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Crucial conversations: Communicating effectively

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This training focuses on communicating effectively and respectfully when the stakes run high.
Daring to speak up for problems or the best solutions and manage to discuss them in a motivated but respectful dialogue.

A crucial conversation is a dialogue between 2 or more partners, in which the stakes are high, opinions differ, and the outcome has a great impact on the interest of the parties.

For example: a delicate performance interview, strategic decisions to be taken in companies, giving feedback to a colleague over a long-standing issue, restoring a good relationship after a conflict, discussing inappropriate behavior etc.

When such conversations are not held properly, hidden and long-term effects can slip in within groups. The consequences are: problems are not signaled, innovative solutions are overlooked, people loose energy over conflicts, loss of efficiency, ….

Research has proven that the most influential people are those who are capable of speaking up and staying thoroughly authentic while remaining respectful.

In this workshop we map the challenge of these conversations, and connect them to our own examples. We distinguish purposeful and counter-effective moves. We learn how to focus on the essence, how to stay purposeful, how to deal with reactions and emotions, how to speak frankly without aiming at the person himself, and how to guide the conversation stepwise from problem formulation to its solution and follow-up.


  • What are crucial conversations? Why are they a challenge to many?
  • What is the risk of speaking up? Or not speaking up?
  • Choosing your battles wisely: when is a change feasible, or not?
  • The competencies for effective crucial conversations
  • Daring to express a concern – to the advantage of all
  • Formulating a problem and a target for the conversation
  • Discussing or dialoguing:
    • The truth assumption versus a learning stance
    • Expressing your point of view: clearly, assertively and responsibly
    • Exploring the mutual stories or views
    • Taking responsibility for your side of the conversation, leaving space for the other
    • Selecting a communication style…consciously
    • Communication competencies (active listening, feedback, asking questions)
  • Remaining purposeful and authentic during a fierce conversation
    • Assertiveness: daring to stand for what one believes in
    • Invite each other to formulate a common goal and go for a win-win
    • Replacing blame by contribution mapping
    • Exploring the interests behind the positions
  • When the temperature rises: how to deal with emotions and defensive reflexes
    • Risky escalating moves and their de-escalating counter-moves
    • Detecting the rising temperature of the conversation, and act accordingly
    • Distinguish intention from impact
    • Staying out of the fight- or flight reflex
  • Techniques for returning to safety
    • Avoid dead ally’s: stories of persecutor, victim and the superman-savior
    • Knowing when to stop: a strategic time-out for future recovery
    • Staying out of the fight- or flight reflex: go forward purposefully and respectfully
  • Negotiating: coming to a final problem solving, formulate a deal and follow it up
  • Recognise the symptoms of potential conflict and prevent further escalation
Pädagogesch Methoden

Lots of exercising and role play. Participants are invited to bring their own situations! The experiences gained during the exercises are discussed against the background of principles of communication in the more theoretical part.


U wien adresséiert sech d'Formatioun?

This training is for ambitious and empathic persons who wish to optimize important conversations.

This training can also be used as a strengthening training for those who want to hold performance interviews within the evaluation cycle with more skills on the level of dialogue communication.


Having followed the seminar on basic effective verbal communications first. This one builds further on that.


Certificat, Diplom

A certificate of participation will be sent to participants after the seminar.

Zousätzlech Informatiounen

Meet the Consultant, Mr Eric Schillemans

I have always been fascinated by man and their potential. Thus my trainings focus on meeting people, the discovery of deeper values and on personal development.

After my scientific studies at the University of Antwerpen I worked for several years as a teacher in secondary education. Thereafter I was a University assistant to train professors. For several years I devoted myself to international development aid, helping building schools in India and in the Ukraine. A wonderful period of my life!

For over ten years now I invest my passion into the profession of a trainer, consultant and coach in the world of business and in the public sector. In parallel, and for the last 30 years, I have been accompanying people in relaxation and the development of their own individual potential.

My references include Belgacom, Citroën, Direct Dialogue Fund, Dexia Invest Luxembourg, the European Social Fund, International Post Corporation, ITS Luxembourg, JC Décaux, Oxfam, the European Parliament, the City of Gent, the Belgian Railway Company, Toyota, UNICEF, and many others.

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Organisatioun Formation intra-entreprise

The slides are for inspiration, the syllabus offers a solid basis of principles of communication as well as easy to use scripts for different situations of communication, and do’s and don’ts.

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