THE Tamworth Business Chamber has hit out at a councillor’s bid to undertake a personal media training course in Sydney.
Tamworth councillor Mark Rodda has requested funding for a $3200 course which he said would help him improve his skills as a communicator and a representative.
Chamber president Jye Segboer took to social media to criticise the move and called on the councillor to look local for training.
“One cannot stop and think why this can’t be conducted locally,” Mr Segboer said.
He said this sort of training should be done as a form of induction for councillors when they’re elected.
“A recommendation moving forward would be provide this as part of an induction when Councillors are elected,” he said.
“If it can’t be done internally I could certainly recommend several local firms who could conduct this level of training.
“Think local, support local.”
A recent revision to the Local Government Act urged councillors to seek out training to acquire and maintain skills relevant to their roles.
If approved, the funding for Cr Rodda’s training will drawn from his $4500 annual allowance set down for councillors to attend conferences, workshops and non-council functions and events.
The councillor hit back and said he’d like meet the chamber president to discuss“further training development”.
Moving forward and in the interests of objectivity, I trust that you will provide your commentary equally balanced to other future Councillor training and conference requests made to Council,” Cr Rodda said.
Tamworth Toastmasters stalwart Bob Kirchner said people were often a lot better at public speaking than they assumed.
He said it comes down to a fear of failure.
“A lot of people won’t say that, they’ll just say they hate public speaking,” he said.
“But you’re up there by yourself in front of an audience and you might be worried they’re not going to like what you’re going to say.”
He’s seen people’s confidence grow in a short period during his time with the group’s programs.
“People might come to us just because of their lack of involvement in the P&C,” he said.
“They don’t sit down and say nothing because they want to, they don’t stand up because they don’t have the confidence.”
Generally, Mr Kirchner said there was a slackness with language which let down Australians in oration.
He said non-verbal language could increase impact and effectiveness in communication.
“We need to concentrate on verbal pauses,” he said.
“There’s lots of time when we shouldn’t say anything but we fill it with an um, ah or er.”
Standing in a “good way” also has an impact, he said, with movements such as standing on one leg, crossing legs or leaning providing only a distraction from what you’ve said.
“Clarity and purpose” are key to good public speaking.
“It’s saying something meaningful in an effective way,” he said.
Toastmasters has helped people from a range of industries, Mr Kirchner said, including medicine, retail, law, construction and farming.
He said people lost the ability to be heard without effective communication skills.
New England MP Barnaby Joyce’s could come across “too strongly” in his speeches, Mr Kirchner said.
The Toastmasters’ officer said the MP was “not one of the worst, but not one one of the best” when it came to public speaking.
“Sometimes he speaks too strongly, particularly in parliament when he can start shouting," he said.
“It’s not really effective.
“Normally, I think he’s good.
“Everyone can improve at public speaking, some more than others”
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