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Fergus Keoghl

Influence and Impact

How did you come to be on the Influence & Impact programme, and what were your expectations?

‘A friend of mine had attended a course at Henley Business School and talked highly of it. And I knew of Henley’s reputation.

‘I had reached a point at which, after 15 years in employment, I wanted to really improve my negotiating skills in particular. I’d gained plenty of practical experience but wanted to have more formal training and get up-to-date with the latest best practice, so my objectives seemed to be very much aligned to what the course offered.’

So what was your experience of the programme?

‘It was way beyond what I expected! The theory was really useful, but the programme was packed with practical advice, and it moved at a tremendous pace, which maintained our interest and interaction.

‘The programme director, Peter Nelson, was especially impressive. He has extensive leadership and business experience which kept us all interested throughout. The role plays were superb: the facilitators had a mixture of television acting, training and business experience and so were appropriately skilled to make the role plays as close to real life as possible, which helped to put the theory into practice.’

What elements of the programme did you find most useful?

‘The content was relevant and interesting throughout. We covered in great detail topics including: creating the right impression, the optimum use of body language and tone of voice, right through to adapting your language, behaviour and leadership to suit different people. I learned key leadership skills that I have used since in a variety of different situations.

‘For me, the highlights were the presentation and negotiation skills training. Everyone in the room discovered the flaws in the ways that we had been taught to structure presentations in the past. We were taught excellent techniques to structure and, in particular, to start and finish presentations to create the best impact for the specific individuals in the audience. I have used the presentation structure taught in numerous presentations as well as in meetings, so as to create the best impact and outcomes.

‘My meetings are now much more productive and having a more structured approach to my presentations has definitely improved the outcomes.

‘The negotiation training was a revelation, too. It taught me how to structure plans for complex negotiations, covering how to predict and plan the steps throughout the negotiation and involve the wider team to optimise the chances of a successful outcome.

‘It was great to spend time with such a diversity of people. Our group included middle and senior managers as well as business owners from sectors such as finance, telecoms, retail, leisure, defence, government and education – a really interesting mix of perspectives.

‘Spending time with the participants throughout the role plays and presentations, not to mention the superb lunches and the private dinner, helped to reinforce the learning, by discussing how each participant could put our newly found skills into practice.’

So what would you say to anyone considering the programme?

‘I recommend it highly. It provides key leadership skills for all sorts of situations.

‘Henley is an idyllic riverside location with superb staff and facilities, perfect for helping you to step away from everyday life and conducive to absorbing new information.’

Find out more about Influence and Impact