Good relationships and adopting a range of styles good for communication.

Here’s a short note to myself about the Communities Creating Change course, you’re welcome to peruse.

In our business life building relationships in order to communicate better and taking time and care to properly understand what we are dealing with is very important. In a busy work environment this can sometimes be be seen as expensive, time consuming and a tedious process – particularly where there’s a top down culture. Let’s change that.


I was taken by surprise at the weekend. I knew Stella and Mark (my colleagues at Oblong) had put a lot of effort into the Communities Creating Change course and knew it was likely to be a good one. What took me by surprise was the speed at which everyone on the course (about 15) connected with each other and build really productive relationships (Good relationships = good communication = good relationships).

I’ve been on courses like these before as part of work but often there is a level of scepticism and indifference to the material. People will politely participate and say nice things in their feedback but you can tell there’s no spark.

This course very structured and deliberate all the way through with some firm but friendly facilitating. Each activity was carefully timed with a stopwatch. There was extensive use of flip charts and marker pens. There was a wide range of styles and approaches. Within the discussion there were a quite a few opportunities for guided one to one conversations with other attendees.

Particularly appreciated was the open discussion using discussion stations around specific topics which people could dip in and out of. This meant that people could gravitate towards a topic of interest or change to another topic.

The course illustrated that using a range of tools and styles of communication helps involve more people, but that this can take time and effort to set up. There may be a temptation just to use one discussion tool in a meeting if time is short, but including people effectively and getting to a point where issues have been properly explored does take time.

The use of Twitter to reflect what people were saying seemed to add significant value to the points being made. It was a bit like an affirmative that encouraged conversation and reinforced some key points. Having external followers added some excitement – including the London Symphony Orchestra

Here’s a link to the twitter feed

Food was an essential part of the success together with nice coffee.

Conclusion – 1. Use a range of media/teqhniques/styles, 2. Put in lots of preparation, 3. Take as much time as is required to build relationships and plan/discuss properly. 4. Be patient if the style is unfamiliar to you (it may be important to someone else). 5. Food is important.

Published by Mark

Mark Waddington is a former BBC broadcaster and producer. He now works for the Diocese of Leeds as Urban Mission Officer. If you would like to get in touch email