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Expanding Horizons

Expanding Horizons

Professional Development

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Communication & Interpersonal Skills

What Communication and Interpersonal Skills offers to Graduate Students

  • Enhances written, oral and visual communication skills
  • Develops writing skills for a variety of audiences, including academic and non-specialist audiences; communicating with the media, decision makers, academics and the general public
  • Improves communication skills in sharing knowledge and expertise

Benefits of Communication and Interpersonal Skills for Graduate Students

  • Interpersonal skills are valuable in refining the way we connect with others, including diverse audiences and partners in collaborative projects
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills are valuable assets that can contribute to success in academia, industry, government and private agencies

Workshop Categories & Descriptions

Presentation Skills

Practice your Presentation Skills - Level 1 (Fall)

Host Presenters: Mitacs

The simple truth is that people who present well in front of groups are far more likely to succeed at captivating, persuading and inspiring others, and are generally perceived as better leaders. In summary, one’s ability to present will help determine their success in business.

In this one-day workshop, theory is introduced in short bursts, and participants spend the majority of time practicing their presentation skills and receiving onsite feedback.

The focus on extensive practice and feedback is what makes the program meaningful, and is what makes the learning stick.

Presentation Skills - Level 2 (Winter)

Host Presenters: Mitacs

PLEASE NOTE: The pre-requisite to this workshop is Practice Your Presentation Skills I; participation is mandatory before attending this class.

Practice Your Presentation Skills II is for individuals who have already participated in the Practice Your Presentation Skills program and wish to take this key skill to a far more advanced level.  

The advanced skills development is achieved through a greater emphasis on practice and critique of realistic presentations that are relevant to the job, as well as the ability to watch oneself on video.

Presentation Skills for graduate students (Winter)

Host Presenters: Learning Strategies

This workshop offers practical strategies to plan, organize, and structure a professional presentation, deliver that presentation in an engaging way, and effectively answer questions. Use your skills in the classroom, at a conference, or in the workplace.

3 Minute Thesis (3MT) presentation workshop (Winter)

Host Presenters: Learning Strategies/ SGS/ past participants

To help those who plan to participate in the 3 Minute Thesis competition at Queen's, this workshop will give you some tips and strategies and how to plan your presentation, your one slide and advice on how to think & speak differently about your research.

Presentation slides 2016 (382 KB)

Resources for (20KB)3MT

3mt Exercises (20KB)

Presenting With Confidence (formerly - Managing presentation anxiety) (Winter)

Host Presenters: Learning Strategies

This workshop will build your confidence in public speaking by providing strategies for reducing presentation anxiety and the opportunity for hands-on practice and feedback.

Please bring an outline of a 3-4 minute talk on any topic, that you can share with workshop participants.

Media & Technology Skills

Media Training (Summer)

Host Presenters: SGS & Queen's Communications

Part 1 – overview of what it means to be interviewed.

Outline: A presentation from Queen’s communications officers. They will discuss their jobs including writing news stories; pitching Queen’s experts to the local, national and international media; facilitating media visiting campus and filling media requests when they phone or email. Communications specialist Kristyn Wallace will also speak briefly about her position.

After a short break participants would re-assemble as a group for the final presentations. Some of our leading experts will offer their thoughts on working with the media. Eg fellow grad students or faculty who are currently being asked to speak to the media.  The experts would offer a short presentation which would allow ample time for a Q & A period.

At the end of the first part of the training, students will have the option of signing up for an actual practice session being interviewed by the media. These individual practice sessions will take place at a different time over the summer.

Part 2 – Individual practice

Outline: In groups of five, any student committed to working with the media will be interviewed by the communications team. The interviews will be on a one-to-one basis and focus on their areas of expertise. A copy of the interview will be provided to each student to analyze their performance.  Feedback from the interviewer will also be available.

After the training, each student interested in working with the media will be provided with a form to fill out. This information will be added to the expert database for use by media and the communications team.

Other Interactions

Effective Communication with your Supervisor (Fall/Winter)

Host Presenters: Student Wellness & SGS - Dr Arunima Khanna & Dr Sandra den Otter

This workshop provides invaluable guidance on how to communicate effectively with your supervisor. The relationship between graduate student and supervisor is one of the most critical parts of a graduate student’s life and building and nurturing this relationship depends in part on open and mutually respectful communication. Graduate students share responsibility with the supervisor for maintaining direct, frequent, and clear communications and this workshop provides some tips on how to nurture an effective supervisory-student relationship.

Taking a multicultural focus, the workshop will seek to provide information on the areas listed above, and to provide case-studies to illustrate some of the challenges of supervisory-student communication with practical suggestions on problem solving and avenues for assistance if communication breaks down. Tips on how to manage the intercultural elements of the student-supervisory relationship will also be covered.

Getting the most out of your supervisor: Managing the Supervisory relationship

Host presenters: Dr Kim McAuley (SGS), Dr Sue Fostaty-Young (CTL), Graduate students

This workshop provides advice and guidance on how to manage the relationship with your supervisor so that you can make more effective progress toward thesis and degree completion. A panel of upper year Ph.D. students will present their tips.  We will also discuss ways that you can best gain help from your supervisor when applying for scholarships and jobs. Attendees will work in groups on scenarios on how to tackle difficult or confusing situations that sometimes arise between students and their supervisor(s).  

Skills of Communication (Winter)

Host Presenters: Mitacs

The ability to access information and connect with people from around the world at any time is evolving, however we still need to have face-to-face contact. Not only is that how we build deep relationships but it is also beneficial in advancing our work. Research has shown that interacting for only 10 minutes a day improves cognitive performance.

Fine-tune your ability to communicate in academia and industry! We encourage you to take this opportunity to experience first-hand, the power of effective communication whether it be communicating your research through presentation or working within teams.

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify obstacles and common mistakes in communication methods
  • Learn how to pinpoint your own communication barriers and strategies on how to overcome them
  • Learn how to develop focused attention and conversations
  • Understand social intelligence and changing outcomes in a more positive way
  • Recognize the impact of ineffective communication on teams and workflow
  • Understand business conduct principles and how to have difficult conversations
  • R.E.A.L Conversation™

Leading with emotional intelligence (Winter)

Host Presenters: HR - Shannon Hill

Understanding the essentials about Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is an important and valuable skill for working with different people with distinct personalities. The workshop provides instruction on learning to to foster a more productive and engaging collaborative environment. New research shows that, unlike IQ, emotional and social intelligence can be developed and increased during any point in your career.

Working in a Diverse Workforce (Winter)

Host Presenters: HR - Shannon Hill (offered in alternate years)

This workshop will assist you to in developing strategies to successfully work in today’s diverse work environment. We will define diversity as it applies to the workplace, discuss the importance of increasing our self-awareness, explore different cultural work styles, cross-cultural communication, and interacting with persons with disabilities

Skills of Business Etiquette (Winter)

Host Presenters: Mitacs

This practical workshop focuses on teaching transferable skills to communicate with confidence and poise. You will have the opportunity to practice in a variety of situations and receive feedback from peers and the instructor. Whether the focus is customer service, supervision, team building or leadership, strong interpersonal communication skills are the foundation for success.

In a safe environment, you will practice, discuss and reflect on your learning experiences. You will complete a self-assessment and set goals for ongoing development.

Learning Outcomes

Interpersonal Communication Skills
Business Meal Etiquette
Techno-Communication Etiquette
Workplace Best Practices
Professional Appearance


Conflict Resolution (Fall)

Host Presenter: Harry Smith (CDRM & University Ombudsman)

The discussion about conflict resolution will build upon the significance of effective communication. Communicating effectively is made easier when there is a clear understanding of the nature of the relationship between the parties and their expectations respectively. Effective communication, including documentation, may allow the parties to avoid having problems escalate unnecessarily but also proves useful if it becomes necessary to initiate more formal procedures. When this happens, the nature of the relationship determines which University policies apply and the procedure to be followed. The resources available through the University, including the Office of the University Ombudsman, will be discussed. 

Speaker Series

To Be advised