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Participants interact at a professional development course // Photos by LOD

Learn to optimize meeting time or incorporate play for team-building

Register now for spring professional development workshops

February 20, 2018 — 

If a meeting has ever felt long or unproductive, you’ve had occasion to ponder how to make meetings more effective—and that is the subject of a new professional development course offered this spring by learning and organizational development (LOD), human resources. Other professional development topics include navigating difficult conversations and managing workload balance and stress. There are also informal lunch sessions on using play for team-building and other workplace dynamics.

Associate director Sandra Woloschuk notes that topics are intended to benefit our everyday work lives and encourages staff to make time for some of the upcoming workshops. She sat down to talk with UM Today about this term’s offerings.

The workshops are open to all faculty and staff and held in the LOD classroom at 141 Education Building at the Fort Garry campus and at various locations at the Bannatyne campus.

Registration just opened for the spring professional development courses. Can you highlight a course or two that might be of interest to staff?

Woloschuk: We are really excited about our new Lunch and Learn series, “Use Play For Better…”! We invite people to join  our fourth session on the topic of team-building, held on Friday April 13. So much can be accomplished by people working together and having simple and fun activities that teams can use to improve their relationships, communication and collaboration. This helps the team to be more productive and avoid misunderstandings.

Also on the theme of teamwork is our new half-day workshop “Making Meetings More Effective” (March 6 or May 22) which provides practical tips and strategies so that everyone can make the most of the time they spend in meetings. “Crucial Conversations” (March 1, April 19 or May 2) is another workshop I encourage people to take since many of us find it difficult to enter into a challenging conversation. In this workshop, participants learn how to navigate important, and potentially emotional, conversations and have the chance to practice new skills for reaching agreement and having open dialogue with colleagues and clients.

Our goal is to have every participant leave a workshop feeling confident and comfortable that they can apply what they learned as soon as they get back to their workplace.  

What can participants expect when they come to one of your professional development courses?

Woloschuk: Our workshops follow a similar pattern that is based on a combination of good workshop design and keeping the time spent in the session room engaging and interactive for our participants. When a staff member comes to training, they are going to explore a topic from the perspective of “how can I apply that to the work I do here at U of M?” We often spend a bit of time talking about the topic, explore current best practices or models we can follow, and then we do exercises and activities where participants can start to practice what they are learning. We might start with small group activities and then move to larger groups or case studies or role-play.

Our goal is to have every participant leave a workshop feeling confident and comfortable that they can apply what they learned as soon as they get back to their workplace.  

 

What else is new for spring?

Woloschuk: For a lot of departments and units, spring is the time of year when they plan a retreat or team-building day. Learning & Organizational Development offers short sessions called “Unit Based Supports” and there are currently five different two-hour workshops that we offer to groups or teams, ranging from “Building Your Team Charter” to “Workload Balance & Stress” to “Building Cultural Capacity.” These are a great addition to a planning meeting day or team-building retreat. All of the short sessions have full descriptions on our website and can be booked by calling LOD.

 

To view the full listing of professional development course offered this spring, visit the LOD course catalog. 

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