Early in the 1990’s I started a Newman (Pilbara Region) group of ITC – International Training in Communication. It was great fun! From memory, there were at last half a dozen of us who met on a regular basis to improve our public speaking skills.
I was particularly interested as I had recently been elected as a Shire Councillor for the East Pilbara Shire Council. I was the only woman and there were around about ten or eleven men. These men either worked in the mining industry or in the pastoral industry – apart from one who was a school teacher. He later became Shire President and I was his deputy for a short time before we moved out the district.
I am not particularly out-going and I’m not used to pushing my way into a conversation or debate. If I couldn’t improve my skills there seemed no point in being on the Council. Mind you, most decisions were made in the men’s loo and I didn’t have equal access to that.
So the local ITC was helpful for me. We would pick random headlines out of the daily paper and ask someone to stand up and tell us the story behind the headline (inventing it as they went along). It was fun.
I learnt how to get a word in at Council meetings. I actually had to talk over someone else to be heard. Being on Council helped my confidence quite a bit and developed skills that would later be useful in my career. It was an exciting time in my life and a real learning curve too.