Critical Conversations for technical people


Course overview: 
Honest feedback is often essential to ensure a project is successful, to provide feedback to a customer or to assist in the development of a key member in a team. Technical people are sometimes confused as to why their seemingly factual feedback is taken badly and so shy away from being truthful in order to protect the relationship of the person they are dealing with.  Suggestions for improvement if not skillfully delivered can be interpreted as personal criticisms or highlighting of inadequacies.  

This course provides a practical framework to help to plan and have a potentially emotional conversation with brutal honesty while protecting personal relationships. Conversations are real-time and technical people often struggle in-the-moment. The practical framework-based structure with conversational models fast-tracks the delegates to initiate critical conversations safely and provides recovery strategies to get the conversation back on a good footing when things go awry.  

Who should attend?
Technical managers | Specialist engineers | Project managers
Anyone who wants to communicate more effectively

Course goals:
Upon completion of this course, delegates will be able to: 

  1. Recognise a critical conversation and how emotions take them off track
  2. Plan a critical conversation using a foundational 3S-3F model
  3. Deploy advanced communication skills with emotional control
  4. Deal with difficult conversations using the advanced 5S-5F-3A model
  5. Close well with good follow-up
Managing Director, TMC Global
Trevor Manning started his career as a specialist design engineer and over a career spanning 30 years, he held various senior management positions up to board level. He runs a training and consultancy business aimed at helping technical people transition from technical expert to manager and continues to offer training in his speciality field of microwave radio planning. He has written several books including “Help! What’s the secret to leading engineers?”, “Help! I need to master critical conversations” and “Microwave Radio Handy Reference Guide.” He is also the author of the best-selling classic Artech House book “Microwave Radio Transmission Design Guide”, which has sold thousands of copies worldwide and regarded as the de-facto reference book for propagation issues and radio link design.

Recognising a critical conversation

At the end of this topic, delegates will be able to:
• Recognise a critical conversation and why it can go wrong
• Use the foundation 3S-3F conversation model to plan a conversation

Session overview
Collaborating at work involves conversations, whether giving a status update to management on a project, giving feedback to a colleague on a design idea or contacting a customer with a new delivery date. Seemingly innocuous conversations can quickly turn emotional, even if those emotions are displayed through withdrawal and silence. Being able to recognise when emotions are driving the meaning of a conversation when either giving or receiving feedback is a key skill. The goal of this session is to understand human emotions so that you can communicate what you really think without ruining the relationship.

Planning a critical conversation

At the end of this topic, delegates will be able to:
• Plan a critical conversation understanding the importance of delivering the key elements in the right order
• Learn some starter and recovery phrases

Session overview
Knowing how to start a conversation that may turn emotional is difficult unless you have a planned course of action. Conversations are dynamic in nature and so cannot be scripted but by understanding and following a basic framework you can de-risk conversations going awry. Knowing what to say first and what to avoid is necessary to have a constructive conversation. Using a templated methodology helps delegates to plan successful conversations.

Having a critical conversation with emotional control

At the end of this topic, delegates will be able to:
• Have a conversation using advanced listening and questioning skills
• Understand how emotions play a role in a conversation and how to tame them
• Master storytelling to understand and defuse the games we play

Session overview
Knowing how to respond well to feedback during the conversation and how to extract the most important elements for a successful conversation requires skill. In this module, we learn advanced listening and questioning skills. We also delve into our emotions and how the stories we tell ourselves can drive a different meaning to what is actually being said.

Difficult conversations and closing well

At the end of this topic, delegates will be able to:
• Learn advanced techniques to deal with difficult and potentially high-conflict conversations
• Plan alternative paths to reach a common goal
• Understand the defensive and attacking strategies used in conversations
• Agree to an action plan and follow up well

Session overview
Some conversations are just more difficult than others. It may be the topic, or it may be the relationship match of the two people having the conversation. In this session, we will learn a recovery strategy to rescue a conversation that is going badly and use an advanced model —the 5S-5F-3A model — to deal with difficult conversations. We will also learn how to close well.

$1750 +GST
Event Details
12 hours - 4 x3 hour sessions

Tuesday 9 February: 10.00am-1.00pm (AEST)
Wednesday 10 February: 10.00am-1.00pm (AEST)
Thursday 11 February: 10.00am-1.00pm (AEST)
Friday 12 February: 10.00am-1.00pm (AEST)

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