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Business Eye press coverage

We’re pleased to feature in the November 2018 issue of Business Eye magazine.  We’ve worked with over 1,500 people in our three years in business so far – it’s nice to see that number in print!  Thank you to all the wonderful clients that we’ve worked with, and for investing in your teams.  We’ve loved the journey with with you all, and look forward to 2019 together.

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Research communications with Ulster University

Researcher CC-BY Jim Sorenson

Ulster University is committed to research impact, and its reputation for research excellence has received global recognition. Ulster University wants to make sure its best research helps tackle the world’s biggest challenges, improves lives and changes outcomes. However, it can be difficult for researchers to explain complex theories and societal impact to a non-academic audience. For this reason, #UU Communicate was developed to encourage excellence in research communication. #UUCommunicate is an innovative programme, developed by researchers at Ulster University to to help make their research relatable to a non-academic audience.

research impact

Winner of #UUCommunicate Dr. Claire McCauley with Tim Brundle, Director of Research and Impact and Prof. Cathy Gormley-Heenan, PVC Research and Impact

Research communication competition

The #UUCommunicate programme was based on a university-wide competition. To enter, researchers developed a short video describing their work to an external, non-academic audience.  Bespoke Communications supported competition entrants with a programme of workshops and one-to-one coaching in research communications. The #UUCommunicate programme culminated in an Awards Ceremony, recognising excellence and honouring participants.

#UUCommunicate Programme outcomes

Commenting on the success of the #UUCommunicate, Tim Brundle Director of Research and Impact said ‘#UUCommunicate has been instrumental in helping us to develop a supportive culture of public engagement at Ulster University. With #UUCommunicate, we’ve given our research-active staff a communications toolkit to make their discipline accessible to non-academics’.

Here is the Ulster University Youtube channel where videos can be viewed, including the video from the #UUCommunicate winner, Dr. Claire McCauley.

 

 

 

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Why do great staff training programmes just work?

Teamwork, staff training

I’m sure the board of the Sussex Football Association had the best of intentions when they published their widely-ridiculed considerations for increasing participation in women and girls.  The idea – to encourage more girls to take part in football.  Their well-meaning plan was to to buy lots of pink whistles and nice-smelling bibs. The plan was panned on media channels up and down the country after it was published last week. It’s very likely that the plan was cooked up without much consultation with the women and girls it was intended to benefit.

 

Where are your staff coming from?

If you’re planning staff training in 2017,  there are lessons to be learnt from the FA debacle.  Just as great public speakers consider the needs of their audience, great L&D managers know where their team’s pain points are. You’ll get better and more lasting results by obtaining the commitment of your team before rolling out new staff training.  Over the last year, we’ve worked with clients on several skills development programmes, including this one with Ulster University. We’ve seen some stellar successes that have contributed to culture change within the organisation.

Successful training programmes

Some factors that have made training successful include:

  1. Consider raising the bar for participation. If you can put a selection process in place, you immediately change perceptions of the programme internally.  Work with your line managers to identify your initial cohort, and let word of mouth spread to encourage discretionary participation. With a well-planned training programme, other staff ask to join future training sessions –  a win-win for everyone.
  2. Align the programme with strategic priorities. Plan your programme for big results, start small with a carefully selected cohort, reflect on the experience, and refine the programme to make sure it’s working.  Then go ahead and offer it more widely.
  3. Find what makes your team tick. Maybe an internal competition to promote participants achievements will give everyone a sense of pride? Or you might consider empowering staff with the skills they need to win prestigious external awards. Great training programmes boost morale as well as develop new skills. If you can tap into your team’s intrinsic motivations, your programme will be off to a flying start.

We’ve considered some of these factors when we developed some of our more popular training programmes – Talk like TED, Leadership Communication for Impact and Influence and Persuasive Presenting. If you’ve found an innovative approach to staff training, we’d love to work with you – do get in touch!