“If you don’t have the self-confidence and self-worth to know your ideas matter, you’re not going to speak up in the world.”
Heather Hansen’s mantra is ‘connection, not perfection’ and when she saw more and more people who maybe weren’t muted before, who were beginning to mute themselves because they didn’t want to be on camera, she realised a real problem.
People have always been muting themselves in this way long before the pandemic and virtual calls. That observation, combined with watching all the other troubles happening in our world; so many people losing their livelihoods, our environment which is a mess, as well as the escalating war, Heather felt that everything seems to be piling on at once. She realised that we need strong leadership now more than ever before.
“If you’re a leader and your people are silent, you think everything’s going great and they’re just diligently working away, no, you’ve got a really big problem, a much bigger problem than you think,” she says.
Have you read: The Importance of Listening Skills – Oscar Trimboli
As an external industry expert for the National University of Singapore Business School’s Executive Education Programs, Heather runs modules on communication, presentation and storytelling skills. She is a global communication consultant, trainer and author who focuses on fostering unmuted communication cultures where every voice is heard. This results in greater inclusion, innovation and efficiency across remote and global teams. Along with private leadership communication coaching, Heather facilitates group training courses and consults on a number of topics related to global communication.
In 2018 Heather presented a TEDx talk in Odense in Denmark, which has had 140,000+ views on YouTube, called ‘2 Billion Voices: How to speak bad English perfectly’. Recently, Heather launched her new book called ‘Unmuted: How to Show Up, Speak Up, and Inspire Action’. The book is Heather’s manifesto for better corporate communication – how we show up in the world by being connected communicators, build rapport and good relationships. It is a combination of all the things Heather has been speaking and teaching on for the last 15 years in multinational companies.
The very first chapter of Unmuted is ‘Who are you?’ The main concept is to know yourself, your values and the stories in your life that have shaped your beliefs. “I can give you the technical skills of articulating, presenting, how to move, how to talk and how to use your voice but if all the other pieces aren’t there, what does it help? What does it do? If you haven’t built your confidence, or you’re in a toxic environment, or you aren’t conscious enough to know how to connect with your audience, those technical skills mean nothing, they get you nowhere,” she says.
Have you read: How to Communicate and Be Heard – Amber Daines
To better articulate all of the elements that are absolutely necessary for us to communicate well with each other and build strong relationships, Heather has developed a three circle Venn diagram which includes: conscious communication, competence and connected communication. While working on this model Heather discovered the overlaps are more interesting than the three circles, as we need a combination of all these elements to be truly unmuted in the workplace, in our families and in our communities.
Click here if you are wanting to learn more about the elements that are involved in unmuting your organisation by focusing on human connection, relationship-building and making others feel safe to open up. Or maybe you are keen to hear more about the Venn diagram and/or better understand yourself to know if you are showing up as your true self or if you are letting those around you dictate who you are in the moment.
The complete interview can be listened to here, on audio platforms, or watched here, on The Culture of Things (TCoT) YouTube channel.