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Paul Kingswell

Influence and Impact

How did you come to be on the Influence & Impact (I&I) Programme, and what were your expectations?

‘My manager had been on the first I&I programme, and said it was the best course he’d ever been on; he subsequently mandated all his managers that he considered ‘ready’ to attend. ‘I’d been on lots of courses, and many really good ones, so I thought: ‘this better be amazing!’ I’d heard great things from other people about the larger-than-life facilitator, so I had high hopes even though the pre-course paperwork seemed to be much like any other.’

So what was your experience of the programme?

‘There were three major benefits for me. Firstly, the mix of people in the room was a revelation, as was the different values they held. There were accountants, people from local authorities through to directors of businesses. That really opened my eyes and made me reassess my own views. Having twenty or so different perspectives was so refreshing and stimulating.’

‘The structure of the programme was very good. There was no gradual easing into it – it was full on right from the start, which was a little uncomfortable to begin with, but in retrospect, very helpful.

‘Lastly, and most significantly, the fact that I was able to use the practical course content immediately on going back to my office made it incredibly powerful and set it apart from other courses.’

What elements of the programme did you find most useful?

‘It turned my thinking around with regard to how I structured presentations. It all sounds so obvious now, but – like most people – I probably tended to focus on the body of the presentation at the expense of a clear start and a strong finish. Now, I have a clear objective in mind, and I build my presentations around this. Having that clear process has made a significant difference, and enabled me to get the maximum output from every meeting.

‘The practicality of the programme was excellent; we weren’t simply theorising, but actually putting our learning into practice, and seeing that the changes really worked.

‘Simple practical benefits included the advice Peter gave me about my default stance, and the authority and control addressing my basic body language and positioning has given me. ‘I also tend to speak quite quickly, and whilst other tutors have told me to slow down, Peter encouraged me to maintain that pace, but to use strategic pauses to increase the effectiveness of what I’m saying – and it feels so much more comfortable to me.

‘The other thing that really resonated was the negotiation session. To be honest, I didn’t think of myself as a negotiator, so I didn’t expect this part of the programme to be of much use, but the longer it went on, the more I realised that I am constantly negotiating in my role, with everyone!’

So what would you say to anyone considering the programme?

‘It’s not for everyone – you have to be at the right point for it and you have to be ambitious, keen, open-minded, ready and willing to self-develop. You need to have reached the stage where you really want to do things better. ‘But for an experienced manager who manages a team, or regularly does pitches and presentations, it is an exceptional programme.

‘And Henley is awesome. The facilities are amazing. The food is great!. I can’t recommend it highly enough.’

Find out more about Influence and Impact