Difficult Conversations

Thursday 22 February | 9.30am to 12.30pm Online via Zoom

Ticket prices: Members £25 | Non-members £40 

Having difficult conversations can seem really daunting and this can be particularly challenging with volunteers. This session will give you some of the tools you need to start having these conversations as well as highlighting the importance of doing so. It will also look at how you can have conversations with your organisation in a productive and positive manner.

This event will cover:

  • Increasing confidence when having challenging conversations
  • Developing assertiveness and negotiation skills
  • ‘Nipping concerns and issues in the bud’
  • Having solution-focused conversations
  • Support and tools for saying ‘no’


9:30 – 9:45 – Welcome, housekeeping and introductions

9:45 – 10:25 –  Difficult conversations? Really? with Rob Legge

This session will support volunteer managers and those working with volunteers to advocate on behalf of volunteers as well as sticking up for yourself. It will look at why we need to have these conversations, will provide an opportunity to brainstorm ways to have these conversations with your peers, support and advice on ways to deliver these conversations and how to follow up. The session will equip you with the tools to say no successfully and look at our responses to stimuli and how we can best manage these.

10:25 – 11:05What is a difficult conversation? Why is it difficult? How can you have a good conversation? with Jenny Whyte

11:05 – 11:20 – Break

11:20 – 12:00 – Challenging the Toxicity of Organisations with Martin Cowling

Unfortunately, from time to time, we will encounter a culture that is, in actuality, toxic. It may be the culture of the organisation we are working in or within the volunteer pool or the wider community. Based on research for his forthcoming book, Martin will outline what a toxic culture entails and provide insights on how to navigate and transform it.

12:00 – 12.30 – Q&A

About our speakers

Rob Legge

Rob has been a leadership and management trainer focusing on charities for the last 15 years. He works predominantly with small to medium charities, with clients throughout the UK.

Rob uses a coaching style that creates a supportive learning environment for new and experienced leaders. Attendees enjoy, have fun, learn new skills and many return for additional training. One charity CEO called his work “transformative.”

Prior to this Rob has held senior management positions with Oxfam as Head of Shops with 27,000 volunteers, Fundraising Director at RNIB, Director of Community Services at Sense and ten years as CEO of Focus Birmingham.

Jenny Whyte

Jenny Whyte has worked in the voluntary sector for over 15 years in Volunteer management, fundraising and Information and Advice provision. Her time spent delivering advice, and her volunteering work with the communications course at the Dick Vet School for veterinary studies have made her a passionate advocate for having important conversations, even though they can feel uncomfortable.

Martin Cowling

Martin is passionate about effective change, leadership and impact. He has been a volunteer, hands-on manager, leader, researcher, and consultant working with very small grassroots organisations through to large social purpose organisations, corporates and governments. He works with clients in 13 countries. Martin is a skilled presenter, ranked as one of the top 100 speakers on philanthropy by Philanthropy 101.

He believes that people are the key to an organisation’s success and is passionate about ensuring that staff (paid and unpaid) have mutually beneficial relationships and contribute to making lasting positive change. Martin is a trusted partner for organisations, offering a comprehensive range of services to empower leaders, strengthen teams, and drive impactful change. Through personalised coaching, training, resource mobilisation support, and strategic guidance, he equips organisations with the tools, knowledge, and networks they need to achieve lasting impact, organisational excellence, and social change.

AVM members’ discount

AVM members are eligible for a discount on the event ticket price. Please log in to your account so that your discount can be automatically applied.

If you’re not an AVM member, you can join AVM today to gain access to this event, as well as receiving lots of other benefits, including access to free member-only events, discounts for all public events and the annual AVM conference. You will also have access to the AVM BiteSize webcasts and AVM Replay videos of previous events, including our annual conference. Members also have the opportunity to join our Mentoring Scheme and build their professional network through AVM Connect.

Join AVM today to access your discount on this event.


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February 22
9:30 am - 12:30 pm
£25.00 – £40.00
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Online on Zoom