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The Quarterly 2012

Ms Sharon HollowayThe two-day Communications Workshop was held in Sydney on the 28th and 29th of May 2012. Early feedback indicates a successful program. Dr Donna O'Sullivan opened the workshop with an icebreaker session and welcomed the 20 Candidates. The program included four plenary sessions with the theme of Communication in Leadership and three Faculty members presented over the two days. The first plenary speaker, Dr Tony Austin discussed the role of 'Communicator' within the RACMA Medical Leadership and Management Curriculum, identified major barriers to successful communication and the consequences of failures in communication. The second plenary speaker, Dr Debra Graves, addressed the topics of leadership presence; influencing skills; engagement and conflict resolution/mediation skills. The third plenary speaker, Dr James Oldham addressed ways to receive feedback and strategies to use this feedback to change behaviour and outlined reasons why changing personal communication is difficult. Tony then drew the learning outcomes of the communication theme together in the fourth plenary session and addressed the use of flexible and adaptive communication styles and multicultural communication strategies.

The Candidates participated in MiniMex sessions and a total of eleven Faculty members participated as Assessors. Candidates were given feedback on their performance in the mini management exercises which were generally 35 minutes long, broken up into the components of preparation (10 minutes); presentation (15 minutes) and feedback (10 minutes). Due to the challenges in obtaining volunteer actors, the College engaged professional actors. These actors brought a high degree of consistency to their roles and it will be recommended in the future that professional actors are engaged for MiniMex sessions.

Media Management sessions were to be held on the first day but due bereavement in the trainer's family, the Monday sessions were postponed until the Tuesday. (Many thanks to Donna, who very quickly came up with and facilitated, alternative communication/leadership sessions for the Candidates.) Media Interview Skills trainer Sean McNamara engaged the Candidates on the Tuesday with a lively, challenging and informative session on 'managing the media'.

The final afternoon's session workshop topic was Reflective Writing skills and presenter Dr Jenny Newton encouraged Candidates to use a metaphor to reflect on a challenging experience in medical administration, with some thought-provoking results.

Sharon Holloway
National Education and Training Program Manager

Communications Worksop Communications Worksop Communications Worksop Communications Worksop
Communications Worksop Communications Worksop Communications Worksop Communications Worksop

The communication workshop in Sydney was both enjoyable and educational. What I found most helpful were experienced Fellows sharing their personal anecdotes, and pearls of wisdom in regards to effective communication and its overlap with effective leadership. Key themes were values based, authentic leadership, and its influence on verbal and non-verbal communication.

There was much nervousness associated with the new Minimex modules being trialled; however it was a great opportunity to practice communicating in, and managing challenging scenarios that would be expected in the workplace. The use of professional actors created high fidelity simulations, and the immediate feedback was constructive. There was also opportunity to ask the examining Fellows their advice on each scenario, which assisted in learning and growing as a communicator as we progressed through the four modules we each completed.

The workshop dinner was a great opportunity to socialise and meet other Candidates and Fellows. It was highly appreciated that several Fellows could attend, and share their personal experiences in their career journeys, and lend support to Candidates in our development.

The media training was the highlight of the workshop, where candidates had a chance to experiment with their personal styles of tackling the media while being grilled in front of the recording camera. This was extremely valuable, and the safe, jovial, and supportive learning environment created by both the Fellows and Candidates made this a rich learning opportunity.

Overall the workshop was a valuable and entertaining two day learning experience.

Dr Hwee Sin Chong
RACMA Candidate