Eugene McGarrell

General Manager, Health and Community Engagement

iCare | Sydney, Australia

Mastering Communication Program Graduate

“Every presentation I do now, whether it’s to my boss or to a partner, or if it’s to a whole audience. I’m now using the disciplines that were presented to me at the program and it’s been quite easy to implement.”

As General Manager in Health and Community Engagement at iCare, one of New South Wales’ largest insurance companies, effective communication is a central part of the job for Eugene McGarrell. When he sent his team to a Colin James Method® training program to strengthen their skills, he didn’t expect to be so impressed by their transformation that he would decide to sign up as well.

Why did you decide to sign up for the program?

Eugene and his team at iCare had been working on a new strategy in community engagement over the last 6 months. To implement effectively, Eugene says he needed to “improve [his] influencing skills” when dealing with “external stakeholders and with internal influencers”. An important part of this process is being able to simplify complex messages and ideas into something “that is understood by local people [and] influencers”. It was clear professional communication training would be of great help for this process, which is why he signed up his team to complete The Colin James Method® Mastering Communication program.

Eugene says it was important to him to see they had “learned to deliver clear communication” with external stakeholders and were “communicating well within the team”. Upon their return, he was so impressed with their “transformation in the way that [the] team started delivering stories and presenting” he then decided to sign up for the program as well.

What have been the most beneficial changes you have noticed?

Eugene says he now finds he is able to use the framework to “distil complex messages into simple key messages” and then translate this into stories. He says when presenting, he now understands how this tool helps to connect with the “hearts and minds of the audience”, which enhances his ability to influence key stakeholders and drive their strategic plan in community engagement.

As for his team, the first obvious change was in their level of confidence after attending the program. He says, “when they were up talking there was a level of confidence there that wasn’t there previously”. For Eugene, it was vital they were able to deliver powerful communication internally and externally. He immediately noticed a difference in the way his team was presenting and how they were using stories to deliver their message. The confidence boost also “helped the credibility of the story they were telling”.

Were you initially reluctant to attend another training program?

Being able to see the positive transformation in his team instantly captured his interest to sign-up. Eugene says the level of energy and enthusiasm after the program was something he had never seen after other training he’d sent them to in the past.

“When I heard about what they had learned and saw the difference, it really confirmed we’d invested well and that I should do it myself.”

A key learning for Eugene was the need to move out of his comfort zone and into the “learning edge”, which was a process he found to be easy in such a supportive setting. He says, “the workshop felt like a really safe environment”, and while moving out of his comfort zone initially worried him, “it felt safe at the same time and to me that’s where the learning was.”

Eugene says he was “really excited about doing the program and I wasn’t disappointed, I learnt a lot”.

How easy was it to start applying what you learned?

“Very easy.” Eugene says he found the framework simple to understand and that applying what he had learned was now just about practice. “Every presentation I do now, whether to my boss or to a partner, or an audience, I’m now using the disciplines that were presented to me at the program and it’s been really easy to implement.”  The balance of applying the theory through practical activities at the 2-day workshop helped to embed the learning for Eugene. “Now it’s just habit”, he says.

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