Virginia Tech™home

Communication Courses

The classes below may be taught as stand-alone courses or combined in a package that suits your communication needs. We also offer several classes as open enrollment options. The following are open to anyone who would like to register:

For information on any of these programs, please contact Regional Outreach Program Manager David Conners at or (540) 767-6145.

Benefits: Think about the last networking event you attended, the last business meeting you were a part of or even the last personal social gathering you enjoyed - did you make the connections you wanted or did you struggle to relate to people? Our Effective Communications workshop is the remedy. Together, we will work toward strengthening your social skills while increasing your emotional connectiveness and ability to think on your feet. Our high-energy workshop will get you out of your comfort zone (and sometimes out of your seat!) and teach you to observe, respond, relax and imagine. These tools will improve your ability to "work the room" and be the person everyone wants to connect with in any social situation.

Who should attend: Anyone who wants to learn how to connect with people for their career or personal life - or both!

When:  This is a full-day workshop from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Our next open enrollment workshop is September 24, 2020, at the Virginia Tech Roanoke Center. If you'd like to bring this to your organization as a contract program, please contact us!

Build muscles of personal resilience and imaginative innovation. If you’ve experienced the value of improvisation in our Art of Yes! workshop or as part of our graduate class in Communicating Science we know you’ll be interested in continuing to become more spontaneous, responsive and aware. This series is for you!

What: Participants in this ongoing series will deepen and expand their experience with improvisation in the company of other committed improvisers. Increasingly complex experiences will help participants grow in all kinds of important life skills while having a lot of fun with other committed improvisers.    

Benefits: In this open workshop series participant can take part in exercises that will build their muscles of imagination, concentration, observation, resilience, self-confidence, expressiveness, and more. Participants will build on skills they have developed as well as explore new opportunities.

Who should attend: Anyone who has completed the VT GRAD 5144 course or has taken the CCS Art of Yes! workshops.

When:  This is a five-day course that can meet weekly.

They say that the shortest distance between two people is a story. Stories that we tell about ourselves, our missions and our community shape how we understand the past and what we think is possible to achieve. For collaborative leaders, stories help connect the members of an organization with a common understanding of purpose. Strengthen your story skills in this engaging workshop.

What: In this workshop participants will explore several approaches to creating stories that connect with others, will learn about approaches to feedback (including Appreciative Inquiry and the Lerman Critical Response Process), and will share and iteratively refine stories to benefit their organizations and their communities.  

Benefits: The stories that a community shares can allow a deep and spontaneous understanding of complex issues. Learning to use the tools of storytelling can help leaders connect more effectively with their communities and motivate change. This workshop will enhance participants’ understanding of self and others, build awareness of given circumstances, strengthen listening skills, enrich abilities to give and receive feedback and develop abilities to construct a compelling narrative that might serve as a catalyst for change.

Who should attend: Leaders and aspiring leaders, team members, collaborators.

When: Two-part workshop of six contact hours divided into two three-hour sessions.

Do you panic at the thought of explaining your work to a journalist? Have you had an interaction with a reporter that left you feeling as if you had failed to communicate? This workshop provides helpful tips for those whose work gets the attention of the media.

What: Participants in this workshop will learn how to answer that initial call from a reporter and how to organize their thoughts and materials. They’ll be given useful strategies for getting their messages across clearly and learn about the path a news story follows from idea to publication.

Benefits: This workshop will help you help journalists to tell your story accurately and engagingly. Participants will leave with an understanding of the process from the reporter’s perspective and a set of tools to help them prepare for media interviews. Each participant will have an opportunity to practice responding to interviewer questions.

Who should attend: Those who need to be able to collaborate with the news media to get a story told effectively and accurately.

When: This is a three-hour workshop.

Using active participation, you will develop the self-confidence and audience awareness required to deliver presentations that have memorable impact.

What: Participants in this experiential workshop will explore the seven aspects of presentations and will learn how to refine and strengthen their listening skills, non-verbal communication, spontaneity and responsiveness in order to connect with audiences at conferences, poster presentations and large gatherings. Participants will learn how to handle nerves both before and during presentations. They will learn methods for effective storytelling, how to prepare and warm up and how to keep audience focus.

Benefits: Each participant will develop confidence and will learn more effective non-verbal skills and approaches to audience engagement. Each participant will create a recorded video of a brief presentation that they can use on websites, social media or as a video abstract for academic papers.

Who should attend: Leaders and managers, professionals, teachers and those simply interested in developing self-confidence and communication skills.

When: Extended workshop of eight contact hours divided into two four-hour sessions.

Understanding the perspectives of others is increasingly important in our world; 85 percent of job success comes from well-developed soft skills. The ability to understand and empathize with others is often seen to be the most valuable of these skills.

What: In this participatory workshop you will learn approaches to authentic listening, transformational empathy, understanding others’ perspectives and building trust. You will increase your intercultural and interdisciplinary awareness, sensitivity and understanding. You will become more capable of recognizing and addressing perceptual differences, contrasting points of view or competing objectives in relational conversations. You will explore the value of conflict in collaborative relationships and learn to recognize when a particular approach to communication is unsuccessful and another strategy is required.

Benefits: Innovation is born of negotiation, collaboration, and connection across differences of all kinds. In this workshop participants will practice approaches to effective collaboration and will be able to apply the skills in their work and personal lives.

Who should attend: Professionals working in collaborative teams. Individuals wishing to increase their ability to connect in meaningful ways to others.

When: This is a three-hour workshop.


Leadership presence, like stage presence, isn’t all about talent. It is about developing a set of skills that result in increased connection with your team and a sense of competence that builds trust and influence with others.

What: This participatory workshop will help you develop your impact and presence as a leader, including considerations of behavioral impact, organizational impact, visual impact and vocal impact. Leadership grows from the inside out, and you will begin by focusing on identifying and expressing your core values. Topics will include listening, humor, body language, vocal flexibility and the organization of ideas.  

Benefits: Developing an awareness of personal presence is an important part of leadership. Participants will increase their individual skills related to leadership communication and will identify a “personal leadership brand” and develop skills to cope with negative self-talk. Participants will practice their skills in leadership presence and become better able to apply those skills in the workplace.

Who should attend: New and aspiring leaders.

When: Two-part workshop of six contact hours divided into two three-hour sessions.

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Almost 93 percent of human communication is non-verbal. Join us in developing more effective non-verbal communication skills – including tone of voice, physical orientation and environment and body language. These skills are useful in negotiation, team management, networking, collaboration, professional presentations and so much more.

What: This workshop will help participants become more aware of the non-verbal communication that is happening all around them. Through exercises and explorations, participants will develop their abilities to monitor, analyze and adjust their secondary communicative behaviors.

Benefits: Participants will leave this workshop with an increased awareness of the importance of mirroring, an increased ability to decode and convey non-verbal messages, an increased ability to listen to, observe, analyze and question the messages conveyed by others, and an increased ability to distinguish non-verbal indicators of audience comprehension and attentiveness in either individual or group interaction and to respond with appropriate strategies.

Who should attend:
Developmental team members, policy makers, parents, teachers and anyone who communicates with others regularly.

When: Two-part workshop of six contact hours divided into two three-hour sessions.

Why do we not speak up when we inherently know the cost of others not effectively contributing to the team? Why do we not address open disrespect? Why do we intentionally overlook others that shortcut workplace processes?

Critical conversations - or dialogue addressing critical issues within our environments - can be some of the most uncomfortable situations we face. There are a host of issues contributing to our avoidance of them, including personality preferences, fear of rejection and hostility, and cultural variables. However, research indicates that every critical conversation unaddressed can cost an organization a minimum of $7,500 and literally days of wasted time. Even more, it can cost us a deep sense of professional satisfaction, belonging and accomplishment.

In this course, you will learn effective and practical methods for tackling these issues with a focus on mutual outcomes for lasting change. This is a four-hour course.

It's the night before a presentation at work or a job interview. You are feeling anxious, you have butterflies in your stomach an you're worried your performance will suffer because of it. What would you do if you had techniques in your back pocket that could help calm your nerves, engage your audience and communicate a clear message? If you were a little less on edge before having to speak in public, what could you accomplish?

Professional actors are some of the best individuals in the world at grabbing and holding an audience. Our instructor, Greg Justice, is both a professor and an actor. In this Public Speaking & Presentation Skills workshop, he will equip you with the tools used by actors to:

  • reign in stage fright
  • gain the attention of an audience
  • keep their audience focused on what is said
  • make their words memorable

There's no need to worry about being put on the spot in this public speaking course, either; you can expect to be participatory, but you will never be put on the spot.

Who should attend?
Anyone who speaks in front of an audience in any situation and wants to learn how to do it with confidence and leave a lasting impression.

Our next workshop will be held on Oct. 22, 2020, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Virginia Tech Roanoke Center. If you'd like to bring this workshop to your organization as a contract program, please contact us!

Our instructor:
Greg Justice is a professional speaker, executive speaker trainer, actor, director and associate professor in the School of Performing Arts at Virginia Tech. He has been offering workshops in the industry for over 25 years. His diverse list of clients includes several Fortune 500 companies, scores of CEOs and hundreds of businesses and business organizations.

Sample Custom Combinations
Ask us about combining courses to create a custom series especially for your workplace.

Enrich Your Learning
With Enrichments, you can add value to existing programs with an MBTI assessment, coaching, mentoring, and/or customized content. We recommend consulting our staff to develop a customized approach for you and your organizational needs. Mention Enrichments when contacting staff about your programming.