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Conferences

This section highlights the professional development activities undertaken by staff at WESTIR Limited. It includes summaries of conferences, seminars and workshops attended throughout the year.

Attended by Amy Lawton (Social Research and Information Officer)


For more information on The Ariel Group Australia, see their website at www.arielgroup.com.au

On Tuesday 2 August 2016, I attended the ‘Leading with Presence: Storytelling’ workshop at The Mount Druitt Hub. The workshop was initiated by Community Resource Network Inc. and facilitated by Johanna de Rutyer of the Ariel Group. There were approximately 13 people in attendance from a diverse range of community services in the Blacktown and Hills areas.

The day started with Johanna setting the scene for the day. The objectives of the workshop were to develop increased leadership presence; develop flexibility, spontaneity and a wider range of expressiveness; and explore the use of storytelling in a business context.

After personal introductions, Johanna explained that leadership presence was defined as the ability to connect authentically with the thoughts and feelings of others in order to motivate and inspire them to achieve a desired outcome. The Ariel Group uses a ‘PRES’ model to describe the elements that are required for leadership presence:

1.       Being PRESENT: The ability to be completely in the moment and flexible enough to handle the unexpected.

2.       REACHING Out: The ability to build relationships through empathy, listening and authentic connection.

3.       EXPRESSIVENESS: The ability to express feelings and emotions appropriately using words, voice, body and face, to deliver one congruent message.

4.       SELF-KNOWING: The ability to accept yourself, to be authentic, to reflect your values in your decisions and actions.

Before and after lunch, the group then went on to do a number of activities to practice expressiveness. This included telling fictitious and personal stories using words, voice, body and face. Johanna taught the group that when addressing an audience, some techniques are important include:

·         Deep breathing and centring your body.

·         Concentrate on your purpose and not being judged.

·         Figure out what gives you confidence and use it.

·         Find your energy and use it.

·         Connect with your audience by making eye contact with everyone.

·         Practice your techniques until they become natural.

The workshop ended with the group reviewing how to use storytelling in the business context. The group learnt further techniques such as telling their stories in present tense, playing the role, using sensory details and emphasising the emotional impact. When integrating the story into a professional presentation, it is always important connect the story to a moral or teaching point that can be used by staff or audience. The day was well received by everyone who attended and keen to put the skills that were acquired into practice when they got back to their workplaces.

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