We’re pleased to have hosted a fantastic first event to kick-start The Merrill Breakfast Series on 29th September. Set in The Modern Pantry in Clerkenwell, the event theme was ‘Standing up for a View’, with the session intending to equip women with the right leadership, communication and mindfulness skills to get ahead in business and their personal lives. (Men were present and engaged too!) At Merrill, we recognise how crucial these life skills are and we were delighted to have a full house for our first event of this type.
We’d like to say a special thank you to all of the guests who turned up and made it a valuable kick-off. Our first series saw a mixture of lawyers, external reporters, general counsels and company secretaries from the corporate sector, in addition to senior directors from investment banks. It was great to see so many professional women attend and engage over a delicious hot breakfast before starting their days. It was a superb morning, filled with learning, connecting and sharing.
Dr Paul Furey gave an excellent interactive talk on developing our communication skills, asking guests to share their experiences and offering solutions and suggestions. He initially explained to a captive audience that “we’ve all been on a communications course – it’s called growing up.” He prompted some guests to share their experience growing up and some explained, “We were always encouraged to have an opinion whilst growing up, as our father believed there was much to be learnt from children.” Others were told “to speak more quietly.” And others, “learnt to have a voice when they got a bit older.”
Everyone had some great take away piece of advice and if they’re anything like us, we’re sure they’ve been trying them out ever since:
Dr Paul spoke about the benefit of articulating your feelings. He told the room that contrary to convention, “When we vocalise our feelings, we feel better. As soon as we name the feeling we make it an intellectual process. It becomes rational. That’s where we want to be. It’s emotional first aid.”
“When we’re communicating something important, be specific. Name the behaviour, name the specific incident. It helps people to lock it in. Use language we actually mean then you don’t have to repeat it later on, to emphasise your point.” Not “I was wondering” or “Do you have a moment?” Or “I’m a bit worried.”
He explained how when we communicate a message, we can underestimate how many words people can take in. The fact that we “fill the air and dilute our message” is a frequent reason to not elicit the intended response.
“Give the other person the opportunity to ask more. The pause gives us time to really be with the other person.”
Here’s what one of our attendees had to say:
1. What is your role?
Executive Director and Senior Counsel in an investment bank.
2. Why did you attend our Breakfast Series and how did you find it?
I came to the event on a personal recommendation - Andrea told me it might be of interest to me.
It was a great event and in a great location. Dr Furey was very engaging and there was a good balance of the theoretical and practical. There was lots to take away. I really liked the memory cards – the physical take aways was a great touch.
3. Why was this a good topic to cover?
Well, it’s applicable to a broad spectrum of people. It was for a mixed audience of lawyers and non-lawyers whom are different but in related industries – it has take aways and relevance for everyone regardless.
4. What are some of the big issues with communication in the workplace?
I would say ‘over communication’. Over thinking communication. There’s too much of a focus on the presentation and the wrapper of communication rather than the substance itself. People are in danger of overthinking.
5. A solution?
There is no solution, it’s hardwired into human psychology. People will always look at what you say rather than how you say it. We’re not robots.
6. Using the tips moving forward?
They create a self-awareness, so even if it’s not something you directly look to exercise, it’s still there in your consciousness.
If you’d like an exclusive downloadable card with tips from Dr Paul, click here
and print this exclusive infographic, based on communications tips from psychologist, Dr Paul Furey. Fold it up and keep it in your pocket when you feel you might need some help communicating your point.
Dr Paul’s suggestions were definite food for thought and it was fantastic to see so many engagements with the topic. Everyone had actionable takeaways, in the form of advice, reminder cards and special prompting tools which we’ll definitely be trying out.
We look forward to running more of these events in the future and once again, would like to say a huge thank you to all those who attended and made it such a superb morning.
The London Merrill Team