Interpersonal Communication for PhD candidates

Course schedule

Dates Start time End time Coordinator registrations  
19 and 20 November 2018 09:30 17:15 Susan Urbanus 8 / 7 Apply

Course description

PhD candidates often find themselves in situations where good communication skills are called for. The most important one, when communicating with their supervisor. Whether it is for example in deciding upon the right direction for the research, or negotiating on how many experiments to include, young scientists find it difficult to pursue their own ideas and maintain a good relationship with important others at the same time. The question always seems to be whether the negotiation should be soft or hard. The hard negotiator always wants to win, turns the negotiation into a competition, invites hard responses to his hard actions and ends up in a deadlock. If this type of negotiator wins the argument, he may lose a valuable relationship. The soft negotiator avoids personal conflict; he makes concessions to maintain the relationship, but in the end feels unsatisfied with the results achieved.

Scientists also differ in their preferred styles of interaction. This is a personal as well as a cultural phenomenom. Still, preferred frequency and style of interaction with the supervisor are seldom discussed. Interactions are mainly focussed on the research itself. One specific moment to discuss this would be the yearly appraisal interview (jaargesprek). If interaction with the supervisor has turned into a conflict, special attention to communication styles and –strategies is needed.

NOTE: This course is designed to help you to improve your communication, but not to help you improve your English language skills

General Information

Target group: The course is set up for PhD candidates
Group size: A minimum of 6 and a maximum of 8 participants
Course duration: Two days. Being present at the two days is obligatory!
Language: English
Credit points: 0.6 ECTS
Trainers: Brigitte Hertz (
Jeanine de Bruin (
Daniël Schut
Venue: Wageningen University, Wageningen Campus, Droevendaalsesteeg, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Note: Room and building will be communicated with registered and confirmed participants about one week before the start of the course.


This is an intensive two-day course; participants learn by carrying out brief assignments in small groups and receiving personal feedback from them. At the same time, they are given viable means of being able to apply what they have learnt in practice.

Day 1: Communication & Negotiating, Negotiating & Conflict Solving
Day 2: Decision-making, Appraisal Interviews

Content and focus on

  • Recognising your own strengths and styles of communication
  • Learning other communication styles
  • Learning strategies in negotiating
  • Giving and receiving feedback
  • Solving conflicts
  • Working with tools for better descision making and negotiating
  • Communicating about the preferred interaction in the context of an appraisal interview


Reduced fee:
• PhD candidates of Wageningen University with an approved Training and Supervision Plan (TSP) who are registered at one of the WU graduate schools (EPS, PE&RC, VLAG, WASS, WIAS, WIMEK)
• Postdocs of Wageningen University who are registered at one of the WU graduate schools
€ 200
University fee: All other PhD candidates / Wageningen University postdocs and staff € 400
External fee: All other participants € 800

Fee includes study and training material, coffee/tea and lunches.

Cancellation condition

You may cancel free of charge up to four weeks before the start of the course. After this date you will be charged the University fee. Unless:

  • You can find someone to replace you in the course and supply the course coordinator with the name and contact information of your replacement.
    In this case you will only be charged a € 50,- cancellation fee.
  • You (PhDs and postdocs of Wageningen University) have a valid reason to cancel (illness or death in the family 1st or 2nd degree).
    In this case you will be charged the reduced fee and your supervisor/PI must send a mail indicating the reason for cancellation.


For more information please contact, tel: +31 (0)317 484926.