with less distraction. If you know a colleague has challenges with getting some quiet time ask what time suits before sending a meeting invite.
If you have a daily or weekly group meeting just to check in and check on work at hand, then discuss with the group what time works best. 9am may not be suitable for all, so agree a time that everyone can commit to, especially if people are working in different time zones or have family commitments.
More than 90% of face-to-face communication come from non-verbal signs such as body language and vocal intonation. Not seeing your colleagues in person means that you will lose out on some of this non-verbal messaging, especially if you are not using video conferencing, or if due to technology restraints the connection is not so clear.
You may need to ask more open questions to encourage them to talk more, listen more attentively, allow for more time to gather all the unspoken information that you may have received in half the time when speaking in person.
Working with teams in a different country may also mean that communication is a little askew, and this may take some time to build trust, respect and some understanding. Get some guidance from experienced colleagues or with more senior team members in the other location to give you some tips on how best to close any gap or how to avoid misunderstandings. Rather than bending communication style one way or another try to come towards a meaningful middle ground where you can rely on the quality of communications.
Staying in touch and supporting your team whilst working remotely can be effectively done with just small tweaks to how you may normally operate. We learn so much from one another that this investment in staying in touch and having those conversations is critical for teams to bond and grow. If teams need assistance in communication skills then you are in the right place. Talk to us about our available workshops, which can of course, be run remotely!