Updated: 13 July 2022
What is communication skills training?
Communication skills training makes you more effective at work. It does this by creating a learning environment. This is a space where you can try out new techniques and behaviours. You’ll leave with new ways to interact with your co-workers. These skills will make you easier to work with and more efficient. They’ll also reduce conflict and make everyday work less stressful. Our training is practical, relevant and fun.
People need great interpersonal skills to succeed in today’s workplace. For example, you might need to build on people’s ideas. Or to understand someone else’s point of view. Or make decisions together when you’re under pressure. Or you might need public speaking skills to persuade people to follow your advice.
But nobody was born with great people skills! You need to learn and practise them. And everyone needs feedback to improve.
Our training creates a safe space for that learning to happen. Students will:
- set goals for training and decide how to measure them
- try out new skills and techniques
- practise applying them to workplace scenarios
- get feedback and guidance from an experienced trainer
You’ll leave with a stock of new approaches. Things like:
- active listening, which helps you understand other points of view
- how to give constructive feedback
- body language and non verbal communication
- giving presentations that audiences love
- leadership skills
You’ll also learn when it’s appropriate to use these skills. Along with a plan for continued practice and learning. When students level up their soft skills, things change. Their work becomes more successful. People seem to listen to them more. They often get promoted, too.
Which skills do we cover?
Our courses start with the basics and work up to advanced skills. The nine most important communication skills are:
- Listening skills. It’s a mistake to think that good communication means getting a message across. In fact, listening is the more important skill. You’ll learn several techniques and when to use them.
- Public speaking. This includes how to create a compelling narrative. Most people need to give presentations as part of their job. This could be a conference talk or an update at a team meeting. Learn how to structure a message so it engages your audience. Convey authority while managing nerves. Get tips to improve through feedback.
- Speaking “off the cuff”. Stanford business school found that MBA students’ top fear was speaking without preparation. Learn how to speak “off the cuff” using special exercises and procedures. These set you up for success in any unplanned scenario, including a crisis.
- Collaboration skills. Working well with others is key to success in today’s workplace. But it’s not a natural skill. Learn to use the “yes, and…” approach to accept and build on other people’s ideas.
- Finding a leadership style. You need to be able to inspire people to get behind your ideas. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a seasoned manager or starting your career. The skills are the same. Learn how to project confidence in your ability to lead while listening to people’s views.
- Nonverbal communication and body language. Most of what people understand from us doesn’t come from the words we say alone. (That’s what the studies show.) Learn a holistic approach including nonverbal communication. That includes how to use your body, voice and the space around you.
- Giving feedback. Clear feedback is crucial for teamwork. But offering it can be uncomfortable. That’s because most people don’t know how to separate judgements from observations. Learning this skill will transform how you give and receive feedback.
- Conflict resolution. Disagreements are bound to happen in business. Sometimes they grow into conflicts. You’ll learn techniques to resolve them. You’ll establish the facts and find common ground. You may be able to resolve the conflict. Otherwise you can at least reduce the tension.
- Saying “no” with a positive attitude. Today’s workers receive so many requests that you can’t say “yes” to every one. Sometimes you need to set a boundary without risking the relationship. Learn to push back against a request while setting yourself up for a better “yes” in the future.
Our courses offer techniques from several fields, including:
- the theory of communication
- theatrical improvisation
- conflict resolution
- organizational psychology
- information design
Most people need to use a mix of these skills as part of their daily work. Learning how to use them prepares you for almost any workplace situation.
How does communication skills training work?
Improving your communication skills is different to other types of personal development. That’s because you can’t do it by yourself! You need other people to learn with.
Our courses work by creating group settings where students learn new skills together. This lets you experience both sides of each skill. First as the sender, then as the receiver. We designed the course to recreate workplace scenarios. This lets you try out new skills in a realistic setting.
For example, during the training you’ll:
- Practise listening skills in pairs. Like a one-to-one meeting.
- Try out collaboration techniques in small groups. Like project teams at work.
- Role play workplace scenarios. Other students will play your colleagues.
- Develop your public speaking skills by presenting to the group. As if they’re a conference audience.
In this way, our role as trainers isn’t only to teach you new techniques. We also create a learning experience. Students need a “safe space” to leave their comfort zones. A space for you to experiment with new approaches and embed your learning. (We also make sure that everyone has fun.)
Another benefit of this approach is the feedback you get from the other students. Your cohort will be no more than 10 people. This means you’ll get plenty of direct input from the trainer. Sometimes, though, feedback from your peers is the most powerful. The cohort forms a supportive group in which everyone can learn. The result is a rapid, fun learning experience. It can feel transformational for students.
(For our self-paced online course, there is no automatic group setting. Instead we show you how to ask a colleague to practise the techniques with you.)
As well as group activities you’ll also:
- set your learning goals and reflect on progress
- write an action plan for after the course ends
- learn the theory behind the techniques
- act as a peer coach to support another student’s learning
- play games
Students are often surprised to find that our courses are a lot of fun. Many people stay in touch with their cohort after the course ends. Sometimes people create peer coaching relationships to continue their learning.
Who are our courses suitable for?
Our courses are suitable for people at all levels. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a seasoned communicator or you’re starting out. Anyone can improve their soft skills. And we all need to practise and get feedback to keep our skills fresh.
For example, you might choose to take our courses when you:
- notice that your people skills don’t match your technical skills
- get a new role that requires interpersonal skills
- want to improve the way you give feedback
- need to make an important presentation or improve your public speaking skills
- want to do better in job interviews
- have completed communication training in the past and want to keep your skills up to date
Not sure whether our communication courses would suit you? Book a free 15-minute consultation to discuss your needs.
Benefits of communication skills training
Together London specialises in communication skills training. It’s all we do. Since 2013 we’ve helped hundreds of people to be more effective at work. During that time we’ve developed a unique approach.
The benefits of our training include:
- learning strategies to understand your audience
- role-playing real scenarios
- using your new skills at work
Let’s discuss each of these benefits in turn.
Learn strategies to understand your audience
What does effective communication mean to you?
You might say that it means getting your message across. In this view, your aim is to send information to the people you need to work with. We call these people your audience. You might talk about “conveying” a message or checking whether it “lands”.
It’s true that sending a message is an important result of good communication. But it’s not enough! Effective communication is two-way. You need to both send and receive. If you only focus on what you want, you won’t succeed.
Instead you need to start by understanding your audience. Only then can you craft a message that resonates with them. Or even better, have a conversation with them. The result is an outcome that works for both you and your audience.
VIDEO: In this trailer (4½ mins.) Jonathan Kahn explains our training approach. Students share the outcomes they’ve achieved.
Many people find aspects of workplace communication difficult. For example, you might:
- freeze or get sweaty palms
- get the feeling that your message didn’t land
- find it difficult to read the room
- worry about the questions you might need to answer
- try to avoid difficult conversations
When this happens, we tend to focus on what we know. We double down on our arguments to reinforce our position. But this makes the situation worse.
Think about the people you need to communicate with. How do they see the world? What’s important to them? What do they want, and how can you help them to get it? Many people don’t know.
Our courses teach you strategies to change that, like:
- active listening
- collaboration skills
- speaking off the cuff
- presentation skills
- giving effective feedback
- (and many more)
Imagine this scene. Whenever you need communicate, you know exactly what the other person wants. And how you can help them. What might you be able to achieve together?
Role-play real workplace scenarios
We’ve designed the courses to make you more effective in real life. They aren’t only about adding new skills to your toolkit. They also have a measurable impact on the outcomes you achieve at work.
You’ll learn about the theory behind the techniques. But you’ll spend most of your time applying them to workplace scenarios.
Learning soft skills in workshops is great fun and may come in handy later. But we don’t stop there. We get you to apply your new skills to realistic workplace scenarios. Your fellow students play the role of your colleagues. (You’ll do the same for them.) This makes your learning more tangible.
For most people, new skills don’t “click” or make sense until they’ve used them in a realistic scenario. Role plays show you how using these skills can change outcomes. They can transform a relationship or resolve a conflict. Students are often surprised by how realistic our role plays are. Some call it “uncanny”. You’ll learn about how your real colleagues think from playing out a scene with fellow students.
When you get back to the office, you’ll have more than some new techniques. You’ll already know how to use them in real situations.
Use your new skills at work
We help you identify what you want to achieve from the training and define what success means for you. This lets us personalise your learning experience. You’ll get the guidance, practice and feedback you need to use your new skills at work, from day one.
We do this by:
- starting the course with a goal-setting exercise
- checking in to see whether the course is meeting those goals
- asking you to share real scenarios to use in role-plays
- giving you personalised feedback to help you apply the skills to your situation
- helping you to write an action plan for applying your new skills
A recent student said that our online course:
…kept you focussed on what you wanted from it more than any other course I’ve been on.
Another said that our face to face training:
…transformed how I communicate and hard-wired these changes into my day-to-day work. Through practice, analysis and repetition.
We’re only successful as trainers if you can apply what you’ve learnt in real life. We designed our courses to be as practical as possible. And that’s why we get so much positive feedback from past students.
Check our next training dates:
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Assess your skills!
Would you like to know how your communication skills compare? Take our free online assessment to find out! You’ll get a report which shows your strengths and where there’s scope to improve.
The assessment identifies areas of your job that call for soft skills. It also works out your skill level in areas like listening and non verbal communication. As soon as you’ve finished the test we’ll send you a report that shows you which skills to focus on.
It takes less than 10 minutes. Why not give it a try?
About the trainer, Jonathan Kahn
Jonathan Kahn is a communication skills trainer. He works in London, across the UK and online. Since 2013 he’s helped hundreds of people to be more effective at work. He trains people at all levels, from Chief Executives to those starting their careers.
Jonathan believes that everyone can improve their soft skills. He compares communication to running. An experienced runner can’t wake up one morning and decide to run a marathon. They need to train and practise for weeks beforehand. The same is true for soft skills. Whatever your level of experience, you still need to keep learning. Everyone needs to practise and get feedback to keep their skills in shape.
From making websites to helping people work together
Jonathan has a unique training approach. It comes from his unconventional career path, starting in the early days of the Internet. He published his first website in the late 90s while still at school. He got his first coding job in the dot-com boom of 2000.
After graduating from LSE he began working at digital agencies in London. He soon changed focus from coding to the new field of “user experience” or UX. This approach argued that website owners should meet customer needs.
From 2010 onwards, Jonathan organised conferences about UX, under the Together London banner. He also presented around the world, from Minneapolis to Cape Town to Oslo. But despite this success, he realised that he’d made a mistake. He’d blamed bad websites on business people who didn’t understand the Internet. But the real cause was poor collaboration in web teams.
As it turns out, what’s most difficult about making websites isn’t writing code. It’s getting people to work together. This insight started Jonathan on the path to becoming a communication skills trainer.
A cross-discipline approach to soft skills
In 2012 he began training in improv with the Spontaneity Shop in Camden. All his work to date builds on this approach. The following year he started #dareconf, the event he’s best known for. Held at the Purcell Room on London’s South Bank, its strapline was, “people skills for digital workers.” The series continued until 2017 with events at the Barbican and Sadler’s Wells. There was a US version produced with the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA.
Each event combined talks about people skills with workshops led by Jonathan. In these sessions students learned listening, coaching and conflict resolution skills. He also worked with speakers before each event to hone their talks. This gave him unique insight into how to coach presenters to give talks that audiences love.
During this time Jonathan started training in-house teams, a service which continues today. Clients include the Government Digital Service, Barclays and Deliveroo.
In 2016 he trained in Convergent Facilitation with master facilitator Miki Kashtan. This approach helps people who are stuck in conflict to agree on solutions. He was later asked by Open Banking to use it. The brief: help 80 stakeholders from the financial services industry. They had strong opinions and conflicting agendas. But they needed to agree on technology standards. These standards are now in place, allowing UK banking customers to share their data.
Focus on training
Since 2018 Together London has focused on communication skills training. That includes in-house training and short courses in London. In 2020 Jonathan designed a live online version of the course, delivered via Zoom. Students have joined from as far away as New York and California. He also started communication coaching for senior professionals. In 2021 he launched our self-paced online course. It uses videos to cover the same skills as the live courses.
After more than a decade in London, Jonathan now lives in West Wales with his partner and two children. Away from work he enjoys listening to jazz, baking sourdough and walking the Wales Coast Path.
What do senior professionals say about our training?
“I’ve benefitted from Jonathan’s coaching on effective communication in the past. I have no doubt this course will be a valuable growth experience. He has a knack for helping people open up, tap into the message they want to convey and engage with sincerity.”
Jasmine Probst, Director of Content Design, Instagram
“This course combines theory, inspiration and practical exercises to change how you communicate. I left with greater confidence in how to get teams to collaborate. I also took away a toolkit that helps me navigate conflict and difficult situations.”
Jo Hamilton Watson, Global Head of Design Research, HSBC Corporate Bank
“If digital teams invested as much on communicating with each other as they do on talking to their users, productivity would shoot up. This course will improve your team’s effectiveness.”
Sarah Winters, Former Head of Content Design, GOV.UK
“Jonathan has a bagful of proven tools to help you improve your people skills. I recommend this course to anyone who wants to turbo-charge their career development.”
Laura Morgan, Senior Product Manager, The Economist
Types of communication skills training
We offer three types of courses:
- London intensive - face to face training
- Live online training
- Self-paced online course
The best option for you depends on your circumstances and learning style. Read about the benefits of each type of training below.
1. London intensive - face to face training
The London intensive is our flagship communication course. The venue: a studio space in central London. It’s the ideal environment to try out new skills in a range of scenarios. Your cohort will be 10 students or fewer. That means you’ll have plenty of time for feedback from your trainer, Jonathan Kahn.
Having a physical space to work in lets you experience the full range of techniques. It also speeds up the learning process. You’ll build trust with your cohort as you help each other to practise and develop your skills.
- Two full days of in-person learning in central London.
- Cohorts of 4–10 students.
Pricing & what’s included
The London intensive costs + VAT. This includes:
- Lunch and refreshments on both days.
- Digital handout explaining the techniques, the theory and links to further reading.
- 3 × one-to-one coaching sessions via Zoom; one before the course, two afterwards. (Normal price: )
- Lifetime access to our self-paced online course. (Normal price: )
2. Live online training
We designed our live online training for people who can’t spend two days in London. We use Zoom to create a live experience that’s as close as possible to in-person learning. The course consists of 4 × 2½ hour sessions over a 2-week period. Like our intensive courses, your cohort will be 10 students or fewer. This provides plenty of time for feedback from your trainer, Jonathan Kahn.
A key benefit of this format comes from the longer duration. You’ll try out your new skills in the workplace, between sessions. You can then reflect on how it went with your fellow students. This means you’ll see real improvements at work before the course has finished!
We also use virtual “breakout rooms” to support learning. This includes pair work and small-group activities. We schedule the sessions to suit European and American time zones.
- 4 × 2½ hour live Zoom sessions
- Cohorts of 4–10 students
Pricing & what’s included
Live online training costs +
- Digital handout explaining the techniques, the theory and links to further reading/
- Breakout rooms to support learning through pair work.
- Chance to practise skills in your workplace between sessions.
3. Self-paced online course
Our self-paced online course covers the same curriculum as our live courses. It does this using recorded videos and online exercises. Because you won’t have a group to work with, we show you how to ask a colleague to help you complete the exercises. (This can be either face to face or by video call.)
This format lets us cover a broader set of techniques than we have time for at our live courses. You can learn at a pace and schedule that works for you, wherever you are in the world. (You can also supplement this course with communication coaching.)
- Videos cover the same curriculum as our live courses.
- Learn at a pace and schedule that works for you.
Pricing & what’s included
Self-paced online training costs + . This includes:
- Extra techniques that we don’t cover in-person.
- 30-day money back guarantee.
- Lifetime access.
Not sure which course would suit you best? Book a free 15-minute consultation to discuss your needs.
Reviews from past students
“This is the best course I’ve ever been on. It transformed how I communicate and hard-wired these changes into my day-to-day work (and life) through practice, analysis and repetition. Recommend for anyone who wants to get better at managing stakeholders or influencing change.”
Scott, Scottish Government
“Covers lots of bases, gives you a set of tools/frameworks and a lot of personal insights into your own strengths and weaknesses to build on. The role-playing exercises were very helpful as was Jonathan’s feedback and that of the other students. I liked the way Jonathan built the course around our different priorities.”
Emma, The National Gallery
“It was insightful to uncover the different mechanisms that shape the way I’m being perceived. Playing the scenario made the theory more practical and listening to how you word things helped me expand my vocabulary and toolset for dealing with these situations.”
“It was great to have the environment and guidance to practise. I liked the improv aspects, the games and practical exercises. Having the group involved in exercises was great and representative of reality. I think the course can make workplaces more humane.”
Andrew, The Scale Factory
“It taught me to be self reflective, to be conscious of others I’m talking to, and that the way I carry myself makes a massive difference to the outcomes I can achieve. I think everyone could benefit from this.”
Tim, National Lottery Community Fund
“Kept you focussed on what you wanted from it more than any other course I’ve been on. Jonathan is a skilled, open and honest facilitator who didn’t shy away from difficult topics and kept us engaged.”
Urmi, Cabinet Office
“I enjoyed the improv, the theoretical side such as high/low status and the chance to practise real examples. Jonathan was great at challenging us with excellent feedback and trying things out again. The size of the group worked well.”
Calliste, Oxford University Press
“I took away lots of practical ways to rethink language and physicality. Also, more broadly I think it has helped with confidence. I think plenty of professionals would benefit from this, and get a lot from how practical it is.”
Dan, Ministry of Justice
“I recommend this course for those who want to inspire others with strong soft skills as much as their strong technical skills. Through a combination of games and group discussions, we had a lot of fun while also learning.”
“The role-playing exercise imitated real life events and prepared me better for them. Acting out aspects such as high and low status showed me how impactful they are in real life. I learned many things that will improve my professional career.”
Sign up for a course
The sign up process is different for each type of training. For full details including dates and pricing, follow the link for the type you’re interested in:
Not sure which type of training would work best for you? Contact us to discuss your goals.
Get notified about training dates and offers
Subscribe to our newsletter and you’ll be the first to know when we announce new training dates. You’ll also hear about special offers and discounts. Every week we’ll send you communication tips like how to get a coworker to open up. Or how to share bad news with senior managers. If you send us a question about soft skills, we’ll answer it in a future newsletter.
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