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Communication Skills Training

Jarrad Asquith
Kaitlyn Loft

By Jarrad Asquith, Faciliator, and Kaitlyn Loft, Learning Designer,
31 May 2024

Thinka’s ‘Master Communication’ Workshop

When we think about communication, we immediately think about language. It’s more than this though; it’s tone, facial expressions, gestures, ‘what you don’t say’, and it’s often the unspoken feelings that dominate the way a team works together (or not together). It’s true that teams who value authentic communication enjoy better, healthier relationships.

What teams will explore

  • The four communication styles
  • Attention spans of modern audiences
  • Communication methods for high pressure
  • Intent versus impact: how is your style received?
  • The role of empathy in communication

What teams will apply

  • An ability to recognise your ‘default’ style
  • Tools for keeping your message concise
  • Tactics to get your point across quickly
  • A checkin with others on your style
  • Using empathy to fuel connection
Workshop Skill

Communication in its simplest definition, is the transmission and exchange of information from one point to another.

Good communication is crucial when it comes to leadership and teamwork and is a human (soft) skill that shouldn’t be overlooked. Not only does clear communication drive positive business growth, it also builds trust, workplace culture and motivates teams to strive toward common goals.

If you’ve been on the receiving end of poor communication or a negative communication style, you’ll understand how quickly it can affect projects, relationships and outcomes.

To better understand communication, we have identified the four main communication styles, and which style teams should use to their advantage.

Which style should teams use?

While every team member is going to communicate differently, one communication style in particular is going to get the best out of people and projects.

Watch the video or keep reading to learn about these four styles.

Passive

Being a passive communicator isn’t going to get the most out of a team and can cause major issues. People who are passive tend to avoid expressing how they feel, dwell internally on difficult situations and (whether consciously or unconsciously) allow problems to grow without finding solutions.

Someone who adopts a passive communication style is usually a someone who:

  • Allows others to infringe on their rights
  • Apologises frequently
  • Gets taken advantage of
  • Is unable to find their voice

    Passive-Aggressive

    If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of someone with a passive aggressive communication style, you’ll understand how quickly communication can break down – resulting in confusion and resentment.

    People who adopt this style may appear ‘passive’ on the surface but harbour a lot of built-up aggression toward those around them.

    The key characteristics of a passive aggressive communication style are:

  • Use of sarcasm
  • Manipulation
  • Procrastination on important tasks
  • The silent treatment
  • Sneaking back power in unhealthy ways
  • A passive aggressive communication style can lead to a toxic culture and quickly demotivate employees.

    Aggressive

    There is nothing passive about those who are aggressive. These brash communicators routinely upset team dynamics and tend to be known as ‘steam-rollers’. Those who lead with an aggressive style can easily put people offside – resulting in lack of respect, trust and disengaged team members.

    An aggressive communicator is:

  • Loud
  • Dismissive
  • Lacking in appreciation
  • Arrogant
  • Overly critical and intimidating
  • Capable of using humiliation to assert authority

    Assertive

    When it comes to the ideal communication style for employee satisfaction, team growth and a thriving workplace culture, the assertive communication style is number one.

    Someone who is an assertive communicator displays the below characteristics:

  • Respects the rights of all parties
  • Seeks a ‘win-win’ for all
  • Is mindful of others
  • Openly discusses issues
  • Listens to others carefully
  • Is honest about their feelings

    Assertive communicators aren’t pushovers but they also aren’t interested in using bullying tactics to get what they want. Becoming an assertive communicator is all about finding your voice and being authentic.

    What can an organisation do to build communication skills in their leaders and teams?

    Teams who are still honing their communication skills will make mistakes from time to time, defaulting to the style that comes easily to them.

    Luckily, there are some easy check points to put in place. These check points help teams self-assess and return to an assertive communication style. This means they’ll continue to build positive workplace culture, strive for high-performance and keep the trust of others.

    Team members who find themselves defaulting to a negative communication style can follow these three steps to get back on track:

    1. Take a deep breath and a moment to pause
    2. Look at all sides of the situation
    3. Engage in an assertive communication style by listening, genuinely seeking the best for all involved, being honest, and speaking with respect and care.
  • Workshop Purpose

    Effective communication is essential for teams to thrive in a complex world of work. Skills in professional communication help teams across a range of industries to develop self-confidence and improve relationships. When employees are strong communicators, they are better able to deliver clear messages and understand other people’s communication styles. The purpose of this workshop is to help employees develop effective communication skills and adapt their own communication style, so they can be more assertive.

    Working with organisations across Australia, we know that communication is the #1 skill sought after by leaders and teams. Here are some reasons why effective communication is essential to modern workplaces:

    1. Rise of ‘human skills’: More and more, organisations are helping employees develop both technical skills and soft skills. Employees are expected to collaborate, build relationships and develop their interpersonal skills. Soft skills are important for both individual and team success in the workplace.
    2. Technology and rise of AI: Advancements in technology and the way we work will automate more manual work, changing job roles and what organisations consider valuable. Employees who are ‘team players’ with highly developed critical thinking and communication skills will become increasingly desirable.
    3. Complex world of work: Living in a ‘VUCA’ (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) environment means that employees will need to solve complex problems together and negotiate solutions. Communication strategies help employees work together and appreciate each other’s perspectives, so as enter comfortably into difficult conversations and find a path forward.
    4. Task clarity: Because the lines are more blurred in modern workplaces, employees will continually need to work together to identify where tasks sit relative to people’s roles. Fundamental skills in good communication gives employees an edge in dealing with conversations related to task clarity, so outcomes can be achieved.
    5. Stress management: An assertive communication style can help employees improve their ability to advocate for themselves and identify constructive solutions to problems, to alleviate stress. Skills in assertive communication help employees express their needs clearly while respecting the rights of other parties.

    Overall, communication skills can help employees navigate these challenges and develop better, strong relationships. With Communication Training, coaching sessions, and support from peers, employees can uplift their communication style and put across their point of view more confidently.

    If you want to learn more on communication and assertiveness skills, see our article on ‘What is communication?’ that talks you through the four communication styles.

    Workshop Benefits

    With the help of Communication Training, skills that employees can put in place to enhance performance include:

    1. Assertiveness: Employees who are assertive communicators are better able to manage a range of communication styles, as they have good listening skills and can present constructive solutions that respect the rights of all parties. Employees understand that different people communicate in a range of ways and that each person will have a unique perspective.
    2. Self-confidence: New situations, projects and ever-changing work environments mean that employees need to learn to speak-up and advocate for themselves. When employees have strong interpersonal skills and business communication skills, they can articulate problems and identify solutions, to develop greater confidence in their roles.
    3. Relationship management: This involves the ability to recognise and regulate one’s own emotions and maintain healthy relationships with others. Employees can improve this by engaging in positive body language and making eye contact, while they communicate their needs and expectations clearly.
    4. Perspective taking: Conflict can arise when there are different perspectives and communication styles in the workplace, but employees who are skilled in good verbal communication can navigate this. Employees who stay calm and objective in situations and look for the ‘win-win’ have a greater impact on workplace culture.
    5. Personal development: When employees learn how to communicate in a skilled way while considering the rights of others, they build healthier, more trusting relationships. Personal and professional development can go hand in hand when organisations invest in bettering communication skills. It is a win for individuals and the broader business.

    By developing capability in communication, employees can grow their interpersonal skills and navigate people, projects and problems with greater ease.

    Workshop FAQs

    What is Communication Skills Training?

    Our communication skills course is specifically designed for employees to understand communication styles and develop effective communication strategies. It aims to provide participants with the tools and resources to apply their learning and engage in team interactions with greater confidence. Our experienced facilitators have worked with many Australian leaders on communication skills and will share case studies and stories to help your leaders.

    Why should my organisation offer Communication Skills Training?

    Being part of this training course can help employees discover more confidence, leading to greater job satisfaction and relationships. It can also help learners to break through barriers that might otherwise hold them back from asking questions or having difficult conversations. The workshop experience is designed to help employees learn from each other and see how they might support each other to grow their communication skills.

    Who can attend Communication Skills Training?

    Communication skills training is designed for teams. The skills we focus on encourages clear and straightforward communication that helps team members convey information and engage in healthier relationships. Leaders can do the workshop with their team or the Boost Assertiveness training course – this is specifically built for leaders to enhance assertiveness skills.

    Is Communication Skills Training only available in person?

    We deliver a lot of face-to-face workshops in Sydney, Melbourne and across Victoria but Communication Skills Training can be delivered in an in-person, virtual or hybrid format; depending on the organisation’s set-up. It is typically made up of strategies, discussions and a series of activities to support on the job application.

    The workshop can be combined with individual or group coaching sessions with a Thinka coach as well – to form a more robust short course. Coaching plays an important role in challenging old behaviours and building fresh confidence and capability in each of the participants. Organisations might also opt for a blended program that makes use of an online course and/or digital media as well.

    Workshop Case Study

    Team Development Program with Mattel

     

    1. What was the objective?

    This program was designed in response to employee engagement data that revealed where capability gaps existed in the organisation. This approach allowed us to focus on specific skills that required development, to improve team and project outcomes.

    2. How did we do it?

    We focussed on skills like enhancing collaboration, driving accountability and assertive communication in a series of workshops – so team members could work toward building greater overall capability in communication skills. Using a hands-on learning approach through a series of activities, discussions and breakout sessions, each workshop was interactive and practical.

    3. How was it integrated and what were the results?

    Using a practical approach meant the learning could be immediately applied when back on the job in different contexts. As an example, the ‘Six Thinking Hats’ were actively used as a result of the collaboration workshop. Also, the ‘above and below the line’ model was put into action as a result of the accountability workshop. These models helped team members use practical frameworks to improve skills in communication overall.

    From this workshop, I commit to being more assertive in situations where I would usually be passive. I'll focus on remembering that no matter what happens I can't control how the other person will answer.

    Master Communication participant, PHD

    Workshop Outline

    Delivery Options

    In Person Workshop

    Virtual Workshop

    See Demo

    Key Outcomes

    1. Team members who can recognise the four 
    communication styles.

    2. Team members who know their ‘default’ style when feeling threatened.

    3. Team members who can regulate their ‘default communication style’.

    4. Team members who know how to handle poor communication in others.

    5. Team members who practise assertiveness and seek the ‘win-win’.

    Target Audience

    Teams
    Leaders

    Learning Approach

    Experiential and application based learning

    Workshops to pair me with:

    Stimulate Creativity

    It’s about knowing how to ideate and
    explore with a bias toward action.

    Skills in Creative Thinking

    Regulate Self

    Self-awareness teaches us that communication is never black and white.

    Build Emotionally Intelligent Teams

    Our in-person workshops maximise opportunities for robust conversation, experiential activities and intensive group work. This is no ‘death by PowerPoint’ experience – our facilitators are skilled in presenting and leading immersive experiences that get the most out of people. Supported by multimedia, attractive takeaway pages and practical strategies for using back on the job – our in-person workshops build a formidable bridge between exploration and application. We have a 10 person minimum for an in person workshop.

    Q
    Our virtual workshops breathe fresh life into the online experience with their almost ‘radio show’ feel. Our expert facilitators use a combination of multimedia, questioning techniques and break out activities to target micro-skills – with a focus on application. Supported by an online platform hosting custom-built workshop materials, participants can be assured of a lively, dynamic session that has a distinct bias to action. We have a 6 person minimum for a virtual workshop.
    Q
    Q
    This audience includes team members who are developing skills to perform their role with greater capability. The skills are geared toward increasing personal and professional effectiveness and are transferable across different contexts – making them last as they move through their career development journey.
    Q
    This audience includes ‘middle management’ leaders who support team members in capability building. The skills are geared toward increasing leadership effectiveness and driving performance in team members in modern work contexts. These skills are flexible and built to grow with individuals as they evolve in their leadership journeys.
    Q

    Thinka believes that every learner needs to walk away being able to do something differently once they’ve engaged in a learning solution. The real power is in every individual applying their learning. Our behaviour-based methods, supported by the latest research, are key to making the steps for change relevant and realistic.

    Thinka supports with methods like storytelling, experiential activities or rich questioning, but ultimately, we know the integration between solution and real world is the most crucial part of the learning experience. That is why we look for ways to ‘build a bridge’ between the solution we provide and what happens back out on the job.

    Whether it’s an application template, a set of strategies, some tips or a ‘how to’ model – we work hard to provide every learner with not just information but the tools they need to make a real difference.

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