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Communications Skills Courses


Achieving Consensus

One day

Course Description
The ability to work together, make decisions together, and implement them is critical for success in group activities. This course offers the reader a practical approach to consensus building, explaining the concept of consensus, why it is important, and how it fits with other decision-making styles. It explores how to reach consensus and alignment, and provides the student with the necessary tools to help his or her team succeed.

Course Outline
Part 1: Defining Consensus

  • What Is Consensus?
  • Reaching Consensus Is Like Taking a Journey
  • How Consensus Fits With Other Decision Styles
  • Sources of Difficulty
  • Your Journey

Part 2: Your Role On the Road to Consensus

  • Deciding What to Pack
  • Taking Inventory
  • Things to Leave Behind
  • Focus on Strengths, Not Weaknesses

Part 3: Meeting to Achieve Consensus

  • You Can’t Achieve Consensus By Yourself
  • Let’s Make Steel
  • Are You a Consensus Master?

Part 4: Tools and Techniques

  • Using Your Tool Kit
  • Addressing Behavioral Obstacles
  • Your Role

Part 5: More Tools and Techniques

  • Using Your Tool Kit for Decision Obstacles
  • When All Else Fails

Part 6: Arriving At Consensusville

  • Where You Start Your Journey Is Not Where You End
  • Walking the Talk


E-Mail Management

One day

Course Description
E-mail is very much an integral part of business communication today. Originally intended as a productivity-enhancing, time-saving tool, e-mail has evolved into a time-consuming, productivity-draining obligation that takes up much of our time and attention during business and personal hours. E-MAIL MANAGEMENT is the course to help you regain control of e-mail. The 50 tips in this course will help you learn how to manage your inbox, use Microsoft Outlook's time-saving features, limit your personal use, and incorporate productivity-enhancing policies in your workplace.

Course Outline
Part 1: Taking Control of Incoming E-Mail
Easing Congestion in Your Inbox

  • Tip 1: Set Your Own Personal E-Mail Usage Policy
  • Tip 2: Set Auto Send/Receive to Limit Interruptions
  • Tip 3: Analyze Incoming Messages with a Critical Eye
  • Tip 4: Don’t Succumb to an E-Mail Sender’s Crisis
  • Tip 5: Acknowledge Legitimate E-Mail Promptly
  • Tip 6: Set Up Folders to Organize E-Mail
  • Tip 7: Purge Insignificant E-Mail at Day’s End
  • Tip 8: Clear Inbox Clutter
  • Tip 9: Reduce Spam Intake
  • Tip 10: Delete Spam as Soon as It Arrives
  • Tip 11: Subscribe with Care to E-Mail Lists
  • Tip 12: Add a BlackBerry to Your Management Toolbox
  • Tip 13: Minimize Personal E-Mail Use at Work
  • Tip 14: Assign a ¿Gatekeeper¿ to Handle Your E-Mail
  • Tip 15: Challenge Yourself to Disconnect
  • Tip 16: Check E-Mail on Sunday to Jump-Start the Workweek

Part 2: Automating E-Mail Management with Microsoft Outlook®
Applying Outlook to Your Inbox

  • Tip 17: Visit Microsoft Office Online for Expert Advice
  • Tip 18: Skim Messages for Fast Action
  • Tip 19: Flag Messages for Follow-Up
  • Tip 20: Arrange Incoming Messages by Conversation
  • Tip 21: Perform E-Mail Magic with Rules Wizard
  • Tip 22: Find E-Mail Fast with Search Folders
  • Tip 23: Archive E-Mail with Outlook

Part 3: Managing Your Outgoing E-Mail
Respecting Others’ Time

  • Tip 24: Determine the Right Medium for the Message
  • Tip 25: E-Mail Less and Build Better Relationships
  • Tip 26: Reply Courteously and Sparingly
  • Tip 27: Copy with Care
  • Tip 28: Use Bcc to Control Replies
  • Tip 29: Write Subject Lines with Real Oomph!
  • Tip 30: Streamline Your Messages
  • Tip 31: Set Up an Electronic Signature
  • Tip 32: Use Caution When Forwarding E-Mail
  • Tip 33: Mind Your Electronic Manners
  • Tip 34: Keep Instant Messaging (IM) Professional
  • Tip 35: Don’t Be a BlackBerry Bully
  • Tip 36: Send Business Records Via Registered E-Mail

Part 4: Establishing Organizational E-Mail Management Policies
Controlling Clutter by Controlling Employee E-Mail

  • Tip 37: Set Limits on Personal E-Mail Use
  • Tip 38: Establish an E-Mail Response Time Policy
  • Tip 39: Establish Controls for Internal E-Mail
  • Tip 40: Introduce a Weekly No E Mail Day
  • Tip 41: Develop Writing Style Guidelines
  • Tip 42: Minimize Litigation Risks
  • Tip 43: Train Employees in E-Mail Management
  • Tip 44: Place Limits on Instant Messaging (IM)
  • Tip 45: Don’t Get Bogged Down by Blogging
  • Tip 46: Apply Technology to Force Inbox Emptying
  • Tip 47: Ban the BlackBerry from Business Meetings
  • Tip 48: Discipline Violators of E-Mail Policy
  • Tip 49: Install Content-Management Tools
  • Tip 50: Install Content-Security Tools


Face-to-Face Communication

One day

Course Description
Even as technology has allowed us to connect with an ever-expanding global network through the click of a mouse, face-to-face communication is still as important as ever. Improving one's in-person communication may seem nonessential and downright quaint in this computerized age, yet many workplace situations, often those involving conflict, feelings, or other sensitive issues, still demand human contact. FACE-TO-FACE COMMUNICATION explores why personal contact remains the most powerful type of human interaction and what students can do to improve their skills to become excellent communicators.

Course Outline
Part 1: Face the Facts

  • Recognize Face-to-Face Impact
  • Appreciate the Advantages
  • Understand the Behaviors
  • Conquer Your Fears
  • Factor in Personality Preferences
  • Review

Part 2: Practice Your Nonverbals

  • Value the Unspoken
  • Be Aware of Your Body
  • Check Your Physical Appearance
  • Take Advantage of Your Voice
  • Watch the Clock
  • Consider Spatial Arrangements
  • Review

Part 3: Choose Your Words Carefully

  • Realize Your Words Have Impact
  • Create a Positive Impression
  • Phrase Your Words for a Business Context
  • Update Your Language
  • Review

Part 4: Listen Closely

  • Enhance Your Listening Ability
  • Give Nonverbal Feedback
  • Delay Your Response
  • Paraphrase and Clarify
  • Affirm the Speaker’s Feelings
  • Suggest Options
  • Review

Part 5: Communicate Across the Miles

  • Adapt Face-to-Face Strengths to Other Communication
  • Respect Cross-Cultural Preferences
  • Gesture with Care
  • Learn Language Differences
  • Avoid Idiomatic Speech
  • Review


Office Politics

One day

Course Description
Designed to be used by workers at all levels, this innovative new course addresses both the positive and negative aspects of office politics. It not only explains why political situations are so common, it also shows how you can use them to your benefit. Learn how to confidently and diplomatically respond to unfair situations, and even how to recover from your own political blunders. Discover the five simple rules of office politics that will enhance your career. The importance of mutual understanding and respect in dealing with office politics is emphasized, but tips of recognizing devious tactics are also provided.

Course Outline
Section 1: Understanding Workplace Politics

  • The Meaning of Office Politics
  • Politics Has Changed
  • Do You Need to Play the Game to Stay?

Section 2: The Way It Is

  • Why Political Situations Are Common
  • Your True Choices
  • The Endless Campaign
  • How Power Enables

Section 3: Politics Can Improve Your Career

  • How to Remain Politically Correct
  • The Power of Focus
  • Recognizing and Recovering from Mistakes
  • How to Use Political Correctness

Section 4: Devious Tactics Can Destroy

  • Recognize Devious Tactics
  • Avoid the Attackers
  • Never Lose Control
  • Are You Too Predictable?
  • Understanding Behavior

Section 5: The Long and Short of Office Relationships

  • Support at Every Level
  • Peers and Power Plays
  • Exploited Weaknesses
  • Your Communication Style
  • Glory Seeking or Healthy Ambition
  • Teamwork, Talent, Tensions
  • The Truth About R.E.S.P.E.C.T.
  • Workplace Friendships

Section 6: The Art of Political Negotiations

  • Negotiate with Skill
  • Political Styles
  • Knowledge and Political Negotiating Power

Section 7: Political Liberty

  • Your Political Rights
  • Politically Naïve to Politically Wise
  • Addressing Unacceptable Behavior
  • Your Strategy for Survival
  • It’s Not Whether You Win or Lose or Is It?


Presentation Skills

One day

Course Description
Give confident, enthusiastic, and persuasive presentations. With an emphasis on the need for preparation and practice, this course provides guidance on how to organize, create, and deliver effective presentations. Conquer your fear of public speaking. Prepare and deliver well organized presentations. Capture and maintain audience interest.

Course Outline
Part 1: Assessing Your Skills

  • Evaluate Yourself
  • Dealing with Anxiety
  • Tips for Reducing Anxiety
  • Review Checklist

Part 2: Planning Your Presentation

  • Personal Appearance
  • Eight Steps to Preparing Your Presentation
  • Review Checklist

Part 3: Slides and Other Visual Aids

  • Developing and Using Visual Aids
  • 10 Tips for Planning Successful Slides and Visual Aids
  • Content Guidelines
  • Types of Charts and Graphs
  • Using Color
  • Developing Titles
  • Visualizing Ideas
  • Revelation and ¿Build¿ Slides
  • Directing Your Audience’s Focus

Part 4: New Technology for Presentations

  • Computer Technology
  • Using Presentation Software
  • 15 Tips for Creating Better Slides with Presentation Software
  • Teleconferencing and Videoconferencing
  • Get Ready, Get Set, Go!

Part 5: Preparing Your Presentation

  • Controlling the Presentation Environment
  • When You Can’t Practice--Successful Impromptu Speaking

Part 6: Delivering Your Presentation with Energy and Composure

  • Engaging Your Audience
  • Putting Energy to Work
  • Maintaining Composure
  • Question-and-Answer Techniques
  • Dealing with Hostile Questions
  • Final Review Checklist


The Business of Listening

One day

Course Description
This course will show you how to become a better listener by demonstrating how your listening skills build either barriers or bridges. You will also learn ten steps to controlling emotional "hot buttons" and the impact of good listening skills on productivity. Most people think that the only message that will be heard is one of urgency; however, in today's fast-paced world even urgent messages are ignored. Becoming an active listener will help your productivity and success by helping you extract important details from every message.

Course Outline
Part 1: Why Should You Listen?

  • What’s In It for You?
  • What’s In It for Your Organization?
  • What Do You Know About Listening?
  • The Joy of Small Change

Part 2: Four Key Elements of Good Listening

  • How to Be a Good Listener
  • Key Element 1: Hear the Message
  • Key Element 2: Interpret the Message
  • Key Element 3: Evaluate the Message
  • Key Element 4: Respond to the Message
  • Review Lab for Key Elements 1-4

Part 3: Your Listening Style

  • You Are Unique
  • The Promoting Style
  • The Supporting Style
  • The Directive Style
  • The Analytical Style

Part 4: What’s Your Listening Attitude?

  • A Listening Attitude: Your Key to Success
  • Barriers to Communication
  • Bridges to Communication
  • How Well Do You Listen?
  • How to Stomp Bad Listening Habits
  • How to Help Someone Listen to You

Part 5: Ten Tips for Tip-Top Listening

  • Listening Louder
  • Tip 1: Take Notes
  • Tip 2: Listen Now, Report Later
  • Tip 3: Want to Listen
  • Tip 4: Be Present
  • Tip 5: Anticipate Excellence
  • Tip 6: Become a Whole Body Listener
  • Tip 7: Build Rapport by Pacing the Speaker
  • Tip 8: Control Your Emotional Hot-buttons
  • Tip 9: Control Distractions
  • Tip 10: Listening Is a Gift, Give Generously


Winning at Human Relations

One day

Course Description
Lost productivity, employee turnover, and damaged morale are only a few of the consequences of unresolved conflicts. Positive human relations affect the work environment and ultimately, the success of an organization. Winning at Human Relations shows students how to build healthy, supportive relationships in the workplace while recognizing behaviors that may lead to self-sabotage.

Course Outline
Part 1: Understanding Human Relations Skills

  • Recognizing the Importance of Human Relations
  • Focusing on the Relationship, Not the Personality
  • Possessing a Positive Attitude
  • Leveling the Workload
  • Building Relationships with Co-Workers
  • Maintaining Relationships Through Communication
  • Practicing the Mutual Reward Theory
  • Controlling Reactions to Emotional Trigger Points
  • Avoiding Absenteeism and Tardiness
  • Staying Focused During Career Plateaus
  • Balancing Career and Personal Problems
  • Preventing Common Misunderstandings
  • Part 1 Summary

Part 2: Repairing Damaged Relationships

  • Being Willing to Repair a Relationship
  • Opening Up a Relationship for Discussion
  • Resolving Conflicts
  • Compromising to Ward Off Conflict
  • Rebuilding a Relationship with Your Supervisor
  • Dealing with Sharks
  • Part 2 Summary

Part 3: Protecting Yourself from Self-Sabotage

  • Understanding Self-Sabotage
  • Acknowledging the Impact on Self and Career
  • Guarding Against Escalating Conflict
  • Assessing Risk Level in a Relationship
  • Agreeing on Contributions to the Relationship
  • Knowing Your Vulnerability to Self-Sabotage
  • Looking at the Big Picture
  • Part 3 Summary

Part 4: Putting It All Together into a Winning Strategy

    • Ten Techniques for Winning at Human Relations
    • Create and Maintain a Variety of Relationships
    • See Relationships, Not Personalities
    • Practice the Mutual Reward Theory
    • Let Small Irritations Pass
    • Recognize Warning Signals
    • Choose Advisers Carefully
    • Distance Yourself from Unresolvable Conflict
    • Know When to Compromise
    • Have a Plan B Ready
    • Protect Your Attitude


  The Training Institute of Washington, DC. (800) 698-1191 Toll Free