Universiteit Leiden

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Communication | Working effectively

Standing up for yourself, while keeping good relations (Effective communication)

Have you ever felt like saying no, but instead said yes? In this one-day course you will learn the essentials of effective communication in relationships with power differences, like your supervisor/ promotor/ your student etc, such as clarifying interests, understanding what it takes to get things done on a content level without harming the relationship & increase your personal influence.

Target group
PhD candidate
Alexandra Sips Fieke Harinck
Training course
The workload for this course amounts to 10 hours.
Start dates 2024
28 March, 17 May, 5 July, 19 July, 16 September, 7 October, 4 November

Why this course?

A lot of PhD candidates are afraid that if they stand up for themselves at work, for example in a negotiation or a conflict, they might harm the relationship with their supervisor, promoter or colleague, and this might have an effect on the progress of their research or even on their academic career. Because of that, they do not express what they really want or what they find important. As a result, they feel frustrated or it disturbs their work on a content level. In the long run they might face the same problem
after their PhD, whether that’s in academia with group leaders or deans, or in industry with managers, bosses or co-workers.

In this course you will learn how to communicate effectively via 9-steps to get your job done in such a way that you stand up for yourself, while keeping good relations. Our method is rooted in science, you can apply it straight away, and it works directly. In every step we focus on a different theme. In doing so, we help you identify all the different aspects that contribute to standing up for yourself in your personal work situation while keeping a good relation with the person of your preference.


  • How effective communication contributes to your preferred
    outcome on a content level
  • How to prepare a confrontation or negotiation, both on content as well as a relationship level
  • How to use your body language and non-verbal factors in your
  • Learn to manage conflicts, including the use of constructive
  • Effective communication strategies and problem-solving skills like giving and receiving feedback, setting boundaries and saying no
  • How to deal with power differences and the importance of longterm relationships
  • Effective communication with a supervisor/promotor who is from a different country
  • Navigate in an intercultural scientific environment


We have a learning-by-doing approach, via a 9-step method. The method is rooted in science, to be applied straight away, and with direct effect. Every step focuses on a different theme, and you will receive theory, tools, and exercises to apply in your own working environment. The course has 3 blocks and for every block, participants are invited to make strategy assignments, as a preparation for the training sessions.

Online format

  • Block 1: Prepare – Online training session of 2 hours
  • Block 2: Perform – Online training session of 3 hours
  • Block 3: Persist – Online training session of 2 hours

Blended format

  • Block 1: Prepare – Online training session of 2 hours
  • Block 2: Perform – Online training session of 2 hours
  • Block 3: Persist – Offline training session at Leiden University of 1 daypart

On site format

Block 1, 2 and 3 all in one day from 9.00-17.00 hrs 

Practical information

  • You can register for this course using the registration buttons on the right side of this page. Please note the difference between Staff (employee of Leiden University) and Extern/LUmc (e.g. extern, self-funded researchers or employee at LUmc). 
  • The course is free of charge for employee- and contract PhD candidates. Please check our Terms and Conditions.
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