Member Since: 14th Apr 2009
I believe that learning is one of life’s greatest pleasures - it should be a joy and an adventure. I also know that deep, transformational learning happens when the body, mind, heart and spirit are all engaged in the learning experience. After more than 20 years’ experience of leading, managing, training, and developing people in the charity, housing association, and public sectors, I set up Saltbox Training & Events in 2009. Through Saltbox I now design and deliver inspiring training and events which take inspiration from nature, music, the arts, and holistic practices, as well as drawing on the latest findings from neuroscience and behavioural psychology to create powerful, memorable, transformative learning experiences.
Saltbox helps individuals and companies to perform better, achieve more, and be happier and healthier by increasing people's skills, knowledge, confidence, motivation, morale and wellbeing. We also run our own brain-friendly training venue – an inspiring meeting and learning space in the picturesque village of Nunney, near Frome, Somerset.
I’m a Master Facilitator for TetraMap®, a simple but powerful, values-based tool that helps individuals, teams and organisations to transform how they work by using nature as a metaphor, and I also lead the TetraMap Global Leadership Group.
My book, The Holistic Learning Handbook is due to be published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers later in 2019, and many of the ideas and principles covered in my TZ articles draw on elements of the book.
I love to be in nature, and believe that being connected to nature is essential for wellbeing, creativity and inspiration. I’m also a musician who loves American roots music including blues, gospel, old time, bluegrass and country. I sing and play guitar in an Americana band and run various music festivals, concerts and open mic sessions in and around Somerset.
Director Saltbox Training & Events
My discussion replies
7th Sep 2010
Hello - like others I'm not sure whether I should be advertising my own training here, but you did ask for suggestions of courses, and this is one, so here goes!
I am running one-day presentation skills masterclasses in Taunton on 14th October and Radstock, near Bath on 26th October. These events are designed for experienced presenters and speakers who want to inject a new lease of life into their presentations, are seeking new and engaging ways to get their message across, and want to really make an impact and keep their audience engaged. There will be a maximum of 8 people in each group to allow for plenty of individual attention. The day will cover: Harnessing and using nervous energy effectivelyImproving vocal tone and voice projection using simple techniquesDelivering your message with authority, confidence and enthusiasmDeveloping your own personal styleUsing innovative techniques to have a real impact without relying on PowerpointEngaging and stimulating your audience
More details can be found at http://www.salt-box.co.uk/training-open-program.asp
11th Aug 2010
Hi janey - welcome to TZ!
I agree with Rus that 2 hours is a very limited time so you will have to be very clear about objectives and outcomes for the session. For example, I usually run a one day stress awareness course which covers the following:
What is stress?The difference between "good" and "bad" stressThe causes of stressThe symptoms, effects and impact of stressAssessing your own stress levelsIdentifying our own stressorsHow to manage stress through reducing or controlling the stress factors (including time-management, self-management, assertiveness etc)How to increase your ability to cope with stress (including living a healthy lifestyle, and relaxation techniques)
A really important factor to note is that stress occures when the demands on a person exceed that person’s resources or ability to cope. (and as Rus says - this will be different for different people). In light of this, there are two approaches to stress management:
1) reducing the pressure (such as learning how to manage time better, learning how to be more assertive and say no, finding less stressful ways of doing things)
2) increasing the ability to cope (such as relaxation techniques, learning to put things in perspective, living a healthy lifestyle etc).
I would suggest that for your short workshop you should focus on giving people some really useful, usable, practical tools to achieve either one or the other of these two approaches, rather than trying to cover everything and just skimming over things.
19th May 2010
Lucky you - you are getting to act out one of my training fantasies - creating the ideal training venue! For what its worth, my personal top requirements are be as follows:
Lots of natural light - essential - I still can't believe how many organisations/individuals seem to think its acceptable to work for long periods in a space wth no natural light - it has SUCH as negative impact on energy and concentration levels.
Outdoor space - Where possible I use the outdoors (weather permitting) for many activities as it completely changes the group energy and helps to give activities more impact.
Outdoor shelter - if there is room, a shelter for outdoor activities in bad weather (I've used a couple of centres which have a circular wooden bandstand type structure which is brilliant.)
Countryside - I feel really strongly that a natural rather than urban environment is far more relaxing and therefore conducive to learning.
Comfy chairs - self-explanatory! Plus the facility to have more comfy armchair-type seating in a circle with no tables.
Lots of room for moving around/physical activities
Facilities for sticking up flipcharts etc on the walls (either blu-tackability or those strips to clip papers onto)
Light, healthy, energy food (not stodge-laden 3 course meals which make everyone want to blob out in the afternoon or boring sandwiches and deep-fried finger food), which meets ALL dietary needs without anyone needing to feel "different" or awkawrd because of their dietary requirements.
High ceilings (partly for the feeling of airy spaciousness, but also for doing activities which involve reaching, stretching, throwing etc)
Sufficient break-out spaces (rooms, lounge areas, outdoor sheltered space etc) for groups to be able to work out of ear/eyeshot of each other.
Provision of on table nibbles such as grapes, dried fruit, nuts etc rather than sugary boiled sweets or mints! (I usually always have to take these along mysefl but it would be great if venues supplied them - one less thing to carry)
I've just realised that this has turned into quite a long posting, so I'd better stop now, but look forward to hearing more about the Piggeries when its ready.
Good luck and best wishes
14th Sep 2009
I find that many retreat centres have excellent accommodation in a really comfortable relaxed setting, with great home cooked food and are much cheaper and more learning-friendly than corporate/hotel type venues. They vary greatly in what they offer/how many they can accommodate etc, but a really good place to look for details of these is at http://www.places-to-be.com/index.php?gen=ven
For somewhere in the Midlands I would recommend Holland House, although I haven;t been there for some time now.
I hope this helps.
10th Aug 2009
Why not provide them all with a set of different coloured poster paints and ask them to mix them to invent a paint colour which says something about themselves, and give the colour a name (as in a Dulux colour chart). Have a large sheet of card/paper on the wall (wallpaper lining paper works well) and ask each person to paint a square of their colour on it, and write the name underneath to create a giant paint colour chart. Ask each person in turn to tell the rest of the group about their colour, its name, and how it represents them.
This would satisfy a number of requirements of the icebreaker exercise:
It is fun and colourful so that people instantly relax and engage with the training
It will help people to get to know each other a little better
It will ensure that everyone gets to speak early on in the day to break through the nerves barrier
It has some relevance to the nature of the work of the participants
Hope this helps!!!
30th Jul 2009
You may be familiar with this already, but I find it works really well.
Ask them to identify the issue/question/problem (For example How can I increase sales of my product - alarm clocks)
Divide into groups of about 4 and pass round a bag of random objects (my bag contains things such as a stone, a stapler, a pine cone, toy car, salt shaker, candle, watch etc) and ask themeach group to take one item out of the bag. (For example they pick out a small basket)
Ask them to generate as many ideas as possible to relate this object to the probem in some way – as many wild and creative thoughts as possible, without rejecting or judging them – just write them all down as they flow. (For example: Baskets carry things – Give people a really nice bag when they buy our clocks, Baskets are made of wicker – sustainable material. Can we make our clocks sustainable to reach new markets? Baskets are used for shopping – can we somehow make a clock that people take shopping to remind them of when their parking time is up etc? Baskets are made by craftsmen – a declining skill, like clock making.
Get the group to explore these further and identify any which can be developed into solutions. (For example:
Develop a unique carry case for clocks to make them portable/ideal for travel. Include a solar panel in the bag casing which automatically recharges the battery. Promote our clocks as unique items made by skilled craftsmen)
This can also be done with random words, rathe than objects, but I find having a physical thing which people can hold and look at helps them to engage in the exercise more.