Agility #1, 2016

Page 1

No 1 - October 2016

ELSA’s Training Magazine

ELSA’s first Training Magazine: “The International Trainers’ Pool of ELSA - How it all began” “Take Control of Your Personal Brand” “Don‘t be afraid to train strangers” and a lot more!

About ELSA

ELSA International Phone: +32 2 646 26 26 Web: E-mail:

The Association

ELSA Members x 48,000

The European Law Students’ Association, ELSA, is an international, independent, non-political and notfor-profit organisation run by and for law students and young lawyers. Founded in 1981 by 5 law students from 4 countries, ELSA is today the world’s largest independent law students’ association. We provide law students with professional and personal development opportunities, fostering mutual understanding and creating a Europe-wide network of internationally minded law students and young lawyers.



ELSA Local Groups x 380

ELSA National Groups x 43

ELSA International

Technical Supporter of the ELSA Moot Court Competition

General Partners

Human Rights Partner

LL.M. Partners

ELSA’s Members ELSA’s members are internationally minded individuals who have interest for foreign legal systems and practices. Through our activities such as seminars, conferences, law schools, moot court competitions, legal writing, legal research and the Student Trainee Exchange Programme, our members acquire a broader cultural understanding and legal expertise.

Our Special Status ELSA has gained a special status with several international institutions. In 2000, ELSA was granted Participatory Status with the Council of Europe. ELSA has Consultative Status with several United Nations bodies: UN ECOSOC, UNCITRAL, UNESCO & WIPO.

ELSA is present in 43 countries Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Macedonia, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.


International Summer School Partner

English Language Partners

Co-funded by European Youth Foundation

Contents Editorial



The International Trainers’ Pool of ELSA - How it all began


Michael Zammit Maempel & Sofia Amaral YOUR SOFT SKILLS

Enriching my Skills Portfolio - Getting trained in ELSA


Hector Tsamis Take Control of Your Personal Brand


Debra Forman Sharpen your soft skills: It’s not that hard!


Eleni Babaletaki How not to be afraid of going to a training session



A Mediator’s Perspective


Mateusz Gierczak Some thoughts on Training Claas Seestädt


Don‘t be afraid to train strangers



elsa4you - National Training Event


José Pouzada Internal Training Programme


Dominika Zielińska & Piotr Sekulski IN ACTION

Empowering Youth to Take Action - YouthProAktiv



| 3


Welcome to the 1st edition of Agility! We are very pleased to invite you to browse throughout the pages of the new training publication of ELSA. Agility is the successor and modern version of the Training Newsletter. We have established a new structure, enriched the content and refreshed the style of the magazine.

We hope that you enjoy the 1st edition of Agility and that you consider contributing to the next one. Besides, the greatest wastes are unused talents and untried ideas. It is now time for you to dive into the pages and experience yourselves the real potential of training and the significance of skills advancement! Hector Tsamis

Agility is defined as the mental and physical skills of a person. It boosts speed, it sparks cleverness, and it offers new abilities for personal and professional development. And this is exactly what this new training publication does. It consists of various sections and incorporates information on ELSA Training, articles from the International Trainers’ Pool and externals, as well as testimonials from people having organised or having participated in an ELSA training session. What makes it special though is the inclusion of practical advice and tips on various topics, much like a short but concrete training on paper. Through Agility, we promote a threefold objective; to raise awareness about the different training events in the ELSA Network, to inform about interesting activities and opportunities that the readers can experience and to train our members by providing them with guidance and inputs on a wide range of skills that they can acquire.

Hector Tsamis Editor-in-Chief, Secretary General ELSA International 2015/16

Karolina Bogusz Valeriu Drăgălin Editor, Training Team Editor, Training Team ELSA International 2015/16 ELSA International 2015/16



The International Trainers’ Pool of ELSA

How it all began

The need for training of ELSA members, notably to ensure effective transition between Boards and skilMichael Zammit Maempel Secretary General led officers, has been an ELSA International 2000/01 & issue of importance sinSofia Amaral Secretary General ce the early years of the ELSA International 1999 and 2000 association’s existence. The idea of establishing a body of experienced ELSA people, who could become trainers of the next generations of ELSA officers can trace its origins back to 1994 and was featured on several Internal Management Workshop discussions at the International Council Meetings. However, it only came to life some 15 years later, at the end of 2000, with the appointment of the first batch of trainers to the International Trainers Pool (hereinafter ITP). With the introduction of the Bologna process, it seemed that the involvement of law students in ELSA would become even shorter, thus making it even more pressing to have a system which could reduce disruptions caused by poor transition between Boards, avoid information loss and ensure that officers would be fully ready to discharge their duties from the start of their term in office. The aim was to ensure quality and continuity in ELSA. In order for the ITP to come to life, two questions needed to be tackled: how to fund it and how to bring

in the necessary expertise to train the ITP trainers. ELSA’s Premium Corporate Partner at the time, Clifford Chance, was also focusing on improving quality and focussing on training of its staff. Therefore, the International Board of ELSA (hereinafter IB) took the initiative of approaching them regarding the possibility of supporting the creation of the ITP, and Clifford Chance enthusiastically agreed to the idea of having professional trainers train future ITP trainers at the newly opened Clifford Chance Training Academy in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

The idea of establishing a body of experienced ELSA people, who could become trainers of the next generations of ELSA officers can trace its origins back to 1994 Getting skilled ELSA alumni to join the ITP wasn’t an easy task. But, after an intensive search and many contacts, it was possible to find a group of 15 people from different generations to take part in the first Train the Trainers Weekend which took place from the 14th to the 17th of September 2000 in Amsterdam. Putting the event together was a challenge not AGILITY MAGAZINE

| 5


only because the project was running on a near-zero budget, which meant that the would-be trainers were asked to foot practically all their costs, but also because the scope, structure and long-term purpose of the ITP was still uncharted territory that had not been clearly set out.

ITP and make its presence felt in Local ELSA Groups but also to deliver high quality training sessions that were tailor-made for the Groups requesting training. The International Council Meetings that followed evaluated these trips and bit by bit the various policies and funding mechanisms started to be formed.

During that weekend in Amsterdam, the trainers-tobe and the IB members present discussed the aim of the ITP and its position within the internal organisation of ELSA – and specifically within ELSA International. The discussions were lengthy and productive, but did not lead to a definitive conclusion, meaning that the IB decided it would be better to move ahead and, once the ITP was up and running, define its role and functioning through practice.

Over the years the composition of the ITP may have changed, as trainers come and go; and so have the methods in which it operates and funds itself. The one principle on which it was founded, that is to ensure quality through continuity, has remained a guiding landmark that has led to its continued success over the years.

The response to the ITP by the ELSA Network during its first few months of existence was encouraging, and in its first year the ITP and the IB embarked on a string of trips designed not only to promote the 6 | AGILITY MAGAZINE


Getting trained in ELSA

Enriching my Skills Portfolio

We, law students and young lawyers, always tend to foHector Tsamis cus on acquiring the neSecretary General ELSA International 2015/16 cessary legal knowledge, staying up-to-date with all developments in the legal field, developing our legal writing and research skills and ensuring that we practice law properly and efficiently with the objective of discerning accurately the legal aspect of each occasion, consulting befittingly our current or potential clients and, of course, winning the cases we have undertaken. As young people, we are looking forward to embarking on such a successful professional life and enjoying constant career growth. However, we can undeniably admit that today’s job market is characterised by challenging competition, which fosters high ambitions and devotion to excellence, as well as requires lifelong personal development. We often neglect the fact that our ability to present our arguments in court, take part in negotiations, lead and manage a law office or law firm is not only linked to our legal background but also to the personal skills that we have succeeded in mastering. In order for us to achieve perpetual career growth, it is imperative that we establish a strong career brand. An individual’s career brand is the employers’ and clients’ perception of one’s capabilities and expertise, and includes two major components, the functional, which showcases the skills, and the emotional, which reflects the personal image. The latter intends to favourably

communicate our competences and readiness. Nonetheless, if we lack them, then there is nothing that we can pride ourselves on.

Aiming at equipping the legal professionals of tomorrow, ELSA has established a training system that guarantees further personal and professional development of its members. The objective of ELSA Training is to increase the human capital of young individuals with transferable skills, which are not job specific but can be used in different settings thus becoming vital at every aspect of one’s career path and lifetime. Introducing ourselves and unraveling our arguments before a judge or a jury both share the need of practising our presentation skills; bargaining over the price of a used car and debating upon a settlement agreement both require mastering our negotiation skills; making life decisions and creating a law firm’s strategic plan both call for enhancement of our leadership skills. AGILITY MAGAZINE

| 7


Surveys that have been conducted in the United States have shown that the skills the young people state they have acquired are not assessed by employers at the same level or extent as the ones potential employees have claimed. When put in practice, the alleged capabilities do not correspond to the needs of everyday tasks or long-term projects. Indeed, university curricula focus on disseminating knowledge rather than forging future professionals equipped with interpersonal, organisational or managerial competences. Subsequently, students are misguided and assert the mastering of skills they have not practised or look for extracurricular opportunities that offer what they request to gain. ELSA constitutes a skills bank through its training system with a two-level structure of trainers who deliver the sessions and guide the participants. Well-known legal, financial, business and training corporations, institutes and organisations have contributed as external trainers, whereas experienced ELSA members and ELSA alumni have joined the main internal training body of our association, the International Trainers’ Pool, willing to assist shaping new generations of law students and young lawyers around Europe by sharing their knowledge, expertise and motivation, and by addressing every topic of interest. At the same time, National Trainers’ Pools have been formed in some countries of the ELSA Network to address specific needs and requests. If you are an ELSA officer, aim at providing the members of your ELSA Group with training sessions on soft skills, and if you are a member, ask your ELSA Group to organise such an event. “Soft skills get little respect but will make or break your career” stated Peggy Klaus, trainer of professionals worldwide at leading companies. Students and young employees should be self-directed learners and endorse themselves with a vital skill, the one discerning individual needs and helping acquiring new skills. ELSA offers legal knowledge, legal skills and legal practice through its wide range of projects and activities, but also acknowledges the significance of enduring self-improvement and a powerful skills portfolio towards self-marketability and employability.


Students and young employees should be selfdirected learners


Take Control of Your Personal Brand

As law students and young lawyers, you want to consistently control your effectiveness and be as successful as you can be. Your success is built on trust and your trust Debra Forman Certified Executive Coach is earned through leveraging Pinstripe Coaching your personal brand. Simply put, your brand is how you successfully act and “package” yourself so others can acknowledge, relate and respond to your communication and actions the way you want them to react and, subsequently, act. As your overarching goal is to practise effectively and be perceived as a trusted advisor, your brand enables you to get and keep clients and have others want to work with you and bring you onto their matters. In the end, you cannot control others’ perceptions or actions but you do control how you market and present yourself. When you take control of your personal brand, you will be trusted and successful in your efforts. Your personal brand Your brand is the authentic you and is seen in everything you do and say. Your brand is your unique style that is present when and how you walk into a room, interact with others, and communicate. Your brand shows through your personality, attentiveness, work habits, dress, and pace. Your brand is evident when you demonstrate good judgment, respond quickly and nimbly to stressful situations, have a “can-do” reputation, solve issues and make problems go away. Similarly, your brand can quickly become suspect and

negatively viewed due to your objectionable traits, including procrastination, laziness, argumentativeness, dismissiveness and a sense of entitlement. It takes time, effort and control to change, market and maintain your enhanced brand, but well worth your focus and intentions. To keep your brand on track and ensure that you are consistently hitting your mark, consider viewing yourself through the lens of others. Watch how others react when you speak out at meetings, provide instructions or deliver difficult messages. Connect others’ willingness to listen to you and follow your directions with your initial outreach. Most important, take control of your communication style.

Your communication style Your messaging starts and ends with your communication. You want to communicate and deliver your message persuasively, be proactive and ensure each message is clear and effective, as it is easy to let formalities slip. Before you speak or press “send,” pause and think what you want to say and how you want your listener to respond. To assist with your brand’s success, understand expectations, confirm what needs to be done and always ask for direction if you are unsure of the next steps. There is a fine line between acting as an expert and causing information overload. Stay focused on what you are required to do and match your message’s robustness to what is actually required. Your efforts can be highjacked when you make asAGILITY MAGAZINE

| 9


Your brand is your unique style that is present when and how you walk into a room, interact with others, and communicate sumptions or are misguided by unsubstantiated interpretations. If you get stuck with an issue, try to fix any problems or find solutions within a reasonable timeframe and know when to ask for direction. When initiating a communication or responding to a directive, attempt to build in check points, especially if none have been made for you. Your attentiveness will not only show your control of the matter but provide you with ownership of the issue. You do not have to speak one word to communicate; you display your body language in all that you do. As it is always about your listener and their needs, stay attuned to both your body language and theirs. You will


present a strong brand when you maintain constant eye contact and carefully choose your language, tone and words. Regardless of your communication, you will maintain control when you strategically choose and pace your information delivery; consider taking deliberate breaths; and use white space effectively. Your end goal is to enable your listener to hear, digest and respond effectively to your message. Your listening skills When you communicate, you want to preclude yourself from creating an unending flow of information that can easily bury and frustrate your listener. If you are too wordy, evasive, or frequent in your messaging, you run the risk of becoming an annoyance to your listener. You never want your brand to be seen as redundant or “white noise”. Whether you are communicating face-to-face, on the phone, digitally or in written form, focus on your listeners and see how your information is being received. Remember, you don’t always have to talk; instead, hear what others are trying to communicate. Ask and answer questions thoughtfully, using judgment. If you only speak or


Always assume that people will Google you, and assist them by using “Googleable” words in your material and bios answer after the other person has stopped talking, you signal that you are not only listening to but hearing what the other person has to say Enhancing your listening skills will enable you to strengthen your brand. Train yourself to acknowledge the views expressed by others and explain your position without being defensive. Focus on the topic at hand and avoid taking “side trips”: you will always bring your thoughts to a well-considered conclusion. Follow the thread of discussion before jumping in, and you will add value. Take your time: the slower you go, the faster you will move forward and succeed. These are just some of the measures you can implement to improve your personal brand and provide yourself with a platform from which you can control your performance. Your visibility and voice The more expertly you control your personal brand, the more visible and successful you will continue to be. Whether in terms of your leadership qualities or virtual and material footprints, your voice and visibility are tied to your confidence. When you anchor your brand in strong messaging and a heightened presence you will be perceived very effectively. Bottom line: when you trust in your ability you will have confidence in yourself and others will have confidence in you. How can you develop your self-assurance? Start by accepting the fact that you are, and always want to be, “on”, and that everything in which you are invol-

ved is an invaluable opportunity for you to share your brand. Your span of opportunities are quite inclusive, and will assist your efforts in flexing your vocal and visible muscles and ensure you direct your winning performance. Consider leveraging your capabilities and expertise equally with internal colleagues and external contacts. As you do not want to assume that anyone knows what you do, find occasions to share your achievements with others. With the constant enhancements of technology, personal branding has never been more accessible or visible. Your professional bio is an effective and efficient tool for branding yourself and sharing your expertise with others. Contacts will typically assume that you have web presence and will search for your bio or promotional piece either before or after they meet with you. Always assume that people will Google you, and assist them by using “Googleable” words in your material and bios. As you live in a “two click” environment, update your narrative frequently to reflect your current values and keep your brand relevant. Your contacts have many avenues at their disposal with which to find data on you. Ensure that the information you control is not only the most up-to-date but the material you personally support and want others to associate with your brand. In sum, the success of your personal brand rests with you. Take control of your brand and be perceived the way you want to be seen. When you brand yourself effectively, others will see and value your achievements. AGILITY MAGAZINE

| 11


Why Soft Skills’ Development Should Be a Priority and 5 Tips to Organize a Training Event

Sharpen your soft skills: It’s not that hard!

During the last decade, soft skills’ development was the recipient of growing interest and attention, since it has been recognised as one of the key factors not only for getting hired in one’s dream job and being promoted in higher positions, but also for experiencing a more rewarding and fulfilling professional and personal life. The initiative of ELSA Greece during the term 2014/2015 and its then Secretary General, Hector Tsamis, to open for the very first time a position of Director for Training, was just an illustration of a general trend, evident among various National ELSA Groups, taking positive steps to expand ELSA’s activities in the field of soft skills’ development, by multiplying the organisation of relevant events. Eleni Babaletaki Director for Training ELSA Greece 2014/15

introduce training events, which had never been organised among the country’s law faculties before, and to fill this void by equipping law students and young lawyers with the necessary attorney’s service-oriented skills, essential to keep up with the market’s demands. Soft skills (also called transferable skills and employability skills) are general skills necessary for success at all employment levels and in every sector of the labour market.

Yet, after a brief examination and reflection over how law schools are involved in soft skills’ development, an astounding conclusion emerged: law schools tend to orient their curricula merely to the transmission of purely legal knowledge and specialisation, while negligible hours – if any – are devoted to the improvement of soft skills, which are however vital for a successful law career. That fact only renders the responsibilities of law students and law graduates to think proactively and take action in order to acquire them, more significant and urgent than ever.

Why is learning all these so-called “soft skills” so important? Mostly because clients alongside law firms demand them and because they set the people mastering them up for success. Being an expert in an area of law or top of the class in your law school may not be enough if you want to make progress in your legal career. Instead, much more emphasis is required today on developing – inter alia – leadership potential, effective communication, problem-solving, teamwork and decision-making skills and competencies. Such skills are paramount to an attorney aiming to have an engaging and successful career. The good news is that, like any other skill, soft skills can be learned and improved with thorough training. The better news is that boosting your soft skills can result in a positive change in diverse areas of one’s life, both professionally and personally.

Therefore, it was ELSA Greece’s high ambition to

Thus, upon reiterating the importance of building



Soft skills (also called transferable skills and employability skills) are general skills necessary for success at all employment levels and in every sector of the labour market soft skills in the modern job market and law practice, ELSA Greece decided to organize its first national training event, followed by the challenge to host almost simultaneously an international training event: the “Train the Trainers’ Week” (TtTW). Despite the fact that the undertaking of the organisation of a national – let alone an international – training event may be proven a real challenge with many practical obstacles, especially for those relatively unexperienced, such factors shall not work as inhibitors since the only indispensable requirements are inspiration, collaboration among the members of the organising committees and a lot of ELSA dedication! In our case, despite having to meet an extremely tight deadline (approximately 4 weeks to organise everything; from establishing new connections within the ELSA Network and inviting trainers to the event, to finding a place to host it and dealing with the event’s promotion and other marketing aspects) with effective team work and great attitude, ELSA Greece’s first training event was brought to life! More specifically, on the 30th of March 2015, the “Training Event on Public Speaking and Leadership Skills” took place at the premises of the Law Faculty of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, in collaboration with the Toastmasters’ Rhetorical Club of Thessaloniki, and was attended by more than 35 people. This success motivated us more to host the Train the Trainers’ Week of ELSA International in late June 2015, where people from all around Europe gathered once again in the marvelous city of Thessaloniki with the goal

to be trained in order to later join the International Trainers’ Pool of ELSA. In a nutshell, this amazing experience not only did result in helping our members develop their skills and enrich their curricula vitae, but also taught the ELSA officers who actively participated in the event useful things, including - but not limited to - board and internal management. Based on this experience, here are some tips for organising a national training event: 1. Set a specific day. Before even approaching potential trainers, identify the dates the event will take place. Every trainer who agrees to conduct a training workshop will have specific dates and times in mind. In order to avoid overwhelming yourself with different dates or times each trainer proposes, set specific dates before inviting the trainer to speak at the event. Also, in order to skip the endless e-mails seeking to find a mutually convenient date and time, use one of the many tools available online, such as Google Calendar, or to schedule everything with one single email. 2. Identify the skill(s) you want your National ELSA Network to develop. One of the most important parts of organizing a training event is brainstorming. Here is a table of different soft skills fields, to complement your brainstorming process:


| 13




• Cooperation

• Presentation skills

• Motivating others

• Briefing and Summarising

• Internal Management and • Public Speaking settlement of internal dispu- • Effective written communites cation • Delegation of tasks

• Non-verbal communication

• Problem solving

• Clarity and Concision

• Evaluation of the prob- • Assertiveness lems and identification of the • Negotiation weaknesses (SWOT Analysis)

Hopefully, after browsing through all these different options, you should have an idea of what could be the topic of your training event. However, it is important to keep in mind that you do not want to overwhelm your audience by focusing on too many soft skills, but rather let them fully absorb all the new knowledge. Preferably, the training event shall focus on two to three specific skills maximum, based on the trainers’ availability. 3. Think creatively and approach many trainers. The basic idea is that you should not be timid to approach trainers. You will soon find – once again – that ELSA is a well-known and well-respected association that many of the trainers most probably have already heard of. Think out of the box and do not hesitate to approach a wide range of people, e.g. from a business school professor teaching negotiation or leadership, to another association or club focusing on public speaking training. 4. Engage more people to cooperate with you. Delegation of tasks is a key-point in the ELSA Network, which you can apply to this event’s benefit. For example, your National Group’s Vice President for Marketing may help you create the promotional material, and set up the relevant application form, while an organising committee can prove itself very valuable when handling procedural matters and practicalities. 5. Follow-Up. The follow-up stage consists of the following elements: (a) thanking the trainers for their contribution, (b) asking for the participants’ feedback and (c) establishing a trainers’ list to pass on to your successors. Your relationship with the trainer is not concluded 14 | AGILITY MAGAZINE



• Self-regulation (time management and goal setting)

• Decision making

• Financial Management

• Coaching and encouraging new members

• Crisis and conflict manage• Managerial ability (action ment planning skills, prioritising) • Influencing and drawing • Accountability, attention to consensus around goals & details, dedication strategies • Competency and flexibility to new challenges and con- • Recognition and rewarding of ditions achievements • Creative and critical thinking

at the completion of the training event. You should thank them for their time and active involvement by offering an official ELSA Letter of Appreciation and by giving them a shout-out on the respective ELSA social media accounts. You should also try to stay in contact with them and cultivate a stronger relationship. Moreover, you should not neglect the participants of the training event. It is important to ask them to fill in a feedback form, requesting them to indicate their level of satisfaction from the event and where they would suggest there is room for improvement. Try to “capitalise” on their comments and proposals and thus maximize the value ELSA training events add to their participants. Last but not least, you should make a list of all the trainers you contacted during the process of organising the event. Such a practice facilitates the transition from one term to the next, allows incoming officers to strengthen the relationship with the most engaged and enthusiastic trainers, and serves as a significant starting point in organising yet another successful ELSA project. I wish you the best of luck and success in your upcoming training event! And remember: It’s the tangible skills or core competencies that get you in the interview door. It’s the soft skills that often get you the job! Thank you to Olga Koumpouri, Proofreading Team of ELSA International 2015/16, for her valuable comments on the article.


How not to be afraid of going to a training session

Sometimes it’s quite difficult to become really professional without good soft skills underground. No matter what your position, organiSnizhana Osarchuk zation or industry is, you work Director for Human Resources with people! Taking the time ELSA Ukraine 2015/16 to build effective soft skills can contribute to a more efficient, more harmonious and more productive workplace, as well as to your own overall job happiness and satisfaction. However, the fact of taking part in different kinds of training sometimes can scare us. Why does this happen and how should we deal with this situation? You should not be afraid of going to a training session and always remember five important practical rules which are the following: 1. The trainer isn’t a judge. During training, the trainer plays a variety of roles: actor, lecturer, teacher, organiser, assistant, leader, preacher, philosopher, manager, diplomat, accountant and specialist, but never a judge. The trainer does not want to mock your minuses or show everybody how ignorant you are. The contrary! 2. Learn specific and important things. By using his or her own methods the trainer wants to open your power and direct you towards more effective and fruitful work. He or she does not know everything but he knows something so specific and important that is worth to be shared with the others.

3. Look for your own star possibilities! Participants are just the same people as you are: afraid, curious or excited. All of them have their own motivation to go to a training session, and, as a consequence, different results emerge from training. Cooperating with the others will help you leave your comfort zone, become more more open-minded and organized, as well as increase your self-esteem.. 4. Practice is the only thing you need. It’s known that Winston Churchill had a tremendous fear of public speaking. Early in his political career he would spend hours preparing for each speech. With time, he improved. The more mistakes you make, the better you’ll get at handling them, according to statistics. 5. Save your time and be open-minded. During training, a person can learn 80% of what is introduced, from which only 40% can be practically used after training. That’s why, the more we work, the more we get. Take your life in your hands and create your future. To sum up, soft skills are rapidly becoming the hard skills of today’s work force. It’s not enough only being highly trained in technical skills, without having developed the soft, interpersonal and relationship-building group of skills that could help people communicate and collaborate effectively. Don’t lose your chance to become the person you dream of being.


| 15


A Mediator’s Perspective

Mateusz Gierczak Mediator & Alumnus, ELSA Poznań and ELSA Poland

This article is meant to show a mediator’s perspective on the teaching methods for trainers leading basic mediation classes based on experiences in Poland.

• mediation skills, such as BATNA and WATNA, interpersonal skills, such as active listening, types of questions, using neutral language in both verbal and written communication, working with different specialists during mediation, dealing with difficult interlocutors etc.; and • cultural diversity, both local and international.

What do people expect of mediation training? That obviously depends on the duration of such training (basic of three hours or less for students just to be informed that such a thing exists; or full time, 40 to 120 hours, classes and practice), but they usually search for four characteristics.


An experienced mediator - an experienced trainer and mediator, in one person, can explain this matter thoroughly not only with theoretical knowledge, but with proper examples as well. Obvious, but still often need to be reminded. It is often useful that the trainer has his his or her own mediator’s office, because in this way he or she can attract more trainees.


The training curriculum – if the schedule is made known to students, it should mention at least a few basic pieces of information,

such as: • differences in standard ADR processes; • definition of mediation; • the role of the mediator; • principles that apply to mediation; 16 | AGILITY MAGAZINE

Those are obviously just the basics; given more time the trainer should expand the topics as widely as the time allows.


Experiential teaching methods – I have been to numerous mediation classes and, unfortunately, most of them provide just bare lecture, the exact opposite of what is supposed to happen in mediation class. Mediation is all about the contact, the conversation, the questions and being inventive about conflict resolution – you can’t learn that just by listening reading about it. Case study and practical tasks in classes are essential.

Mediation is all about the contact, the conversation, the questions and being inventive about conflict resolution


A trainer has to quickly adapt to the needs of the group, both with planned training schedule and their working method


Experience, mentoring and future mediation training – while teaching students, it is most likely that full training won’t be provided, so for those interested in further education in this matter – and probably everyone else just in case – we should provide information about a full training suitable for future mediators. Information such as the duration, different teachers and associations able to deliver the training, whether the trainers provide any mentoring and, finally, what the possibilities of gaining experience in this - still quite rare in Poland - profession are. From my experience, whilst working with students, barristers, attorneys and many more, the main difference is the participants’ attention. While the professionals, who pay for the training try to gain as much as possible from the lecture, the students with pro bono lecture tend to just see if it is their path. To maintain effectiveness in the latter group, a trainer has to quickly adapt to the needs of the group, both with planned training schedule and their working method, making it often less formal than intended. Another thing is that with students it is often harder to start the lecture itself, because the knowledge of mediation in Poland is still in the making, so to say. Because of that, they seem to be plainly scared that they might be wrong. They need to understand that the training itself is a place, where they can or even should be wrong, because, when they will start working in this profession, the mistakes they will make might have some serious consequences for both the interested parties and themselves.


| 17


Some thoughts on Training

Introduction Claas Seestädt Trainer ELSA’s International Trainers‘ Pool

Being a trainer is a fulfilling experience; and it’s also a challenge. The first condition for becoming a trainer is to have finished the active participation in ELSA’s dayto-day life. It is the willingness to let go and pass on the torch to a new generation. Instead of clinging on to their own convictions about right or wrong in regard to certain projects, trainers are supposed to be neutral and offer guidance in difficult situations by encouraging the active members to think for themselves. Having said this, there might be one exception and that is when it comes to training itself. Here, the first hand experience of trainers may be proven essential for making the right decisions. And this attitude is exactly why I feel comfortable to make a suggestion to all the National and Local ELSA Groups who are willing to listen: Use training wisely. Use it a lot. Make the best of it. What is training? Training as a term is not really defined in any specific way within the ELSA Network or outside of it. The quintessential part is transfer of knowledge. There is no consensus on whether this knowledge should be transferred from the trainer to the participants or 18 | AGILITY MAGAZINE

rather be the result of the participants’ work or an exchange among each other. This leads to blurry lines between the definitions of talk, speech, presentation, training or workshop. For the purpose of understanding, from now on I will refer to ELSA training sessions in a sense of a learning experience in a group of six to 18 participants plus one or two trainers. Generally it might be worthwhile to restart an old discussion from within the International Trainers’ Pool (hereinafter ITP) and compare what other student organisations define as “training”. However, for this article, let’s just compare two prominent trainers’ pools both of which I have the pleasure to be a member of. Personal experience from training with the ITP Of all training sessions that I’ve delivered in my three years in the ITP none exceeded the four hours. A training session seems to be for many National ELSA Groups a traditional part of their National Council Meetings and National Officers’ Meetings. Not much more than a little extra to add the magical word of “soft skill” to their attractiveness to the members. After all, ELSA is also about the development and enhancement of soft skills. This has also been understood by the International Board. However, in contrast to the before mentioned National Boards, the International Board invests time during their transition month to have two-day and even four-day training sessions.


So what is the problem? The problem - as so often - is money. Flying in a trainer from far away is costly when it is not sufficiently planned in advance. Of course there is the possibility of applying for funding to ELSA International. But even then we might want to ask if it’s worth the hassle to pay approximately EUR 200 on transport, food and accommodation for a trainer who will deliver a two-to-four-hour intervention of some sort. Not to mention the busy timetables of (young) professionals and parents in the ITP. So, from a strictly economical point of view we should ask ourselves: Is it worth it? And the answer can only be the one classic answer of every law student at any time: It depends! If the trainer in question delivers a marvellous contribution to the curriculum of the participants, it is definitely worth it. If the participants are not just an audience but do indeed participate, it is much more likely to be a good experience for everyone. This is much more easily achieved if the training lasts for at least one day - better two. However, long training sessions – lasting more than a few hours – are hard to find and very rarely requested by the ELSA Network. Another phenomenon of delivering training sessions

is the wish to “get it all” in one training. Mixing different topics into one training session seems efficient. But it really isn’t. The training on One Year Operational Plan (hereinafter OYOP) includes elements of project management, but it doesn’t mean that you can have a training, which leads to a functional and realistic OYOP and a project plan for a Summer ELSA Law School. However, given enough time (two to three days), a training session can focus on team building and the creation of an OYOP. Personal experience from training with ELSA Germany’s National Trainers’ Pool There are some stark contrasts between the German Trainers’ Pool (hereinafter GTP) and the ITP. It starts with money – what else? ELSA Germany invests in its trainers. First, the Train the Trainers Week is paid for by ELSA Germany. In exchange for the promise to deliver training sessions, participants pay only their travel expenses themselves. Secondly, every GTP trainer is given their own “trainer suitcase”, a wondrous box filled with scissors, glue, tape, all kinds of moderation cards and many more utensils for utmost flexibility and creativity. These suitcases and the

Use training wisely. Use it a lot. Make the best of it.


| 19


Well-placed and planned training is a valuable tool for the improvement of the work and the cooperation

material are property of ELSA Germany and have to be returned after leaving the GTP. Thirdly, every GTP trainer is entitled to one refreshment seminar per annum, which is also covered by ELSA Germany. Thus, ELSA Germany invests in having fresh motivated trainers at their disposal.

xed elements, such as teambuilding, time and project management, with the result of a united team and a conclusive project plan.

But of course it is not just about money. One of the biggest differences has to do with attitude and structures. Every summer, ELSA Germany organizes a Train the Officers event where new Local Board members can attend and pick one of three training sessions. During the two-day duration of the event, training sessions on soft skills relevant to the executive and operational work of the upcoming year are delivered to the participating Local Board members. Apart from that, many of ELSA Germany’s Local Groups use trainers for transition in a sense that old and new Boards do the transition in the presence of a trainer who supports them in the process. The same goes for team building weekends in combination with two-day training for the newly elected Boards. On top of that, there are training sessions for fundraising, rhetorical prowess, negotiation, project management, OYOP, and many more. Personally, I had the opportunity to deliver a training session in preparation for the German Spring National Council Meeting to the Organising Committee in Trier and for the 6th Key Area Meeting to the Organising Committee in Münster. Both training sessions lasted two full days and mi-

There is a clear divergence between the use of training by the International Board, ELSA Germany and its Local Groups, and other National ELSA Boards. One of the reasons might be that National Boards are not used to training as an asset in assuring their functionality. This calls for a revision of ELSA’s perception of training and our training concept in general. Well-placed and planned training is a valuable tool for the improvement of the work and the cooperation among the Board members of an ELSA Group.



Another challenge is of monetary nature. Maybe it’s time for a joint workshop of Financial Management and Internal Management in the presence of experienced trainers in order to find new solutions. Finally, I can only encourage the National Boards of the term 2016/2017 to make good use of “real” training sessions and circulate the idea among their Local Groups. The season for transition, team building and OYOP is now!


Don’t be afraid to train strangers

How many times have we heard that “sharing is caring”? Of course a lot, but sometimes we are not even Karolina Bogusz Training Team aware how much we can ELSA International 2015/16 share. During our ELSA experience we spend hours, days or even years, on organising, attending, practising and meeting. It gives us a lot of experience and knowledge – how to contact law firms, what kind of legal topics the most important are and also a lot of new soft skills that we will need in the future. That is why we should start thinking about what we can give back to our organisation, what we can share. With this in mind, we can focus on the topic of training. Training seeks to develop the skills and knowledge of our members that relate to specific useful competencies. Training aims at enhancing the potential of our members and officers, helping them to work more effectively. Training is all about our own development – this tool facilitates the acquisition of new abilities. How does it work? Basically, it is all about knowledge sharing, but, if it is properly prepared, we can learn a lot from a good training session. Of course there is another problem. Even if we have the approproate conditions to conduct it, we still need someone to deliver it; however, it does happen that experienced and cooperative alumni or academics are available all the time. How can we solve the lack of trainers? It is very simple; we can always share our own experiences, show people situations we had confronted during our various activities and how

we dealt with them. Nothing comes easy but every ELSA member has a story and an own perspective. The only thing is to prepare and have an opportunity to speak. For example, we only need to think about some great accomplishments of ours in a specific area; after that, we should explain our moves point by point, give some examples, maybe case studies, and let people discuss and find their own way of solving their issue. Not only can we provide them with a very important lesson, but we can also see our own work from another perspective, which could lead to new conclusions. Don’t waste your potential, earned with hard work and in unique situations, which no one else will ever have the chance to experience; let’s consider passing what we have learnt to others and give them some food for thought.

Don’t waste your potential; let’s consider passing what we have learnt to others and give them some food for thought As it was said in the beginning, “sharing is caring”; why not think about delivering a training session and treat it as your next opportunity to become a person who will inspire the next generation of ELSA members? AGILITY MAGAZINE

| 21


National Training Event


ELSA Portugal’s National Training Event took place on the second weekend of October 2015, in Coimbra, Portugal. Months in the José Pouzada making, this innovative proSecretary General ject, entitled “elsa4u” (read: ELSA Portugal 2015/16 elsa for you), was a means to make the European Law Students’ Association accessible to any law student willing to expand their horizons. It also aimed to bring the newly elected officers, as well as the more experienced ones, closer to the association, giving them the tools and motivation to start the year ahead. The city chosen was Coimbra, home to one of the oldest universities in Europe and the first one in Portugal. How fitting it would be for this city, so ingrained in the academic spirit, to host the first edition of this event. Located in the center of Portugal, the city welcomed us with open arms, and we found the right venues for all that was planned. From the welcoming session and the barbecue on Friday evening, to the lectures and workshops starting on Saturday morning and lasting the whole day, to the elegant dinner followed by a concert of one of Portugal’s most current bands, the city certainly set its mark upon the event. One of the (other) things I’m sure the participants will never forget is the morning exercise: walking up the Escadas Monumentais (Monumental Stairwell), named of its size, to get to the University where the academic programme was held. The task that presents itself to every student in Coimbra was no match for our young officers and participants, and 22 | AGILITY MAGAZINE

we gladly report that we kept up the adage mens sana in corpore sano (healthy minds in healthy bodies) throughout the event. Thanks to the guest speakers, and also having the National Board in charge of some workshops, the knowledge transfer was fun and proactive, the way only ELSA knows how to do; apart from the great speakers, an awesome audience had a positive engagement with the trainers as mentioned from people with international experience, both in ELSA and other organizations like JADE. They were the highlight of the event, giving interactive sessions on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, connecting with the participants and sharing life experiences beyond the association or even the law. They embraced the spirit of the event and helped the participants take the most out of it. Our greatest takeaway from organizing a project like this is: to get the right speakers and/or trainers! It is absolutely one of the most important things. The event was attended by more than 50 participants (a record for a training event in Portugal) coming from different backgrounds: from freshmen looking to take their first steps in the association to newly appointed officers learning the tools required for the job that awaited them, or experienced members polishing and sharing their knowledge. Here they were introduced to several important subjects, ranging from Organizational Communication, to Leadership, Human Resources Management, Project Development, the International Focus Programme, Brand Management, STEP, Marketing and General ELSA Knowledge. Of course the weekend wasn’t lacking in


ELSA Spirit, and a healthy dose was injected into the Portuguese Network with energizers, teambuilding games, workshops and parties. Now, almost a year later, after the end of our last term, I can say our objectives from this event were accomplished. Many of the participants went on to become active members, the officers greatly stepped up their work, having a very active year and using the knowledge imparted onto them, many even joined the National Team of ELSA Portugal. In the end, the event had a lot of positive feedback, enough to motivate the next Board to organize a second edition. We are proud to say we brought the Portuguese Network closer and succeeded in giving many officers the tools, which they would later find success with. What mattered the most to us was that it was a really fun weekend, where everyone created a lot of new memories and we gave the participants the opportunity to experience ELSA in a new way. After all, ELSA is 4 you. From the top: Law Faculty of the University of Coimbra; Participants of elsa4u attending the first lecture; Energizer - example of ELSA Spirit.


| 23


Internal Training Programme

Dominika Zielińska Vice President for STEP, ELSA Kraków 2012/13

Piotr Sekulski President, ELSA Kraków 2012/13

As former active ELSA members we would like to share our experience in the field of ELSA Training. One of the most important goals of our Local Board during the term 2012/2013 was to get the members of ELSA Kraków more involved in our Local Group activity. Therefore, together with the rest of our Board’s members we decided to launch the Internal Training Program. Every month there were two training sessions organized: one regarding soft skills (for example, pubic speaking and time-management) and the other one concerning practical legal skills. The training sessions in question were organized in cooperation with numerous legal offices and training companies based in Cracow that our Local Group has already been in cooperation with. This cooperation bared mutual benefits: our members had a chance to participate in professionally organized training sessions, while the companies had the opportunity to present themselves in front of legal-orientated and engaged audiences. The whole academic year was split into three periods of three months. These periods were devoted to certain subjects. During every of the aforementioned periods, every member of ELSA Kraków was asked to participate in at least three loosely chosen training


sessions. The participants were rewarded with certificates of participation at the end of every three-month-period.

It was a reward for the hardworking ELSA members This Internal Training Programme led to increase the activity of around 150 members of ELSA Kraków. Some of them were involved in the organizational process of these events and the rest of them were simply taking part in the training sessions. The whole Internal Training Programme was created exclusively for ELSA members. It was some kind of a reward for the hard-working active ELSA members. We are sure that the experience we gained while working on this project may be a valuable tip for the present and future ELSA members. We strongly recommend that you consider the organization of similar projects in your Local Groups. It is a perfect opportunity for you to make contact with new professional partners in your cities and to integrate the members of your Local Group. This Programme was the result of the hard work of the whole Board of ELSA Kraków 2012/2013.



Empowering Youth to Take Action

The role of entrepreneurship in addressing the current economic climate has never been more urgent. Alex Schiphorst The creation of businesses, in Project Manager whatever form they may take, YouthProAktiv has a multifaceted potential: creating jobs, promoting innovation, and engendering economic stimulation whilst diversifying the market and customer choice. Nevertheless, the situation in Europe is complicated, and entrepreneurship is struggling to develop due to high costs, thorny administration, lack of involvement of financial institutions as well as the persistent stigma attached to failure in entrepreneurship. YouthProAktiv aims to address these issues one step at a time through a twofold approach: education and policy. The international coalition, an alliance of young people from across Europe, aspires to empower young people to face today’s challenges and invest in their futures. Through the promotion of a culture of proactivity and entrepreneurship in both education and policy, YouthProAktiv trains young people to become the leaders of tomorrow. By organising conferences, workshops and seminars, the coalition helps youths – whether students, future entrepreneurs, established entrepreneurs or young professionals – to learn the skills needed to create jobs for themselves and others. Through advocacy strategies, YouthProAktiv pushes for entrepreneurship-friendly policies both at national

and international level in order to achieve a decent climate of employment for all and a resource-free sustainable development. Our work is structured across two basic pillars. First, at the educational level, YouthProAktiv provides young people with the necessary knowledge and the abilities in order to prepare and start the complex but fruitful and fulfilling path to entrepreneurship. We create the room for young people to question basic assumptions, perceive other available courses of action as well as boost their potential and encourage them in their transition from the academic to the professional field, from turning their ideas into actions. Reforming the current mindset towards entrepreneurship, in particular towards the respect of risk-taking and the often-necessary experience of failure will enable the future generation to approach the subject with a new mentality. By promoting a proactive attitude, we can create an environment of socially responsible leaders and entrepreneurs, as well as alter the existing paradigms surrounding entrepreneurship. Second, through the pillar of policy, YouthProAktiv advocates the establishment of friendlier policies and legislation towards entrepreneurship, notably by working with political leaders and international institutions. As part of this project, YouthProAktiv organises the annual International Proaktivity Summit, which, this year, is held from September 28th to October 2nd. The Summit, which gathers some 100 participants


| 25


from across Europe, involves cross-sector and multidisciplinary approaches. Participants from various backgrounds and at different stages in their personal development have the chance to establish useful networks and develop multiple skills, in terms of negotiation, policy-making and in understanding the manner in which a new business is to be set up. Panels concerning the evolution from ideas to winning ideas, turning these same ideas into actions and the different funding mechanisms available, enable participants to tackle the initial phases of entrepreneurship with more confidence, knowledge and scope of action. We discuss project proposals presented by the participants in order to render them all the more concrete and sustainable. Together with decision-makers, successful entrepreneurs and business executives, we aim to debate and discuss two essential factors of economic development and the full civic participation of young people,


namely youth entrepreneurship and the so-called “second chance policy proposal�. The proposal is to be discussed with participants and amended to incorporate their own specific visions and needs, and will later be presented to the European Commission and the European Parliament. As such, the International Proaktivity Summit is a great opportunity for anybody interested in understanding solutions to youth unemployment and more specifically for those who are thinking of starting their own business or have already done so but need further skills and knowledge to tackle the next steps. YouthProAktiv encourages those interested in seeking new remedies to today’s status quo, and through a proactive attitude, approach challenges with a boosted and more knowledgeable state of mind.

ELSA Training Acquire soft skills Develop personally and professionally Obtain core ELSA management knowledge

ELSA’s International Trainers’ Pool provides ELSA Training sessions all around Europe!

Pick the topic of your preference and get your ITP Trainer on


| 27

ELSA International 239 Boulevard GĂŠnĂŠral Jacques B-1050 Brussels, Belgium Phone: +32 2 646 26 26 E-mail: Website: Facebook: Twitter:

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.