Critical Conversations: Building Workplace Communication Skills (MLA)

This course is open for registration.

Communication is at the core of all we do in a workplace. When an issue is benign and your conversation partners are familiar, communication is easy. When you are faced with high stakes conflict, disruption, or dissatisfaction and your partners are not familiar or are supervisors, Critical Conversation skills will help you reach mutually satisfactory resolutions.

Critical Conversations takes you through the planning, execution, and follow-up of a critical conversation. It includes practice exercises and guides to developing reflective listening and relaxation skills.

Critical Conversations includes:

  • A realistic scenario that you engage to learn and practice Critical Conversation skills
  • A self assessment of skills, pre and post engaging the scenario
  • Downloadable job aids
  • Downloadable practice exercises
  • Guidance and resources on supplementing  your skills
  • Recommended readings

Learning Outcomes

When you complete the course you will be able to:

  • Explain the value of critical conversation skills to anyone
  • Identify when a critical conversation can help you address a workplace problem
  • Plan and conduct a critical conversation
  • Adapt critical conversation skills to a range of workplace situations


All  Medical Librarians and Health Information Professionals and anyone else who works in an organization.

MLA CE Credits: 1.5

Illinois CNE contact hours: 1.5

Subject Matter Expert 

Dr. Lyle Q. Foster ( is our expert on navigating critical conversations.  This course reflects Lyle’s 40 years of experience as a professor, consultant, facilitator, community leader, and diversity & inclusion trainer.  Dr. Foster really appreciates the challenge of understanding and developing the skills necessary to address sensitive and difficult topics in a workplace setting.  As our workplaces evolve and reflect greater diversity of thought and perspective, the ability to have critical conversations becomes more important than ever.  Lyle has provided training and consultation in many areas of the country. His experience in working with navigating difficult conversations includes developing and leading the Tough Talks dialogue series at his university and community, which brought together hundreds of people to consider challenging topics and to engage in constructive conversation.  Students and audiences appreciate Lyle’s insight and ability to navigate a variety of ideas and keep a conversation going forward.

The team that created Critical Conversations: Building Workplace Communication Skills

Lyle Foster, Subject Matter Expert

Patti Bryant (, Instructional Designer

Tariq Rahaman, MLA Leadership & Management Curriculum Committee Representative

Staff support:

Barry Grant, MLA Director, Education

Deb Cavanaugh, MLA Director, Professional Development

Registration Fees:

  • Member: $85
  • Student Member: $43
  • Emeritus, Retired, Unemployed and Lower Dues: $43
  • Nonmember: $115