Students on Blue Skies 2: Leadership from Barnes Wallis Academy worked on their presentation skills in their seventh session at RAFC Cranwell. Having previously looked at various forms of communication and using their voice in a way that is needed for the recipient, this session focused upon smaller engagement strategies with an audience.
The day began with the MET Office providing an insight into the work that they do and why it is so significant for the RAF. The students and adults alike learned about the huge computer power and programming involved in reading what the weather is doing and is forecast to do. Having said that, there is still a big part for humans to play in interpreting the information and briefing RAF personnel, including pilots, on the weather.
The students were given the opportunity to deliver a ‘mock’ weather brief. They had to understand the images and information on the slides before explaining it to the audience. The students spoke about weather fronts, high and low reaching temperatures, as well as the satellite and radar images before them.
“He said we did it just as well as he did and he does it all the time!” Student, 15
All of the students successfully planned their speeches and began to see the importance of how to deliver that information in a way that would instil confidence and belief in what they were saying.
“I took on board what Graham and Disco said about the briefing and this made my presentation go well.” Callum, 15
These were just a few of the things that were discussed and thought about during delivery.
“I didn’t realise what it would mean to do those things” was one student’s response.
After lunch, the students had to remain indoors to explore these skills further – in their earlier MET Office session, they had learned that it was going to rain heavily, which meant the trim trail was out of action for the afternoon activities. Instead, the students were tasked with emptying a very large ball pit of its balls. A leader was assigned to deliver the brief using the acronym:
As the leaders were changed, a new limitation (rule) was added or changed and the leader had to brief the team and alter their strategy accordingly. It was a lot of fun…! Following that, the team had a ‘sheep herding’ activity to do; four leaders had to guide blindfolded peers aka ‘sheep’ into a pen, avoiding obstacles that were in their way. This activity reminded the leaders of the need for good positioning, voice projection, clarity of instruction and that keeping things simple was most effective.
Students had time to reflect about how they felt about public speaking, leading others, what their personal strengths and limitations are and identify ways to improve in the future.