In the third week of September together with teachers coming from Poland, Greece, Germany and Latvia we've explored the world of soft skills and emotional intelligence. During the week we had the chance to explore many of the most important soft skills from communication and public speaking to leadership, from conflict management to emotional intelligence and empathy.
The participants had the chance explored the broad concept of Soft Skills, the interpersonal skills which allow us to interact with other people. By investigating the topic with activities and exercises, the group discovered that Emotional intelligence and in particular empathy plays a crucial roles in developing our interpersonal skills. We analysed the most important Neuro-Linguistic Programming principles and discussed the importance of going out of our comfort zone. Furthermore, one of the aims of the training was to recognize the different communication channels (verbal, paraverbal and non-verbal) and to be able to manage them productively.
Another topic that was analysed during the training days was how to lead a classroom and a team. Through practical examples we’ve investigated the 6 leadership styles identified by Daniel Goleman. The participants challenged each other to associate leadership styles with different situations, discovering that each context requires different leadership skills.
Participants had the chance to discuss and practice the differences between aggressive, passive, passive-aggressive and assertive communication, getting acquainted with the principles of the latter. The participants created a vademecum with the main verbal features of each communication styles (aggressive, passive and assertive), in order to be able to use this tool in the classroom to define the communication guidelines.
Communication is not only about what we say, but also how we say it. To further work on this topic and on improving public speaking skills the participants delivered a 2-minutes public speech that later was analysed by the whole group with the support of the trainer. This activity gave the participants the chance to receive personalised feedback in order to improve their public speaking skills.
Last but not least we address the topic of conflict management. Through brainstorming, group activities and simulation we investigate the definition of conflict, the different types of conflicts (goal, cognitive, affective) and we identified which kind of words and phrases instigate a conflict and, on the other side, which kind of words defuse it. In fact, being aware of the consequences of “positive” and “negative” words is the first step in speaking responsibly. We discussed the negative and positive aspects of a conflict and we identified the 3 keys to manage a conflict effectively.
Puerto de la Cruz in the north-western part of Tenerife was the ideal location for our course since it created the most relaxing atmosphere. This combine with the cultural and networking activities organized fostered a strong group sprit, (as you can see from the photos below ;) ).