The McGuire ProgrammeRegional Director of The McGuire Programme in South Africa
The first course to start off the year is during the last weekend of the holidays. Unfortunately, the turnout was a bit smaller than normal with many people still away on holiday or had started work early. However for everyone who joined, what a great way to start off the year after Xmas Holidays where speech often takes a back seat. 3 New male Students, all very sporty similar-aged made for a great bunch who really understood the sports mentality mindset from the get-go.
We spent a lot of focus on getting the techniques correct and strict discipline during the breaks. For the no speaking break, we did a 40-second breathing pause to end off the last session. I said to then think of how they took that really full and fast costal breath and focus on doing that during the break, visualizing what the diaphragm is doing. 1-word breaks I asked the guys to ask each other any generic short question like “what is your favourite colour”. It doesn’t matter what the question is but more how they are sticking to the basic cycle of speech with 1 word per breath. 3 words per breath break became a conversational exercise again to ask people questions like what do you do for work even if you already know the person. The focus again was just practising the technique.
This first day built up for a strong start but we noticed at the end of the day guys were getting lazy with their focus in the lines and we had to remind them to keep eye contact and keep the concentration going.
Thinking back, one of the new grads was feeling a bit overwhelmed and frustrated on Day 1. He did not say why at the time but I believe I could have better explained why we have coaches opposite you, and why they will be critiquing you on certain points. Explain that we will be moving coaches often and each new coach may give a new point to work on. If you are feeling overwhelmed by this, remember you are new and this is only day 1, we will be practising everything over and over again.
Emotionally this also may be overwhelming but we are all working together and supporting each other through this learning process and facing off our fears.
We also showed 1st Day Videos of every person who helped present a session to showcase that many grads have come really far and that the McGuire Programme does not only work for the instructors but everyone that gives it their dedication and commitment. This was a nice showcase to instate the belief in the new students to trust the process.
On the 2nd last night during a split session we went over the phonetic alphabet again practising the tools once more. There was a noticeable improvement with the new students to when they were doing this on Day 1. It was valuable for them to use the techniques again, now more well-practised, on each word of the alphabet for a better understanding of each tool uses.
All in all, a smaller but really great quality course with an addition of 3 great new guys.