“Between stimulus and response, there is space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Victor FranklThis is one of Pam Penner’s favourite quotes.
Meet Pam, one of your Professional Development instructors with over 20 years of extensive experience working in the field of conflict resolution as a mediator, facilitator, coach and trainer. In private practice since 1998, and as a member of the instructional team at the Justice Institute of B.C., she specializes in helping individuals develop their communication and conflict resolution skills. We asked Pam to tell us more about two of her upcoming seminars and why they are relevant to our members.
Why is it important to learn about how to prepare for and conduct difficult conversations effectively, or communicate under pressure well, now more than ever?
In the years that I have been teaching these seminars I have heard how much pressure CPAs experience in the workplace – increasing workloads, expectations by management to provide data on the spot, the need to address problematic behaviours and manage the emotions of others. These skills learned in these seminars will help CPAs manage the pressure of these high demands and expectations placed on them.
The premise of both of these seminars is that unless we learn to communicate under pressure and how to conduct difficult conversations, a problem will only get worse, not better. It is critical to our sense of well-being and credibility to learn methods to manage these dynamics which will reduce stress in the long term.
In the seminar Communicating Under Pressure, we explore what happens to our ability to think as the stress of pressure increases, and how to manage that pressure and to allow us to think on our feet. We also explore how to say no in a way that is constructive and that still meets both our needs and those of the other person.
Most of us fear confrontation and the potential impact it can have on relationships, and so we avoid it. Unfortunately, avoiding the problem only increases it. Problems rarely go away on their own. In the seminar Tools for Communicating with Difficult People, we explore communication strategies to address problematic behaviours in a clear, constructive manner that reduces the stress we experience and helps to change the behaviour of others.
What’s one of the key ways these seminars will help CPAs in their career?
Strong communication skills are essential to career advancement. Both of these seminars focus on communication skills that are essential to career advancement, effective supervision of staff and for meeting organizational needs of productivity, effectiveness, and employee morale.
Is there a current challenge that your seminars will help address?
Both seminars address the challenge of a lack of assertiveness.
Plato said, “we get the behaviour we tolerate” and, in fact, we condone it if we don’t speak up about it. In the seminar on conducting difficult conversations, we explore communication tools for addressing problematic behaviours.
In the seminar on communicating under pressure, we explore our current communication style and how to shift to a more assertive style, including how to say no in a way that is respectful to both ourselves and the other person.
What is a key opportunity your seminars offer?
When we communicate in an aggressive or passive way we cause damage, both to ourselves and others. These seminars offer an opportunity to learn how to develop your assertive communication skills without damaging relationships.
Tell us about one takeaway that you are really excited to share with your audience.
When we avoid saying no or having a difficult conversation, nothing is resolved and resentment builds. This is an opportunity to learn some skills that will support having difficult conversations that will ultimately improve relationships and reduce pressure.
You will learn to say no in a way that acknowledges your own needs and also works to meet the needs of others.