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Professional Effectiveness for Consultants

Take your effectiveness as a consultant to a new level by mastering vital soft skills

Course Overview

Like most professions, there is a tendency to focus on the hard skills around the role of the consultant (including business analysts, project managers, QA and testers) as opposed to soft skills. Hard skills such as modelling, estimating and specification are relatively simple to acquire.  Soft skills such as communication, creative thinking, facilitation and being a team player are more subjective and intuitive and therefore more difficult to master.  

In most professions, individuals will assemble their repertoire of soft skills over time and on the job, as a doctor would develop a bed-side manner.  However consultants are change agents by profession and work in conditions that can trigger fear of losing jobs and resistance to change.  Strong communication, negotiation, facilitation, empathy and leadership skills are critical to the success of their interventions.  The key to becoming a successful consultant is to recognise that the role is as much about people as it is about problem solving and soft skills are essential in achieving higher levels of personal and professional performance.  Research has shown:

  • EQ (emotional intelligence) is as important as IQ.  Individuals with high levels of soft skills generally outperform those who rely only on technical knowledge
  • Top Performers are 127% more productive than average performers.  1/3 of this difference is due to technical skill; 2/3 is due to emotional competence 
  • For organisations to thrive in today’s global, information-based economy, their knowledge professionals must master the skills needed to connect to and influence others
 

 

Course Objectives:

  • Gain increased self-awareness and better understand the behaviour of others
  • Develop an insight into improving your personal effectiveness level
  • Improve your note-taking and business writing skills
  • Learn how to use mind maps in information gathering interactions.
  • Develop an appreciation of the role of the facilitator and understand the boundaries of the role
  • Be able to plan and conduct a facilitation workshop
  • Be able to prepare and deliver structured presentations and handle questions effectively
  • Improve your conflict resolution knowledge and skills

Course Delivery

 

 

The course comprises of a mix of instructor-led theory, practical exercises and small group discussions. Throughout the course, delegates are encouraged to share their own personal experiences and concerns.

Theoretical material covers the principles of communication and facilitation, as well as tools and techniques for using these in the business environment.

Practical exercises will ensure that the knowledge gained is both transferred and instilled.

 

 

Course Assessment

 

This course has no formal assessment such as tests or exams.  To complete the course, delegates are required to:

  • Attend all 4 course days
  • Actively participate in the exercises and discussion
  • Be assessed by the course facilitator and course delegates during the course exercises and role play sessions

 

Course Content

Day 1: Emotional Intelligence

  • Increase self-awareness
  • Understanding behaviours
  • Note-taking skills & mind mapping
  • Improving personal effectiveness levels
  • Business writing skills
  • Conflict management

Day 2: Presentation skills

  • Analyse your audience
  • Preparing structured presentations
  • Using visual aids
  • Effectively handling questions
  • Delivery of effective presentations

Day 3: Facilitation and interviewing

  • Role of the facilitator
  • Questioning and interviewing techniques
  • Planning and conducting a facilitation workshop
  • Manage workshop delegates to achieve maximum contribution and benefit

HOMEWORK: Prepare a presentation based on the material gathered during the facilitated workshop

Day 4: Practical presentations

  • Deliver prepared presentations including visual aids
  • Receive feedback from the assessor and fellow delegates

Course Prerequisites

There are no strict pre-requisites but exposure to general business communication and practices would be of benefit. Delegates with at least a year of business experience will derive most value from this workshop.

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