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  • Does your feedback help people change?
    Does your feedback help people change?
  • Can you allow discussion and still keep control?
    Can you allow discussion and still keep control?
  • Are your conversations achieving what you want?
    Are your conversations achieving what you want?
  • Do you frequently get into arguments?
    Do you frequently get into arguments?
  • How are you coming across to your boss?
    How are you coming across to your boss?
  • Are you getting the best out of your people?
    Are you getting the best out of your people?

We are a small family owned training company, who for the past 4 decades have specialised in a management training course called "Skills with People".

What is the objective of this training course?

The course teaches people how to navigate their way through some of the more difficult conversations that most people need to have from time-to-time (at work), but almost universally feel uncomfortable about.  The course does this by helping people develop two crucial communication skills.  

What are the two crucial communication skills in the syllabus of this training course?

The two crucial communication skills that are based around the theory of emotional intelligence.  The first essential communication skill on the "Skills with People" training course is the ability to be able to tune in on the other person’s wavelength so much so that the other person can become completely satisfied that they have been understood.  We describe this as listening with empathy.  If you can delelop your ability to offer empathy even if you passionately disagree with the other person it can have a profoundly calming effect on the conversation.  Showing respect and understanding for what is motivating the other person effects their mood, and in turn their willingness to cooperate.  

The second crucial communication skill the "Skills with People" training course teaches is how to encourage the other person to reciprocate and to take what you’re saying seriously.  In other words assertiveness training.  

How people get important relationships wrong - either arguing or avoiding conflict

Over the years many people have got confused between assertiveness and aggressiveness.  They think that in order to be taken seriously they have to become loud, or strident or pushy, and as soon as they start behaving like that the conversation can very quickly deteriorate.  When they do this people can get a reputation for being a bit of a bully or an ogre at work.  Consequently, in order to avoid conflict they over-compensate.  They end up become backwards about coming forwards in an effort to avoid getting a reputation for being too dominating at work.  It means they end up becoming gun-shy.

A common behavoural pattern is for people to polorise between two opposite extremes.  On the one hand, people can are motivated by duty and responsibly to speak up about important issues at work.  They may be aware that sometimes others find them a bit gruff, severe or confrontational, so they jump in with both feet ready to fight their corner knowing they are likely to ruffle a few feathers along the way, because they don't want to avoid voicing their opinion just because other people are a bit (over)sensitive.  On the other hand, there may be other occasions when they would love to have their voice heard, and to share their point of view, however they don’t want to rock the boat over relatively trivial matters if it also means they'll develop a reputation as someone who can’t keep their trap shut.  So they end up biting their lip, or sitting on their hands in order to avoid a reputation as a trouble maker or a difficult person.  

How this training course helps people improve their relationships with others

This course teaches people how to be assertive in a way that is very unlikely to be confused for aggressiveness, where they can tell the truth about exactly what they are thinking, and precisely how they are feeling with running the risk of ruffling the other person’s feathers because of the way they word it.

The combination of the two skills (listening with empathy, and speaking assertively) that makes for a very powerful set of communication skills.  Over the years this course has helped thousands of clients develop their confidence to apply these two skills to a wide variety of difficult conversations (primarily at work), and consequently be seen as a safe pair of hands.

It is heart warming for us as trainers to see people's confidence grow as they learn how to:-

  • gain people's co-operation and win their confidence when they are resisting or objecting - influencing and persuasion skills training,
  • calm people down when they are aggressive or complaining - customer liaison training,
  • persuade, sell or negotiate strongly but in a win-win atmosphere without becoming entrenched in fruitless argument or appearing arrogant, more...
  • resolve conflict and disagreement in an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding,
  • confront difficult issues without being aggressive or over-familiar - negitiation skills training,
  • stand up for what I think or want without getting a reputation for being arrogant or difficult - assertiveness training,
  • disagree without getting into conflict,  more...
  • say "no" without causing resentment, or jeopadising reputation or career,
  • be firm but fair – "tough on the issue but soft on the person" - feedback training,
  • give really bad news without appearing arrogant or heartless,
  • give genuine praise without being over-familiar or making people feel patronised,  more...
  • criticise without making people feel attacked,  more...
  • receive criticism without appearing defensive or arrogant - managing upwards more successfully,
  • appraise, counsel, coach or mentor helpfully - coaching skills training
  • handle resistance and negativity in a meeting with confidence and grace - managing change training.

How difficult is it to master emotional intelligence communication skills?

These skills are difficult to master.  This is an advanced communication skills emotional intelligence training course.  Even though the principles involved are relatively easy to talk about, being about to reliably pull these skills out of your toolbag in the heat of battle is a difficult challenge.  Standing at a flip-chart and drawing a diagram saying “Don’t do it like that any more … do it like this instead” is unlikely to be sufficient when the adrenaline is pumping.  The reason is because old habits of communication that most people have picked up over many years, and have become baked into the way people interact when they become stressed by difficult emotions.  The way most people react in difficult conversations, when they are under pressure to perform, is largely influenced by the way they learnt how to manage their emotions at a very early age i.e. when they were in the school playground trying to sort out their place in the pecking order with the other kids.

How practical is this emotional intelligence training course?

This emotional intelligence training course offers practical training similar to that of a sports coach.  We use non-academic, hands-on practice with feedback using a video camera so that participants can study the action replay and analyse their own approach and its effect on others.  This is supplemented by discussion of the principles involved so that they have a chance to develop both skill and understanding.  

What is the feedback training like on this course?

As this is a skills development rather than a theoretical programme, the emphasis throughout is on participants taking turn after turn at practising their skills and receiving feedback about their effect on others.  They learn how to give one another constructive feedback, and practice doing it until they are comfortable.  This is something we manage very carefully.  Most people are a bit nervous about being on the receiving end of bruising critical feedback that has been delivered clumsily.  We show people a safe way to do it, and encourage clients to be warm, friendly and generous with praise, as well as courageous with criticism.  The feedback training people receive on this course are among the most potent skills our clients say they get from this course.  It gives them the confidence to be able to go back to work the very next day knowing that the way they word their feedback to others is far less likely to ruffle the other person's feathers because of the way they've expressed it.  It's a great way to win friends and influence people, as well as inspire and motivate a team.

How long is this training course?

The course is made up of a three-day group training session (with no more than 6 participants) bookended by a series of private and confidential one-to-one coaching sessions, typically spread over about half a year.  

What is the track record of this course?

Over the 4 decades that this course has been running most of our business has been repeat business.  We like to liaise with each participant’s line manager both before the training begins in order to gather feedback about their team member’s training needs, and then a few weeks prior to the final coaching session (roughly half a year later) in order to learn what changes they have made.  Most line-managers of course participants say that if a change has taken place, and the change has been sustained at least 6 months later, then the course has been worth while and value for money.

What next?

Free exploratory coaching session

INTERESTED?

If so, you can have a FREE exploratory coaching session. It'll give you a foretaste of what you can get from the course. You make no commitment to proceed beyond this until you're sure this training is relevant to your own particular need.

How to accept this offer

Simply contact us for a preliminary chat and to arrange your free exploratory coaching session. 

What this session will do for you

In this session we'll aim to give you something practical you can use right away that'll help you handle a difficult situation more successfully at work. All you need do to prepare for this session is think about the kinds of situations you want to be able to handle more successfully.

FAQs

You'll find answers to many of your questions about the content and method of this course under FAQs (in the main menu above).

We love helping you communicate successfully

By giving you communication skills that'll transform even your most challenging relationships and interactions.

That's the purpose of Skills with People, our training course for managers and professional people at all levels. Thousands have benefited from this course.

What People Have Said About The Course

Feedback from a participant's boss - a Merck Sharp & Dohme medical director

She feels more confident in tackling people and has been impressed with her new found techniques, e.g., in dealing with members of the marketing depar ...

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Thank you from a participant

I wanted to let you know that I have secured a new role.  I had to go through an assessment centre and one challenge was to negotiate with a 'belliger ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - head of projects in Heinz

He now gains support through his willingness to involve people more and take them with him.

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Feedback from a participant's boss - a WS Atkins director

Now he actively listens, probes, asks for clarifications and does not assume anymore he knows the answer.

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Feedback from participant's boss - A Philips Semiconductors director

To what extend do I think his training need has been satisfied? Completely. I have been approached by 4 peers to tell me that they could see a very po ...

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Feedback from a participant's boss - a Glaxo SmithKline research director

He has made good progress in two areas: 1. team leadership - he listens with empathy to others well and considers their standpoint as well as his own. ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - an HSBC investment director

I have had three unprompted comments from different team members and colleagues who have been surprised at the consideration he has shown in helping s ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - a Billiton director

He's obviously making a positive effort and it does show. People used to be scared of him. No longer.

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Theatre Manager

Managing to confront them but still maintain their cooperation and support. Previously I was either not confronting or confronting and ending up with ...

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Senior Resource Consultant, Shell International

“Skills with People” has helped me deal with conflict situations.  It has helped me to diffuse tension in meetings and convert pushback into alignment ...

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Learning & Development Coordinator - The Entertainer

I can't recommend this course enough. It has genuinely been the most impactful course I have ever completed. Understanding that I can be assertive w ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - Chairman of White Clarke Group

He has greatly improved his ability to manage a situation. He listens more and uses that information to convince. A good example is the .... group, wh ...

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Golf Club Manager

Ten out of ten for the course for me personally. I think I would have resigned if it hadn't been for the course.

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National Training Index* report on the course

"From delegates reports we have identified Skills with People is a 'highspot' among UK business courses. Delegates mentioned as most helpful the enha ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - a Prudential director

He is a lot more confident. At the last meeting of our business unit leaders he fully led the meeting and dealt with people very well.

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Project Quality Engineer (self funding)

A lesson for life! The power of effective communication is incredible when one masters the skills "listen with empathy" / "speak assertively". Defin ...

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EHS advisor (environmental health and safety), Johnson Matthey

This is the best non-techincal course the company has ever put me on because it's the most useful. 

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Senior Engineer, Qualcomm

An unbelievable experience, highly motivating training and one of the few which stays forever in your mind. A tangible impact to your life and workin ...

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The wife of a participant

"Just thinking about last night’s conversation and it’s bringing tears to my eyes – it’s what I’ve always wanted: to be able to talk with you like tha ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - a Johnson & Johnson marketing director

She has become increasingly aware and focussed on ensuring she is gaining cooperation from colleagues by the way she approaches situations. E.g., Meet ...

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Feedback from a participant's boss - a Shell International senior manager

He is showing far more self-awareness and more restraint in potentially confrontational situations. He is far more aware of the impact his actions and ...

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Sports Centre Manager

I feel that my relationship with other attendees has improved massively following the session. I'd say 9/10 for what I've got from the course as I sa ...

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Workshop Manager, Professional Plant Services

I now find it easier to have awkward conversations. (As a result of how he has changed several more people from his company are asking to attend the c ...

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Leisure Centre Manager

The most useful part of the course was learning how to convey my disappointment with a member of staff without demotivating them, without making them ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - a Kimberley-Clark marketing director

He is now aware of his need to control his direct approach. He was sometimes too assertive. I think he is now well balanced in this respect.

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Feedback from participant's boss - a Johnson Matthey Catalysts (Germany) senior manager

There has been a noticeable improvement in the performance of this customer service engineer. He is much more succinct now than he was before. He was ...

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Fundraising Officer, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)

A very intimate training which will make anyone reflect on how best to engage with colleagues when confronted with difficult situations.

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Feedback from participant's boss - a Johnson & Johnson finance director

He has made excellent progress in the management of his team. He has ensured key stakeholders are involved in decision-making and has gone to great le ...

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Examples of Training Needs Met

Being more assertive would help career go better Read More...
Enormous enthusiasm but little sensitivity Read More...
Difficulty communicating with non-technical people Read More...
Allowed his meetings to get out of hand Read More...
Flying high but creating a tense atmosphere Read More...
Well intentioned but demoralising his team Read More...
Preparing for a more challenging role Read More...
Respected specialist who was too quiet at meetings Read More...
Very logical but not creating enough rapport Read More...
Not delegating or developing others Read More...
Technically very sound but lacking persuasive skills Read More...
Had a positive attitude but gave a negative impression Read More...
Very diligent but hated dealing with difficult people Read More...
Lots of energy and ideas but little attention for his clients Read More...
Forceful communicator who created friction Read More...

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