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  • Writer's pictureAalia Phiri

MOOC - Communication and Interpersonal Skills at Work

Updated: Apr 1, 2022

The MOOC I decided to do for this course was Communication and Interpersonal Skills at Work which is offered by University of Leeds on FutureLearn. This two-week course focused on helping students learn about different communication styles and platforms, determine their preferred communication style and platform, the importance of understanding the audience you want to communicate with, how to approach that audience, how to communicate at work, and how to approach uncomfortable conversations.

Why this course?

I chose this course because I believe that being able to communicate effectively in all aspects of life is an essential skill to have, as most issues can be resolved by simply having an honest conversation. As someone who has never worked before, I am always concerned with finding work and my co-workers disliking me and not being able to interact with them. I frequently hear from people about their experiences working in businesses where the other employees disliked them, and in some cases, I believe that open communication might have eased the situation. This course did an excellent job of delivering useful knowledge on how to deal with challenging situations at work, as well as real-life examples and lessons from industry leaders. However, one disadvantage to the course is that I believe it was overly text-heavy. They gave a few brief videos, but they were of industry experts discussing their experiences. The main coursework was all in text, which bored me and caused me to lose attention frequently as a visual learner.


Something I learned

Despite the fact that I didn't find the course visually appealing, they did present some tests and models to assist us in determining our communication style and communicating successfully. Jennifer's (the professor) four-step approach to challenging conversations was one model I particularly liked. The steps included are:

1. State what happened.

2. Say how it made you feel.

3. Explain how it impacts your work.

4. Make a recommendation on how to improve the situation.

As someone who despises conflict and seeks to handle it as quickly as possible, I find this technique to be useful if I ever experience conflict at work or in my personal life. When I'm in a dispute, I've discovered that I can typically articulate how I'm feeling but rarely offer suggestions for how to fix the issue, preferring to wait for the other person to suggest what they think might work. This method convinced me that I should begin offering ways to improve the situation, since this would be more beneficial to me in the long term.



Future Plan

In addition to starting to offer ways to improve the issue, I'll be putting the Communication Development Plan into action. This plan will aid me in defining and developing a strategy to improve my communication abilities, as well as setting significant communication goals. This plan has two steps: the first is listing all my skills, what I need to improve, and why I want to enhance each skill:

1. Strengths (Areas where are you succeeding, what are your strongest skills.)

2. Areas for Improvement (Identify what you need and want to improve, what do you tend to struggle with most.)

3. Intentions (What would you like to achieve by improving your skills.)

The second part involves creating SMART communication goals in order to successfully improve the skills in step one.

Below is the first step of my communication development plan. This strategy will hopefully help me be more prepared for job interviews, the workplace, and everyday life because I intend to put it into action as soon as a disagreement arises. It will be tough at first, but because I am determined to enhance my communication and public speaking skills, I will strive to improve in the next 6 to 8 months.


Communication Development Plan:


Strengths

Areas for Improvement

Intentions

​Good writer. I can express myself well in writing.

​Express myself better using words.

​Be better at public speaking and presenting. Use my words to be more engaging.

​Can be persuasive when I want to.

Improve negotiation skills.

​When negotiating salary, work requirements or future business, I need to possess excellent negotiating skills.

Tech savvy.

​Although I am quite tech savvy, I need to use social media more and have more of a presence.

​In the workplace or when I run my own business, I will require social media in order to grow and market the business.


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