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Getting Real Training

We know how you feel, we’ve been there

A series of workshops by and for Warwick postgrads, inspired by the challenges of our everyday lives.

Click the links below to learn about each workshop in the programme, or see a calendar view.

NOTE: You must be logged in with your username and password to be able to make a booking in SkillsForge


GRT logoUsing storytelling to communicate your research

Tuesday 5th February 13:00-16:00

This workshop will closely examine the narrative arc of your research so that you can communicate it in an engaging and meaningful way to a multitude of audience types.

Together, we will engage storyboarding exercises to actively plot elements of your research, thinking about structure, relevant context and impact. We will then look at a number of ways of piecing these elements together so that they are relevant across diverse contexts.

By the end of the workshop, you should be able to:
  • Structure and organise your research to allow for effective communication.
  • Understand how your research is viewed by others and how to improve upon their understanding.
  • Adapt the structure of your presentations and research quickly to new audiences.
  • Preparation: Please bring a short paragraph of around 100-200 words describing your research.
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*'But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?' famously spoken by Romeo (2.1.44–64) in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (1597)

GRT logoLeadership and teamworking: Responsive and proactive communication

Tuesday 28th February 9:30-12:30

Whether you are just starting your PhD, are looking at a lifelong career in academia, or can't wait to get into industry, in all settings you will encounter teamworking situations.

In this workshop, therefore, we will look at various styles of communication, to develop the skills to work with different people, in different relationships (your supervisor, your colleague, your manager etc.). Everyone has their own style of communication, and awareness of your own preferential style is an important step in being able to adapt and respond to various situations.

Together we will explore what leadership means and how you can develop and use it during your time as a PhD student. And, most importantly, we will discover what this skill can bring you in the future. Through hands-on exercises you will have to work together with others to explore various styles of communicating and influencing.

By the end of the workshop, you should be able to:
  • Employ different styles of leadership as you see fit in a particular situation.
  • Recognise your preferential style of communication.
  • Adapt your communication style to various contexts.
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GRT logoWhen words fail: Exploring new ways to present your research

Tuesday 19th March 13:00-16:00

You may not know it yet, but your thesis could do with a map.

Putting time into developing the presentation with figures can transform the quality of your research. Too often excellent research is let down by poor presentation. Dense arguments and complex ideas can wear the reader down, so it is important as a researcher to understand the various ways research can be displayed.

This interactive workshop explores the ways you and other researchers present your research and offers an opportunity to share tips on how best to display your arguments. It is aimed for people who have none to basic level of understanding of utilising graphs, maps and tables within your research. It is primarily designed to explore new ways to present your research, but there will also be a chance to experiment with the software (such as Google fusion tables and Antiquity Á-la-carte) available in the creation of figures.

This workshop encourages participants to develop skills beyond the written word, both to improve your research and to assist employability in the future.

By the end of the workshop, you should be able to:
  • Consider new ways of how to present your research, to improve your argument and assist your audience’s understanding.
  • Gain a knowledge of what software is available to create maps, and to develop an understanding of how to use it.
  • Demonstrate computer skills in programs beyond office and to articulate these skills to employers.
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GRT logoCreating a networking strategy for conferences and events

Thursday 21st March 13:00-16:00

For some PhD students, networking comes naturally, while for others it is nightmare. Networking is just like any other skill - it requires a pinch of knowledge and lots of practice in order to master it. This interactive workshop will introduce you to networking for academic conferences and will give you practical tips to give you the confidence to successfully create your own network of useful connections.

During the workshop, you will have an opportunity to exchange your experiences with other students, as well as develop your own authentic and achievable networking approaches and strategies which you can put into the practice during the workshop.

By the end of the workshop, you should be able to:
  • Understand the concept of networking and its value for your research career.
  • Develop useful tools you can use to improve your networking.
  • Understand steps before, during and after a networking event.
  • Apply learned knowledge and tips to your own practice.
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GRT logoPresence and presentation: Learning to engage and be engaging in our bodies

Thursday 11th April 14:00-16:00

This workshop will help you to unveil the capacities of body language in enhancing presentations and everyday communication so that you can ultimately command both the space and your audience’s attention.

We will develop your body language through a selection of exercises, getting you to think about spatial relationships, shape, gesture, repetition, tempo, pitch and silence to improve your communication. We will then discuss and evaluate the ways that these techniques might influence your presence, and its impact on your audience.

Focusing first on everyday communication and then short mock presentations, we will experiment with a number of approaches to finding our own presence, a process involving new forms of reflection and interpretation.

By the end of the workshop, you should be able to:
  • Be more confident in experimenting with types of communication.
  • Understand strengths and resistances within your body when communicating.
  • Draw from an emerging toolkit of resources for building presence in future communication.
Please wear: loose, comfortable clothes that you can move in for part of the session.
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GRT logoThe art of balancing work, life and mental health

Wednesday 8th May 10:00-12:00

Whatever stage you are in of your research studies, you may encounter particular stressful situations or daunting deadlines that may increase your worries and have a negative impact on your overall health and work performance. We all know that being a PGR student can sometimes be a stressful and overwhelming experience.

This workshop will provide a supportive and non-judgemental space to discover commonly shared problems and challenges that postgraduate researchers face and will also give you an opportunity to socialise and chat with others in a similar position. We will share with you our developed strategies to maintaining work-life balance.

During this workshop, we will explore how creativity can have a positive impact on your life. Together we will engage with exercises and activities that will help you with your wellbeing, work performance and bring a smile back to your face.

By the end of the workshop, you should be able to:
  • Understand the importance of wellbeing and resilience during your PGR programme.
  • Learn about strategies that can help you to maintain your own work-life balance.
  • Understand the importance of taking proactive steps to maintain your work-life balance.
  • Develop strategies towards your own “Five Ways to Wellbeing”.
  • Develop and apply a range of creative approaches and skills for dealing with PGR related stress and beyond.
  • Identify and explore fun ways to overcome obstacles encountered during PGR degree in order to gain confidence and develop resilience.
Please note: This is not a therapy workshop. There are appropriate support systems and the Wellbeing department at the University who will be able to help better with your individual needs.
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GRT logoExpanding opportunities for learning in our everyday PhD lives

Thursday 16th May 10:00-12:00

This workshop will share and apply creative approaches to learning that help you to increase your everyday capacities as a PhD candidate. Our specific focus will be to collaboratively develop audio learning materials that you can later draw on for thinking and memorisation.

We will begin by sharing the benefits of using audio learning to aid our research journeys as PhD students, before brainstorming approaches to creating audio learning materials, including: audio books of key research-relevant journal articles and chapters; audio interviewing departmental peers and mentors about research questions, overlaps between research, or otherwise; and, audio recording supervisory meetings. After breaking-out to begin to generate our own materials, we will also strategise approaches to usefully engaging with them in the everyday moments of our lives. We will conclude by strolling through one of the beautiful campus walks with the audio materials as the soundscape to our journey.

By the end of the workshop, you should be able to:

  • Know of approaches to audio learning that are suitable for your PhD research
  • Understand how to develop and use audio learning materials
Preparation: Please send us an email at with your name, department and research title to aid our preparation.

Please wear: comfortable shoes on the day.

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GRT logoForming research groups: Collaborating across Warwick and beyond

Wednesday 29th May 14:00-16:00

This workshop is a response to the increasing encouragement from research departments to initiate collaborations between diverse groups of academic, industry and community representatives for multidisciplinary and innovative research ideas, networks and projects.

Together we will develop plans to effectively manage the process of initiating such collaborations. These plans will include approaches to developing networks of like-minded researches, early forms of communication and handy tips to resolving some of the key issues in multidisciplinary collaborations. We will share with you our experience of co-operating in diverse and complex collaborative spaces to inform and make sense of the journey between your plan and its practical implementation. All in all, we hope to set you on a journey to forming innovative and successful research groups.

By the end of the workshop, you should be able to:
  • Tackle some of the challenges embedded in multidisciplinary collaborations.
  • Be able to create an action plan that helps you achieve tangible results.
  • Understand what makes collaboration complex when you work across different areas of expertise, cultures, or in virtual spaces.
  • Expand your current network through topical engagements with students and workshop facilitators.
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GRT logoFraming yourself: Understanding and building your profile as a PhD

Tuesday 4th June 09:30-11:30

Doing your PhD can be like building an ever-growing tower: on top of your thesis, there are papers to write, conferences to organise, seminars to teach, committees to sit on… The amount of possibilities can seem overwhelming. And at the top of your tower future employment is gleaming as a distant goal. It can be tempting, or even seem necessary, to agree to every offer that comes your way, but this can lead to a heavy workload. Reaching the top isn’t about accumulating as many building blocks as possible, but choosing the right ones.

In this workshop we will explore how to build a coherent profile for yourself, that says who you are and what you’re capable of. Using examples from our experience as PhD students, we will discover how to make the best use of all these opportunities, choosing the ones that will help you be ready for employment, either within or outside of academia. We will look into the value of the skills you have acquired, and how to frame those in the context of the job market.

Together, we will take a look at your current profile as a PhD student and help you use the experiences you have towards creating a story that clearly describes who you are, what you want, and what skills you have.

By the end of the workshop, you should be able to:
  • Articulate the value of your skills and extra-curricular activities (and sell yourself on the job market).
  • Make considered decisions about which activities to pursue, that will help your employability.
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GRT logoPhD woes: Collaboratively grappling with the tough questions

Thursday 13th June 10:00-12:00

Our PhDs can be a solitary experience, but many of the problems that you are facing have been faced by others.

This workshop provides the opportunity to bring forward problems related to your PhD (if you prefer, anonymously), so that we can begin to solve your problems collaboratively. The whole Getting Real Training team will be in attendance, bringing forward our diverse experiences across a range of departments and phases of the PhD.

There will be an emphasis on dialogue throughout this workshop, identifying and informing the problems you are facing, while also asking of you to bring your own experience to assist others.

By the end of the workshop, you should be able to:
  • Find ways to collaboratively work through issues you thought you could only solve alone.
  • Recognise methods to assist with your current problems.
  • Understand how your own experience can assists others in their research and learn from what they are going through to pre-empt problems that you may face in the future.
Please note: Not all the facilitators of this workshop are professional psychologists or therapists. The aim is to cope with general challenges, but we are not trained or experienced to deal with individual or deep-rooted issues.
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Part of the Research Student Skills Programme