What is essential for effective cooperation and teamwork? Giving or receiving feedback plays an important role in communication but why are we uncomfortable to do so? When should you give feedback, and what style is best suited for you individually while working in intercultural teams? What is an effective way to negotiate for urban professionals in a multi stakeholder setting? These questions were addressed during the first experiential sessions of the 5-part IHS & I workshop series. Facilitators Mansi Jasuja and Michiel Stork taught participants how to best use their strengths to communicate effectively as part of this high-energy and interactive workshop!

Communication is essential for effective cooperation and team work, but comes with many challenges.  Feedback is a highly valuable form of communication, and yet many people do not feel comfortable giving or receiving feedback. This is most often because they do not know how to do it effectively or constructively.   The first part of the workshop focused on how to give feedback especially keeping in mind cultural differences. Using quick energiser games, the participants discovered the role of communication for cooperation. A valuable lesson which would be good to keep in mind when working in teams in the future.

Using several interactive sessions which urged participants to communicate with each other, the workshop allowed participants to experience the process of getting and giving feedback to each other. In this way, the theory gets aligned with hands on experiences. This was very important for building awareness on how difficult it is to give feedback yet very relevant to be aware of how receptive a person would be to what kind of feedback. The participants found that feedback almost always changes the nature of the relationship. “It’s hard for me to give feedback” said one participant. “It feels like I’m exposing myself, being vulnerable”.

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The second part of the workshop focused on negotiation and basic tools and tactics which are typically used. It involved practicing communication and negotiation skills on an urban management case, within a game setting where each participant had to assume different roles and find out how to best balance their position and their interests. While evaluating and reflecting on the game, some valuable insights got revealed about the process of negotiation, position vs interest, building trust and consensus building.

Feedback on the workshop by participants

While participants made comments like “This was fun, when is the next one?”  “I like the ‘do it yourself’ approach and the games used during the training” and “This was really valuable and exceeded my expectations”, IHS&I is very pleased because this has been a successful first step towards offering a more complete educational experience to its students.

The key takeaways the participants listed included: better communication skills, the importance of receiving and giving feedback in an intercultural setting, different tactics and principles of negotiation, new style of learning by doing.

Some other testimonials from the workshop include:

The training has helped me to be aware of balancing honest direct criticism and ‘sugar-coating’ in different cultural settings. How to be straight forward without being offensive and jeopardising the partnership.”

I really liked the new information I gathered and the joy of the trainers. Thank you!

Watch out for 4 more workshops upcoming August and September 2017.

About the authors:

MRTEmagicC_Mansi_01.jpgansi Jasuja is an independent consultant working in the field of resilient urban development, climate change impacts and adaption. I am working closely with the Royal Dutch Waternetwork (KNW) and also currently hold the position of President, IHS Alumni International Board (Erasmus University, Rotterdam). Originating from India and living in the Netherlands since the year 2000 has given me the privilege to be a part of multiple worlds. I use the opportunities of having this cultural duality for co-creating creative solutions, networking and facilitating processes. What gives me a lot of energy are interactions that involve catalysing change and inspiring soul-searching that incites moves towards a sustainable world.

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Zachary Ceulemans
 just recently concluded his internship at IHS in the Marketing and Communications Department.

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