N808 Essential Communication and Business Skills

Course Facts

Course Code:
5 days
4.0 Continuing Education Units
40 Professional Development Hours
Certificate Issued Upon Completion


This course is designed to further develop essential skills that are required by all technical professionals who work in a business setting, including: Communication, Team Working, Creative Problem Solving, Influencing, Decision Making, Goal Setting and Time Planning. This course will enable you to utilise time more efficiently in your day and become a more effective team member. If these skills are used regularly, you will be a more valuable asset to your company or prospective employer.

Duration and Training Method

A five-day classroom course. This course uses a combination of teaching, technical case studies, demonstrations, group discussions, presentations and action planning to ensure that participants are confident and capable to use all the various principles and techniques described.

As a result of attending this course, you will improve your ability to:

  1. Understand and use your own behavioural style preferences to become more effective in communicating with others.
  2. Prioritise workload and maximise control over your time and energy in the workplace.
  3. Apply techniques to help solve technical problems and make better decisions.
  4. Use simple negotiation and influencing techniques to help achieve a desired outcome.
  5. Work effectively as part of a team.
  6. Remain assertive when having “difficult conversations” where the possibility of interpersonal conflict is high.
  7. Set clear goals in line with technical objectives.

Getting Started

  • Introductions and Expectations
  • Personal Objectives

Communication Skills

  • The impact of perception on communication, behaviour and results
  • Exploring role models, Individual Communication Skills Profile
  • The essentials: three core components of communication and their relative impact
  • Listening with focused attention: key principles and skills
  • Communication methods: advantages and disadvantages
  • Behavioural styles: using versatility to enhance communication
  • Your preferred style: self-awareness and key behaviours, implications in the workplace
  • The styles of others: dos and don’ts for successful interaction

Problem Solving and Decision Making

  • Seven step process for solving problems
  • Tools for analysing technical problems
  • Setting objectives
  • Generating solutions: effective brainstorming and creative approaches
  • Evaluating ideas: two easy to use evaluation tools
  • Action Planning: why it’s important; components of a good plan
  • Keys to effective collaboration


  • Identifying situations where negotiation is required in an E&P environment
  • Four-phase negotiation process: key skills and principles for each
  • Negotiation tips and best practice.
  • Negotiation practice using participants’ own work examples

Influencing Skills

  • What is influencing? When do we do it?
  • Personal experience: what works, what doesn’t?
  • The steps of the influencing process
  • WIIFM: what does it mean? Why is it important?
  • Effective use of ‘benefits’ to influence others
  • Handling resistance: two critical skills
  • How to gain commitment from others at the right time and in the right way

Having Difficult Conversations

  • What conversations do we consider "difficult"
  • The support:challenge matrix – balancing each for maximum benefit
  • Enablers and barriers to managing difficult conversations
  • Speedy and effective feedback for change
  • Susan Scott’s Confrontation Model
  • What is passive, aggressive and assertive behaviour?
  • Techniques to remain assertive
  • Handling your “difficult” conversations

Team Working

  • How does a team differ from a group?
  • Attributes and behaviours of high performing teams
  • Five dysfunctions of a team: definitions and how to contribute as an individual
  • Stages of Team Development: key indicators and the role of the leader
  • Team Roles: individual preferences, descriptions and implications

Time and Stress Management

  • Benefits of good time management
  • The link between control and stress
  • Focus on areas of control and influence
  • Eliminating time-traps
  • Prioritising tasks, workload and time
  • The urgent vs important matrix: how to maximise control
  • 25 top tips to minimize stress: which ones work for you?

Setting Goals

  • The importance of goals in the workplace
  • Vision, mission and goals: critical links for meaningful objectives
  • Goal setting exercise
  • Setting personal goals and work goals

Additional information

Comprehensive handouts and course materials will be provided.

A full bibliography is provided; many of the references are available to review during the training.

Key learning points and outputs will be captured as the programme progresses and circulated post-course. Delegates are encouraged to photograph key flipcharts and group outputs throughout the programme (e.g. using iPads or smart phones).

Who should attend

This course is designed for all E&P Professionals who wish to increase their effective contribution to their company both individually and as part of a team.

Prerequisites and linking courses

Participants are encouraged to indentify a specific project, team issue or current challenge that they are facing at work, in order to apply learnings during the course to this problem. A questionnaire to support this will be provided by the Tutor two weeks prior to the start date. This questionnaire is ideally filled out with the help of line managers.

Click on a name to learn more about the instructor

Simon Hallam

Brilliant course. I would definitely recommend to my colleagues.