The saying ‘time flies’ really applies to my life right now. I can’t believe it’s already been six months since I started my journey as a Time to Shine Leader. Recently I had a three-day mid-year review conference and it was an unforgettable experience. The hotel in Crewe was amazing; it had a swimming pool, spa and gym, and I got to learn and take away so much from the conference.
On the first day, Kai Wooder – Director of Programmes, Helen Stockdale – Partnership and Events Manager and Janice Hodgson – Senior Programme Support Officer, warmly welcomed us Time to Shine Leaders.
The first thing we did was play Jenga. We had to answer the question on the block you took out. I was nervous that I would make the tower fall, so I was one of the first to have a go. When I took the block out, the question was: ‘ what is your favourite fruit?’, so I said mangoes. Turn by turn, everyone started taking the blocks out, there were 24 of us, and we managed to keep the pieces together and didn’t let it fall. We did more icebreakers and talked about how we are getting along before heading for dinner.
The second day was hectic with several workshops. In the morning, we had a workshop with Jen Mackey on communication techniques. We looked at various forms, such as:
- Eye contact: how to connect with the ones you’re looking at, also looking around the room when speaking so that you maintain eye contact if speaking in larger groups.
- Tone of voice: I learned about the 5Ps Projection, Pace, Pitch, Pronunciation and Pause. You can be clear using these techniques, and people can hear your dialogue better. I also learned to avoid filler words such as ‘umm’ and ‘like’ and buy time when talking.
- Body language: Jen taught us about posture and how to stand when giving a speech. This included power poses and gestures, which can help make an impact when speaking and to avoid fidgeting – which is a big challenge for me!
In the last part of the communication workshop, one group member would ask a question, and then another had to stand up and give a 1-minute speech in answer. When it was my turn, I was asked to talk about ‘great things about the 21st Century’. My mind went blank as I stood up, but I tried my best. When I got feedback, most of the group said I did great standing still and maintaining the posture and tone of voice. But I lacked eye contact with the group.
In the second half of the morning, we had a session with Harvinder Poonian; she was a previous Time to Shine Leader who did some remarkable things after her journey. Harvinder ran a workshop on social media. We did a group quiz where we had to answer different questions about social media like ‘how many social media channels are there?’ and then we made a fun video to post on RankNet- Rank’s social networking channel. We had a laugh creating the video.
For the third session, we met up with Steve O’Smotherly, who taught us about Four Season personalities.
We did a survey which analysed our preferences and how we behave. It was interesting to see how I work better in various situations alongside my personality traits. After lunch, we had to plan for our end-of-year conference where each group will get 10 minutes to do whatever we want i.e., presentation, video, images, and speech; the stage is completely yours. As a group we have decided to do something creative. But it’s a surprise. I can only give you the details after the conference, so look out for my final blog post; it will be an exciting and entertaining experience!
I was nervous thinking about presenting in front of 300 or more people, but then I remembered Jen’s workshop from the morning, which gave me a lot of confidence.
On Wednesday, we had another session with Steve O’Smotherly; this time with our managers. We discussed our personality types, how to work together, and our similarities and differences.
Thank you, Kai, Helen, and Janice, for being so helpful. I also want to thank our facilitators James and Ryan, Jen, Harvinder and Steve for the wonderful workshops; also the other Time to Shine Leaders for being so friendly.