With May 3rd local elections fast approaching, local councils will be undergoing many changes. New councillors will be joining the ranks and experienced councillors will be embracing new roles. Whilst most councils have their own induction processes for new councillors, there are many skills the councillor needs in order to fulfil their potential and to serve their community as effectively as possible. At the heart of these skills is the ability to communicate with clarity and impact.

I have been working with local government for over 10 years and have consistently been amazed and delighted by the commitment of individuals who give up their time and energy to support their local community. I have also been astonished at the capacity of individuals to put themselves above the parapet in order to improve the environment in which they live. Naturally this may involve the need to speak in public for the first time in their lives – either in the council chamber, public forums, in residents meetings or within their own groups.

A lack of confidence can inhibit an individual’s ability to be their “best self”. It prevents people being able to put their ideas across with real clarity and it can undermine an individual’s ability to contribute as effectively as possible. The courses we run at RADA in Business give local councillors that confidence and that is why I am so passionate about working with individuals and groups within local authorities. I have run courses in Personal Presentation and Impact, Communication Skills for Meetings/Area Forums, Chairing skills, Communication Skills for Scrutiny and a host of bespoke courses for in house training all over the country. The one comment I consistently hear at the end of the day is a version of “Thank you. I now feel I have the tools and techniques I need to communicate with confidence and real focus”.

I believe that it is vital to give our councillors the opportunity to enable them to be as competent and successful as possible, and in my experience offering them communication skills training is the most direct way to achieve that end.