It is a Monday morning, a training day. I am preparing all the materials in my studio at the University of Amsterdam. We are now four weeks into the training, two more weeks to go. I have been training students professional and personal communication skills.
The training involves exercises for interviews, difficult conversations, and feedback sessions. The training is about developing themselves; their appearance, their values, and their relations with others.
While the students come into the classroom I put on some music to loosen up the mood. “Today we will focus again on personal development.” I tell them. It is important that the students feel comfortable and the music helps. They seem to be cheery this morning.
“Look, guys, I hear a lot of people talking about their weekend. Sounds like you were in a lot of different situations. Let’s reflect on some of your experiences. Who want’s to go first?”
One student tells us she had a fight with her boss.
“Now let’s switch roles. You play your boss and someone else will play as you. The rest of the group should write down feedback what they think you could have done better.”
“Acting out situations makes you see it from a different perspective.” I tell the group.
“From your point of view a situation can feel a lot different than from your boss’ point of view.” I tell her.
“And as outsiders you can even see it more objectively and it’s easier to say what kind of behaviour would match your attitude best.” I tell the group.
“We can also use this technique to make you ready for future situations. For example asking a raise.”
“Take a short break to think of how you see yourself. It’s not always the same as how you are perceived by others.”
After the break they did an exercise in which they were being observed and evaluated. In the beginning this is always a bit uncomfortable for the group. Once everybody opens up they help each other discover their strengths, weaknesses and blind spots. This training offers the unique possibility to receive honest feedback from peers.
“Use this exercise as a motivation to develop yourself. Write down your action points to improve yourself. It is important to not only get feedback in this class, but also in real life. So for the next class I want you to ask your family, friends and colleagues how they characterize you.”
Tags: Danaë Tellers, Danae, Danae Tellers Trainer, Danae Trainer, Personal Development, Professional Development, Trainer Communication Skills, Trainer Universiteit van Amsterdam, Training Development UvA, UvA Trainer