I attended this course because my communication, especially I feel with more senior members of staff, is an area that requires improvement. In fact, communication with all is an area I am actively working on improvement. This is not an a complete overview of the session rather a personal reflection on what I got out of the afternoon, and what I am going to use professionally moving forward.
The entire session was created and presented by Amanda Stearn who has/does work in coaching, marketing and change management. It was hosted & I presume paid for by North West Health Care Libraries Unit (HCLU) in their Wigan office and a such was full of health librarians (the best kind of librarians!). It was a session based upon the principles of ‘action learning’. An introduction to Strategic Influencing and its importance was up first – including resistance (and minimizing), finding connections (not about getting your own way, but finding a joint way), some neuro-linguistic programming – which I had never come across before – was introduced. This was mainly around the concept of the ‘well-formed outcome’ and a practical session on how to develop these outcomes. Following the introduction to strategic influencing the concept was broken down into 4 areas, all with their own practical aspects:
- Identifying Stakeholders – When looking at possible stakeholders, what questions should you ask yourself?
- Analysing Stakeholders – looking at different stakeholder mapping techniques
- Planning – Improving personal presentations and introducing ‘representational systems’ (visual, auditory, kinaesthetic and auditory-digital) and the strategic communications model – creating compelling reasons for change
- Engaging – tips to positively market yourself in individual, group and presentation settings. Perception is reality!
I found this a really useful session, as discussed below, there are things I’m going to use straight away. That is always a positive sign for a course! If I’m being honest it could of being a couple of hours longer, focusing on a bit more of the theory – but then I am a ‘auditory-digital’ person… I found the action learning approach a bit difficult, as I am not overly comfortable with this learning style (it seems childish personally) so I was out of my comfort zone, but a challenge to my preferences is no bad thing. There is nothing that I dread more than the sight of flip chart paper and felt tip pens being distributed, which felt like a weekly occurrence at MMU! However in this case the practical aspects seemed to strengthen my learning.
3 Things I’m going to take from this
- Use the ‘well formed outcome’ to fully lay out and hopefully understand future challenges
- Use the ‘stakeholder analysis’ mapping method demonstrated to visualise and evaluate current (and future) relationships
- Try to envelop the tips of stakeholder engagement into my presenting style, but also in other settings such as meetings with decision-makers