Vicky: In previous blogs we’ve mentioned independence (No.49 Stirred not Shaken - http://vidatraining.weebly.com/blog/49 and No. 50 Help, hindrance or interference - http://vidatraining.weebly.com/blog/50-help-hindrance-or-interference although it is a common theme 😊), I think there’s a good case to be made for working to each other’s strengths. This could be in any situation. As an example, I’ll use our training sessions.
We plan these together before the day and always have an idea of the topics we want to cover and will have agreed what equipment to bring.
Usually, I will have collected Dave en route to the training venue so we arrive together.
Assuming we’re in unfamiliar surroundings, we’ll start with a quick recce of the room so Dave can orientate himself for the day and then we’ll agree the best way to face and the room layout etc. I’ll check the fire evacuation procedures (usually a poster on the wall) and double check where toilets are. When setting up, we’ll both get tables ready and then I’ll deal with the paperwork and getting refreshments ready whilst Dave decides and lays out which equipment is appropriate for that session and usually gets the chairs ready. Dave is also better at dealing with any technical equipment required, so if that’s needed, that also generally falls to him 😊
During the training, as those of you who have taken part will know, we have a relaxed style and both chip in throughout the day. However, we do have different elements we lead on and I’ll often do the more factual information as its easier for me to read specific facts. We also try to be flexible to the needs of the group and Dave is more comfortable at ad libbing than I am. He also brings all of his personal experiences to the day and is happy to share personal examples with the group, although we often both share relevant anecdotes. I will usually be the time keeper for the session trying to keep us on track 😊 as again its easier for me to glance at our timetable and gauge how we are doing, but again we try to strike a happy medium between getting through the information we need to and going off piste a bit if the group are interested in a particular topic.
We must be doing something right as our recent feedback from a training session included:
"Fantastic chemistry between the two trainers. Not dry deliverance at all, kept their audience engaged, informed and involved as they rolled out the day"
"Great to see the working relationship you both have, makes for a very friendly, inclusive training session"
At the end of the day, we’ll usually have a brief breather before we start to pack up. Again, I’ll tend to deal with any paperwork as I can see what needs keeping and what can be discarded, Dave will put away equipment, chairs etc. On the way home we’ll discuss how the day went and any changes we want to make for next time.
It’s taken us a while to get this routine established, but we both know and accept that each of us are better at different tasks. We have both also adapted and been flexible enough to allow this to happen.
Dave: Vicky has clearly demonstrated how we work to our strengths but it wasn’t as easy as it sounds to get to this stage. We were lucky in that we worked together on projects before we started VIDA Training and therefore knew quite well what or where our strengths were. However, we did have to work at this work balance which involved communicating both our needs with each other. I’m better now at time keeping (due to having a smart ‘Bradley’ watch) but still rely on Vicky to be chief timekeeper mainly due to her having the planned timings on a sheet in front of her rather than me having to remember this info. What Vicky did forget to mention is that I usually switch off during the car journey home, not because we’ve heard enough of each other’s voices, but due to being fatigued from delivering the training. (Vicky – luckily I don’t switch off as I’m the one driving but Dave is right to mention his fatigue levels as this is an impact often forgotten about with any impairment. On the other hand, I think that’s why I’m usually quite keen to have a bit of a breather after the session and before packing up, whereas Dave is usually keen to pack up and get going. Interestingly, I hadn’t even thought that this was why we react differently at the end of a training session. Whilst I was aware of Dave’s fatigue I hadn’t really considered that my need for a break before the drive home was opposed to Dave just wanting to get to the car so he can have a break!!! It just proves that however well you know each other, there’s always more to learn and plenty of compromises to be made 😊)
We’re always interested to know about other people’s experiences and thoughts. Please share these by commenting…
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Our VIDA Insights...
Following our experiences from delivering our Vision Impairment Awareness training days over the past couple of years, we know that there’s loads more that we could talk about and examples we could have shared. Whilst these won’t be a substitute for our training, they will give you an insight (hence the name!) into our thoughts, observations and experiences from each of our perspectives - Dave’s living with sight loss and Vicky’s from being a sighted person and working alongside and supporting people who have sight loss.