Communication Calisthenics

Venue: MicroTek Atlanta

Location: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Event Date/Time: May 25, 2011 End Date/Time: May 26, 2011
Registration Date: Apr 16, 2011
Early Registration Date: Mar 26, 2011
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“Communication Calisthenics” is all about discovering communication muscles you didn’t realize you had, toning muscles you haven’t used in a while, and further strengthening muscles you’ve been using all along. This two-day seminar is jam-packed with valuable information and interactive activities.

Day One of the seminar is “The Warmup” with an emphasis on stretching your communication muscles. In Module 1, we’ll begin by discussing how you can become a more authentic communicator. First, we’ll differentiate passive, assertive, and aggressive communication. From there, we’ll examine the principles of reciprocity involved in authentic communication and uncover how you can establish your personal boundaries. This module will conclude with a discussion of the delicate topic of knowing when and how to say “no” to preserve authenticity and an interactive exercise entitled Authenticity Improv.

The next step toward communicating effectively is learning how to listen. Module 2 will focus on techniques to master active listening skills. Listening is very different from hearing, and we will explore how the two are very different. In this module, you will complete an instrument designed to identify which of the four styles of listening you most commonly use: people-oriented, content-oriented, action-oriented, or time-oriented. Once you discover your personal listening style, we will cue in on how to adapt your style to different situations and people whose listening styles are different from your own. As we venture further along on our journey to mastering active listening skills, we will also discuss the difference between active listening and passive listening. In order to become a more active listener, we will identify those distractions that inhibit active listening and suggest some ways to overcome those distractions. Finally, we will explore some basic active listening strategies and put these into practice in a challenging listening activity.

Of course, not all communication is verbal. In Module 3 of the session, we will endeavor to understand nonverbal cues in communication. Studies have suggested as much as 90 percent of our message’s meaning is derived from nonverbal communication, which encompasses facial expressions, gestures, vocal communications, body language, and many other aspects. Often our nonverbal communication does not mesh with our verbal communication. We will touch upon examples of incongruities in your verbal and nonverbal communication. For instance, as a supervisor, you may claim to have an “open door” policy, but the stacks of files and paperwork on your desk acting as a communication barrier between you and your employees say something altogether different. As a trainer, I can gauge how well the session is going by looking at my attendees’ faces. Confused looks may signal that I need to slow down and review the material. If I see a look of boredom or impatience on their faces, I know that it is time to switch gears by either taking a quick break or jumping into an interactive group exercise. In the workplace and beyond, it is just as important for you to be in tune with your listener’s verbal cues and to adjust your verbal communication accordingly. We will look at how that can be accomplished. We will also discuss how to resolve the five most common nonverbal communication issues at work. This module will conclude with a fun, energy-filled game of nonverbal communication charades.

Day Two of the seminar is “The Workout” with an emphasis on strengthening your communication muscles. With a solid understanding of authentic communication, active listening, and nonverbal cues in communication, we will turn toward specific communication issues in the workplace. Giving constructive feedback to a co-worker is not a task many relish. It’s often difficult to walk the line between being too harsh in your criticism and too mild. In Module 1, you will learn how to effectively give constructive feedback by using the Positive-Negative-Positive model, often referred to as a “compliment sandwich.” Next, we’ll turn to the ten qualities of constructive feedback. We’ll talk about what it looks like and what it should sound like. While giving constructive feedback can be quite challenging, being on the receiving end of constructive feedback can be equally as challenging. No need to worry! At the conclusion of the module, we will review the seven tips for giving constructive feedback and the five tips for receiving constructive feedback. To cap things off, in a unique activity I call Oreos, you will be able to practice giving and receiving constructive feedback.

In the course of our everyday lives, disagreements with our neighbors, friends, and loved ones are inevitable. The workplace, where we often experience disagreements with our fellow colleagues and supervisors, is no exception. Module 2 focuses on how you can voice disagreement effectively. The foundation for this discussion lies in realizing that disagreement in and of itself is not negative. In fact, there are numerous benefits to healthy disagreement. We’ll review these before moving on to the formula for voicing disagreement, the 5W/1H model. Next, we’ll explore the three types of professional relationships in the workplace and the degree of personal investment involved in each relationship. Against this backdrop, we will explore approaches to dealing with challenging people in each of these types of relationships. Unfortunately, differences with our co-workers sometimes degenerate from disagreements into conflict. In the final section of this module, we will review the Eight Ps to resolving workplace conflict constructively. We’ll conclude this module with a role play called “I Beg to Differ.”

In Module 3, you will learn methods to address sensitive or difficult work-related issues in communication. In the first section of the module, we will tackle the impact of gossip in the workplace. Specifically, we’ll examine the types of gossip that should be avoided in the workplace, 10 common reasons people gossip, and the costs of workplace gossip. From a practical standpoint, we’ll discuss how to deal with gossip from both a managerial and an individual perspective. Additionally, we’ll explore seven strategies for responding to people in your office who approach you with gossip and what you can do if you become the victim of gossip. The second section of the module addresses employee negativity. We’ll look at the causes of employee negativity and the types of negative employees, discuss some strategies to deal with negative co-workers, and examine ways to foster a positive work environment. In the final section of the module, we’ll turn to the issue of bullying in the workplace. This section includes a thorough discussion of examples of bullying behavior and tactics, common reasons why people bully, dealing with bullying from a managerial and an individual perspective, and what to do if you are the victim of bullying. The module will conclude with an interesting brainstorming activity.


1000 Abernathy Road, NE, Northpark Town Center, Building 400, Suite 194
United States

Additional Information

Your registration tuition includes a continental breakfast (assorted bagels, pastries, fresh fruit, and breakfast bars/oatmeal) and hot lunch for both days. Additionally, complimentary hot/cold beverages and snacks will be available throughout the day at the self-serve stations in the lunchroom. Your tuition also includes all session materials (150-page workbook and handouts) and a certificate of completion. Please contact us for discounted rates for groups of 5 or more.