Lunches With Art the Ombud - Workshops

Sponsored by RMC's Human Resources Department
Workshops/Lunches are held in the DeRosier Room in the McDonald Commons of the Bair Family Student Center

CONFLICT - February 22, 1-2 p.m.

Conflict is not a contest. Conflict is a natural, vital part of life. Many choose to make conflict a win lose proposition and sometimes, though not very often, it needs to be. When understood and appropriately addressed conflict can become an opportunity to learn and create. The synergy of conflict can create new alternatives—something that was not there before.

Without conflict, there would likely be no personal growth or social change. Unfortunately, when it comes to conflict the perceptions of most people are quite negative. In this one hour “survey” of conflict we will discuss the various approaches to conflict, the cycle of conflict and outline a positive approach to future conflicts.

COMMUNICATION - March 1, 11-12 p.m.

Effective communication is an important life skill that enables us to better understand and connect with the people around us. It allows us to build respect and trust, resolve differences and foster environments where problem solving, caring, affection and creative ideas can thrive.

Too often dialogue becomes nothing more than mutual monologue. While one person is talking the other is considering their retort. One must listen to understand. In this “survey” of communication we will discuss the various aspects of the “empathic listener” and “active listening skills”.

ACTIVE LISTENING - March 15, 1-2 p.m.

Communication is difficult because each of us is, at our core, unique-none of us is exactly like anyone else. We come from different backgrounds; family, cultural, social, ethnic, different life experiences, different genders and generations and each of us is subtly or not so subtly different in our values, styles, interest, dreams, and expectations.

Being an active listener is simply that—you are actively interested in what the other person has to say for the purpose of understanding them.
Active listening consists of both an attitude of genuine interest and productive skills: active listening skills.


Your Ombud, was Harvard trained including an entire 3 credit course based on the NY Times bestseller Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most written by my trainers Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Shelia Heen.

The “Harvard Method”, as it is commonly referred to, emphasizes the importance of easy two-way communication. 

“A difficult conversation is anything you find it hard to talk about. Anytime we feel vulnerable or our self-esteem is implicated, when the issues at stake are important the outcome uncertain, when we care deeply about what is being discussed or about the people with whom we are discussing it, there is potential for us to experience the conversation as difficult.”

This “survey” course will outline the basics of the “Harvard Method” to determine interest in exploring the subject more.


Emotional Intelligence (EQ or EI) is a term created by two researchers – Peter Salavoy and John Mayer – and popularized by Dan Goleman in his 1996 book of the same name. EI is defined as the ability to:

  • Recognize, understand and manage our own emotions
  • Recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others

In practical terms, this means being aware that emotions can drive our behavior and impact people (positively and negatively), and learning how to manage those emotions – both our own and others – especially when we are under pressure.

Decades of research now point to emotional intelligence as the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest of the pack. Emotional intelligence is the “something” in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions that achieve positive results. Emotional intelligence is made up of four core skills that pair up under two primary competencies: personal competence and social competence. This “survey” course offers an overview of “emotional intelligence”.

PRIMAL LEADERSHIP - April 26, 11-12 p.m.

Based on Goleman’s Primal Leadership, The Hidden Driver of Great Performance here is a tease of this survey course Executives’ emotional intelligence (EI); their self-awareness, empathy, rapport with others—has clear links to their own performance. A leader’s emotional style drives everyone else’s moods and behaviors— through a neurological process called “mood contagion”.

EI isn’t just putting on a game face every day. EI means understanding your impact on others—then adjusting your style accordingly. A difficult process of self-discovery—but essential before you can tackle your leadership responsibilities.


Negotiation is a bit like breathing. You don’t have to do it, but the alternatives aren’t very attractive. It is the daily give-and-take of social interactions. Once your eyes and ears are tuned to the language of negotiation, you realize that everybody negotiates constantly-all day long. The strange thing is, people rarely realize they are negotiating.


Negotiation is a ubiquitous activity for influencing ourselves & others to reach our goals, a problem solving process, an interdependent process. We negotiate for two basic reasons:

  1. Create something new which neither party could do on their own.
  2. Resolve a problem or dispute. Often a combination of both.

In this “survey” course we cover the basics to get you through the day.

APOLOGY & FORGIVENESS - May 10, 1-2 p.m.

“You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day.” M.L. Stedman, The Light Between Oceans

“He has ruined my past. I’m beginning to toy with the idea of forgiveness so that I don’t allow him to destroy my future as well." Lynn Shriner

Forgiveness does not dismiss or minimize an event or situation. It acknowledges the truth about what happened and the consequences that followed. Forgiveness does not excuse or condone the behavior or action of another.

Forgiveness is not indifferent about justice. It might very well hold someone to account, seek restitution while releasing the resentment. A “survey” course touching on the basics of forgiveness.


Compliments are gifts. They are not asked for or demanded. They tell a person they are worthy of notice. They are powerful gifts. But compliments work only if they are sincere reflections of what we think and if they are given freely and not coerced. Compliments backfire if they are not genuine. Faux flattery is highly transparent. A false compliment makes the speaker untrustworthy; it raises suspicions about motives. And that can undermine a whole relationship.

The art of the compliment is not only a powerful social skill; it is one of the most fundamental. You don't need to be an expert to do it well. You just need to be genuine. Compliments are in fact one of the finest tools for acquiring more social skills, because the returns are great and immediate. They escalate the atmosphere of positivity and become social lubricants, fostering the flow of conversation and advancing communication by enhancing receptivity.

There is only one way to receive a compliment—graciously, with a smile. The art of receiving a compliment teaches us an important lesson about life. It tells us that how we feel is highly subjective, known only to us. And it isn't necessarily observable to the world. And often the world is better off without knowing how we personally feel. And so are we. Because the positive atmosphere created by a compliment, if we allow ourselves to inhale it, can be powerful enough to transform our feelings.