Course syllabus E15-0196-I - Skills for Success in Practice (FEM - WS 2020/2021)

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Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra
Faculty of Economics and Management
Course unit code:
Course unit title:
Skills for Success in Practice
Planned types, learning activities and teaching methods:
2 hours weekly / 26 hours per semester of study (on-site method)

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Level of study: 2.
Prerequisites for registration:
Assesment methods :
Form of evaluation and completion of studies of subject:
a) in-class presence and active participation
b) Continuous evaluation: partial assignments handed-in for each of the 6 topics
c) Final evaluation: group presentation on selected topic from the course syllabus taking place
in the last class and feedback giving to the teammates
Learning outcomes of the course unit:
Soft skills represent the content of this subject. These skills are necessary for better participation in the labour market. This course will be realized through seminars, workshops and discussions with representatives of international companies. The goal is to provide students with a set of effective communication tools through practitioners from companies associated with the Business Service Center Forum under the auspices of the American Chamber of Commerce in Slovakia. They identified soft communication skills as the most important and the least developed competences of graduates entering the labour market. The aim of the course is to contribute increasing of the cross-cutting soft skills needed by the labour market. Upon completion of this course, students will be able to work better in teams, manage their own working time more effectively and communicate assertively. They will also be able to formulate and receive feedback more clearly, resolve workplace conflicts as well as create engaging presentations and apply design principles to everyday communication. The course is taught by representatives of selected companies associated in the Business Service Center Forum (DELL, IBM, JohnsonControls International, Lenovo, PricecWaterhouseCoopers, Siemens) - soft skills trainers needed to assert themselves in the labour market in shared services.
Course contents:
Module 1 – Team Work – The aim of this module is to raise awareness about the importance of team work at every work place. It would help the participants to understand behavioral forms supportive of team work, confidence and engagement building as well as team work for better and quicker results. Students will have an opportunity to role play those behavioral patterns hindering the quality of work and relations at a workplace. Furthermore, they would learn what kind of roles can they play in a team, how to use their strengths and how to eradicate their weaknesses in team work. The instructor would use the following education methods: role play, analysis, discussion and feedback.

Module 2 – Time Management - This module aims to address the following topics:
• Why do we want to manage our time better? What exactly do we want to change/get
better at?
• How do we improve (and through what) quality of our life & are there any new activities?
• My mission, areas of responsibility, priority goals, activities. What do my coworkers
expect from me?
• What are the priorities I decide by during managing my time? How do I spend my time
and what is really important (to me)?
• Planning, tools and methods (my roles and activities). What are the rules I need to comply
with during planning my activities? What do I need to avoid?
• How to set my goals & rules I need to comply with, eliminating mistakes, rescheduling
• How to fight time eaters (subjective and objective ones), how to identify them? Tools to
eliminate them (or minimize them).
Central to the module is the sub-topic of priorities management, where the lecturer would
focus on taking control and balancing multiple tasks even when they are all priorities with the aim of minimizing the impact of most common time wasters. Handling all of the unexpected
demands and unplanned situations that destroy the most careful scheduling is also part the
education outcome.

Module 3 - Verbal and non-verbal communication – This module would be divided into 2 blocks:
Block A (productive conversations) - People think that simple talking makes a good
conversation. This block will deal with the issue why misunderstandings happen? Talking is
simply not enough, for productive conversations much more is required than just ability to
speak. The instructor would acknowledge the students with answers for the following
questions: „How to make the other person sure we listen well? What and why to do it?“; „In
which situations and how to raise a proper questions in order to get answers on what we´re
asking?“ or „how to be authentic and convey a message of a competent and reliable
employee?“. Techniques and scenarios of productive conversations are also part of education
in Block A, and students will also get an opportunity to master the balance between Advocacy
and Inquiry.
Block B (assertive communication) – Students would be presented assertive communication
as highly effective tool used to express our feelings and point of view without being
aggressive or stepping on other people’s toes. The lecturer would cover the following topics
within Block B.
• How assertive you are? Knowing self is the best start (role play).
• Assertive rules and Transactional analysis based on Eric Berne.
• Aggressive - assertive - passive behaviors. And also passive aggressive. How to recognize
them and how to respond?
• Effective strategies for dealing with others while taking into account the intended level of
assertiveness and cooperation. When is it suitable to take a “defeat” strategy? Is
“Compromise” the “Golden mean”?
• Good Assertive techniques.

Module 4 – Conflict Resolution & Mindset - predominantly covered by the company IBM.
The aim of this module is to introduce conflicts as moments that cannot be prevented, the
most important thing is to learn how to handle or manage them. The students would learn
strategies and techniques for addressing conflicts. Knowing when and how to use them can
make participants more effective at handling challenging situations. By the end of this
module, participants will be able to:
• Discuss what conflict is, how conflict can be both destructive and constructive, and how
learning to overcome the barriers of addressing conflict can benefit their career.
• Recognize the five most common conflict resolution styles and improve their conflict
management skills by learning when to use or avoid using each style.
• Discuss how conflict resolution can improve their relationships, enhance their collaboration
skills and increase their professional effectiveness.
• Discuss how mindset influences perception of conflict situations and helps them to manage
the conflict in a constructive way.

Module 5 – Presentation Skills – To have the idea is simply not enough in the corporate environment. The aim of this module is to provide the students with knowledge that it is equally important to accompany the ideas with a story, structure and image so that their presentations are motivating, memorable and compelling. Participants will undergo the theory as well as three steps of creating the presentation – content creation, basic techniques and principles of design and performance of their presentation. Practical exercises with the assistance of the lecturer where participants are able to try different techniques and principles are involved during these three cycles. Following this module, participants will be able to create engaging presentations or apply design principles to everyday communication.

Module 6 – Feedback – We hear about feedback all the time, whereas everybody is aware of how important it is to give feedback and everybody is interested to know how his/her performance and achievements are appreciated. However the lecturer would outline the students there is a difference between ‘feedback’ and ‘effective feedback’ and this module is aimed at explaining how to give/receive effective feedback which leads to improved performance and behaviors. The
students will acknowledge themselves within this module also with the following topics:
What is feedback? What types do we have?
The difference between criticism and feedback, their definition.
When do we give feedback?
What do we achieve (or want to achieve) by giving our feedback to someone?
Rules for effective and supportive feedback – verbal and nonverbal expressions,
Portion of the feedback module would be dedicated to final group presentation, being a 
comprehensive part of the overall student evaluation. The presentation will be delivered in
video format as well as live performance on stage in front of the audience, while the team
members will be requested to provide horizontal feedback to their teammates.

Recommended or required reading:
Dan S. Kennedy: No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs
Dianna Booher: Confrontational Communication: Delivering Negative Feedback, Bad News, and Other Straight Talk
Douglas Stone, Sheila Heen: Thanks for the Feedback – The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well.
Garr Reynolds, Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery
Cheryl Hamilton: Communication for Results – A Guide for Business and the Professions
Jerry Weissman, Presenting to Win: The Art of Telling Your Story
Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler: Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High
Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler; McGraw-Hill: Crucial Confrontations - Tools for Resolving Broken Promises, Violated Expectations, and Bad Behavior
Roger Fisher, William L. Ury, Bruce Patton: Getting to Yes - Negotiating Agreement Without Giving
Stephen R. Covey: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
The Arbinger Institute: The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict

Language of instruction:
Slovak, English
Literary resources will be supplemented with corporate training materials used in the internal educational activities of individual companies associated within the Business Service Center Forum.
Evaluation of course unit:
Assessed students in total: 0

Name of lecturer(s):
Ing. Tomáš Michalička (examiner, instructor, lecturer)
Ing. Boris Rumanko (instructor, lecturer)
doc. Ing. Radovan Savov, PhD. (examiner, instructor, lecturer, person responsible for course)
Ing. Xénia Szarková (instructor, lecturer)
Last modification:
2. 10. 2020
doc. Ing. Radovan Savov, PhD. and programme supervisor

Last modification made by Iveta Kunová on 10/02/2020.

Type of output: