Universiteit Leiden

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Communication | Leadership

Skills Lab: A good conversation

What does it take to have a good talk in the workplace? How do you deepen your understanding of the person you’re talking to? How do you express yourself clearly? And how can you talk to each other about difficult topics? This skills lab is an interactive and dynamic training programme.

Target group
Training course

Target group

This training programme is for staff members in formal and informal leadership positions (both academic and supporting staff). 

A good talk

This training programme will provide you with a variety of interview techniques to help you, in your role as supervisor, to enter dialogue with your staff in a result-oriented, yet supportive way. 

The training programme goes further than the annual P&D interview, and gives you tools to work with your staff in a focused and pleasurable way towards realising your team’s ambitions. 

You work with case studies from day-to-day practice. This skills lab replaces the ‘P&D interviews for supervisors’ training programme. 

Topics covered in the programme

•    Coaching your staff in their development.
•    Giving constructive feedback that the other person can really hear.
•    How to address difficult topics.
•    Making clear agreements with each other: make your expectations explicit, link them to your team’s ambitions using clear criteria available to you as a supervisor.
•    Starting a conversation in a clear way, structuring it, and consciously intervening where needed.


‘Skills Lab: A good talk’ consists of one training day. The training programme alternates short theory sections with interactive exercises and peer consultation. We work with actors to practise addressing difficult topics. You will get immediate feedback on how to conduct such conversations more effectively in a way that matches your style. 


At Leiden University, we work towards creating connecting and flexible leadership. This requires a range of different leadership competencies. This Skills Lab covers the following competencies, among others: 

• Clear expectations 
• Feedback 
• Involving others 
• Displaying interest 
• Empathy 
• Stimulating learning 

After completing this training programme, you will

•    Have a number of coaching skills at your disposal for having constructive conversations about your staff’s development and results.
•    Be able to have constructive conversations, including about difficult topics.
•    Be able to formulate clear and mutually supported agreements.
•    Have deeper insight into your own preferred communication style, be able to apply other styles, and align your style with that of your interlocutor.
•    Have a number of interview techniques at your disposal to increase your flexibility and effectiveness, and contribute to your leadership skills.

This skillslab is offered by Ardis organisation consultancy firm. If you are interested in taking part or organizing it for your department, please let your HR adviser or HRM Opleidingen know.


At Leiden University, we work towards creating a healthy, committed, and learning community. A community in which we can actively work together and contribute to realising our ambitions, in open dialogue and with mutual respect. We do this because we care not only about what we do, but also about how we do it. 

This skills lab is a short training programme, focused primarily on acquiring and deepening communication and leadership skills, and as such forms part of Leiden University’s leadership development programme. 

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