Centre for Continuing Education

Building Positive Work Relationships Course

Business Communication. Sharpen your communication skills.

COVID-19 update: arrangement of our courses

We are now delivering courses both online and in-person. Please check the delivery format for each class before you enrol.

Please note that course materials for all classes (excluding prescribed textbooks) are shared electronically within 48 hours of a course starting. Printing is not available.

Eleanor Shakiba
Eleanor Shakiba is an expert in social and emotional intelligence. She has taught over 50,000 people to think and speak in ways which build success. She has been teaching at the Centre for Continuing Education for over ten years.

Eleanor’s qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Anthropology, Graduate Certificate in Applied Psychology, Graduate Diploma in Adult Education, Master Practitioner and Trainer certifications in accreditation to administer MBTI and DISC psychometric instruments and LEADR training in mediation. She writes and teaches in the areas of applied psychology, communication and conflict resolution.

In business, relationship management is the key to your success. If you have strong relationship-building skills, you can work cooperatively with colleagues, resolve conflict and create a great impression on your customers.

Find out what it takes to achieve relationship success in this introduction to positive workplace communication. Hear how to build constructive relationship dynamics, actively shape positive conversations, build trust and sort out disagreements collaboratively.

This introductory level communication course is suitable for anyone who wants to contribute positively to a team or build effective client relationships.


The overall aim of this course is to provide you with a toolkit for shaping positive relationship dynamics. The techniques covered in the program are evidence-based tools from positive psychology.


By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • create healthy relationship dynamics by boosting the positivity ratio of your interactions
  • avoid four behaviours which negatively impact relationships
  • take a strategic approach to fostering positive relationships at work
  • take an ‘active constructive’ approach to communicating with your peers and contacts
  • build trust by adopting behaviours that boost credibility, reliability and intimacy
  • use a four-step process to sort out conflicts, disagreements or difficult situations.


The program is highly interactive, with an emphasis on practical activities and class exercises. You will get hands-on experience using positive communication techniques, in addition to covering key theories relevant to building positive work relationships. Topics you will cover are outlined below.

Building healthy relationship dynamics

Creating positive relationships involves influencing relationship dynamics. In this session, we will:

  • explore a model of relationships developed by John Gottman
  • discover which behaviours can damage a relationship and how to avoid these
  • learn to use three key elements – autonomy, respect and attentiveness – to build a foundation for relationship success
  • assess your own behaviours and develop a plan for building positive relationships – even when you don’t experience a natural ‘click’ with someone else.

Taking a constructive approach to relationships

Customers, suppliers and co-workers are all essential for your success and you need to notice and respond positively to their bids for attention. In this session you will:

  • learn to deepen connections by using active constructive responding techniques
  • track and improve your 'positivity ratio – so you can build and sustain healthy and constructive relationships in a range of professional contexts.

Building trust

What’s the single, most important ingredient in a successful relationship? Social psychologists have shown that it is trust. In this session, you will assess your own ability to build trust, using the trusted advisor model. You will also learn to apply behavioural strategies for increasing credibility, reliability and intimacy in professional relationships – so you are perceived as a trusted advisor or associate.

Improving difficult relationships

Successful relationships are based on collaborative behaviour. When relationships become strained, you need to know how to sort things out. In this session, you will learn to:

  • reframe your thinking about ‘difficult people’ so you can set appropriate boundaries
  • use a four-step model to focus on the issue, not the person
  • uncover and address the issue which is triggering challenging behaviour
  • explore the other person’s needs, as well as explaining yours
  • use solution-focused questions to sort out problems
  • create an agreement so you can move forward after conflict.

Intended audience

This introductory course is suitable for team members, frontline supervisors, customer service professionals and individuals wishing to enhance their relationship–building skills.

Delivery style

This course is highly interactive and focuses on applying concepts from positive psychology to the task of shaping relationship dynamics. You will get the most from the program if you are:

  • willing to contribute to group discussions about your real-life experience
  • confident communicating verbally in small groups
  • comfortable participating in role-play style activities.

You’ll learn through a variety of methods including:

  • mini–lectures
  • video presentations
  • Q & A sessions
  • demonstrations by the trainer
  • practical group activities
  • individual planning activities.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Course materials – yours to keep
  • CCE Statement of Completion

What others say.

  • I learnt a lot of great ways to help me communicate with my colleagues. I found the presenter really engaging and helpful, and it was good that workable examples were provided that I can use in practice.

  • The tutor was very good in providing examples and instances that helped us to relate and understand better.

  • The course was excellent and very well presented. The venue was very comfortable and easy to access.

  • The presenter was very mindful of the groups skills and needs without being pushy. The pace was good and varied to keep everyone’s attention. We were provided excellent handouts and practical tips to take away.

  • I enjoyed the day and felt like it was very well facilitated. I’ve sharpened my skills and been made aware of bad habits and how to address them. The content was applicable both in the work place and other walks of life.

  • I really enjoyed the course – I feel it was something I needed and it made me look at my own behaviour, as well as addressing other peoples.

  • Everyone who works with other people should do this course! The guided group time was very helpful and I learnt practical solutions to apply to my workplace. The presenter is very knowledgeable and does a superb job!

  • I found the tutor very knowledgeable and engaging which made the day both enjoyable and valuable!

  • A terrific course: well-delivered, with an excellent balance of theoretical content and practical exercises. I’ll be recommending this to others. Many thanks to CCE and the presenter.

Building Positive Work Relationships Course

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What others say.

  • The course is delivered in a relaxed and supportive environment by a wonderful trainer who instantly makes everyone feel at ease. I believe with practice, I will be communicating more effectively and building stronger work relationships in no time.
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