The CEDR New Dialogues programme is back following a successful inaugural training in October 2017 which saw 40 young leaders from the worlds of government, law, business and the voluntary sector receive expert training from CEDR. The CEDR New Dialogues programme offers a unique opportunity for young and emerging leaders to develop 21st Century conflict management, negotiation, communication and leadership skills. This free programme is part of the commitment of the CEDR Foundation (not-for-profit arm of the organisation) to help the next generation of young professionals develop practical and progressive skillsets.
As part of the 2018 launch, we spoke to members of the inaugural New Dialogues cohort to get their thoughts on the programme, what they learnt and how it has helped them in their professional and personal lives. In the first of these interviews, we spoke to Ebunlomo Azeez.
Tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Ebunlomo Azeez and I graduated with a first class law degree in 2017 at the age of 19. I am also the current Vice President of Academic Experience at the Brighton Student’s Union.
What made you want to apply for the New Dialogues Programme?
As an aspiring lawyer, the opportunity to develop key negotiating and dispute resolution skills was very attractive to me. This was coupled with the chance to be trained by professionals from CEDR who have immense expertise in the field. Also, as the programme was tailored to young and emerging leaders across the country, this meant that I would have the opportunity to network with like-minded individuals from different sectors and backgrounds.
What was your main takeaway from the New Dialogues training?
The training session was fantastic- it exceeded my expectations! I took two main skills: dealing with confrontation and more effective negotiation. Honestly, I did not know that simple things such as my choice of words could make a huge difference. The day helped me to reflect on how I negotiate. Things like reminding the party of the previous agreement or using words such as ‘willing’, have been tactics that I have incorporated into my life. I also learned about the ‘iceberg’ principle which encouraged me to see the situation from the other side and think of the underlying factors that fuel their decisions. I was also able to determine on the day what my preferred conflict style was and how I can better handle contentious situations. Finally, I made new connections whom I have kept in touch with ever since.
How has New Dialogues helped you in your professional and or personal life?
My role in the Student Union is multi-faceted and can often place me in difficult situations. Since the training session, I have observed that things like listening to the other party can change the direction of a conflict and lead to a more favourable outcome. Things such as how to manage my own emotions, demonstrating assertiveness rather than aggressiveness have become very handy. I would attribute being a better listener to the session on active listening skills which I thought was phenomenal. I remember finding the use of non-verbal prompts in conversations difficult on the day and I have made active efforts to improve on this. In my personal life, I have trialled the techniques that I learnt on how to phrase requests or negotiate on my parents and siblings; and it works!
How would you sum up New Dialogues in one sentence?
An experience that I would go for again in a heartbeat.
Ebunlomo Azeez Bio
Ebun Azeez is the current Vice President Academic Experience at the Brighton Students’ Union. She graduated with a first class law degree in 2017 at the age of 19. She is passionate about diversity, access to education and amplifying the voices of the youth. She held multiple leadership roles during her time at university and hopes to inspire young girls to lead in various capacities. She has received multiple academic and non-academic awards including being the Student Employee of the Year at her previous university. Recently, she co-founded ‘Girls in Leadership UK’ which aims to empower girls to actualise their leadership potential. In her spare time, she enjoys writing for her blog called Dreams & Essence. Her long-term goal is to become a lawyer and legal academic.