Kieran attended a three-day-long, online course with five attendees in total (including one of his colleagues from the Bristol depot) in September 2022.
He explains that the first day mainly covered the kinds of conversations we have with people and looked into speaking and listening skills. There was a particular focus on reflecting on your context and location – thinking about who you’re talking to and adapting accordingly.
The second day of the course moved onto behaviour analysis, “which is something that I hadn't consciously thought about previously”. While he was of course subconsciously aware that we talk in different ways to different people in different contexts, openly analysing people’s behaviour patterns was eye-opening, Kieran says.
Finally, the third day of the course went into difficult conversations and influencing. The difficult conversations part of the training looked at ways to approach situations like giving bad news to a customer or negative feedback to a colleague. The course instructor explained how to “plan out how you want the conversation to flow, and make sure that you're armed with the facts”. What’s more, there’s also a psychological element at play. Kieran says: “it’s about mentally giving yourself that push, thinking, ‘yes, I'm going to go and have that conversation now’”.
On the influencing aspect of the course, Kieran relays that the attendees were given a variety of interactive tasks to practice their skills. One of the key things he learnt was that asking questions is a much more effective way of influencing situations than “barraging your target audience with information”.
The course was very interactive in general Kieran says, with a good mixture of presentations, interaction and groupwork, videos and other resources. “We all felt quite involved in the course… it wasn’t just reading from a PowerPoint” he notes.