Universiteit Leiden

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Skillslab: Use your strengths to communicate

Can you identify your own communication style and those of the people around you? Can you switch between different styles to create a better rapport? Can you both give and receive truly constructive feedback? This Skillslab will strengthen your powers of communication.

Martine van den Hoed (The Up Movement )
Training course

Who is this Skillslab for?

All university employees, both academic and non-academic.

Use your strengths to communicate 

This interactive, dynamic training programme will give you the chance to practise a range of conversation techniques to hone your communication skills. You will learn about different levels of listening, giving and receiving feedback and switching between different communication positions. You should preferably do this using your own case histories. 

Although you will be introduced to a range of theories and models, the main aim of this course is for you to actively strengthen and expand your communication skills in practical situations. To get the most out of this training, your own practical situations are central to this. 

Topics covered

•    Communication styles
•    Style flexibility
•    Building a rapport
•    Different positions in communication
•    Giving and receiving constructive feedback


The Use your strengths to communicate Skillslab is structured as follows:

- Written intake: to sharpen your learning objective, you will receive a written intake prior to kick or.   
- Day 1: you improve your skills through interactive exercises and practical tips. Topics for this day include communication styles and using style flexibility to build a rapport.
- Day 2:  you will begin each session by reflecting on the objectives you set for yourself, to anchor your learning in your day-to-day work. This day will go into more detail about giving and receiving feedback and the various communication positions.
On both days you will be joined by an actor to help you with what you need to work on and put what you have learned into practice. You will receive feedback straight away on how you can use your communication skills more effectively.
- Closing session (2 hours online): you will look back on what you learned on the course and how you have already integrated your new knowledge into your own work. Real-life situations will also be discussed using peer-to-peer learning.


At Leiden University we promote flexible leadership that builds connections. This ambition is based on certain leadership competences. This Skillslab covers a range of competences, including:

•    Communication  
•    Assertiveness
•    Feedback 
•    Clear expectations  
•    Positive collaboration with others 
•    Flexibility 

When you have completed the course

  • You'll have practised with your own practical examples
  • You will recognise your own communication style and those of others.
  • You will have gained concrete tips for how to switch to another communication style to build a better rapport.
  • You will be able to intervene in discussions at different levels of communication.
  • You will be able to give and receive feedback in a constructive way.
  • You will have mastered conversation techniques that increase your flexibility and effectiveness and contribute to your powers of communication.

Leiden University is constantly working to build a healthy, engaged community that is always learning, a community in which we hold open discussions, respect each other, actively collaborate and work together to turn our ambitions into reality. It’s not just about what we do – it’s about how we do it.  

Skillslabs are short, practical training programmes that help you strengthen and expand your communication and leadership skills. They contribute to a working environment that helps talent grow and furthers our ambitions for teaching, research and impact. 

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