By Patrick Atack, ecdp Communications Volunteer
Mitie have been a partner with ecdp since we started the ecdp Works project in 2012. On Tuesday 01 July two Mitie representatives came in to aid the training of our participants.
I sat in on the first of these sessions, as Ollie Dear and Ana Canabarro led activities about communication.
The aim of this session was to recognise the different ways in which we communicate, and how those impact on our impressions of ourselves and others.Ana broke this down into three categories.
- Visual (how we look)
- Vocal (how we speak)
- Verbal (what we say)
Oliver and Ana then had a few exercises for the participants to complete, looking at first impressions, and how we can get such a lot of information from just one picture, or a few spoken words.
In the first of these, each table were given a selection of headshots, and told to write down their immediate thoughts on each person.One group decided to think about who they would sit next to on a train, another about who they would feel happy about approaching in public.After groups had shared their thoughts, Ana pointed out that each of our participants had the power to dress in a certain way, which would allow them control over how they’re viewed on their placements over the next six weeks.
Cindy, an ecdp Navigator who manages many of our ecdp volunteers, spoke about her lived experience. Cindy has a visual impairment, and she spoke to the group during this exercise about how she can tell a person’s appearance and mood from their tone of voice. This was something Ana and Oliver would get to later, but hearing first-hand allowed the group to really understand how each person’s impairment affected their interactions with those around them.
In the second exercise, the whole group were asked to listen to two very short clips of a man speaking.What we didn’t know at the time was that these were actually the same man, Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.As the group listened, the participants again commented on what they could tell about the person, from just one piece of information.The results were surprisingly varied, which made for a shocked group when we were told the identity of the speaker.Most thought the pieces were very different individuals.
This was intended to show us how the voice we speak in can really change the way we’re perceived, and with such a stark reaction, it’s fair to say it had quite an impact.
We’re really grateful for Mitie sending us some of their expert trainers to give our participants the best start possible in their work placements.This training will hopefully give everyone both the knowledge and confidence to feel comfortable in their work placements from next week onward.