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Why is it that two people can use the same words in the same situation with the same library users or employees-and experience totally different responses?

It is not enough to know your library's resources, services, policies or your job responsibilities. Nonverbal communication skills - the sound of your voice, the look on your face, and the details of posture and gesture, including speed and tempo - can make the difference in great customer service. Fortunately, you can capture and master what better communicators do and repeat their successes reliably. In this course you will learn how to identify and improve the fine points of your workplace interactions as well as coach others to improve their communication skills.

Students who take this course will feel more confident and relaxed dealing with library users and employees and will be more effective at providing services, explaining policies and discussing library issues, even with people who are difficult to reach.

Workshop Description: In a friendly and nonjudgmental environment, students will practice the simple and effective details of better physical communication. This class will include theater games and coaching exercises that involve voice, facial expressions, posture and gestures. Lecture, small group discussion and demonstrations as well as practical discussion about applying the information in the library workplace will round out the day. Handouts and a bibliography are included in the class materials.

(Optional) Pre-workshop assignment: Before coming to this workshop, students are asked to observe the behavior of the best communicators they know and think about exactly what the person(s) does that works so well.

Preliminary Course Outline:

  • Building Blocks For Better Communication
    • How great communication skills translate into great customer service
    • Rapport and library workplace performance
    • How you can use the "good and better" model to improve communication skills
  • Specific Behaviors that Improve Communication
    • The details of better communication
    • How these details affect people
  • How These Behaviors Can Connect With People Different From Yourself
    • How good communication skills transcend differences
    • How the "physics" of communication - pace and space - differ among cultures and generations
  • The Importance of Rapport-Building in Improving Communication
    • Appropriate ways to connect with library users and employees in the workplace
    • When does rapport not work?
    • Test the effectiveness of the ideas in this class in your library

Workshop Instructor: Pat Wagner