Councillors give up so much of their time already that attracting them to training sessions is not always easy. Our light-hearted entertaining and participative approach makes the attendance a pleasure and a few hours well spent. Our professional role-play actors and expert facilitation have been a great success at many councils at district, city and county level. We have researched the role of the Councillor thoroughly and regularly offer tailored training.
Here are some of the training courses we regularly deliver.
Chairing Meetings effectively 3 hours
If your council chamber and committee meetings are always run efficiently and effectively with great management of debate and discussion then this session is not for your councillors……but if they are not, then read on!
- What are the main purposes of meetings?
- What do we find irritating about meetings? What are the big turn-off’s?
- What makes a `good` meeting, and what makes ` poor` one?
- What are the skills of a good chair?
- What is the role of a chair?
- Why do meetings sometimes fail to meet their objectives?
- Your planning and preparation checklist as a chairperson (and as a delegate)
- Constructing an agenda – thinking about your objectives
- The skills of a good chairperson – lets see them in action!
- Handling latecomers and people who ramble and attract attention to themselves
- Managing delegates who are negative and irritating
- Controlling the meeting. Keeping it friendly and focused and professional
- Handling disrupting members of the public
- Summarizing and concluding the key points of the debate. (Making it easier for the minute taker!)
- Handling `meetings within meetings’
- Keeping the chair objective and a good facilitator of debate and discussion
- Conforming to protocol, policy and procedures
- Making meetings enjoyable and participative?!
- Bringing in the `quiet` participants (if you have any!)
- Getting the `climate` right for effective discussion
- Final Hints and Tips
- Action Planning
Presentation & public speaking skills for council members. 3 hours
This initial three hour session will give you an insight into how to maximise your impact when speaking in public! There are no long boring lectures, no-one has to role play and the session will be riddled with tips. You just bring a willingness to take part in the discussions and a sense of humour!
- Planning & preparation. The `need to know` and the `nice to know`!
- Identifying your objective(s)
- Making an impact. Core communication skills; voice tone, pitch, pace, and projection. Body language and eye contact.
- Managing nerves and the `worst that can happen` scenario
- Using & abusing visual aids
- Awkward questions and awkward individuals…some options for handling them!
- Structure and content. Some options and ideas
- Final hints and tips for making it memorable and persuasive!
Presentation & public speaking skills for council members – workshops 3 hours
This is where we can work with the councillors in small groups, give them individual advice, and ideas in order for them to have real influence both in the chamber and outside when addressing groups.
This session lets them put into practice the skills learned in the first session in a safe and supportive environment.
As always, the session will use professional actors who will pass on their tips, hints, and secrets and make the session fun but effective!
Handling the media. 3 hours evening or 5 hours Saturday
Why might the media want you? Why might you want the media?
Many councillors don’t like the media because they do not trust it to report on issues from their perspective. However, it could be a mistake to isolate yourself or your party. Learn how to relate to the media, how to handle interviews and interviewers, what to do when a crisis erupts and how to work with journalists
- What is the media?
- An interview? Yes or no?
- How to handle interviews Newspaper, radio and television interviews
- Handling a crisis
- Writing a press statement
- Working with journalists
Handling difficult constituents (3 hours evening or 5 hours Saturday)
All councillors have them and it can cause real problems that can disrupt both their time and lives. Learn the skills necessary to deal with the most awkward of constituents.
- Identify when, where and why constituents are likely to get angry or `awkward`
- Highlight the main causes of anger
- Handle difficult constituents in an assertive, friendly and professional manner
- Use disarming anger techniques
- Turn difficult situations into an opportunity to get good PR for yourself, your party, (if relevant) and your council!
- Handle constituents who just take up too much time
- Actively listen to their constituents creating a climate of good rapport
- Be aware of simple personal safety behaviours and habits
Overview and Scrutiny Skills 3 hours
Traditionally the problems here are members not knowing what to look out for and ask questions about, and how to handle it with the relevant Officer when they do! The emphasis will be on being effective in this role whilst maintaining good relationships with the Council Officers and/or expert witnesses!
Benefits of the training session
At the end of the training session, the delegates will:
- Have a clearer understanding about their role on the overview and scrutiny committee
- Have identified ways in which they can make themselves more effective
- Be able to identify what documentation or facts to ask for in certain cases
- Be able to pose supplementary questions when and where needed
- Have a clearer understanding of when to “call-in” officers or relevant bodies
- Be able to identify different types of questions to ask, and the rationale in asking them
- Be able to ask probing questions whilst keeping the relationships and climate cordial
- Be able to actively listen to other committee members and Officers of the council more effectively
- Have identified ways of improving the way in which the committee operates including the room layout
- Be able to choose from a variety of ways in which they can ask questions
Juggling time for Council Members 3 hours
This is a must for the busy councillor, especially those who are still in full time work or who have domestic commitments! Our actors will simulate a typical desk bound situation where time needs to be managed effectively
- Where does our time go?/Introductions
- Visualising the `new, organised, YOU`
- Dealing with procrastination ………. no…………lets leave that… til later….
- Reading documents quickly
- Prioritizing – should we tackle that NOW? Motivating ourselves!
- Managing your time wasters
- Top ten tips for time management!
- Handling constituents who `ramble` and take up too much of your time
- Time savers – at work – at home – en route to work
- Managing your desk and paperwork, and admin, and `bits` everywhere
- Diary management
- What about your `stuff` at home?
We will be using drama and interactive theatre to reinforce some of the learning points, and we will also focus upon handling the telephone, interruptions, and managing the wide range of people who you consider might waste your time!
Equality & Diversity for Councillors
Many of the decisions that are made in Council Chambers and on committees can have a profound effect upon different aspects of the community. This session highlights what those effects can be and introduces the council members to the world of Diversity
At the end of this session, the delegates will:
- Understand the scope of the Equality Act 2010 and the Public Sector Equality Duty and the implications of these acts for both Councils and Council Members
- Have explored ways in which Diversity affects council staff, the residents of their particular area, and their work as members
- Be able to identify ways in which these issues affect policy and planning in their area/ward
- Have been updated on what has been happening inside the council regarding the promotion of equality and diversity
- Have familiarized themselves with the relevant policy for their local authority
- Have explored the significance of Diversity when recruiting new senior officers on the council
- Be able to highlight few key parts of the legal framework relevant to their role
- Have a greater understanding of the demographic make-up of their own area and how it affects them and their role
- Be better acquainted with how Diversity can and should affect council policy and planning
Running successful surgeries
Many members question the need for surgeries in these days of modern technology such as emails, texts and mobile phones This 3 hour session covers the benefits of holding surgeries and how to get the most out of them
- Choosing a location and times
- Seating arrangements
- Fears and concerns surrounding holding surgeries
- Getting the maximum benefit from the surgeries- contact and feedback from constituents
- Time management and scheduling during the surgeries
- Handling constituents who ramble on and on – keeping it friendly and focused!
- Handling ‘difficult’ and ‘awkward’ constituents…turning a negative into a positive
- Some tips and hints on making the most of the surgeries
- Taking the demography of your area into account ..how this may affect your surgeries
Influencing Skills 3 hours
This half day programme introduces the participants to the skills & techniques of influencing for council members. It manages to be fun and participative, yet highly focussed upon the participants own problems! There is no requirement for the participants to role play, no PowerPoint and no long boring lectures…that’s a promise!
At the end of the training the delegates will:-
- Have identified areas where they would like to be more influential and need to improve their negotiating skills
- Be able to distinguish between assertive aggressive and passive behaviour and how this impacts upon their work and relationships
- Have explored a variety of techniques for making themselves more effective and influential
- Be able to put some principles of negotiation and influencing into practice
- Be able to highlight the key principles of win-win negotiation
- Be able to `manage` effectively the wide range of different people that they communicate with
- Handle conflicting views in a diplomatic and professional manner
- Have constructed a self check, check list to monitor their own performance
- Have had a chance to try out some of these techniques in a workshop
- Where do we want to be more influential?
- Why do people resist being persuaded sometimes?
- `Core` interpersonal skills, active listening, voice tone, body language, and questioning
- planning and preparation
- using simple sales and `closing` techniques
- Win-win negotiation
- can we make use of assertiveness techniques?
- Influencing strategies
- Action planning