Expert Advice

Tailor-made conflict resolution training – and not a PowerPoint presentation in sight

Katrina Condie4 July 2022
Six seated people hold up large coloured cards

Customised workplace training courses for businesses and organisations makes learning relevant and fun. Photo: Conflict Resolution Service.

Gone are the days of ‘death by PowerPoint’ – tailor-made training seminars are fun, interactive and engaging at Canberra’s Conflict Resolution Service (CRS).

Legal Aid ACT staff are still buzzing after recently completing a training course custom-designed by their CEO John Boersig and CRS trainers.

Mr Boersig said he was looking for a fresh training model that was interactive and engaging for his team members.

“We’ve done a lot of training around staff development and mental health, and most of that training has been lecture-style or seminars, so I was looking for an alternate medium to deliver important messages to our staff,” he said.

“CRS had the idea to run the training like a theatre day, and I worked with them to develop specific role-play workshops that reflected the day-to-day challenges that arise in our organisation.”

Mr Boersig said the workshops were engaging and the role-play modules forced some staff members to step outside their comfort zones and “really think” about how they would handle conflict in the workplace or with clients.

Legal Aid ACT CEO John Boersig.

Legal Aid ACT CEO John Boersig worked with CRS to design an industry-specific bespoke training program. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

Legal Aid ACT staff often deal with people in distress or facing difficult circumstances, either face-to-face or over the phone. It’s crucial they have effective strategies and tools to prevent or resolve conflict.

“Because we’re a service organisation, we often deal with people in distress. And from time to time that can boil over into their behaviour,” Mr Boersig said.

“People may be self-harming or suicidal, right through to blaming us for all their wrongs.

“Having training customised by CRS meant we could role-play these kind of sensitive situations and develop the specific negotiation skills needed to ensure a good outcome.”

READ ALSO: Mediator of the Year empowers people to reach resolutions

CRS director of operations Kim Bool said corporations, community groups, schools and individuals were reaping the benefits of bespoke training.

“It’s all tailored to the needs of each individual organisation,” she said.

“We sit down with the company or group and identify the desired outcomes and what they want their staff to get out of the training.

“Because the training is interactive, and not death by PowerPoint, the delivery can also be tailored to target the situations they’re facing in their business.

“The delivery is fun and participatory, and gives everyone an opportunity to participate as much or as little as they like. The more they put in, the more they’ll get out of it.”

A not-for-profit organisation, CRS can provide a range of conflict resolution training options – from four-hour short courses to five-day fully accredited mediation training.

“After the course is completed, we also offer ongoing support and mentoring. We can do individual coaching with staff members if required,” Ms Bool said.

“Training not only provides staff with tools to work through conflict in the workplace, but in their personal lives as well.

“Participants can use their new-found skills to reduce anxiety at work and at home.”

READ ALSO: Early intervention crucial to resolving conflict in the workplace

Ms Bool said conflict resolution training provided staff with the ability to understand another person’s perspective of a situation.

“They learn to look at things differently and to be more thoughtful in their response,” she said.

The service can assist organisations by training staff in a number of areas, including advanced conflict resolution, ethics and professionalism, giving and receiving feedback, and developing effective teamwork.

It can also provide participants with the tools to build respectful relationships and facilitation skills, and deal with difficult situations and aggressive behaviour.

As announced in the Federal Budget, until 30 June, 2024, eligible Small businesses can claim up to 120 per cent of employee training courses run by an external education provider as tax deductions.

Contact the team at Conflict Resolution Service to learn more about how their custom training can assist you and your organisation.

Original Article published by Katrina Condie on Riotact.


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