I went into our two days of training at Bradenham with high expectations, as almost every associate I had spoken to at the firm had talked so highly about it. After a few wrong turns on my drive up, including missing the entrance, I finally arrived nice and early on Monday morning and instantly understood why. The grand entrance and the acres of lush garden land were an incredible welcoming, and we got started with our workshop straight away. The title of the workshop was ‘developing your business impact’ and was mainly based on improving our public speaking and presentation skills, looking at our end of internship presentation.
The group consisted of all the audit interns from across the country, and we started off with a few ice breakers; getting to know each other and finding out everyone’s hobbies and interests. The course was very ably lead by Jamie New, Ursula Hughes and Carolyn Sansom and their unique insights and feedback across the two days were incredibly helpful for our personal development.
We were given a lot of on the spot training, being given very little time to prepare for a short presentation. The first of which was a sort of elevator pitch to a manager as to why we’d be the ideal person for a job, presenting to small groups. The instant feedback we received was incredibly helpful as it allowed us to implement the changes in a short time. Presenting to a range of people allowed feedback from different perspectives who could pick up distinct features of yourself, whether it was your shaking legs, over the top hand gestures, or poor engagement with your audience. We later learned that over 50% of the overall delivery consisted of body language, about a quarter tonality, and less than 10% of the actual words you say, meaning that even if your content was remarkable, your audience may not take any of it in if your tonality and body language were poor.
After a lovely lunch break, we reconvened, and after some more theory we set about our next task. Three new groups were each given a topic of a feature of the Vibrant Economy Index, with my group presenting on ‘sustainable growth’ which was more at ease for me with my economic geography background. After 25 minutes of prep we presented back to the whole group receiving constructive, positive feedback in the GT framework. For topics people knew little about, all three groups spoke very well and confidently. The audience would’ve struggled to tell that the group had such little time to prepare for it.
At 6pm, we all had a barbecue in and sat around in the picturesque garden while some of the guys ‘attempted’ to play some croquet. Then at 7pm as soon as the bar opened, everyone flooded in to watch the football on the television, and even after the game finished, everyone remained to watch the evening’s episode of Love Island which allowed for plenty of bonding, interaction, and interesting debate. After a few games of pool, more socialising, and LinkedIn/Facebook adds, everyone went back to their rooms for some well earned rest.
The final day was all about our own personal presentations, which were going to last around 7 mins on any topic of our choice. So again after some more theory, we went away on our own to work on our presentations; mine was on my recent field trip to Havana where I investigated patterns of music consumption among different social scenes. Our group went out into the garden to present and it was already clear to see everyone taking in the advice they’d been given as everyone spoke immaculately well. Everyone spoke of genuinely interesting topics with particular favourites in my group being Marianna Emmanouilidou’s life of travelling having visited 57 countries aged 20, Jack Chisholm’s volunteering and charity work, and Rebecca Rowland’s passion for dance.
After another tasty lunch, we all parted ways, with new friendships and connections. I believe everyone definitely felt more confident with themselves at the end of the second day, with lots of practice and astute feedback which will put everyone in a better position for ‘improving their business impact.’
By Nikhil Rawal – Audit Intern