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Skillslab: Use your strengths to communicate

We communicate all day long, and yet communication still regularly leads to frustration. We often accidentally ‘push each other’s buttons’, which can cause irritation. And miscommunication will often make a meeting or decision take longer. What would it be like to be able communicate smoothly and effectively with your colleagues, manager, students or other people around you?

Martine van den Hoed (The Up Movement )
Training course

Target group

All Leiden University staff.

Use your strengths to communicate

Everyone has their own unique communication style, and communicating authentically creates the most impact. In this interactive and dynamic training programme, you practise various discussion techniques to refine your communication skills. It will make you more aware of your own communication style and give you practical tools that you can use in all situations. In the training programme, you will ideally work on cases from your own professional context.

 ‘An insightful training programme on communication, with a great balance between theory and practice’

You will be introduced to various theories and models, and will mostly work on expanding and strengthening your communication skills. To ensure that you get the most out of this training programme, we will focus primarily on your own practice-based situations.

Topics covered

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


You start the Skills Lab by completing a personal online intake form. This gives you the space to reflect on your own communication style. What do you do well and what do you find difficult, and what learning goals do you want to formulate for yourself? The leadership competence cards provide inspiration and direction for your learning goals. And based on the input from the intake forms, the trainer can further tailor the programme to your needs.

During the training days, we work in a small group of maximum eight participants. This guarantees that there is both enough individual space and the opportunity to learn from each other.

On the first and second training days, we deepen your communication skills using various practical tools. In the afternoons we work with a training actor to ‘experiment’ with your own practice-based situations.

We deliberately use the term ‘experiment’ because it gives you the opportunity to try out how a different communication approach might work. Most participants find this quite scary in advance, but we provide sufficient safety, which makes this part of the training programme particularly useful and greatly appreciated.

During the last training morning, we ensure that all the tools we learned are firmly integrated, and there’s also time to revisit the situations you brought in. Of course, we also provide additional tools, to match the learning questions of the group.

‘In this training programme, you learn to practise difficult communication situations in a safe environment.’


The training programme focuses on the following leadership competences

  • Communication
  • Assertiveness 
  • Feedback 
  • Clear expectations 
  • Working together with others
  • Flexibility

After completing this training programme

  • You will have practised with your own practice-based examples. 
  • You will recognise your own communication style and the styles of others.
  • You will have gained concrete tools for switching to a different communication style to build a better rapport with the other person.
  • 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 a number of discussion techniques that increase your flexibility and effectiveness, and enhance your powers of communication.
  • You will be able to use the insights and tools from the Skills Lab in your GROW interviews.

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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