RNIB, the Royal National Institute of Blind People, is a national charity offering practical and emotional support throughout the UK to people with sight loss and impairment.
Talking Books is one of their great initiatives; a free service which gives readers access to over 25,000 titles allowing them to continue to experience the freedom of reading, ending isolation for the blind and partially sighted through being able to access literature, stories and much more.
Louise Neal, Regional Fundraising Manager in the South West wanted to bring some new ideas on board for her team of public speaking volunteers to help them make the Ask for Talking Books to sponsors and donors.
Halina and Isla designed a one day Train the Trainers workshop in presentation skills for public speaking volunteers and fundraisers on the Talking Books campaign.
Delegates did preparatory work around their experiences of making presentations. The day itself was interactive, experiential and thought provoking, moving delegates to think differently, share good ideas and best practice through observation, exploration and feedback with actions, fun and play, ‘take-aways’ and next steps.
A follow-up half day review session 6 months later measured and explored achievements and shared and recognised successes.
How we did it
The team looked at the elements of good and bad presentations, what public speaking was, when it happened, and what made a good speaker. Isla and Halina encouraged delegates to take a different perspective, stretch comfort zones, add special ingredients, tell stories, be emotionally compelling. There were exercises to overcome limiting beliefs, address different audience types, handle challenges, design great engaging messages, and be ambassadors for Talking Books.
Delegates were encouraged to notice what worked well and what could work better, finishing the day with practical tips and techniques, actions and ideas to take forward and implement.
Working in partnership
Isla and Halina collaborated with Louise to create the right format to fit her brief for the public speakers with particular application to the Talking Books Campaign. Having a scheduled review day kept everyone engaged and motivated, moving and improving.
Going forward delegates were invited to keep feeding back their stories to release fresh ideas and ways of raising funds and making the Ask.
Some of the responses after the workshops included: “A real understanding of putting together a talk with audience participation, to make it interesting, emotive and a determination to get commitment” and ”I think the training really encouraged you to examine yourself and best ways of working”.
The exercises which the team did were designed with the overall brief in mind and encouraged new and creative ways of putting across a message and promoting the use of stories. Participants particularly liked the exercise where they had time to draw up a new way of engaging a variety of audiences to support Talking Books.
Louise felt that the team’s confidence and skill set was boosted by Isla and Halina’s approach, which created a space where ideas and new techniques could be demonstrated and learnt. “These ideas have actually now been taken forward and are being used to engage audiences across the team.”
“Isla and Halina worked really closely with me to ensure that my objectives for the Train the Trainer training day was identified throughout the planning stage to ensure that they were met during the training.”
“The team’s confidence and skill set was boosted by Isla and Halina’s approach which created a space where ideas and new techniques could be demonstrated and learnt.
“The exercises which the team were asked to undergo, were designed with the overall brief in mind and encouraged new and creative ways of putting across a message and promoting the use of stories.”
Louise Neal – Regional Fundraising Manager, Royal National Institute of Blind People