There’s a lot to be said for this in the current #workingfromhome climate.
Are we getting to know each other more from our home bases?
Are we embracing our imperfections more?
Are we all showing more of ourselves to each other?
So far, I’d say yes. I think it’s wholly positive and the impact must be lasting.
Real human connections.
With the removal of the physical place of work, teams everywhere have been very deliberate about using virtual means to stay connected. We’re rising to the challenge, we’re being incredibly creative and it’s brilliant.
We’re not only using technology to connect and keep each other motivated on work affairs. We’re actually taking the time to ask the question: “How are you?” and mean it.
Virtual morning check-ins; tea breaks; post work drinks; sing-alongs.
It feels like teams are building more human relationships through this time and it’s great.
There’s also something fantastic that happens when people communicate from their home base – probably the physical space where the majority of us feel most at ease and most comfortable in the world.
I’ve noticed some telling trends from the many virtual meetings that I’ve had over Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams – or whatever your medium of choice is – over the past week or so.
People are feeling more comfortable to just be themselves. Stripped back. Well perhaps it’s that we have no choice but to show ourselves when working from home. There’s no escape. Whatever your home reality.
Yes, I do have children, I do love and have to look after them, they might sometimes walk in and I have had to duck out into the kitchen for this one.
Or, yes, I’ve got a dog, my flat isn’t that big and it’s in a bit of a mess, I am wearing a tracksuit today and no I don’t wear shoes or socks when I’m at home.
Embrace the imperfection. Embrace being you. Don’t do this…
At The Speakers’ Gym, we’re always insisting that people bring more of themselves to work – authentic, relaxed, comfortable in their own skin and less afraid to show imperfection. After all, perfection isn’t very human at all. So what’s the point in pretending?
Removing the formalities.
Take a business meeting in town, for example.
The removal of the commute to the city to meet up or the need for “business attire,” the sign in and wait in reception, the “business handshake” and the massive, clunky conference table between you in a fairly stuffy meeting room.
Now I’m not saying that every meeting must now be conducted from your bed, in trackies with children on lap to show that you’re human. Of course not.
And there’s certainly lots to be said for starting your day with purpose, being intentional, getting dressed and not just rolling out of bed and stumbling into your working day.
But, often with a virtual meeting, shorn of the facade, formalities and trappings of “doing business,” the only thing left to do is have a very human conversation.
These “formalities” too often get in the way of real, authentic human connection. And they needn’t.
When you remove any phobia of technology or discomfort in an unfamiliar medium, there’s a huge opportunity to build more intimacy and authentic rapport with clients and colleagues from our remote bases.
Our Virtual Communication Coaching Programmes can certainly help you in this department – easing the transition into this “new normal.”
However, I think that the key take-away when normality returns is that, regardless of whether we’re communicating virtually or face-to-face, from home or back in the office, not only is it ok to be ourselves at work, we must insist on it.
“The injunction to “keep it professional” (means that) nobody feels comfortable being who they really are at work.” Jill Scott
No-one’s at their best and we miss out on the glorious variety that results from individuals embracing their idiosyncrasies and bringing their whole selves to work.
We must insist on creating cultures and environments where people bringing their whole selves to work is encouraged and celebrated.
I say this could be one of the key legacies from this enforced period of home-working. A world where business is less formal, void of role-playing or any sense of a need to conform. A world where people truly celebrate who they are, accept and embrace fully who their colleagues and clients are, making work happier, healthier and infinitely more productive.
There’s no doubt that the current times are incredibly challenging and sad. But this could be some lasting good that will see us come out the other side stronger.
From our clients
The Speakers’ Gym is like the iPhone. You don’t realise you need it until you have it, and then you can’t live without it.
Magda Gonzalez, Group CFO, Monex Europe
It was completely practical and the open-forum feedback was so valuable. You created a safe environment for everyone to learn. Thank you!
Nicola Koronka, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Missive
I was recommended by a friend who works in the same sector to contact The Speakers’ Gym to help me with my presentation delivery skills and I have not been disappointed with the results. Chris and Jonny work with you to provide bespoke training for your goals and needs. They are highly professional and make you feel at ease from the first minute the first session begins. I would highly recommend them to those who have a role which involves public speaking!
Julia Peake,Technical Development Manager, Sanlam
It has challenged both my thinking and approach and I will be sure to keep The Speakers’ Gym ‘fireworks’ readily available on my desk to refer to when not only presenting but also when needed through everyday management.
Liz Paradine – Chief Operations Manager - 7iM
Transact first engaged with The Speaker Gym late in 2018 where Chris & Jonny made a concerted effort to get under the skin of our business and understand how they could best help us hone our presentational and empathetic skills. The resulting sessions were hugely helpful giving my team plenty of opportunity to practice and also benefit from a great deal of feedback, not just from Chris & Jonny but by including the rest of the Transact team in the feedback and group learning too. I would highly recommend The Speakers Gym
Glen Sweet, Head of Sales, Transact
Working with The Speakers’ Gym has been fantastic. We knew what we wanted to say and who we wanted to speak to, so all we needed was technique. Or so we thought. Chris and Jonny helped us to understand the key elements of communication, through a structured process. We now think about communication in a completely different way. There’s a line they gave us that now resonates in my head, every time I write or talk to someone about what we do. We feel we’ve met two great guys and they’ve become an important part of us, our story and how we tell it to others.
Thomas Skinner, Founder, Barnaby Cecil Financial Planning
The impact of The Speakers’ Gym™ at Mako can only be described as transformational. Over a three month period, they helped transition a group of individuals into a highly collaborative and consultative leadership team. Chris and Jonny have a unique ability to connect individuals with their true purpose, driving them towards self-reflection and ultimately growth. Overall the entire experience of working with them has been a pleasure and I am deeply grateful for their impact. They more than surpassed my expectations and I look forward to working with them again in the future!
Trystan Morgan-Schauer, CEO, Mako
We engaged The Speakers’ Gym to provide us with clarity and direction in the look, feel and messaging of the Worldmaker brand in preparation for our official launch. From start to finish, the process has been truly collaborative. They worked with the expertise and experience in our team to create branding that truly represents who we are and what we represent, whilst moving us into a more modern, expressive space – which was our desire. We know that we’re in great hands with The Speakers’ Gym. We’ll certainly be continuing to work with them
Mollie Marti, CEO, Worldmaker International
They first took the time to understand our brief and delivered the programme incorporating our culture and brand throughout. They were thought provoking and their unique techniques very well received.
Mairi Cameron, Learning Manager, Nucleus Financial
The Speakers’ Gym gave me the skills and confidence to be my normal self whilst speaking and facilitating. They took the anxiety out of public speaking and gave me practical tools to prepare for and manage public engagements. They also helped me to engage more meaningfully with my clients, for which I am thankful. Highly recommend them.
Matthew Marais, Director, Vertus Capital
I found the sessions to be a revelation, and I wish I had known some of the techniques sooner. It has completely changed my mindset and focused me in on the needs of the audience. With that, the ability to achieve those aspirations has come more naturally. There is always room for improvement, and I will definitely be revisiting The Speakers’ Gym for a refresher from time to time.
Kelly Devlin, Wealth Management Consultant - St. James’s Place Wealth Management