Fellowship of Animal Behaviour Clinicians – Mini Conference – ‘by members for members’’
We all love a bit of Continuing Professional Development! But have you ever been at a conference and thought ‘ooh, I’d like to speak at something like this’ but not known how to get involved, or undertaken some personal research and are just desperate to share what you’ve learned?
Keeping abreast of topics like scientific advancements within the field and applied companion animal behavioural understanding, as well as interpersonal, counselling and self-care skills, can enhance the quality of our work and have truly great benefits for the animals we all desire so much to help. Lifelong learning can also broaden our knowledge base and skill set, while at the same time promoting evidence-based critical thinking, driving us towards reaching our true potential as animal behaviour clinicians. This is also likely to promote self-confidence and self-belief, as we expand the toolkit with which we support owners and their pets through challenging situations.
Presenters able to impart knowledge to their audience in engaging, entertaining, and memorable ways are truly inspiring! Education is a gift – and if we consider that everybody’s experience is unique and we have something to learn from everyone, well then, we can all be each other’s gift-bearers.
You’re all more than welcome to come and dip your toe into the not-so-scary world of conference presenting with FAB Clinicians’ Mini-Conference Initiative 2022!
FAB Clinicians are hoping to run some mini-conferences throughout 2022. Whether you attend as a speaker or audience member, each will be a jam-packed presenting and learning opportunity!
What will the Mini-Conferences involve?
FAB Clinicians Mini-Conferences will be delivered by FAB Clinicians members over zoom conferencing software for FAB Clinicians’ members only, on dates/times which will be advertised well in advance. They will last no longer than 75minutes and will comprise up to 6 x 10minute presentations on various topics, relevant to multispecies welfare professionals, of each speaker’s choice. For example, you could present:
- a piece of research you’ve found fascinating or have been involved in
- an anonymised case-study
- a review of a piece of equipment, training technique, or a relevant book
- the content of an essay/dissertation/project you’ve written
- a piece of training you’ve been working on with an animal
- self-reflections relating to your work within the animal welfare sector
- an interview with someone relevant
- Q+As on a topic you’re passionate about
- a new approach you’ve learned to behavioural/training principles
- something you’ve learned along your journey into welfare, behaviour, and training
- your reflections on a relevant topic (from client-compliance and human behaviour change methodologies to specific topics like multi-pet households and the human-animal bond)
- anything you’ve learned which you just feel everyone should know!!
- the list is endless really!
Presentations will be short and snappy, delivering key messages with simplicity and succinctness. A member of the FAB Clinicians Committee will chair each conference and facilitate the introduction of, and handover between, each presenter.
What’s really key is that due to our unique experiences, we all have something to teach each other!
When will Mini-Conferences take place?
It will depend on how many people are interested in presenting – but we’re hoping you are! – so we are planning to hold a Mini-Conference at least twice during 2022. We will make sure presenters have sufficient time to plan and prepare their pieces, and advertising in advance can help to ensure members do not miss out on attending.
Tempted? Ah… go on….
I’m pondering it… but I’m not sure… should I get involved? What will I get out of it?
Go for it! You’ll get the opportunity to practice researching, creating, and delivering an informative means of information-sharing with an audience who you can rely on the be supportive, interested, and encouraging. 10 minutes isn’t very long, so you’ll be required to hone your communication skills and performance, but with feedback from experienced FAB Clinicians presenters to give you confidence and self-belief. Preparing presentations can also count as CPD so you can record all the time you spend putting your piece together, including any research you undertake to support your key messages with evidence where necessary, and of course it definitely looks good on the old CV 😉
Presenting is a big deal, but we aim for this to be a nice, gentle way to get involved – and you never know where this first little step forward might lead you!
Would my presentation have to be powerpoint, or could I do a Q+A or other type of delivery?
There are many ways to share information, and FAB Clinicians are open to members presenting in whatever style/format they prefer – although it does need to be online-friendly. Powerpoints are easily managed and probably the most common way of presenting material to an audience (next slide please!) but we welcome members to consider exploring other avenues such as Q+As, undertaking an animal training exercise on camera, a ‘piece to camera’ where you simply talk to the audience without any additional visual material as though you’re presenting on TV, or conducting an interview with someone – or you could be even more creative!
The most important thing is that you feel comfortable, safe, and confident when delivering your material.
Do I have to ‘go live’ or can I provide a recorded presentation?
Whatever format you choose, it’s completely up to you what you feel most comfortable and confident about doing. You might feel relieved about being able to submit a recorded powerpoint, having spent time making sure the information fits into the allocated time and all key points are definitely included. Pre-recording it not always as easy as it sounds though, because you need to come to a point at which you’re satisfied with what you’ve recorded and resist the urge for ‘maybe just one more attempt’; and if you’re reading from notes to give you confidence in what you’re saying, it can take some practice to make this sound naturally engaging.
However, you could also use the opportunity of having a safe space in which to practice a live delivery, as sicking to a ‘script of sorts’ can be difficult when sometimes you go off on a tangent – but sometimes those tangents reveal the most inspiring bits of information! Most formats lend themselves to both live or pre-recorded delivery. For example, if you wanted to deliver a Q+A session you could ask for questions in advance and record yourself reading them out and responding to them. Or you could film yourself working with an animal or interviewing someone. You could do these live as well but be mindful that any anxiety you are feeling might affect the animal and person in question too.
So, think carefully about the information you want to deliver and how best you will achieve your aims for your audience and any participants you are involving.
Is there a structure I should use to make sure I am succinct and deliver messages effectively?
However long you are given to impart knowledge to an audience, it helps to consider first exactly what you want them to learn and how much information they are likely to be able to take in. Before you start, establish ‘learning objectives’ for your session which detail the outcome you want for your audience. Where possible, especially with a short piece, sticking to up to 3 key take-home messages means your audience are more likely to acknowledge and retain this information.
You can then create your piece around these take-home messages.
Will I be able to get feedback on my piece before the event?
Yes! You’ll be asked to submit your final piece if pre-recorded, or powerpoint slides/a detailed summary of your activity if you’re presenting live, well in advance of the date of your Mini-Conference. Our experienced presenters will be able to give you feedback on things like appropriateness of tone of voice, pace of information delivery, and use of images/language, with plenty of time for you to make any changes necessary.
You’ll also be able to ask for guidance along the way, while you’re creating your piece, if you’d like too. We’re happy to help as these are useful transferable skills to be developing!
Okay, I’m interested – how do I get involved?
Please email Tamsin Durston at firstname.lastname@example.org and provide:
- Your proposed topic/title
- Your proposed delivery format (whether powerpoint/Q+A etc)
- A summary of your key messages
Once we know if/how many people are interested in presenting, we can organise dates and allocate presenting spots, making sure people feel supported and have enough time to prepare their pieces.