Implementing Effective Communication Strategies

Educator practices and effectively utilizes communication strategies when working with colleagues and collaborative teams.
Made by Hope Street Group and Learning Forward

About this Micro-credential

Key Method

Educator incorporates effective communication strategies in conversations with colleagues and collaborative teams.

Method Components

Effective Communications Strategies

Educator must include the following:

  • Building a collaborative culture when working with colleagues and teams
    • Create a safe environment for all points of view to be shared and heard
    • Use the norms of collaboration (pausing, paraphrasing, probing, putting ideas on the table, paying attention to self and others, presuming positive intention, and pursuing a balance between advocacy and inquiry)
    • Seek clarification to ensure that there is collective understanding of key issues
    • Improve communication between and among diverse people, groups, and interests
    • Manage resistance
  • Making decisions collaboratively
    • Ensure that all participants understand the decision-making process
    • Understand different styles of making decisions (including consultative, majority rules/percentage vote, consensus, or other process) and know when to use each one
    • Seek out and motivate colleagues to actively engage in the work
    • Anticipate and appropriately manage opposing points of view, resistance, conflict, and challenging behavior
    • Anticipate needs between and among peers
    • Understand how others see the situation or their role in the situation
    • Refocus stakeholders on areas of agreement
    • Develop accountable systems
  • Building trust
    • Create a safe environment among colleagues and all stakeholders that promotes collaborative work
    • Value expertise
    • Listen nonjudgmentally
    • Use positive presuppositions and positive intentions that presume a person has ability and a positive attitude
    • Lead conversations focused on learning
    • Identify colleagues’ beliefs, assumptions, and perceptions
    • Demonstrate respect
    • Create transparency
    • Keep commitments
    • Assess communication strategies and levels of trust on teams

And, should include at least two of the following:

  • Pausing
  • Paraphrasing
  • Probing
  • Acknowledging
  • Clarifying (questioning techniques)
  • Summarizing
  • Reflective listening and effective listening
  • Managing resistance
  • Managing conflict

Implementation Strategies

In order to implement excellent decision-making strategies among stakeholders in the conversation, use the following prompts:

  • How will we make this decision?
  • Have we invited key players?
  • What’s your ideal outcome?
  • What are the possibilities?
  • What conversations can we have with one another to advance our collective understanding of ________________ (the issue)?
  • What has changed since we last met?
  • Where are we succeeding?
  • What is our level of commitment?
  • Where are we failing?
  • Where is there dissent?
  • What have we learned in the last few months?
  • What is required of us now?

In order to implement building community among stakeholders in the conversation, use the following prompts:

  • Why are we here?
  • What is our ideal relationship with one another?
  • What is our ideal relationship with our customers and our stakeholders?
  • What do we want to be known for?
  • What contribution do we wish to make in our community?

In order to implement building trust, use the following prompts:

  • Describe (the issue/problem/topic/situation) as the difference between and among your stories/perceptions. Include multiple viewpoints as legitimate parts of the discussion.
  • Clarify your purpose.
  • Invite others to join you as a partner in sorting out (the issue/problem/topic/situation) ... together.

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

  • Abrams, J. (2009). Having Hard Conversations. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press.
  • Block, P. (2008). Community: The Structure of Belonging. San Francisco: Barrett-Koehler Publishers.
  • Covey, S. (2008). The Speed of Trust. NewYork: Free Press.
  • Gardner, H. (2006). Changing Minds: The Art and Science of Changing Our Own and Other People’s Minds (Leadership for the Common Good). Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing.
  • Maurer, R. (2010). Beyond the Wall of Resistance: Why 70% of All Changes Still Fail—and What You Can Do About It (revised edition). Austin, Texas: Bard Press.
  • Maurer, R. (1996). Caught in the Middle. New York: Productivity Press.
  • Peck, M. S. (1987). The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace. New York: Simon Schuster.
  • Scott, S. (2004). Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life One Conversation at a Time. New York: Berkley Books.
  • Stone, D., Patton, B., & Heen, S. (2010). Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most. New York: Penguin.


Additional resources are available via Dropbox. To access them, email

Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

To earn the micro-credential, you must receive a passing evaluation for Parts 1 and 3, and a “Yes” for Part 2.

Part 1. Overview questions

500-word limit for each response

  • Why did you choose to implement the effective communication strategies?
  • Specifically, why did you choose any of the following strategies in particular (pick two):
    • paraphrasing
    • probing
    • acknowledging
    • clarifying
    • summarizing (reflective listening and effective listening)
    • managing resistance
    • managing conflict

Part 2. Evidence/artifacts

Educator demonstrates effective communication strategies in at least one video of a conversation with colleagues.

Video must include the educator building community among stakeholders, facilitating a decision-making process among stakeholders, and building trust between and among stakeholders.

The educator must also demonstrate excellent listening strategies and at least two of the “should include” strategies from the Method Components section.

Note: One video generally cannot demonstrate all of these strategies.

Part 3. Reflection

500-word limit for each response.

  • Reflect on how the incorporation of this competency has affected your current practice with colleagues and students.
  • Also reflect on how incorporation of this competency changed your level of confidence relative to dealing with potentially contentious situations with colleagues, school leaders, or district leaders.

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Download to access the requirements and scoring guide for this micro-credential.
How to prepare for and earn this micro-credential - in a downloadable PDF document

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