Glen Eira City Council is committed to the continuous professional development of its staff. All staff at the council have the opportunity to develop their communication skills by attending the ‘Better Communication’ workshop series.

Context

As part of Glen Eira City Council’s ‘Better Communication’ series of professional development workshops, Polykala designed and delivered training focussing on Presentation, Facilitation and Feedback skills for people managers and general staff. 

Polykala was chosen as the provider for these sessions off the back of the successful co-design and delivery of Glen Eira’s Diversity Awareness induction program for all staff, existing and new.

The brief was to bring our style of training to the three communication skills sessions; the blend of intellectual rigour, creative modes of practice, and our engaging training approach.

Approach

Polykala has worked closely with Glen Eira City Council to design these training sessions to help staff prepare and communicate with greater confidence and dexterity.

The Presentations Skills training has been delivered with a focus on both online and in person presenting. We struck a balance between the technical skills required for presentation (presentation structure, using online tools, visual aids, understanding your audience) with the artistry of engagement through storytelling and physical presence. We focussed on storytelling to ensure the audience stays engaged, understands the narrative and builds connection to the speaker’s core message. We used a combination of improvisational theatre and speaking skills to help participants craft a story that speaks to a leadership purpose or conveys information in meaningful ways.

The Facilitation training was designed with a focus on community consultation contexts that are common in local government. The training aimed to give novice and experienced facilitators the tools, processes and self-reflective insights to support their practice.

The Feedback training equipped staff members with the mindset and skills to have effective, authentic conversations in tough circumstances. The training incorporates dynamic roleplay and real-world scenarios to give participants an experience of giving feedback and engaging in difficult conversations to integrate the linguistic, emotional and tactical tools introduced during the training. With all three modules in the ‘Better Communication’ suite, we followed the 70:30 ratio of practice to theory. We built the training around at least three practical touchpoints where participants enacted the training and sought feedback from their peers and our experienced facilitators.

Outcomes

We are excited to continue delivering these communication skills sessions with the City of Glen Eira in an ongoing capacity. We’ve been able to assist in tricky situations where team dynamics have been hampered by communication issues; support staff members entrusted with protecting the heritage of GECC and refine engineers telling stories about storm water in a way that ramps up buy-in and therefore action. 

“Polykala has a very interactive, personable and refreshing facilitation style. They are expert trainers. Both their online and in-person sessions are very engaging, and we get great feedback from staff. Employees walk away from their sessions with a great understanding of the subject every time.” 

Suhasini Sachdev – Learning and Organisation Development Advisor, Glen Eira City Council

Imagery sourced from Glen Eira City Council, 2023

Client

Glen Eira City Council

Year

2018 – Present

Number of participants

100

Number of sessions

6

Location

Caulfield (VIC) / Online