Julia Burns P: 0419 265 981 E: [email protected] | Des Lyons: P: 0427 825 750 E: [email protected]

Seminars and Public Speaking

Julia Burns Consulting offers seminars on key contemporary management and leadership issues.  The seminars are designed to run for 1-2 hours in-house. This gives Government agencies a very low-cost way to roll out some important messages and tips for staff and managers.




1. Courageous conversations

Tackling performance and behavioural issues before it’s too late.Courageous and productive conversations can save you time, money and a lot of grief. We all – at some stage in our career or life – need to hold a genuinely difficult workplace conversation, for example when:

  • an employee’s performance is not meeting your requirements
  • someone’s behaviour is having a negative impact on the workplace
  • absenteeism or attendance patterns are causing you concern
  • a colleague’s behaviour is making it hard for you to do your job

There are two important things to note:

  • Getting these conversations wrong can have serious ramifications; and
  • Not having the conversations at all can be worse

The consequences of getting these conversations wrong can include a worsening of employee behaviour or performance and increased conflict. In worst case scenarios you could find your handling of the matter come under external scrutiny. Conversely, doing nothing can lead to significant losses of time and productivity and decreased morale. However, when courageous conversations are held effectively, it can avoid things going too far off the tracks to begin with. After all – prevention is better than cure.

A carefully thought out and consistent approach is essential – particularly bearing in mind the principles of procedural fairness and effective communication.

This seminar gives practical tips and opportunity for discussion to help people have these courageous conversations successfully.

2. Productivity for individuals and teams

Achieving productivity gains and doing more with less have become increasingly important in recent times. Managers and staff alike need to find productivity gains wherever possible. We can help you with your individual and team productivity, and help to alleviate some of the pressures many feel in the workplace today.

This seminar is designed to meet the needs of managers and staff at all levels. It will cover:

  • Team productivity – including planning, delivering, reviewing and celebrating
  • Individual productivity – our favourite tried and tested techniques for using your time more effectively

This seminar gives practical tips and opportunity for discussion, so participants will leave with techniques and strategies they can implement immediately.

3. When do I lead, when do I manage? Am I also a coach and a mentor?

For managers at all levels, the rhetoric and reality about what it takes to be a good manager can be confusing.

For years we were told that “leading” not “managing” was the right approach. Then we realised that day-to-day management skills were still essential to get things done – that the visionary, emotionally intelligent, strategic leader also had to be able to project manage, allocate and monitor resources and ensure things got delivered.

We also know that coaching can bring out the best in good people, and that being a mentor to your own staff as well as others is an important responsibility in the contemporary workplace.

So is that it? And how do we juggle those roles, or choose the right approach for any given situation?

This seminar draws on the lessons learned along the way by a range of very experienced senior executives. It includes:

  • What do all these roles really mean?
  • Which style(s) will serve you well in which circumstances?

 4. Tips for new managers

New leadership roles are very challenging. This seminar is designed specifically to target people who are first time supervisors. The advice we offer is tried and tested by very experienced former senior executives. It covers topics such as:

  • What is your role as a supervisor?
  • What does your team need from you?
  • Self-awareness as a leader
  • Leadership styles
  • Other styles in your team
  • Delivering results while leading and supporting your team

This seminar gives practical tips and opportunity for discussion so that participants will leave with techniques and strategies they can implement immediately.

5. Building a respectful and bully-free workplace

Workplace bullying has – quite rightly – become a hot topic. The Work Health and Safety Act 2011, and the Fair Work Commission’s anti-bullying jurisdiction, have made it more essential than ever that managers understand workplace bullying – and how to avoid it by building a respectful and harmonious workplace.

This seminar is designed to meet the needs of managers at all levels. It will cover:

  • what workplace bullying is, and what it is not;
  • practical examples of reasonable management action and how to apply it;
  • important recent cases and trends;
  • the real cost of workplace bullying and the savings you can reap by avoiding it;
  • practical guidance for how to avoid bullying by building a respectful, harmonious workplace; and
  • guidance about how to handle allegations of bullying.

It is essential that all managers understand how to handle behaviour in their staff which might constitute bullying – and of course to know what is expected of their own behaviour and leadership style. But it is also vital that managers understand how to build a workplace where bullying is unlikely to ever become an issue, because of the values, customs and practices on display in the team.

6. What you need to know about being in the SES – a leadership perspective (for EL2s or new Band 1s)

This seminar examines the APS Senior Executive Leadership Capabilities and how new SES (or those who aspire) might turn them into successful SES leadership.

While recognising that all aspects related to leadership, we highlight those elements of the 5 capabilities that have a particular impact on people. We consider them through the eyes of:

  • Senior executive views; and
  • What your staff need

We then distil those elements into some key tips based on the substantial experience of our former SES consultants, many of whom have played the role of chair and member of a significant number of SES Band 1 selection panels.

Included in this seminar, participants spend some time in small groups, and making some personal plans and commitments for their own development and performance.

7. Performance Management (including feedback) skills

The Australian Public Service Commissioner’s Directions of 2016 include a requirement that all managers effectively manage the performance of their staff. It’s not optional.

Effectively managing and supporting staff to be their best is one of the most important roles any manager plays. Knowing how to stretch, develop and reward good performers, and how to tackle performance that is not meeting the mark, are critical skills for managers are all levels.

Conducting successful, appropriate and meaningful performance conversations is sometimes feared and avoided – or done badly. This can create a significant burden on workplaces, managers and colleagues.

This seminar provides a range of tips, based on our consultants’ years of experience of the good, the bad and the ugly, for:

  • Establishing good performance management practices in your team
  • Giving and receiving feedback.
  • Handling the difficult cases

Besides providing practical tips, and time to discuss issues, we point you towards key tools and supports that are available to managers to help them get it right.

8. Managing employees with mental health issues

Mental health issues can present significant challenges in the workplace. Managers need to do what they can to support people with mental illness, not exacerbate conditions, and preferably help all staff to thrive at work.

But it can be tough – especially when mental health issues intersect with relationship issues at work, performance and conduct.

Mental illness is a general term which refers to a group of cognitive, emotional and behavioural disorders. Around 45% of Australians aged between 16 and 85 will experience a mental illness at some point in their life, while one in five Australian adults will experience a mental illness in any given year.

This seminar:

  • Outlines managers’ legal and other responsibilities
  • Discusses how managers can stay resilient as they seek to do the right thing
  • Provides guidance about managing the performance of people with mental health issues
  • Discusses best practice management principles
  • Gives a handy guide to the supports available from a variety of sources
  • Recognises the importance of considering the whole team when mental health issues affect one or more members.

9. Handling Conflict

Conflict is a part of life – we all have different needs, tastes, views, values, motivations, backgrounds and aspirations. Of course, some level of disagreement or engagement with different views is vital to making good decisions, but how do we handle conflict that seems unnecessary? At times it can be surprising, confronting and unproductive.

This seminar deals with conflict that is initiated by others, and is more than just a difference of opinion. The conflict might be with colleagues, the public or other stakeholders.

We will cover:

  • types of conflict
  • different responses people have to conflict
  • some great tips about handling conflict

10. Negotiation Skills

Whether you are involved in formal negotiations with external parties, regularly negotiate complex issues with colleagues at work, or simply need to be able to negotiate informally with others from time to time – this seminar is for you.

This seminar draws on the experience of presenters whose backgrounds include negotiations in:

  • private and public sector complex contracts
  • workplace relations
  • funding agreements
  • Commonwealth/State matters
  • International for a

The seminar will help you to negotiate with confidence. You will acquire a sound understanding of negotiation principles and techniques. You will also learn some very practical tips to apply in a range of negotiations.

11. Managing successful meetings

An enormous part of our days at work can be taken up with meetings. One of the greatest ways to increase productivity and morale is to ensure that meetings are well-managed.

This seminar will help participants to identify ways to get the best out of meetings, including tips about preparing, chairing and following up meetings.

It will include tips about:

  • Managing time
  • Making sure everyone has a chance to contribute
  • Having a clear purpose – and sticking to it
  • Dealing with complex arguments and strong personalities

A well-managed meeting will not only benefit the participants of that meeting, but will also ensure that decisions are clear, actions are documented and will often reduce the need for the number of meetings required.

Based on the experience and expertise of former senior executives, this seminar will benefit senior managers who have significant responsibilities for managing meetings, as well as other who are relatively new to this responsibility.

12. Speaking with confidence

Would you like to be more confident to speak up in a range of work situations? This seminar will provide practical tips to help you communicate effectively in:

  • Presentations
  • Small meetings
  • Large meetings
  • Liaising with colleagues and stakeholders – by phone and in person

Our experienced presenters will talk to you about handling nerves, projecting your voice, and ensuring that you get a chance to contribute in meetings.

13. Building stakeholder relationships

Every job has its stakeholders – internal, external, or both. You may be dealing on a daily basis with suppliers, other jurisdictions, peak bodies, Board members and/or the general public. You are also likely to have internal stakeholders, such as colleagues in other areas of your organisation, executives and even your own team-members.

Investing in those relationships can make it much easier to achieve day-to-day business objectives – and can be one of the greatest contributors to success in complex negotiations, busy work environments and dealing with change and uncertainty.

This seminar will provide practical tips and examples, based on the significant experience of former senior executives.

Contact us on 0419 265 981 or [email protected] for information on pricing and scheduling in your organisation.


Julia Burns is also a very experienced public speaker, available to address conferences and other functions on topics such as:

  • Productive, happy workplaces
  • Women in leadership – everyone’s opportunity
  • Communication and change leadership
  • Strength through adversity – a family’s breast cancer story

Julia can develop a speech or presentation to meet your needs.