Post Event Review: Embodying Leadership Masterclass
Embodying Leadership, led by Kate Walker Miles a vocal coach at RADA Business, was a masterclass of a different type – how to use our body and voice to create presence and impact with clear, confident communication.
Kate is a very experienced actor, trainer and TV producer with a degree in Experimental Psychology from Oxford and was captivating to listen to, watch and interact with. She started with the empowering thought: people will forget what you said, forget what you did, but will never forget how you made them feel. Be present – look your audience in the eye. Ben Wishaw is an actor who is more present than any actor she knows (and that’s many famous ones). Look your audience/receiver in the eye - sounds easy, but do we do it?
A lot of our behaviours are habits. The purpose of the session was to learn some new behaviours that may seem odd to us, because they are less familiar but being aware of them, we can learn how to move to modify our leadership style by being aware of the choices we have.
We practiced three tools of communication – the body, breath and voice – learning tricks and techniques to come across with greater authority, impact and influence. This included some simple ways to warm up before a presentation or meeting. We know about splashing cold water on our face – but not always easy outside the boardroom door – so wake our face up by ‘massaging our forehead, cheeks and lips. Hum….. wake our voice up and open the resonators by humming. Use the sounds: m, n, ng, ah…..Visualise – take a moment to put ourselves in a positive frame of mind, recall times when we felt confident and strong.
We explored how it feels to embody different leadership characteristics. This included scanning our body for tension pre meeting/ presentation- releasing knees, buttocks and shoulders. The Importance of feeling grounded with our feet – let them spread on the ground. Balancing our weight between our feet and relaxing our belly and let our breath drop down low into it. Feel the top of your head and imagine a golden string pulling you up from that top point. Focus on our intention – what do want to make your audience feel, so they will do what we want them to do – excited, challenged, inspired?
We did a variety of exercises in pairs to experiment with these techniques of having one thought, one breath and then stopping, pausing to allow our audience / partner consider the thought while the presenter / me prepared for the next one.
The evening started with very tasty, healthy and decent size savoury bites in the bar outside the auditorium and finished with drinks and yummy desert squares in the same room, buzzing with how we felt and how we intended to practice the skills we are all endowed with but may not use.
Thank-you to the wonderful events team with this event specifically organised by Kate O’Brien and Fatema Orjela (other teamies include Geraldine Gallacher, Leyla Gilbey, Jeanine Long, Melissa Longley and lead by Paula Kienert) for organising an invigorating event that opened our eyes (and body) to how we can employ simple techniques to create more presence and impact