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ACTING OUT A ROLE

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The ability to sell yourself, to think on your feet, to be able to respond at a moment's notice to press or public ...
The ability to sell yourself, to think on your feet, to be able to respond at a moment's notice to press or public questions - these can be the skills that distinguish the political high-flyers. A new IDeA initiative together with RADA in Business aims to help elected members steal the show.

It may seem far-fetched, but they probably have more in common with theatrical stars than they would imagine. After all, both need to stand up in front of an audience and use their personality, voice and presence to hold an audience's attention. If they haven't grabbed them in the first few seconds - they've lost them altogether.

It's no longer enough for a councillor to stand up in the council chamber and spout endlessly about some cause close to his heart. The role of the councillor has changed - and so have the qualities needed to bring to the job. However passionately someone feels about something, they have just minutes, if not seconds, to get your audience's attention before they move on to the next issue.

RADA in Business is part of RADA Enterprises, the commercial arm of RADA, the famous drama academy. At RADA in Business they believe anyone can learn the particular skills that will help them stand up in front of an audience and be a presence - and then be able to speak in a way that will persuade and convince.

'There's an increasing pressure on members and officers to be able to communicate more effectively in a range of complex scenarios', says RiB creative director William Richards. 'Large consultations, committee meetings, cabinet - these forums require people to inspire, to be authoritative, to be passionate, to listen really well and assimilate important issues that people bring to them'.

Sally Powell, a former ballerina herself and now a councillor in Hammersmith and Fulham and board member of the IDeA said: 'The RADA/IDeA programme is an excellent initiative.'

Paul Wheeler, director of IDeA member development, said 'Good politics can be like good theatre. I welcome the professional skills of RADA to bring out the best in our leading politicians and enable them to do an even better job.'

For this IDeA initiative RADA in Business is offering a specifically designed two-day course for local authority members and officers, along with a bespoke course for senior council members and one-to-one coaching. Or individuals can attend one of RiB's core courses: Enriching your communication skills (two days), A voice of Influence (two days), The power of language (two days), and a one-day course on self-presentation. All the courses, whether the core courses or bespoke courses, are very small ratios: 12 people to two tutors, necessary, says William Richards, to maintain the level of excellence on which RADA's reputation is built.

The initiative will be officially launched at the house of commons on 5 March.

Contact RADA in Business on 0207 928 6010, email them at info@radatheoldvic.freeserve.co.uk or visit their website.

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