For 5 years Kath Burlinson and I have been working with business managers to help them prepare for some of the stressful moments in life. Picture the moment you are invited into a room and required to talk effectively about an important topic to a group of people who can make your future happen…or make life rather difficult. It might be an interview for promotion. It might be a conference presentation. It might be a group team meeting where you are putting forward your plans. You want to be the best you can be. The Art of Being Heard, our one-day course, can help you make the impact you need to make. Not what you say, but how you say it.
This week we met one manager from a major PLC. His challenge was to inspire a team of fellow managers to make a change in the way they considered one of their products. He needed to find the right time, and the right place, to make his proposal. Then he needed to be “performance ready”.
A sportsman would warm up before a match. An actor would get their voice in shape. But too often a business person grabs his/her notes, rushes towards a meeting room, opens the door and begins to deliver their presentation.
Last month I worked with some 18 – 22 year olds who were apprentices in a major buildings company. They were going through their training, hoping to move into the company, and maybe, in time, be managers of teams. But first they each had to give a short presentation to their MD. Again they needed to be “performance ready”. Over one day they gained some practical tools to help them understand how to prepare themselves. They experienced a growth in confidence in just a few hours.
What we do with the Art of Being Heard is help each human being consider the tools that they have available to them – their voice, their body and their breath. There are simple tools that can be explored so that you can relax yourself in times of tension. There are exercises that help your voice reach your audience. There are ways to help you connect with that audience and encourage their engagement in your world. In an interview, and in a presentation, your audience wants you to be good. Let’s work together to make that happen.
There are many courses out there helping people be the best they can. There are courses on Mindfulness and presentation. We hope The Art of Being Heard will continue to grow across the UK and garner the kind of feedback which helps us know it is making a difference. The best feedback is recommendation. When one HR person comes to a course and subsequently 75 managers from that PLC choose to spend a day with us, that feels good. When one Company Secretary takes the course and then suggests the whole Board of Directors take the course, that feels good too.
I still have moments when butterflies start, my throat constricts, and my flight mechanism tries to kick in as I approach a big meeting or a presentation. Now I have many tools to help overcome that. It’s up to me to use them… And Breathe.
[Next AOBH Hull June 4th]