Treading the Boards: Oldham Coliseum Business Training

Jack Simpson

Head of Marketing and Communications

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If there’s one great equaliser at Web Apps, it’s the love of learning shared by all, from top to bottom. This week saw our Directors and myself head to Oldham landmark and theatre The Coliseum, to take part in their new Business Training course.

This is the second course in as many months embarked on by the Directors, having recently attended a corporate governance training course delivered by Gunnercooke’s Chris Jones.

The Business Training course aims to build confidence in the workplace, particularly around high pressure situations such as presentations and public speaking, by exploring practices used by professional creatives from the theatre industry.

In our case, we were blessed with the expertise of the Coliseum’s Associate Director Chris and Actor Francesca, who demonstrated a range of mental and physical techniques to help develop mindfulness and confidence, as well as theoretical concepts from drama and narrative theory.

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All sounds a bit niche, doesn’t it?

When you think of your working life in an office, you realise that you spend a lot of the time playing different roles. In a training session, you might be acting as a teacher to colleagues, or as a leader in a meeting about a project you’re managing.

Once you realise how much of your time you spend acting in your day-to-day life, you can harness certain methods used by professional actors to become more effective in the office.

I’m conscious that I’m starting to sound a little new-age, so let’s try and look at it from another direction.

For a while I’ve been trying to practice my public speaking and develop confidence, with no tangible progress. Following a day with Chris and Francesca, I’m already feeling considerably more confident and look forward to giving presentations in the future rather than worrying!

— Jeffrey Ng, Director

Nerves in the workplace are a very real thing – potentially talented presenters and trainers with a wealth of information to share are held back by a lack of confidence and an inherent fear of drawing attention to themselves. Many excellent presenters and public speakers are introverted people – just because you’re shy, doesn’t mean you can’t train yourself to act with confidence when appearing in front of an audience.

In the past, I’ve found myself going blank – when, in the midst of a presentation, you lose all sense of context and momentarily forget everything you’re supposed to be talking about. This wasn’t down to my memory, rather nerves.

Chris and Francesca showed us how to be mindful of our intensity level and to practice controlled breathing as two simple and effective ways to stay in control. We even got a chance to tread the boards and practice speaking to a performance sized room!

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Not wanting to give too much away, I’ll simply say that our Directors are extremely satisfied with the course and it comes highly recommended for all businesses. An excellent course appropriate for all levels, from junior employees to senior executives.