Course Outcomes

This communication skills course that targets employees working in technical fields will:

  • Review several communication models and what must occur for communication to be understood.
  • Provide an overview of various communication channels and when to use each. 
  • Explain people styles and how to adjust to different communication preferences.
  • Offer a process for determining at what level to share information.
  • Outline steps for clearly communicating technical information to those not intimately familiar with a topic.
  • Suggest tactics for navigating office politics, advocating for a project, and selling ideas.

Course Overview

If you are a scientist, engineer, or information technology professional, chances are your workday consists of a lot of complex and detail-oriented tasks. Having the skill and talent to perform those functions is part of what it takes to be successful in a technical field. The other piece of the puzzle is communication. Top technical professionals know how to adjust their messages to different audiences, articulate the value of their work in terms that are easy to understand, and deliver instruction and feedback to a range of people.

During this down-to-earth program, participants will learn a variety of fundamental skills: building personal credibility, delivering positive and negative feedback, listening to build rapport and understand others, making small talk, dealing with difficult people, navigating office politics, and working well on a team.

Program Objectives

At this program’s conclusion, participants should be able to:

  • Explain how communication works and where breakdowns most often occur.
  • Choose an appropriate communication channel based on the goals of a message.
  • Explain how body language can amplify or contradict messages.
  • Adapt to different people styles.
  • Tailor messages to different audiences.
  • Present big-picture information as well as detailed data.
  • Demonstrate how to use listening and questioning skills to understand requirements and generate buy-in.
  • Support different types of managers.
  • Lobby for projects and sell ideas.
  • Identify actions and attitudes shared by team players.

The following outline highlights some of the course’s key learning points. As part of your training program, we will modify content as needed to meet your business objectives. Upon request, we will provide you with a copy of the participant materials prior to the session(s).

Workshop Outline

Communication as a Tool: Why Communication Skills Are Critical

This program starts with an overview of the communication process. During this interactive discussion, participants will explore several communication models, articulate their challenges, and confirm the agenda for the session.

Choosing the Right Channel: Understanding Options

The right message delivered via the wrong channel can quickly turn into the wrong message. This part of the workshop explores communication channels and the pluses and minuses of various options. To reinforce learning points, participants will use a building-block activity to communicate the same information verbally, in writing, and with pictures.

Building Personal Credibility: Understanding Different Communication Styles

You can’t change others, but you can change how you approach them. The key is knowing what kinds of communication different groups of people respond to best. In this part of the program, participants will complete Business Training Works’ signature diagnostic tool, The Communication Jungle. Once the participants understand their preferences, we’ll talk about specific tactics for adjusting to others.

Avoiding the Provocative: Tell It Like It Is, Differently

“Can’t,” “Why didn’t you…,” “That won’t work.” That may all be true, and you won’t win any friends positioning information that way. In this portion of the program, we will look at provocative versus proactive language and how word choice influences how people feel about us and their interactions with us.

Staying Out of the Weeds: Tailoring Messages

Emails that are nine screens long, presentations with 150 slides, conversations that go down rabbit holes – sound familiar? Getting buried in the weeds is a challenge many people in technical fields find themselves up against. This part of the course focuses on tools for communicating information succinctly and at the right level. In this seminar segment, we will explore such tasks as conducting an audience analysis, putting the main message front and center, and using stories and analogies to communicate complex ideas.

Avoiding Miscommunication: Confirming Understanding

“I explained what needed to be done, they nodded, and then they did something completely different. I just don’t get it!” From time to time, messages are not received in the way we expect. This part of the program looks at miscommunication and how to use active listening and questioning skills to reduce the likelihood that people fail to understand each other. During this segment, we will also explore the value of using questions to: generate buy-in, lead people to conclusions, and help them understand the reasons behind decisions. 

Navigating Office Politics and Other Challenges: Getting What You Want

Understanding communication styles is one piece of the people puzzle; knowing how to navigate office politics, advocate for a team, and build credibility are some of the others. In this part of the course, we will explore such topics as working with different types of managers, lobbying for projects and selling ideas, and being viewed as a team player.              

By the end of this interactive workshop, participants should have a better understanding of the communication process and how they can leverage various tactics to build their credibility, increase their effectiveness, and successfully work with a wide range of people.