In his blog for task two of Rising Stars, Ian Patterson writes about his work to improve his public speaking
When I received the email to say that I’d been shortlisted as a Rising Star, I nearly fell off my chair! I couldn’t believe I’d made the shortlist alongside the other finalists, knowing the great work they’d achieved.
To be considered a Rising Star is a huge privilege and a highlight of my career. I’m so proud to be a part of the housing sector.
As a housing services lettings manager of more than 15,000 properties, I enjoy the challenge of managing a wide area and a big team.
“Increasingly I’m speaking publicly to people from other housing associations.”
I get a buzz from repeatedly meeting and beating targets, I always learn from my mistakes and am accountable when things go wrong.
A huge part of my job is meeting people and speaking to them about what I do and the methods I use.
Often that’s internal audiences – direct colleagues I’m comfortable and familiar with – but increasingly I’m speaking publicly to people from other housing associations, local authorities and specialist organisations.
For some that might be easy, but for me it’s a huge ask.
I’ve known for a while that public speaking scares me silly and I had to face my fears head on. I did a course on public speaking, learning to take my ‘crazy hand jive’ movements down to more manageable gestures and slowing my speech so I didn’t sound nervous and garbled.
Then I went to Toastmasters, to further improve my confidence, which gave me another boost. But having absolute confidence when I share my knowledge with people like councillors or government ministers is a place I haven’t reached yet.
“I want to use the next year with Rising Stars to get to the point where I can be turned to immediately for accurate, assertive, relevant and useful comments.”
Earlier this year I took my first foray into appearing on film, just twenty tiny takes later they had my section finished!
But I want to use the next year with Rising Stars to get to the point where I can be turned to immediately for accurate, assertive, relevant and useful comments, where my knowledge can really help influence the way the housing sector operates.
I know what I do counts, but winning this competition would give me a real opportunity to get out there and spread my ideas further.
I feel that a lot is said about ‘housing need’ but, to me, that’s not the same as ‘housing want’. Our customers expect more and we need to be looking at ways to deliver this.
I’ve seen properties refused because people can’t fit their sofa in the living room or because they don’t like a downstairs bathroom.
“People have a right to choose to live in a place where they’ll be happy.”
Traditionally, the attitude might have been “tough luck, get what you’re given” but I say “fair enough”.
People have a right to choose to live in a place where they’ll be happy - because if they love their new home, they’re more likely to look after it, pay the rent and become a more active part of their community.
Translating that message for our key partners is vital in making sure that our future customers understand how to apply for their homes and it’s something I do regularly. I want to take that message further.
My team and I have done so much great work, perhaps the time has come for me to start shouting about it.
And hopefully that will be when I meet with current leaders in social housing to discuss the future of the sector in the final round of this Rising Stars competition.
Ian Patterson, housing services manager, Sovereign