Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Coming Up for Air.

So much to do and so little time to do it in. Is that what we all tell ourselves as we zoom around?
I have taken a little time out recently to take a back seat and reflect while I re-charge the old batteries.
It has been a wonderful summer and hopefully it is not over yet. What have you all been up to? Have you managed a break? I managed to catch up with various friends, enjoying lunch, afternoon tea (thank you Judith), a visit to the new M&S store not far away which is the largest in the UK and the second largest in the world - M&S store that is. I also indulged in a long overdue lengthy telephone chat. 
All of this was a welcome interlude after printing off the first draft of 'The Long Leg of Italy' which I am hoping will be ready early 2014.
Lake Garda - Italy
Brenta Dolomites - Italy

In the meantime, back in the cubby-hole which is my study, I have been planning and shaping up the next book in the Lifelong Learning Series. Called 'Talking the Talk:Getting the Message Across' it aims to take the fear out of speaking to a group of people. Many students have to give a short talk or presentation as part of their course and the Functional Skills part of it. 

Well these were called Key Skills and usually part of Apprenticeships ( Work-Based Learning or WBL) They have now been re-named Functional Skills and embedded into courses in school and college. In Wales they are called Essential Skills Wales and there is little difference to the old Key Skills. All in all, they are the essentials skills which we need to function in everyday life be it home, work or leisure. Everyone leaving school should be at Level Two. Many catch up through learning programmes (apprenticeships) in afterwards and even in later life.

You know, when I sat down to write this post I had no idea I was going to spout about all of the above. Lesson over but it is something close to my heart - to help and see people achieve to release and realise their full potential.

But back to the gist of what I was saying. I know from experience in WBL that many students quake at the thought of standing up and talking before a group. Many are terrified at the thoughts of having to give a presentation, especially one where they perceive that they have to use a Power Point presentation for their visual aids. Indeed many are under pressure to do so. They may not have computer facilities at home. They may not feel that they can produce the slides if they have and if they run out of time in school/college. What is wrong with using a product to get the point across anyway? Or a flip chart? Yes, I know that using ICT for the communication part of the programme covers two skills at one - well that is how I used to approach it anyway.
So, Talking the Talk will be aimed at this group as well as those more mature who find themselves in a situation where they have to speak to a group of colleagues or customers and need to 'get the message across'.
I knew I had some work on my computer which I had started to develop about fourteen or fifteen years ago and - I found it! Not in my CPD folder as I thought, but my Learning & Development folder. It was interesting reading what I had written all those years ago. It was just as if I had written it today. All I have to do is to make it less academic and make sure that I am relating to my varied audience. Talking the Talk will also cover the mundane but important details of planning the event be it short or long, formal or informal, as well as the script itself. I have a speaking engagement lined up at the end of September. What I am writing now is a good refresher for my own practice!

If you have any comments on your own hints, tips, and gremlins, feel free to comment below. 

Cover Draft 2
 Comments appreciated. It has to marry in with the others and the top colour not swamp the bottom.

Rosalie x