Introduction – Training Overview
Competencies in Communication
What is communication
Success of interpersonal skills
Reflecting and clarifying
Communicating in difficult situations
Dealing with difficult communication
1. Familiarize the trainees with the concepts and theories of
communication and its role in the success of the individual
on personal, social, and practical levels.
2. Make sure that the trainee acquires the necessary skills of
the effective communication with himself and others in social
and formal settings.
3. Teach the trainee how to apply these skills in various life
situations through improvement methods.
Everyone uses interpersonal communication skills. We use them at home with our
families, in the workplace with our bosses and coworkers, on our computers when we
answer email, and on the telephone when we order pizza. This training is intended to help
you improve your interpersonal communication skills and develop new skills to become a
more effective communicator.
The first step in communication is using the appropriate method. In the work place here is
likely to be a variety of tools available and you will need to decide whether a situation calls
for an email, a phone call or a face to face conversation.
Ascertaining the appropriate tone to use in any given situation is the second step to
success. This applies when either written or verbal communication is called upon. To be
able to do this, you need to understand who your audience is. A formal tone is more
appropriate when addressing a new or recently acquired customer than if you were to
address your colleagues in a team meeting.
Communication should never be a one-way process. When we talk about ‘actively
listening’, it means ensuring you are engaged with others in order to understand what
they are saying. Asking questions and summarizing the main points of the conversation is
a good way of checking your understanding of what has been discussed and demonstrates
that you have been listening to what the other person has been saying. Visibly showing
your interest in what others are saying helps to build rapport and can also be achieved
through positive body language like appropriately maintaining eye contact, smiling and
Competency in written and verbal communication skills means you
are able to:
Select appropriate and effective communication methods.
Ascertain the appropriate tone and level of language in specific
Present information via a verbal or written medium that is easily
comprehensible to others.
Actively listen and pay attention to people, asking questions if
Competencies in Communication
Derived from the Latin word `Communis’ which means to
It is simply defined as the act of transferring information from
one place to another
There exist 03 categories of communication notably:
Spoken or verbal communication: face-to-face, telephone,
radio, TV other media
Non-verbal communication: body language, gestures, how we
dress or act or even our scent
Visualizations: graphs and charts, maps, logos and other
visualizations can communicate messages
What is communication?
In many interpersonal encounters, the first few minutes are extremely
important as first impressions have a significant impact on the success of
Everyone has expectations and norms as to how initial meetings should
proceed and people tend to behave according to these expectations. If
these expectations are mismatched, communication will not be effective
or run smoothly, and some form of negotiation will be needed if relations
are to continue.
At a first meeting, formalities and appropriate greetings are usually
expected: such formalities could include a handshake, an introduction to
yourself, eye contact and discussion around a neutral subject such as the
weather or your journey may be useful. A friendly disposition and smiling
face are much more likely to encourage communication than a blank face,
inattention or disinterested reception.
The use of encouraging words alongside non-verbal gestures such as head
nods, a warm facial expression and maintaining eye contact, are more likely
to reinforce openness in others.
The use of encouragement and positive reinforcement can:
Encourage others to participate in discussion (particularly in group work)
Signify interest in what other people have to say
Pave the way for development and/or maintenance of a relationship
Allay fears and give reassurance
Show warmth and openness.
Reduce shyness or nervousness in ourselves and others.
The following points are essential for effective and active listening:
Arrange a comfortable environment conducive to the purpose of the
communication, for example a warm and light room with minimal
Be prepared to listen.
Keep an open mind and concentrate on the main direction of the
Avoid distractions if at all possible.
Delay judgment until you have heard everything.
Do not be trying to think of your next question while the other person is
Do not dwell on one or two points at the expense of others.
The speaker should not be stereotyped. Try not to let prejudices
associated with, for example, gender, ethnicity, social class, appearance
or dress interfere with what is being said.
Effective questioning is an essential skill. Questioning
can be used to:
Start a conversation.
Draw someone into a conversation.
Show interest in a person.
Seek support or agreement.
Reflecting often involves paraphrasing the message
communicated to you by the speaker in your own words,
capturing the essence of the facts and feelings expressed, and
communicating your understanding back to the speaker.
It is a useful skill because:
You can check that you have understood the message
The speaker gets feedback as to how the message is
It shows interest in, and respect for, what the other person
has to say.
You are demonstrating that you are considering the other
Reflecting and Clarifying
A range of subtle, or sometimes not so subtle, signals are used to
end an interaction. For example, some people may avoid eye
contact, stand up, turn their body away, or use behaviours such as
looking at a watch or closing notepads or books. All of these non-
verbal actions indicate to the other person that the initiator
wishes to end the communication.
Closing an interaction too abruptly may not allow the other
person to 'round off' what he or she is saying so you should
ensure there is time for winding-up. The closure of an interaction
is a good time to make any future arrangements. Last, but not
least, this time will no doubt be accompanied by a number of
socially acceptable parting gestures such as hand shaking,
contacts exchanges etc.
There are two distinct types of difficult conversation, planned and unplanned:
Planned conversations occur when the subject has been given thought, they are
planned as the time, place and other circumstances have been arranged or are
chosen for a reason. Planned difficult conversations could include asking an
employer for a pay-rise or perhaps telling your parents that you are leaving home
to live somewhere else. Although these situations are, by their nature, difficult
they are controlled and as long as time has been taken to prepare and think
properly about how others may react they can often end up being easier than
Unplanned difficult conversations take place on the spur of the moment; these
are often fuelled by anger which can, in extreme cases, lead to aggression. Often,
after an unplanned difficult conversation we feel a surge of emotion – regret or
shame if things didn't go too well or potentially a boost to self-esteem and
confidence if they did. After such encounters it is wise to reflect and learn from
our experiences trying to find positives and ways of improving future unplanned
Communicating in Difficult Situations