Training on communication and conflict management for engineers

Enhancing skills with internationally proven, mixed-mode programs

Each training program has one of four themes:

Professional Communication

The Excellence in Professional Encounters program  addresses technical experts in complex, global organisations, whose close and effective collaboration with colleagues in other divisions is essential for realising the full value of their work.

Using a wide range of activities and examples, we build on participants’ intuition and experience in order to achieve encounters which …

  • Run on time (planning and conducting different types of calls and meetings)
  • Discover valuable and varied information (learning and guiding discovery)
  • Provide clarity and understanding (rapid creation of objective-driven, audience-centric pitches & presentations)
  • Result in agreement and action (assertiveness, negotiation)

Optional topics include effective email, training skills (for the abstraction and transmission of specialised knowledge) and communicating across cultures.

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Customer Communication

Excellence in Client Encounters, our flagship training program, has been designed primarily for Applications Engineers, Consulting Engineers, Technical Sales Representatives and Marketing personnel. Their proximity and easy access to customers makes them essential to their companies’ commercial success, even though their core expertise may be technical.

The fundamental encounter topics covered in the professional communication theme are addressed from a customer-facing point of view, leveraging tools, methods and best practices from the fields of Applications Engineering, Sales, Coaching and Psychology.

This training has been successfully delivered all over the world since 2011. Customers include major chip manufacturers, equipment suppliers, software developers and intellectual property suppliers.

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Difficult Professional Conversations

The Effectiveness in Difficult Professional Conversations program prepares professionals for stressful, high-stake conversations with their colleagues, partners and customers.

We cover, for example, dealing with offensive or insensitive behaviour, overcoming obstruction or negativity, giving bad news and confronting someone who repeatedly fails to meet their commitments.

Participants learn how to identify the main difficult and, having acquired certain key confrontation techniques, are able to address it with increased confidence. Instead of avoiding issues (however politely/subtly) or getting into conflict (returning aggression with aggression), they are able to return faster to a productive, professional conversations.

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Difficult Customer Conversations

Our Effectiveness in Difficult Customer Conversations program is the result of crossing many years of customer-facing experience with the theory, tools and models of the difficult professional conversations program.

The training examples and exercises focus on emotional issues that may arise when encountering new prospects, negotiating deals and dealing with delivery and product issues. The goal is always to identify and address sources of irritation, disappointment, anger, fear, frustration, doubt, etc. and return to a productive, professional conversation as quickly as possible.

For example, we practice refusing a strong client request and work on ways to contradict customers, perhaps in a highly-charged meeting. We discuss the difficulty of remaining aligned with our personal values when deciding what to say and not say to customers. How to remain honest and benevolent while protecting ourselves and our organisation? When to discuss, to fight, to withdraw?

We invite participants to share their experiences and intuition and, using a few simple tools and models, extract new learning from these contributions. Everyone on the program, including the trainer, emerges with fresh insights, integrates new skills and takes away questions to ponder.

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Our mixed-mode programs are delivered through:

Classroom sessions

Our approach is based on an important communication principle: that a message must be adapted to the person receiving it. Hence, to minimise the theory-practice gap, activities and exercises are customised on a course-by-course basis to match the work of participants (and they occupy over half the session time).

Classes may be online (Zoom, Teams) or face-to-face.

Our training methodology, strongly influenced by Stolovich and Keen’s Telling Ain’t Training, has been proven internationally with companies ranging from multinationals to bleeding edge startups. While based on industry best-practices, we believe the material to be original and trainees tell us that it is thought-provoking. Juniors and seniors alike.

To maintain necessary rigor, training modules include Level 1 and Level 2 Kirkpatrick checks. This feedback helps us to continually improve.

Workshops

Workshops are an excellent way to either:

  • Help a team to address a specific challenge – e.g. design reuse, marketing strategy, sales/support of product X
  • Work on cohesion and development – e.g. integration of new members (post-acquisition?), experience sharing (individual contributors or manager-leaders), internal processes (use of messaging apps, CRM, etc.)

Our workshops use one of several collective intelligence processes. These include:

  • Creative Problem Solving
  • Design Thinking
  • Open Space Technology
  • A simplifier version of “Entre 2” from Jérôme Curnier (see, for example, several workshops organized for Engineering Team Leaders)

Such workshops are particularly effective in combination with classroom sessions since, by using the tools and terminology seen in class, workshop participants work faster and reinforce their new skills.

Independent learning

Independent learning is an excellent complement to other training approaches, allowing trainees to deepen their knowledge and to develop their autonomy. The following products can be accessed through our Learning Management System, https://my.icon9.net:
• Video and audio : most of our classroom material in available
• ICONDA’s text books: Client Encounters of the Technical Kind, Difficult Professional Conversations, Coaching for Client Encounters
• ICON9 collateral : exercises, quick references, templates, posters
These online resources are summarized here.
As well as being a valuable repository, my.icon9.net is also a powerful communication mechanism, allowing coachees and trainees to exchange material easily with their coach/instructor and to keep that material well organized.

Checkpoints

Our training programs start and end with individual interviews, called Checkpoints.

Before the work begins, we discuss the person’s background, their particular expectations and the time/effort commitment needed in (during and outside of the formal sessions) in order to fully benefit from the program.

Then, at the end of the program, each participant has an individual checkpoint with their facilitator and a sponsor (their manager and/or a representative of Human Resources, for example). The purpose is to discuss what they’ve learnt and ideas for its use – it’s a collaborative exercise.

Just preparing for a checkpoint has a huge learning benefit, and participants receive individual feedback and support for this preparation.

ICONDA has not only facilitated hundreds of checkpoints, it has been instrumental in introducing the checkpoint process into other companies. It is an extremely valuable component of any learning and development program!

Meet the instructor

I am Andrew Betts and ICONDA Solutions is my company.

I have worked in the semiconductor industry for over 25 year’s, the first half in design roles, the second in the field (Sales, Marketing and Applications).

A confirmed trainer, I am also an experienced coach.

But that’s enough text! I’ll introduce myself in this video…

Organisation & Next Steps

  • Each program is based on set of core modules for the given theme
  • A typical program has 2 days of classroom sessions (delivered as half-days if remote)
  • No two programs are the same – there is flexibility in module choice and content
  • Schedules, learning resources, etc. are managed through a Learning Management System
  • Please complete the form below in order to obtain a quotation
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