One of the biggest challenges I am facing at the moment is how to explain the concept of Great Interactions to people. Since we began this journey I have been involved in so many conversations about what a Great Interaction is and how this makes MacIntyre different, however I am still practising and testing out how I can communicate the subtleties that make a good interaction a great one. We all know a Great Interaction when we see one but how often do we take the time to think about what it was that made it so great?
I recently joined the MacIntyre “Big Hike” where a group of people supported by MacIntyre, MacIntyre employees and friends walked the Pennine Way. It was wonderful to be a part of such a great activity and also to see people try something new with people from all over the country that they had never met before. The hiking presented many challenges to everyone and I was amazed at the interactions I witnessed during the hike. The thing I noticed more
than anything was the ability of people to be flexible and adapt their practice to support anyone in that group. I saw people working really hard to ensure their positioning was good which is really tough when you are walking along a
high ridge on slippery terrain! I noticed how the tone of a person’s voice was different in the morning as we set out on our hike compared to those last few miles of the day when the person they were supporting was tired and needed
encouragement. I saw great eye contact as people worked together to pitch their tents on uneven ground. I also felt the warmth that seemed to radiate throughout the group and how this created a feeling of equality. Everyone learned from each other during the hike and we all had a chance to practise something. For some of us it was practising reading a map, cooking on a camping stove or packing a rucksack but for all of us it was another chance to practise how we interact.
As time has gone on, it has struck me that we can all be good at something and do something well but actually, for most of us we need to practise to become great at anything. If we are all to be great interactors we need to practise at every opportunity, after all, for something to become a part of us, it needs to be something that is central to everything we do, every day.
By always thinking about and working hard to improve our interactions, it is not only the people MacIntyre supports who benefit but also other people we come into contact with daily. I am confident that as more and more people who have no connection to MacIntyre or Social Care witness our behaviours and our interactions and see the value we place on these, we will see our communities respond and more natural support networks emerging in our
society, especially around those people who are most