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Present a professional development webinar

02 November 2020

We’re looking for members to present webinars in their areas of expertise as part of our professional development offering.

If you’re interested in submitting a proposal, guidance on the key areas you need to consider, the value that it can add, and the application process is available on our website.

We recently spoke to BPS member Kate Pearlman-Shaw, who tells us a bit about the simple process and what you can gain from being a presenter.

What was your webinar about?

The webinar I ran, ‘Effective Consultancy Skills: a psychological perspective’, was about a highly psychological method of consultation. It’s something I teach clinical psychology trainees at two of the UK courses, which always goes down well. It’s about a topic of psychological practice that few people seem to know about, so I thought it may be useful for a wider audience.

The consultancy method is called Process Consultancy (PC), it’s the work of a well-known culture change guru called Edgar Schein who was a professor at MIT Slone - he’s written a lot about how to change culture in organisations but this work is lesser known.  This relational method of consultancy is differentiated from ‘Expert ‘or ‘Doctor-Patient’ consulting as it’s highly psychological, focusing on the dynamics of the helping relationship. It’s originally  based on the work of Karl Rogers and to me has always read like a clinical psychology manual, just using different terminology.

One of the activities I get the trainees to do is compare and contrast how they’ve been trained with the 10 principles of the PC model, as a way of demonstrating that they have these skills already.

Why did you want to be involved in running a BPS webinar?

I’d originally responded to a call for whole-day long workshops, and put a design to the Professional Development team to be included in the BPS professional development programme. I thought that Process Consultancy would be useful for all psychologists, given how much of our work is consultation.

In the summer, when everything became remote, I’d already had rapid upskilling and extensive experience of putting all of my work online in small, bite-sized chunks, and thought that the original proposal could be reduced to a two-hour webinar.

I’d also been to a number of BPS webinars, which were all really informative – I’ve done more CPD this way this year than I have before. Suddenly, CPD is far more accessible, both in terms of less time needed, no travel needed, and affordability. I thought that Process Consultancy could be useful in the same way.

Can you explain a little bit about the process involved in setting up the webinar?

It was remarkably easy. The professional development team were great and ‘held my hand’ all the way through, answering questions and coming up with ideas. Initially I was asked some questions to clarify that it met the BPS’s requirements, after it was reviewed by a team of chartered psychologists.

Once the final proposal was agreed, I received an email with all of the details, the format that slides needed to be in, and a very useful guide to presenting on Zoom with some helpful tips – such as changing the slides every two to three minutes, limiting myself to one concept or point per slide, and varying their look.

A few days before, I was able to rehearse the webinar with the Professional Development Manager. This was really important because, although I’m used to running workshops remotely, using the Zoom webinar package is different, so being able to rehearse meant I was more confident and prepared.

How did it go on the day?

I think it all worked like clockwork and all went to plan. Most importantly, my connection didn’t dip, and the BPS team was ready with questions the whole way through. We were pleased and surprised with how many people attended, and the majority were still there at the end, so it must have sustained their attention.

What tips would you give to someone setting up and running a BPS webinar?

I followed the great sheet with loads of tips that I was given by the BPS at the start! As well as this, I put in a break for questions and answers at least every 20 minutes. I tried not to be put off by the weird experience of not being able to see or hear the participants.

I would say that  illustrating the narrative with examples and stories works well, as going through slides and explaining concepts  can get boring if it’s done for a long time.

Don’t talk too fast – I got feedback through the chat that I was, and did my best to slow down. You don’t have much time and there’s a lot to cover, so it’s essential to present the key facts clearly and not waffle.

Overall, how do you think the experience went and would you recommend it?

I think it went well, I got some really nice emails and LinkedIn messages afterwards. I enjoyed myself as it went smoothly and I was well prepared – I didn’t get any questions that I couldn’t answer or thoughts that I’d messed up.

My sense from the questions was that it was a topic people didn’t know much about  and there was an appetite for, so it was worth bringing to people’s attention. I’d recommend it, especially if you have something to say that’s new, or a different take on something that could be good CPD for BPS members.

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