Training and Development Programs

In today’s competitive business climate, effective communication skills are more important than ever. Effective communication skills don’t come naturally for everyone. But the very skills that can set your people and your organization ahead of the pack can be learned.

Is your organization challenged by any of these situations:

  • Dealing with difficult people or issues?
  • Difficulty communicating on conference calls and web-based meetings?
  • Getting people to speak up and take action?
  • Presenting ideas effectively to groups?
  • Underperforming teams?

These issues prevent your people and your organization from creating the most value it can. Moving beyond these issues can be transformational for your organization, so why not get help? Working Conversations can provide your people with the communication skills they need to master challenges from interpersonal dynamics to presenting to large groups of people.

The communication courses and workshops below will assist your organization in bringing bottom line value by giving your people the skills they need to speak up and take action.

Mastering Difficult Discussions

What if you had a difficult discussion with a stakeholder and instead of getting defensive, they thanked you instead? This course shows you how to do just that. Participants will master the art and skill of facilitating difficult conversations with ease. Participants will learn techniques, tips and best practices for communicating in even the most trying of circumstances. Specifically, attendees will learn techniques to address even the most difficult people and topics easily and effectively. From what you do before the conversation starts, to the very first words you say, to how you close the conversation, the model presented in this course provides a step-by-step process for having even the most difficult workplace conversations. These techniques may be applied in conversations around employee performance, layoffs, diversity, or any topic that feels difficult to discuss.
Participants will learn how to:

  • achieve immediate positive results in their very next difficult conversation,
  • create conditions that make it easier to have difficult conversations,
  • confidently give and receive difficult feedback in performance reviews, peer feedback and constructive upward feedback, and
  • listen such that they understand the other person’s point of view in a difficult situation.
Growth Mindset: How to Maximize Your Potential

Ever wonder why some individuals and organizations are able to achieve the goals they set and others aren’t? It all comes down to mindset. If you are constantly trying to prove yourself and outperform others, there’s a good chance you’ve got a fixed mindset. If you’re constantly striving to get better, knowing there is always more to learn, you’ve got a growth mindset. Research shows that a growth mindset leads to a dramatic increase in personal and professional success.
You will:

  • discover how to identify your own mindset and the mindsets of others,
  • find out how mindsets influence creativity, engagement, persistence and performance in your organization,
  • come away with powerful strategies for changing mindsets – both your own and in your organization.


Effective Communication in a Virtual Environment

Today’s work environment demands leaders and individual contributors be more adept at communicating at a distance than ever before. The challenges of working in a 24/7, global environment are significant. This workshop teaches specific skills that assist in effectively accomplishing fundamental communication practices in virtual environments that come naturally in face to face meetings (think turn taking, participation, engagement). The session addresses the challenges of working in a virtual environment and provides specific, tactical skills that increase engagement, improve virtual meeting facilitation and improve performance when working and managing from a distance.
Participants will learn how to:

  • stimulate participation from all participants in the conversation,
  • effectively manage the flow of discussion in virtual environments,
  • get and hold the attention of other participants in the conversation,
  • listen effectively when there are multiple demands on your attention, and
  • manage the technology challenges that are inherent when communicating virtually.
Effective Workplace Communication

Participants will learn to deliver messages of all types effectively, efficiently and in a manner that demonstrates professionalism. A critical and fundamental piece of delivering messages effectively is understanding one’s own communication style and that of others. Accordingly, this course will share with participants a communication style assessment, techniques for best working with others’ communication styles, best practices on professional communication, and methods for communicating effectively across all levels and functions of the organization.
Participants will learn to:

  • understand their own communication style and how it influences their communication,
  • understand the communication styles of others and how they can best speak to those styles,
  • craft clear messages that address audience members’ needs, wants and concerns,
  • encourage collaboration rather than resistance in difficult situations and conversations, and
  • address multiple contexts professionally (internal/external, up/down/lateral).
Talkin’ About My Generation

From how they view work and leadership to how they communicate and use technology, the workplace characteristics of the four generations in today’s workplace vary greatly. Organizations that understand and capitalize on generational differences are rapidly becoming employers of choice. This presentation focuses on the motivations and leadership styles of the generations with special emphasis on the communication behaviors of each generation and how that can work to your organization’s advantage. Because, if the communication doesn’t work, the culture suffers. Participants will leave with strategies and tactics they can put into use in their very next inter-generational interaction.
Participants will learn:

  • the primary motivational drivers of the generations,
  • how leadership communication and behavior varies across generations, and
  • strategies and tactics for adapting their communication style to best connect with those from other generations.
Coaching Skills for Managers

When employees are coached in addition to being managed, they will take direction better, perform more independently and feel more empowered in their work. This course teaches supervisors, managers and senior leaders how to take a coaching approach in directing the work of others. Coaching skills and techniques are taught that can easily be integrated into conversations that managers are already having with their direct reports, requiring no additional meetings.
Participants will:

  • understand and appreciate the differences between management and leadership and know how to enact each through communication,
  • understand the value of coaching conversations and how the objectives and process of coaching conversations differ from those of other conversations,
  • gain skill in having direct, focused conversations around goal setting and achievement, and
  • adopt a set of coaching tools designed to promote more engagement with direct reports.
Ask More Questions: A Prescription for Including Other People’s Perspective

In the fast paced, non-stop world that is the modern workplace, it is easy to overlook other people’s opinions, thoughts and perspectives. Those other perspectives might be just the thing to solve some of the current challenges and issues at hand. But we don’t think to just ask. Using the principles of Humble Inquiry, communication expert Janel Anderson, PhD, will put people in the mindset to ask more questions and to ask the right kind of questions so that they truly elicit what people think . . . not what we want to hear. If you’re ready to have your team asking more questions – and more powerful questions – this is the program for you.
Participants will learn how to:

  • understand the pervasiveness of telling rather than asking,
  • distinguish among four main types of inquiry,
  • learn to create conditions that make it easier for others to ask questions,
  • develop skill in asking in a manner that does not invoke defensiveness in others, and
  • learn to listen such that they understand the other person’s response to questions.
Presentation Skills for Technical Presenters

Technical professionals and other subject matter experts are often called upon to present to others who need to learn from them. Regardless of whether experts enjoy speaking to groups or are apprehensive about it, this course provides the tools and framework for a successful presentation. Learn techniques, methods and strategies for presenting complex information to audiences in a manner that is effective and engaging. The course is delivered in two half day sessions, approximately one week apart, enabling participants to apply the skills in a practice presentation in the second session.
Participants will learn to:

  • analyze audience needs, wants and concerns,
  • craft clear messages that address audience members’ needs, wants and concerns,
  • confidently deliver messages,
  • vary vocal variety, pacing and inflection for maximum engagement,
  • effectively handle questions from the audience, and
  • command the room during a presentation.
Communicating in Groups and Teams

Work does not get done in isolation. Whether you enjoy being part of a group or team or would rather work independently, the reality of today’s workplace is that participating in small group interaction is critical to individual outcomes and organizational outcomes. And making sure everyone’s voice is heard is critical to achieving the best outcomes when working in groups and teams. This workshop will help you develop skills in leading and participating in small group interaction so that all voices are heard. Special emphasis will be placed on small group decision making, managing the conversation, and participation from all members.
Participants will learn to:

  • analyze the needs of the group,
  • communicate effectively with all types of group members,
  • use inclusive techniques to ensure participation from all members,
  • address group conflict, and
  • manage the flow of conversation in group and team meetings.
Power and Influence

Whether you are leading as an individual contributor or have a team reporting to you, power and influence are critical in getting the work of your organization done. In this class you will explore the use of power and influence in getting work done more effectively and achieving individual and organizational outcomes. You will learn the appropriate types of power for use in various contexts, how to influence with and without authority, and how to use power and influence effectively in achieving your career goals.
Participants will learn to:

  • identify and use many types of power,
  • appropriately pair power types with your situation and organizational culture,
  • influence with and without authority, and
  • use power and influence in achieving their career goals.
Making Meaningful Connections: Grow Your Network, Grow Your Career

Chances are, the most valuable person in your network is someone you’ve never met. Those who are two or three degrees of separation away are more likely to know people and things that you do not – people and things that can help you a great deal. This workshop shows that the real value in our network is in the power of weak ties, or the connections of our connections, and explains exactly what to do to capitalize on those connections in a manner that feels good, is authentic and uses a pay-it-forward philosophy. This course weaves together research from business, communication, and sociology, including the original research that led to the now-household phrase “six degrees of separation.” This session will have you making meaningful connections and understanding the impact that growing your network has in your business.
Participants will learn how to:

  • understand how personal and professional networks work optimally,
  • identify missing pieces in your network,
  • craft clear messages of introduction that will help you grow your network,
  • use a pay-it-forward method for making connections, and
  • understand the connections between network growth and business growth.
Strategic Communication

The goal of this course is to equip employees to deliver messages of all types effectively, diplomatically and in a manner that includes context necessary for the audience of that message to understand and appreciate the content of the message. Accordingly, this course teaches participants a communication model that will equip them to share information in a manner that it will be best heard and acted upon. The techniques and strategies presented in this workshop work when engaging with the public, members of your own agency or department, and members of other agencies and departments.
Participants will learn how to:

  • analyze others’ needs, wants and concerns,
  • craft clear messages that address others’ needs, wants and concerns,
  • confidently deliver messages, and
  • effectively handle questions and subsequent discussion.
Communication and Candor in Client Relationships

Participants will learn techniques, tips and best practices for communicating with sincerity and diplomacy and building trust when working with clients and prospective clients. Specifically, attendees will learn communication techniques that build trust, develop rapport and foster collaboration in client relationships and will come away with practical application of those methods. A special area of focus will be placed on understanding the role that brain chemistry governing our emotions plays in trust.
Participants will learn to:

  • further develop communication skills that result in trusting, open conversations,
  • explore a variety of tips, techniques, and best practices, ranging from developing rapport to the actual delivery of a message in conversation,
  • identify and strategize possible solutions to real world business communication challenges where transparency may be difficult,
  • practice communication techniques for managing conversations, and
  • develop powerful vocabulary for managing client relationships.
Leadership for Geeks

Leadership for Geeks is a leadership development program designed for technical professionals who’ve demonstrated leadership potential and whom their management have identified as the next generation of leaders within their organizations.  Customized to your company’s specific succession plan and business needs, the program addresses topics such as strategic thinking, communication, emotional intelligence, and managing change.

Whether they wish to lead people, lead projects or provide thought leadership in your organization, your emerging leaders will be equipped with a framework to lead from wherever they are, while continuing to develop themselves and hone their leadership ability as their career progresses.

Participants will learn to:

  • increase their capacity to listen,
  • communicate with influence,
  • think strategically about business challenges and opportunities,
  • transform their approach to understanding emotional motivation, and
  • manage change effectively.