When you’re a member of a very grown up ‘Women’s Business Network’ you get offered opportunities to attend Learning Development courses, and today’s topic was ‘Voice and Communication’. The two very capable hosts were a voice and impact trainer in the business, government and health sectors, and a top social science professor, who’s an experienced public speaker and presenter of history documentaries for the BBC. The aim of today was ‘to develop more powerful communication skills through your voice, body language and conviction’.
We explored ideas around curiosity rather than ambition, confounding expectation, passionate involvement and thinking not about how confident we are but what we’re entitled to. Such topics could easily have been a bit dry had it not been for the extremely amusing anecdotes from the professional trainers, and the informal manner which the session took; especially when, at one point we were all standing in a circle re-acquainting ourselves with gravity while ‘huffing’! Despite these things being so far out of my comfort zone they’re practically on the horizon, I actually enjoyed the session so much I wish it had lasted longer. Hopefully they’ll run another course like this very soon, and when they do I shall make sure that my name’s first on the list!
A Professional Development course on the topic of ‘Motivating Yourself to be a High Performer’ was just what the doctor ordered after a rather apathetic start to 2016. Although I had been getting stuff done, my batteries were somewhat flat and I needed a metaphorical kick up the wotsit to get me firing on all cylinders again, and today’s session with an enthusiastic Life Coach certainly did that!
We looked at setting motivational goals, understanding performance and creating a plan of action to achieve whatever targets you set yourself. Evaluating what needs to be done, reviewing and reflecting on our own limits and being more confident in challenging yourself, were just a few of the other areas covered in this exceptionally high powered business environment, and I have to admit it really was just the ticket. When you’re surrounded by people who push you in a positive and supportive manner, it’s quite remarkable what you can actually do.
Today I attended another of the free Professional Development courses offered by my new employer, and it was, indeed, a real eye opener. The theme was ‘unconscious bias’ and involved lots of powerpoint slides, a video, some optical illusions, group discussions and a fun exercise involving A4 sheets and pots of felt tipped pens! Despite genuinely believing that I treat everyone the same, I apparently don’t, (which was rather mortifying although quite normal behaviour by all accounts).
I’m not entirely sure whether or not I fully understood everything that was said, but I met some great new people and my employment portfolio now has another new addition to it. Stepping out of my comfort zone has become a bit of a theme for me over the past two years and the further I venture into the unknown the braver I get. I’ve now booked myself onto the next PD course and it’s all about motivation – quite excited to find out how that’ll help me to achieve bigger and better things in the future…
No, I haven’t been doing anything weird with biscuits, I’ve simply been mixing with some Council Bigwigs at an awards ceremony at the local Town Hall. It turns out, the voluntary litter-picking project which I write blogs about had been nominated for a Community Neighbourhood Award in the ‘Action Against ASB‘ Category, and I was invited to join them. It was a very posh and proper affair, with real champers and expensive nibbles, not to mention the fact that a selection of local dignitaries were on hand-shaking duty.
We were presented with a framed certificate for being nominated, so that was lovely. Professional photos were being taken constantly throughout the evening, so we’ll have to see if we can get our hands on some of those for our blog. After spending time ‘networking’ with all the other groups who’d been up for various awards, we all sat down to watch a couple of presentation videos before the actual awards were handed out.
Although the project didn’t win in the end, we met a few old friends, made some new friends, and a jolly good time was had by all. I think I may have consumed a tad too much free bubbly cos I can’t actually remember much after the speeches. Oh well, it would’ve been rude to refuse – hic!
When your new employer offers a wide range of ‘Professional Development’ courses free to all staff, it’d be rude to turn down the opportunity to learn new skills, not to mention all the brownie points you gain (and it looks great on the CV too). That’s how I became a fully trained Fire Evacuation Steward!
I can now get everyone safely out of a building and to the nearest fire assembly point, and I know how to avoid potential bottle-necks, as well as identify and use a variety of fire exit locking systems. Hopefully, it’s one of those things I’ll never actually have to put into practice, however, should the need arise in the future I’m now confident I could rise to the challenge. Now, where are all those hunky firemen…?!