Sure, I know how to talk to people!
Sure, I know how to talk to people!

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Sure, I know how to talk to people!

Sure, I know how to talk to people!


Good communication skills are vital in both your work life and your social life. Because talking to other people is part of everyday life, you may feel that you naturally possess these skills. In this course you will discover that a little psychological knowledge about interactions will help you to be able to plan and prepare for conversations in a way that will enable you to become an even more skilled communicator. The model you will learn about in this course is based on evidence from extensive psychological research into rapport, much of which has been carried out in a policing context.

As soon as two people are in a room together, they are communicating in some way, albeit perhaps non-verbally. Imagine the following scenario: you and your colleague, Jim, are in a meeting room at work together, the first two people to arrive for a meeting. You are busy trying to answer emails on your laptop, so you don’t want to talk, and from the fact that you don’t look up when Jim enters the room, are interacting with your computer and don’t verbally acknowledge Jim, he is able to deduce that you aren’t interested in chatting. While you’ve said nothing, you have nonetheless communicated. So even without speaking, once two people are in a room together, they are communicating – even if the message they are communicating is that they don’t want to talk.

In this course you will be introduced to a simple model that encourages you to think about interactions between you and a conversational partner or a small group. This model is based on psychological research and is easy to understand and apply in your daily life, whether at work, at home or in a social environment.

In the following video, Dr Zoe Walkington introduces you to the content you will cover in this course.

Download this video clip.Video player: Video 1
Skip transcript: Video 1 Talking to people – when rapport works … and when it fails

Transcript: Video 1 Talking to people – when rapport works … and when it fails

I've always been really interested in what goes on between people, what makes some people get on really well, and what makes some people immediately seem to get off on the wrong footing with each other. And as a psychologist, at first I thought maybe people had quite fixed personalities. And maybe some people just don't match each other, and they're not going to get on.
But the more I learned as a psychologist, I started to realise that actually a lot of these behaviours emerge between people. So it's not that I have a particular fixed personality and you have a particular fixed personality and if those two come together, we won't get on. It's more that the dynamics of the situation emerge between us.
And I've always found that a really interesting idea. And in this course, what we're going to do is we're going to have a look at an interpersonal model that will introduce you to how some of these behaviours actually work, because one of the things psychologists have noticed is that quite often, things go wrong in conversations. And I'm sure you'll have probably experienced this in your own life.
But they've noticed that these things that go wrong tend to happen in quite predictable ways. And what you'll learn about on this course is those psychological principles that underpin that model of when interactions work to create rapport and when they don't. And hopefully this will be useful to you in lots of different spheres of life, from your own personal relationships, your relationships at work, and also your relationships in community settings.
End transcript: Video 1 Talking to people – when rapport works … and when it fails
Video 1 Talking to people – when rapport works … and when it fails
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By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • understand the principles of a psychological model about rapport
  • identify interpersonal behaviours using the model
  • avoid maladaptive responses using the model
  • plan an interpersonal response to a particular situation based on the model
  • reflect on a situation experienced recently.

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