It’ll be no surprise to hear that we’re big lovers of training here at The Giles Agency. Ongoing professional training allows us to continually hone our skills, meet and connect with other talented minds, and renew our inspiration and passion for our work.
Here are some of the training sessions we’ve especially enjoyed – and what we’ve learnt from them.
- Talk to your team: Jenny’s development day session
Janice Wong (Chinese Team Lead) and Suki Huang (Chinese Editor) were keen to highlight one of our internal training events – a session delivered by Jenny Del Favero (Country Head, Singapore). “Janice and I both loved the “Singapore vs. Hong Kong” session that Jenny delivered at our company’s development day last year,” says Suki. “It was informative, interesting, used a mix of video and newspaper examples, and left us feeling inspired!”
In this session, Jenny delved into the demographic differences between audiences in Hong Kong and Singapore, the concept of ‘Singlish’, and offered examples of good and bad copy – examples that emphasised the importance of context and cultural sensitivity.
Suki also points out that the delivery of a session can be as important as its content. To ensure that your message really hits home, make sure that your attendees can see the screen(s), that the ambience is quiet and relaxed, and that everyone is physically comfortable.
Our takeaway? Learn from your colleagues. This oft-ignored resource is a goldmine for improving your own skills and knowledge, and building strong, valuable partnerships within the office.
2. Think outside the box: A design tour of The Mills, Hong Kong
Earlier this year, our design team visited The Mills, a revitalisation project completed by Nan Fung Group in 2018. The project is a combination of business incubator, experiential retail environment, and non-profit cultural institution; it gathers start-up companies at the intersection of fashion, textiles and technology, and gives them a showroom in which to display their work.
“This kind of project may be relatively unfamiliar to Hong Kong people, but The Mills’ vision and history is a purely Hong Kong story,” says our Art Director Kannis Ho. “The Mills witnessed the manufacturing heyday in the 1960s, and now continues that legacy via applied creativity and innovation. Visitors can explore the continuity of an authentic Hong Kong story, where themes of textile and industry are woven into an experience of innovation, culture and learning.”
As a designer, Kannis always notices detail. “We were so impressed by the site’s interior. They turned the old gate – previously the main entry point into Mill 5 – into a feature wall behind the front kiosk, and created a new art-lined pedestrian walkway inside. Some of their signs were applied using an old stencil signage method, and their graphic style was consistent throughout.”
Our takeaway? Training sessions aren’t always of the ‘sit in a classroom and take notes’ variety; sometimes the best inspiration comes from visiting somewhere new, interesting, and exciting.
3. Address your audience: Our Write to the Top training
Over the years, we noticed that almost everyone we work with faces the same challenges when it comes to business writing, so we created a course specifically to address those issues. Write to the Top is primarily an online course with individual feedback, webinar, live training and even private coaching add-ons. Our Founder Freya Giles regularly runs short seminars that give participants a taste of what Write to the Top offers.
“I’ve been to Freya’s intro seminar for our Write to the Top courses several times now, and it’s never repetitive,” says Jenny Del Favero (Country Head, Singapore). “Freya speaks personally to the participants and really brings her energy and personality into each session. There’s so much interaction going on that each session is fresh and new simply because different people are sitting in! I always enjoy them.”
Our takeaway? The best sessions make a personal connection, and speak personally to participants.
4. Never stop learning: Practice and reinforcement make learnings stick
Last but far from least is Freya herself. Freya is a self-professed “training devotee” – so she really knows her stuff.
“I take at least one course a month, so I’ve learnt a bit about what works and what doesn’t,” says Freya. “The best course I ever attended was a full-day live training on presenting. It’s a favourite topic of mine anyway, but it was the delivery that made it so compelling. There wasn’t a PowerPoint in sight; all of the information was delivered through stories, conversations, and getting up and giving it a go. Putting learnings into immediate practice is vital to making them stick. It’s something we do in all our own training sessions.”
Crucially, adds Freya, there were also some videos to watch afterwards to reinforce all the learnings. “The only thing missing was individual feedback. I think a personal session with the trainer would have rounded it out and made it the perfect course,” she says. “I finished that course with so many new tips and tricks under my belt as well as a new appreciation of the complex art of effective presenting.”
Our takeaway? Keep training. Stay up-to-date and regularly refresh your know-how.
Interested in dipping your toes into the wide world of professional training? Get in touch and see how we can help. We offer a wide range of options to suit any budget, schedule, and goal, and offer the knowledge and support you need to really see results.