Critical Conversations

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Course Overview

One of the least favorite topics for managers and leaders is having difficult conversations with their team, their boss and their peers. This course is designed to make those conversations not so difficult. It will provide a framework to drive for the facts to effectively communicate. In this course you will learn how to:

  • Assess a situation and recognize a critical conversation
  • Deploy advanced communication skills
  • Leverage the art of story telling
  • Propose alternative paths to reach a common goal

Who Should Attend?

This course will benefit anyone who regularly needs to have difficult, critical conversations, including:

  • Newly appointed managers or team leaders directing technical professionals
  • Experienced managers, who are looking for ways to be effective and efficient
  • Engineers and other technical professionals aspiring to management and leadership positions

Additional Information

This course is part of the Technical Leadership Certificate. Course may be taken individually as well.

Course Outline

  • Recognizing a critical conversation—avoiding the fool’s choice

  • Key elements of advanced communications
    • Establishing mutual purpose
    • Making it safe
    • Key conversation skills

  • Mastering the story telling
    • Understanding the games we play
    • Defusing the games they play

  • Difficult conversations—dealing with the really tough cases
    • Dealing with high conflict situations
    • What to do when things go badly
    • Kit bag of opening and recovery phases

  • Closing well – Getting agreed outcome and action plan


Trevor Manning

Trevor Manning runs his own training and consulting business (TMC Global) that specializes in the training and development of technical people who have transitioned into management.  He is also the Director of Operations (COO) for Vertel - Australia’s largest privately-owned wireless carrier.  Mr. Manning also serves on the company’s advisory board. 

Prior to this, he had global responsibility for sales and engineering at Actix Ltd, a privately-owned international software optimization company, specializing in the mobile/wireless telecommunication field. During Mr. Manning’s tenure as Chief Operating Officer, Actix won the London Sunday Times award for "Top 100 Fastest-Growing IT Companies" for five years in succession. He was also technical director for Aviat, a US-based microwave radio supplier, and chief engineer of Eskom, a large South African electric utility, running the radio telecommunications department. 

With a 30-year career in the IT and telecommunications sectors, Mr. Manning has had personal experience as a design engineer, a middle manager, as well as board-level executive responsibilities. His global experience includes managing people in mature, stable environments with fixed structures and processes, as well as in the chaotic startup phase of a new business. Mr. Manning also has experience managing people in fast-growing environments with the challenges of recruiting and developing teams and in organizations downsizing during lean years.

Mr. Manning authored the classic best-seller ‘Microwave Radio Transmission Design Guide’ published by Artech House (second revision 2009) and more recently he has self-published ‘Microwave Radio Handy Reference Guide’ (2019).  He has also authored two management books ‘’Help! What’s the Secret to Leading Engineers?’ (2017) and ‘Help! I Need to Master Critical Conversations’ (2018), available from Amazon. 

Upcoming dates (1)

Jul. 19-22, 2021

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Program Director

Shalini Bhat

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