‘My impressions of …Theatreworks’
Elisa Cairoli, customer success manager at Adobe talks about her impressions and experiences after taking part in Theatreworks Personal Impact and Influence & Rapport open courses.
I recently completed my second Theatreworks open course on Influence & Rapport within six weeks of the first course, Personal Impact, and can highly recommend them both. A colleague of mine had heard about Theatreworks online and encouraged us to take part as part of our personal development.
I admit that while intrigued, I was a bit nervous and a little sceptical about how theatre-based training was going to help me in my job working with clients. Despite this, I was still looking forward to the course and interested to learn.
I ended up doing the Personal Impact course on my own and joined my colleagues for the Influence & Rapport course just over a month later. It turned out to be a happy accident, as I enjoyed the anonymity of not knowing anyone in my first session and was able to digest what I learned, apply it and take it with me to the second open course. I made sure not to share too many details of my experience with my colleagues, I wanted them to experience the day as fully as I did – feeling present and in the moment, rather than waiting for certain things to happen.
I had never thought about the fact that my role of managing client relationships and stepping in to help with client projects was like being in front of an audience, but after the first session, I now realise that it is. And that building my confidence levels to be more at ease in group situations takes practice, but is achievable, even if it doesn’t necessarily come naturally to me.
Being more aware of my body language – especially posture, voice and breathing –and their effect on my sense of presence and confidence were all things we worked on and ‘quick wins’ that I started adopting after the Personal Impact course. As an example, between the two courses, I had a meeting at work where I felt like I was under the spotlight. I was nervous ahead of time and unsure of what to expect, but was able to practice the voice, breathing and movement exercises I learned in Personal Impact and they calmed me down. The meeting went well.
This awareness and these skills also gave me a sense of gravitas that I was able to bring to the Influence & Rapport course. I approached the second course with excitement and confidence, rather than the nerves and scepticism I experienced the first time around. This outlook helped me to push myself and get even more out of the second session.
Influence & Rapport was less about the words and language of the theatre and more about practice and applying these skills to real-world situations. Thanks to the facilitators, we were given the chance to immerse ourselves in a version of actual scenarios we were struggling with – experiencing the emotions, blocks and frustrations in a safe space. The immediate feedback from the facilitators and other participants was hugely helpful and we were able to apply what we learned on the spot and practice. Their unbiased, honest feedback was useful to take on board and really made the course stand apart from other training programmes I’ve taken part in. We all learned from each other’s struggles and were able to see situations from differing viewpoints.
Both courses have improved my confidence and have given me a variety of techniques that will continue to equip me for thriving in all facets of my job. I’ve been sharing my experience and singing the praises of Theatreworks with my colleagues at Adobe, encouraging them to use their personal development budgets to take part.