In the first month of Season 1 of #Fire5atPhoenix, we had four amazing guests. Each guest works in an industry that is focused on communication.
How we communicate with each other, how we communicate with our audience, how we communicate our story and how we communicate with ourselves.
Each episode is full of rich conversation, 'talking about communication'.
Episode 1 with Helene Jewell
Helene is a Professional Facilitator so listening and engaging people in the room is her area of expertise.
In this first-ever episode, and at the height of the COVID19 Pandemic, we talked about how our communication had been impacted and how we were adapting. Not just in terms of utilising technology, and 'how', but also how it was changing the dynamics of the content and 'what' we were talking about.
We also talked about how we were all adapting to using more technology to communicate and connect. As a facilitator, Helene was learning to adapt her delivery and facilitation work to adapt to a shorter attention span online, something we were all feeling a difference with, and in particular the new phrase of 'zoom fatigue'.
We discussed how we were learning more about each other. With people working from home we were getting more of an insight into the person behind the profession, and that this was a great opportunity to deepen connections.
One thing we were all learning to do at this time was to let go of the need to control everything. Certainly not possible in a global pandemic and often not possible in our day to day lives. Focus on what you can control and invest your energy in that area.
Episode 2 with Nick Elston
Nick is a professional speaker who speaks about his lived experience with mental health. He is also a speaking coach and mentor and works with organisations to help increase engagement around the subjects of mental health and wellbeing. Communication and in particular the emotional side of storytelling is the golden thread to his work.
In this episode, we talked about how to 'not' become the victim of your own story. We talked about how it is important to not keep bringing the past into your present and how you can share the learning without sharing the story.
Talking about past events brings them into the present. Paying attention to how we do this can help us to make this a positive experience, rather than an uncomfortable or negative experience.
We also talked about controlling situations, this time from the perspective of being understanding and empathetic. We talked about how different people were managing the impact of the pandemic (and other life challenges) as best they can, and how this looked different for different people. We talked about the importance of communicating with others with kindness and empathy.
Effective communication can be a powerful tool for negotiating and influencing. It can also be a powerful tool in communicating what is important to you, and specifically what you want from life. We talked about how it was important to contemplate these things without the influence of others and equally important to communicate our contemplations with people around us.
Episode 3 with Jack Cook
Jack is a videographer and uses visual footage to help businesses and organisations tell their story. He is also passionate about wellbeing and using the storytelling elements of the video to help people get the support they need.
In this episode, Jack shared his own relationship with vulnerability and communication, in particular, opening up to people when he is struggling. We talked about how this is not easy for anyone and very difficult for those who are experiencing a period of low mood or depression. We talked about how it can often be difficult to make sense of how you are feeling, let alone find the words to be able to communicate this to someone else.
We talked about how important it is to keep checking in on people. How 'no response' does not mean that they do not want to engage, it may mean that they are just not ready or able to yet. Reaching out and offering your support may be what they need to hear, even if they do not reply to tell you that.
Jack raised his concerns about how the media communicates messages that can have an impact on how people look after themselves. The quick wins, the fad diets and the confusing messages about what improves mental and physical health. We talked about how important it was to communicate, with clarity, how to make sustainable and consistent changes rather than quick wins that create a short term impact.
In the last part of this episode, we talked about the inner conversation of 'imposter syndrome'. The communication that others cannot see and hear, but one that is incredibly powerful if we let it have a voice. We talked about how imposter syndrome can happen for even the most successful people, and how it can benefit us (when in balance) by keeping us self aware, maintain professional pride, and striving to improve.
Episode 4 with Helen Taylor-Jay
Helen is a solution-focused hypnotherapist helping people to change their thoughts, feelings and behaviours to improve areas of life.
In this episode, we talked about the internal conversation of limiting beliefs, and how strong and impactful our inner conversations can be. We talked about taking notice of the things we say to ourselves and also the things we say out loud when we are talking to others and how taking notice can be the first step to creating change.
We also talked about how important it is to use the people around us to help us to create the changes. Surrounding yourself with people who will challenge you, and give you a supportive push when you need it. The ones who will shout "yet" when they hear you say "I can't".
We also spent some time talking about the importance of being your own 'critical thinker' and agreed how important it is to be open to seeing things differently, and from a different perspective, to ask lots of questions and to listen to understand rather than to listen to respond. To be open to not knowing, and be ready to learn from other people's experiences.
We talked about social media - the good, the bad, and the ugly! We both agreed that it is in our control to filter a lot of negativity from our timelines and to be more aware of what we choose to see and listen to. Social media is a form of communication and we can mindlessly take in information that is not useful to us if we are not more cautious.
Finally, we talked about the 'need to know' part of our ego, and therefore the need to respond quickly when we are communicating. A pause before answering gives you time to reflect and review before you respond
- A quick answer does not equal a correct answer!
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