Conversation Skills Training

27 jun, 2012

In the 37th issue of Inside Magazine we looked back on the three-day Venturn training programme, together with Reinier Meijer, Deputy Director Commerce. Items dealt with during this course included conversation skills, a coaching style of, and the evaluation cycle.


In view of the positive feedback, a similar training was given to ten foremen of Technical Services (the Netherlands and Belgium) and Tank Cleaning (the Netherlands). A retrospective of this two-day training programme with Ed Zwaal -Inspection Foreman in Rozenburg (NL).


"Apart from a brief excursion I have been employed with Den Hartogh Logistics since 1988. First as a driver, and since 2003, as a Collaborating Foreman at the Inspection Department. During the first three years I acted as assistant to Gerard Oskam, and after he retired in 2006 I worked independently as a Collaborating Foreman.


In the past I used to base my style of leadership on a training course in Practical Leadership and the style used by my own managers. I was mainly focused on instructing people without paying much attention to own responsibility and delegation. The Conversation Skills training has given me a better understanding of the different forms of leadership (depending on the task or experience of a staff member).


I used to spend most of my time checking the work of the mechanics. Investing in the mechanics and being open to their own ideas and solutions has resulted in improved quality and commitment. I also choose to ask open questions

to the junior mechanics to stimulate them to come up with their own solutions and improvements. As a result, they tend to take initiatives more often and they also bear more responsibility. Moreover, this leaves me more time for planning and organising instead of just checking.


In comparison with other training courses I liked the fact that I could practice different conversation skills in a pleasant environment with an actor. I have also become very much aware of my influence on the development of staff members. Moreover, my own responsibility has also increased because I can play an active role during the assessment interviews.


I would like to see more of such training programmes being presented, for instance, about giving feedback and presenting bad news ".


In the fourth quarter the Foremen will be given an active role in assessment interviews, if necessary supported by HR and possibly with a review and feedback day to dot the i's and cross the t's.


Jonathan de Vette