Practising Meaningful Conversations at the University of Edinburgh

In September 2018 we relaunched our Learning and Development Offering bringing together online development toolkits and interactive face-to-face workshops to enable our staff to access the resources that they need when they need them.

We took this opportunity to review our training offering for managers. We approached Forum Interactive Consultants because we were looking for a consultancy that could provide intensive practical, interactive sessions that give our managers the opportunity to practice their skills in having meaningful conversations that encompassed all management interactions; from giving feedback to talking about performance or delegating a complex piece of work.

Our managers had asked for the opportunity to develop emotional intelligence, active listening and authenticity with the opportunity to see good practice in action, practise themselves, receive feedback and have the opportunity to reflect and try again.

Forum worked in partnership with us to create a highly practical and engaging one day workshop using interactive, dramatic scenarios, practical exercises and small group bespoke role play/coaching.

During the morning the participants engage in exercises designed to raise awareness of the importance of active listening, open questions and being authentic. They work on accessing their own confidence within the context of a meaningful conversation, they practise these skills through influencing the attitudes and behaviour of the characters in an interactive dramatic scenario designed in partnership with us to be as recognisable to as many of our managers as possible. They can stop/start/rewind and erase the action, speak to the characters and find out what they are thinking and feeling.

In the afternoon they have two opportunities to user their own situations and development aims in terms of the above qualities. They work in small groups on bespoke role plays with a coach/facilitator from Forum.

We are incredibly impressed with the level of professionalism, skills and creativity that Tess and Graham and their team have brought to our partnership. We have collaborated in every step of the process; they have listened to our objectives and created a truly practical workshop that totally supports our in-house programme of leadership development.

The feedback we have received has been incredibly positive:

This was the most interesting and beneficial course I have ever been on. It really made me think differently about how I will approach conversations. The team really bonded and the honesty they gave was amazing. 10 out of 10!”

The workshop encouraged me to fully engage with and explore the rationale for behaviours and how to approach difficult conversations.  I was pushed out with my comfort zone, which really helped to boost my confidence in conducting meaningful conversations with my staff.

Brilliant, interactive and engaging workshop!

Please contact or if you would like more information.