Critical Conversations Results-based Communication

Upcoming dates (1)

Sep. 18-19, 2024

Madison, WI or Live Online

Course Overview

To achieve good outcomes in the workplace, we need all stakeholders to have open, clear and honest conversations with their team, bosses, peers and customers. Often conversations go wrong through misunderstandings and perceptions of ulterior motives. People are often aware that their conversations are not achieving the results they want but do not have any specific tools to improve them. 

This course provides a communication framework to plan and have an effective conversation that achieves jointly satisfactory outcomes. It includes a step-by-step approach to having truthful conversations that deliver the real message without alienating anyone.  The course is relevant to getting the most out of all day-to-day business conversations and especially relevant where an unwanted conflict in the workplace occurs.

 In this course you will learn how to:

  • Assess the true business outcome you want and how to achieve it
  • Assess a situation and recognize when a conversation could become emotional
  • Use a simple template to plan a conversation
  • Follow a step-by-step model (5S-5F-3A) to deliver a difficult message safely
  • Deploy advanced communication skills, including how to recover a conversation with unwanted conflict
  • Leverage the art of storytelling in a business context
  • Understanding how to avoid emotions derailing the conversation
  • Ensure the desired business outcome is achieved after the conversation

Who Should Attend?

This course will benefit anyone who needs to regularly communicate effectively, including:

  • Newly appointed managers or team leaders directing technical professionals
  • Experienced managers who are looking for ways to be effective and efficient
  • Engineers and other technical professionals aspiring to management and leadership positions
  • Project Managers with cross-functional teams

Additional Information

This course is part of the Technical Leadership Certificate. Course may be taken individually as well.

Course Outline

  • Establishing a mutual goal
    • Getting aligned to a shared business outcome
    • Eliminating detracting secondary goals
  • Recognizing what makes a conversation emotional
    • Trigger words to avoid
    • The role of unshared context
  • Understanding the advanced 5S-5F-3A communication model
  • Critical elements of advanced communications
    • Making it emotionally safe to speak the brutal truth
    • Advanced conversation skills, including listening and questioning
  • Mastering storytelling
    • Understanding the games we play
    • Defusing the games they play
  • Difficult conversations—dealing with the really tough cases
    • Dealing with high conflict situations
    • What to do when things go badly
    • Toolkit  of opening and recovery phases

Closing well – Getting agreed outcome and action plan


Trevor Manning

Trevor Manning specialises in real-world training and development of technical people who have transitioned into management. His mission is helping Smart People transition to Inspiring Leaders.

During a 30-year career in the IT and telecommunications sectors, Trevor worked his way up from specialist design engineer to board level. This journey from expert to middle manager, and then on to the C-suite, has provided Trevor with the breadth and depth of knowledge of how companies really operate.

His experience working in South Africa, UK-Europe, America and Australia in a range of companies from a giant electric utility to a small start-up software company has given him insights to help people in a variety of real-world situations.

Trevor has experience in managing and leading people in mature, stable environments with fixed structures and processes, and also in the chaotic startup phase of a fast-growing new business. These environments exposed him to the challenges of recruiting and developing teams to meet the companies’ growth plans in addition to downsizing during lean years. 

Trevor runs training programs around the world, including at Oxford University (UK) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA) as part of their Continuing Education programs for engineers.

Trevor authored the classic best-seller ‘Microwave Radio Transmission Design Guide’ published by Artech House (second revision 2009), and more recently he has self-published ‘Microwave Radio Handy Reference Guide.’ (2019) He has also authored three management books ‘’Help! What’s the secret to leading engineers?’ (2017), ‘Help! I need to master critical conversations’ (2018), and 'Help! They made me the Manager' (2021) available from Amazon.  Look out for Trevor's latest leadership book on Managing Up available in late 2023.

Upcoming dates (1)

Program Director

Jon Wellik

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