Expanding Horizons

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

"NEW" - Persuasive Speaking(Summer)

Host presenter: Janet Zeide Esq.

Persuasion is a part of daily life. Being able to influence others is an important skill and those who master the ability to persuade often emerge as leaders. This workshop will address the strategy and structure of the powerful art of persuasion. Participants will learn how to construct an argument to change the beliefs, values or attitudes of their audience, and to move the listener to action, using the Motivated Sequence. Everyone can improve their persuasive skills by learning the strategies and practicing in this interactive lab.


Janet Zeide is an attorney, former newscaster, and a professor in public speaking. She has taught communications courses for the past 30 years at Montgomery College. She is a McGill graduate in English/Communications. In law school, she was the Moot Court Editor and received the Silver Tongue Award. She has worked as an attorney at the Federal Communications Commission, and has also worked at the National Association for Broadcasters. Ms. Zeide also tutors/coaches in interviewing, organizational skills, public speaking, and SAT/AP verbal testing. She has served as a judge in debate tournaments.

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 Marta Straznicky

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 (Winter)

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).  

Learning Outcomes

  • Adopt constructive approaches to communication in order to foster a healthy and productive working relationship with your supervisor

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.

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


Networking Skills - Toronto - November 2, 2016 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

You’ve all heard the saying “you are only as good as your network,” but have you ever wondered how to get one?

This full day workshop is designed to provide insight and interaction along with the know how to build and stabilize business relationships through effective networking.

We will cover who-what-where-when and why to network and participants will have the opportunity to practice what they learn. Details on the actual networking exercises will be determined by the location of each event. Activities will be customized to reflect the interests of the participants.

Learning Outcomes:

Through participating and completing this workshop, participants will:

  • Broaden their understanding of the importance of networking
  • Learn the importance of sharing contacts
  • Receive insights on how to refresh, build and make the most of the networks they already have, both virtually and in-person
  • Acquire the tools required to make an impact on contacts that may open doors
  • Learn tools and techniques to plan and better prepare for networking opportunities

Register for this workshop on the Mitacs website.

Mitacs Elevate: Practical Tips for Growing Your Personal Network - Online Workshop (December 1-15, 2016)

Get the knowledge you need to build your network! Your time at graduate school/during your post doctoral fellowship will be filled with opportunities to make connections in and outside of your field. This short online workshop will give you the information you’ll need to make the most of each opportunity.

Building a strong personal and professional network may be one of the single most important things you can do for your career. Learn how to plan, prepare, build and foster your network and watch opportunities unfold in front of you.

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of the session, you will:

  • Have learned the importance of building a strong network
  • Techniques on tapping into the existing network around you
  • Have learned practical tips on identifying and planning networking opportunities
  • Learn to strategically prepare for an upcoming event
  • Have a better understanding of social networking tools available and tips on how and when to use them