We are provided with a myriad of opportunities here, from a free breakfast to regular training days. My first training day, hosted at Oldham Coliseum, covered the art of giving presentations; something I knew I would learn immensely from. Feelings of excitement and nerves bubbled amongst myself and my collegues.
Francesca and Ben, our leaders, instructed us to arrange ourselves into a circle. Buried memories of my younger years flooded back, of circle time and announcing my name and favourite animal, however the task we were faced was far more interesting and appropriate. In partners, we discussed three interesting facts about ourselves in order to then relay back to the group.
Each fact was interesting, often funny and provided a great insight into my new colleagues. One of my partner’s facts comes straight to my mind, for I was fortunate enough to be paired with Ben, or Chuckles as he was known in Lapland, where he served as an elf to Father Christmas. Thinking of three facts about myself was a challenge, but I knew instantly of one piece of trivia had to share; that Boy George of Culture Club once called me a beautiful baby as he helped my mother carry my pram up the tube stairs.
After what proved to be an enlightening experience, we moved onto the other activities, using our vocal and physical abilities. In pairs again, we counted to three, taking each number in turn and gradually we removed each number for an action or alternative word. Eventually our little countdown became a clap, ‘bananas’ and a feeble attempt at a horse sound. Whilst this may sound straight-forward enough, the repetitive nature of the activity, as well as remembering the correct order, took a lot of concentration to have a straight run of clap, bananas, horse sound, clap, bananas, horse sound. Needless to say, it got our brain cells working and blood flowing, ready to go into the next activity.
Aside from team-building games, we were also guided through breathing and stretching exercises to help us make the most of our voice and have confident, effective posture. Positive, strong body language sets the tone for a presentation. If your shoulders are slumped, or you’re leaning on one leg for example, your audience may assume that you don’t care too much for what you’re saying – and they will feel the same way. However, as Francesca and Ben taught us, if you have good posture, hold your head high and stand with confidence, you are more likely to keep your audience engaged and interested.
Going into the afternoon, we were presented with the ultimate task, the only way we could possibly test what we had learnt that day – to give our own presentation. It was quite a task to think about what I could discuss for a whole two minutes without much preparation. Whilst a change of pace from the morning activities, it seemed that all my colleagues were finding this task equally challenging, with many of us wandering around in the hopes that we may suddenly stumble upon the perfect idea.
The best burger in the whole world, mechanical keyboards and the question on everyone’s lips – why do we label people as dog or cat lovers? – are amongst some of the topics we were treated to. Gaining an insight into my fellow colleagues was invaluable and whilst I may not work with the majority of them on a daily basis, it opened up the lines of communication, subsequently creating a more effective workplace environment. For my own speech, I discussed something that is perhaps the most important message that could be relayed through any company blog post. Ethos was the basis of my presentation; touching on why I initially felt drawn to the company and what I have learnt up to now.
An eagerness to learn and share, being happy within the workplace, relishing all opportunities you’re presented with, and always having high standards, with space to grow. These are what makes our employees stand out amongst the rest, and it all comes down to the company ethos. It is this ethos that allows us to partake in valuable learning experiences such as presentation training, which allows us to improve on a daily basis. Walking back to the office after the presentation training day, there was a clear feeling of accomplishment amongst the group. Having stepped out of our comfort zone and tackled the horror that is public speaking, we were able to not only grow individually but also as a team.