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Communication Skills

Cluster Leadership & Personal efficiency

Target group

Members of the Doctoral Schools


All PhD students

Key words

Solutions focus, communication skills, assertiveness, communication styles, teamwork


In order to be successful in your PhD, you need to be able to “manage” your project, yourself ánd your environment. This course focuses on this last challenge: influencing your colleagues, supervisor, peers and other parties effectively. At the end of this training, you will be able to
•    identify those parties that you really need to influence
•    adapt your influencing style to different persons/parties
•    discuss problems and issues in a solutions focused way
•    choose deliberatly how to act and respond to others, rather than reacting impulsively
•    bring assertive messages without being aggressive
•    give and receive feedback in a constructive way
•    say no to requests or expectations you can’t fulfill
•    reinforce the collaboration within the team by making use of the team building blocks


Module 1: Communication skills Basics

•    Solutions Focus as basic communication paradigm
•    Identifying interaction patterns and how you contribute to these patterns
•    Changing undesired interaction patterns
•    Active listening
•    Assertiveness
•    Feedback
•    Saying no
•    Delivering difficult messages
•    Situational Influencing
•    Effective teamwork

Teacher: True Colours

Course code Dates 1st semester 2016-2017 will be announced end June 2016
Time Teaching room



Module 2: Negotiation Skills

This module requires having followed the "Communications Skills – Basics" module (2 days) first ! The purpose of this 2-day interactive workshop is to make participants familiar with a hands-on, tried-and-tested negotiation strategy that can be applied in a wide range of personal and professional situations. The approach is largely based on the negotiation philosophy of the Harvard Negotiation Programme, the most extensive scientific research initiative on negotiation strategy to date.

After the workshop participants will
- be familiar with the key concepts commonly used in negotiation theory;
- know how to analyse and prepare distributive, integrative and mixed negotiation types;
- be aware of the different negotiation styles; in particular, they will gain insight in their own dominant style and be aware of its strengths and weaknesses;
- be familiar with a widely applicable negotiation methodology and the different phases of the negotiation process;
- gain an insight in the universal psychological principles of persuasion and social influence.

Teacher: Wim Coessens

Course codeDates 1st semester 2016-2017 will be announced end June 2016HoursTeaching room

Module 3: Conflict management

This module requires having followed the "Communications Skills – Basics" module (2 days) first ! A 2-day programme in which we explore a range of characteristics of conflicts.
After building up some reference frames to understand the nature of conflicts we focus on conflict resolution and the communication skills involved. Practicing may imply that real life situations of the participants can occur. This urges a mutual discretion among the participants.
An open mind and self-criticism is expected to consider at least a change of the own beliefs and behavior. Obviously this is not a programme that only appeals to the theoretical knowledge part of our functioning; emotions are substantial in conflicts.
Only a rational approach though can help us to manage conflicts in a constructive way.
Before the training the participants receive a questionnaire to reflect on their expectations and learning points for the training.

Teacher: Johan De Bruycker

Course codeDates 1st demester 2016-2017 will be announced end June 2016HoursTeaching room

The basic course + one module counts as one transferable skills course (minimum set of activities). You can include extra modules in the maximum set.


From 2013-2014, the course (Authentic) Networking no longer belongs to the communication training. You can include this course in the cluster Career management, without attending the basic communication training first. PhD students who have attended the module networking prior to 2013-2014 can include this module in the cluster Communication skills.

Registration fee

Free of charge for Doctoral School members


Interactive workshops. The communication training starts with module 1. Afterwards you attend at least one other module (module 2 and/or 3).

Number of participants




Evaluation methods and criteria (doctoral training programme)

Active participation