Interpersonal skills and microskills™
microskills™ is a system for training people in interpersonal skills that Tim Russell has been developing over the past twenty five years and which is now used extensively for developing managers, professionals and customer service staff in organisations worldwide including banks, travel and tourism, retail, manufacturing and government.
It can operate at several levels of complexity and, in its simplest form, it subdivides all human conversations into one of six verbal skills. Each microskill™ has a uniquely different effect on the other person. The first four (EARS) are the listening or receiving skills and the other two are the transmitting skills.
Encouraging - keeps the other person talking
Asking - gets them to start to talk
Reflecting - shows interest and concern
Summarising - pulls the conversation together
Giving Information - facts, policies, procedures and data
Giving Opinions - points of view, feelings and advice
When talking with someone else, the speaker decides what they want to happen next and then they use the appropriate microskill™, so that the whole conversation is managed almost frame by frame.
Some of the many applications used by client organisations include:
- handling grievances
- customer service
- handling conduct issues
- conducting disciplinary interviews
- performance management
- appraisal interviewing
- giving and receiving feedback
- supporting staff after serious incidents
- call centre work
- managing meetings
- selection interviewing
So when staff have mastered the microskills™ in, say, customer handling they can apply them again in any other interpersonal situation.
We are currently researching an equivalent set of non-verbal microskills™ (provisionally with the acronym EYES ) as well as the application to writing emails.
microskills™ forms the foundation for most of our interpersonal skills training. A typical example is a people management training programme for a client's middle managers worldwide to develop their skills at handling staff. This also involves an understanding of cross-cultural and cross-generational differences.
The Tim Russell Group licenses trainers to use the material as part of their own programmes.
Organisational change and new ways of working™
The new ways of working™ service helps client companies to prepare the organisation and the staff for the evolving world of work. 'Flexibility' is the key word and we advise on the psychological and sociological effects of flexible working arrangements and flexible benefits.
We also research the likely changes caused by trends and new patterns of demographics, cultural values, staff motivations, ICT and globalisation.
Our work, in conjunction with futurists, has implications for recruitment and retention, rewards and benefits, management styles and such issues as teleworking, outsourcing, off-shoring and in-shoring.
Click here to download a summary of the services we offer to companies considering flexible working and teleworking for their staff.
The services are offered in Australia through our associate company, Lightship People Systems.www.lightship.com.au
Training and learning
Our roots began with the training of trainers and we have kept a keen interest in the research and development of learning and also how the roles of training and development people have evolved.
We work with Human Resource Development specialists in the areas of identifying training and development (and non-training and development) needs, of designing training interventions and of evaluating training and calculating the returns on investment.
Our approach can be based upon competencies (both input and output) and linked to various government initiatives in different countries, including Investors in People, National Vocational Qualifications, the People Developer Standard and the Australian National Training Authority framework.
We are particularly concerned about ensuring that any training is integrated with the organisation's vision, objectives and values.
Our focus has shifted more towards learning than training over the years and our work uses the principles of multiple intelligences, different learning styles and accelerated learning.
We ensure that we apply the famous aphorism of Marshall McCluhan, "The Medium is the Message". The process of how learning takes place can create a stronger effect than the planned content, unless the content and the process reinforce each other.
Customer service strategies
Our approach to customer service is common sense. Customer service staff represent the organisation to the customers - warts and all!
Before attempting any form of customer service training, we help our clients to review the policies and procedures they have and the services and products they supply. We advise on auditing values, management styles and formal and informal reward systems. And we review the recruitment, assessment and monitoring methods to ensure that there is complete alignment.
Only then can the strategy be defined and translated into something that can be communicated and completely understood and implemented.
We work extremely closely with clients to determine what will succeed for them and how to maintain the continuity of the service once we have gone.
Our own service standards are well known to our clients. Our reputation depends upon us being able to practise what we preach.