249 - Bodytalk With Richard Newman - John Laurito

249 – Bodytalk With Richard Newman

In this episode, host John Laurito is joined by Author, Speaker, and the Founder of Body Talk, Richard Newman. They talk about the importance of knowing how to use body language as an effective tool for conveying how you feel about your team in your leadership role, especially these days when companies conduct meetings virtually.

Richard Newman is an award-winning expert in Leadership Communication, Storytelling, and Influence, working in advanced communication since 1995. Richard specializes in showing leaders how to speak with greater impact and influence. He is regularly featured on BBC London Radio and is the author of the best-selling book, ‘You were Born to Speak.’

Richard’s clients include CEOs, Vice-Presidents and leadership teams across many industries, including Virgin, Expedia, EE, AXA, Microsoft, and 3M.

In 2014 he won the Cicero Grand Award, the most coveted award in the world for speechwriting. In December 2018, he published his book ‘You were Born to Speak,’ which on launch day ranked with Amazon as #1 best-seller on both kindle and hardcover editions.

Richard began by ‘Teaching English as a Foreign Language,’ living in a Tibetan monastery in India. He then studied professional acting in London for three years. Richard worked as an actor on stage and screen whilst studying communication skills. Richard has been featured on Sky TV, Channel 5 News, in the Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, Forbes Magazine, and The Huffington Post.

Richard founded Body Talk in 2000 and began working with a well-known Formula 1 team. His team at Body Talk has now worked with over 75,000 clients from 46 countries worldwide. Last year they helped one client win over £1.2 million in new business by improving the way they communicate.

Connect with Richard:

[0:00] Intro

[1:42] Richard’s story

[6:23] The disconnect between people’s body language and what they’re saying

[8:09] The body language that leaders need to be conscious about during virtual meetings

[11:37] On virtual backgrounds

[14:31] Leader’s transparency and authenticity

[21:31] 30-minute purposeful conversation

[24:16] How a leader can empower the team

[27:39] Three levels of questions

[32:11] How will leadership differ in the future compared to today

[35:06] Where to find more of Richard?

[38:30] Outro

Get a copy of “Tomorrow’s Leader” on Amazon.

John Over the last two decades, I’ve been in an insatiable quest to learn everything I can about leadership, what makes the best leaders so good after running companies small and large over the last 20 years. Today, I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name’s John Laurito. I’m your host, and I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this very topic and what makes the best leader so good. 

John Welcome to tomorrow’s leader! All right, tomorrow’s leaders, I’ve got Richard Newman, who is CEO of Body Talk, he’s been for 21 years teaching companies and senior leaders all across the world. I think 46 different countries, communication, negotiation, all kinds of stuff. That’s very fascinating conversation we had. I really enjoyed this. And he’s got a cool background. So this is definitely an episode you’re going to love. You’re going to get a lot from it. Aside from my stomach growling, sorry, I just have a supersensitive microphone and i’m just really hungry. So you got to bear with me, but you will enjoy the rest of this episode. Here we go. All right. 

John Welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dove deep on all things leader related related to leading yourself and leading others. I’m John Laurito, your host. I’ve got a great guest. I’m really looking forward to talking to him today. I’ve got CEO of Body Talk, Richard Newman, all the way from London joining us. Richard, thanks for joining the show. 

Richard John, thank you for having me on. 

John Yeah, I’m fascinated by your story. There’s a lot of stuff I want to ask you about. I know your company body talk. You focus on celebrity, knows your. What you focus on mostly is training senior level leaders on communication. You’ve trained over 100000 people in 46 different countries, so you are an expert on the topic. And I’m going to pick your brain a lot because I know my audience will love to hear a lot about how to become better communicator. 

Richard Feel free. Go right ahead. 

John Well, let’s go back to your story. I love you’ve got a really interesting background about how you got into this. What was kind of the starting point? Why don’t you share a little bit about that and then will weave our way into communication? 

Richard Sure, so when I was finishing up high school, I realized that before going down the standard path of going to university, getting a job, getting on the career ladder, I realized that I wanted to do something different to really give back to the world. It had a really nice, comfortable upbringing. And so I really was fascinated also at the time with communication and seeing how important that was to people in their success. And so I found this opportunity where I could go and live in a Tibetan monastery in the foothills of the Himalayas and teach them how to speak English. And I thought, this sounds absolutely magical. What an adventure. And so I set off this is the first time that I’d been overseas without my parents. Just to give you some idea about how green, how and why was this? And so I went up to to find this, this monastery up in sort of northeast India. Couple of days traveling to get there. And I didn’t realize at the time that there was five monasteries in the town. I thought, if you go to a town in the middle of nowhere and ask for the monastery that you go straight to the monasteries, I got in a taxi. I said, Take me to the monastery. I think he understood. He took me somewhere and the monks there, they sat me down. 

Richard They gave me Tibetan tea. They nodded. They armed and armed. They couldn’t speak any English. And I was drinking this Tibetan tea, which is the third tea, a third butter and a third salt. So if you can imagine what that tasted like, that’s Tibetan tea. And after about 15 minutes, we realized I was in the wrong place. They weren’t expecting a teacher at all. And so I then had to leave, try and find another taxi somewhere nearby to go to the other monastery, not realizing I would then do that repeatedly. B going to a monastery sat down, have some Tibetan tea. How many times is this going to happen before I find the right place? Until eventually I realized I found a place where the symbol on my piece of paper had printed matched the symbol on their monastery. And so I arrived and once again found they didn’t speak English. And so they took me into their kitchen and I started to try and connect with them, found out that they could speak Nepali, Hindi and Tibetan. I spoke a bit of French, a bit of German and reasonable English, but there was no good language to connect us. And so I had to figure out, Well, how is this going to work? How do I live here for six months teaching them English when we have no common language? And pretty soon, just over this table in that kitchen, I realized that through my body language, through my tone of voice, I could start to understand them. They could start to understand me. 

Richard And so we started to figure out, OK, where are we going to sleep? How do we have the lessons? And then I would do about an hour and a half of teaching per night after they came out of the town from their prayers they were doing. In the day, we’d sit down during a blackout with candles and through my body language, I would be teaching them English. And by the end of six months, they got to a place of being able to have a good conversation with me. And I learned Nepali, which is the main language of the area. And it just really blew my mind about the possibilities that body language has. And your tone of voice, how much you really communicate without the use of words. And the key message may be that for leaders to put this into practice is the big piece I learned was congruent c, which was simply that in order for me to communicate anything, I had to make sure my body language, my voice and my words were all heading in exactly the same direction. Hmm. Because if my body language went one way, my words went another way they wouldn’t understand. 

Richard So if I was trying to teach in the word excited and I didn’t look excited, I didn’t sound excited, then they had no idea I could have been saying pineapple. It made no difference. But when we bring this into the business world and where you know, my team has got to today, we often go to conferences or meetings where we’re working with leaders. And, you know, as people are starting to get back to doing conferences these days, just notice when your leaders stand on stage. Quite often they stand up and they start the event and they’ll say, Hello, everybody. Very excited to be here today. I’m thrilled that we’re going to have this wonderful event. And you think, just tell your voice, tell your body language. Otherwise nobody’s going to believe you. So we do a lot of work on what is pulling you away from that congruence and how do you get it back? To have that presence and gravitas when you need it? 

John Well, that’s fascinating. And it is true. You know, there’s a there’s there’s a big disconnect sometimes with people where what they’re saying doesn’t match their body language. And do you think most people realize that when they’re that leader, that’s not communicating their body language is not matching what they’re saying? Do you think they realize it or is it just one of these things? They’re like, I don’t really care that much. I mean.

Richard I think there’s a few things happening. So firstly, I think when people are in front of a room, if they’re in front of their team, often they can fall into a state of being self-conscious. So that’s for some people. Secondly, some people feel like in order to be a leader, they have to have this poker face that shows no emotion at and. Any time, that’s the only way to lead when in fact, people want the connection, they want to see you as a human. And one of the great gifts of the pandemic is that we all started working from home and then people were seeing their CEO or their VP at home, dressed more casually with a cat in the background and trying to talk to their kids. And suddenly we saw each other as humans, and I think we’re really ready for that, much more so now in the workplace that we want to connect with each other with starving for that sense of connection. So it’s OK as a leader to move in that direction. But then lastly, we often see this lack of congruence because people think if I just say the right words, that’s enough. Or often people I hear say the numbers will speak for themselves, but they don’t. The numbers don’t speak for themselves. That’s why you’re having the meeting. If the numbers did speak for themselves, you could email people. The only reason today to try and get people into the office is one big challenge because people are quite comfortable working from home to get them to go to a conference or some kind of big team meeting. That’s quite a big commitment for people. So if you are there, you just need to know the slides and the numbers. They don’t speak for themselves, you have to do it and therefore you have to do it concretely. 

John Hmm. That’s a great point. So what are some of the things we’re talking about virtual world that what are some of the things that leaders need to be really conscious of? I mean, even the little stuff. I mean, you’d mentioned earlier a couple of pointers before we even began, which I thought was really interesting. What can a leader learn and what can they do better virtually? 

Richard Well, I think like a big piece, first of all, at the outset, to give this context, the big piece is to think, how do I want people to feel in this meeting, in this virtual meeting, one on one or in a group setting or in a wider setting, if even if you’re recording something that’s going to be sent out to people to watch. You’ve got to think, OK, what do I want to achieve here? And how do I need people to feel by the end of this meeting? Do I want them to feel motivated, inspired? Do I want them to feel disappointed by the numbers we hit in Q1 and that sense of innovation or energy towards doing better in Q2? What is that feeling that would be useful at the end? And it’s not about how do I feel and showing them how I feel. It’s not that it’s completely away from yourself, not self-conscious, focused outwards. How do I want people to feel here and let your body language, tone of voice and words all head in that direction? Now, if you’re starting to do this, virtually, one of the things that we’ve noticed is so many people is that their ability to connect with body language is largely cut off because for most people, we can, we can only just see their head. 

Richard I’ve had some people where I cannot, can’t even see their chin because of the framing of their shot. With some people, you might get lucky and see their neck. Occasionally there’s a slight miracle and you can see the shoulders, but it’s maybe one in 100 people where when they gesture, you can see their gestures on camera. And this is so important because one of the few things about body language that is inborn is certain gestures. So if you do thumbs up or thumbs down or the OK symbol, those are learned gestures. They’re symbols that we learn by culture. But things like palms up and palms down are the same. No matter where you go around the world, you can see these in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. We can see people sort of pushing away, demons receiving gifts. So we know that palms up, palms down, for example, and gestures are universal symbols. And you would do these naturally. If you’re in a conversation as a leader and you’re with somebody across the table and you ask them a question, you may be give a palms up and say, Hey, what do you think about this? 

Richard What are your thoughts? What are your opinions like to get your feedback? And you’d be doing that and you be getting energy going, chemistry going in the room as you get momentum on an idea. If you’re doing that on camera and people can’t see your hands, then this is where you get these tumbleweed moments, where people think, Is he asking me a question? Was it a rhetorical question? Am I supposed to intervene? I don’t think I should. Probably I won’t do because I don’t want to seem silly. And so you’ve got to let people know how they should feel, how they should respond by visually getting enough of you on camera that you can in effect, give them that representation of how you would normally be across a boardroom table, across a meeting room table with them. So they’re seeing enough of you to truly interact and be moved by you as a leader and as the speaker. 

John Well, that’s such great advice, and that’s not anything. You know, I speak all over the place and do podcasts, and that’s not even something I was conscious of myself. So that’s really helpful to hear that because I’m a big gesture. I gesture all the time. And so you’re right. Yeah, I don’t they don’t have the benefit of seeing that. If they can’t, you know, see it if it’s not on the screen. What about some of the other stuff like, I see a lot of people doing virtual backgrounds? I mean, does that play a part? Is that good bad? What are your thoughts on that? 

Richard Yeah, it’s a good question. I mean, thankfully, the technology on virtual backgrounds is getting a little bit better. I think we’ve all seen people who are early in lockdown had maybe like a Hawaii beach with like palm trees blowing and then occasionally you’d lose them behind a palm tree and that the head would pop out and then other people blurring their backgrounds. The key thing that I would say on this is so say on our team, we’ve got a few people who are ex-bbc presenters. They’re very used to standing in front of a green screen and presenting to millions of people. And so we asked them early on in the pandemic, you know, what should we do with virtual backgrounds? And the challenge, they said, is simply that they may look quite nice. But when you gesture, you didn’t start to lose some of your fingers because the computer technology isn’t quite good enough. It’s starting to get better. But even if you blur your background, you could just see this blur that is quite visually distracting for people while they’re trying to listen to your message. 

Richard So I would say ideally for people, if you can, if you’re comfortable with it, it’s, you know, some people don’t want to have the eyes of the world seeing inside their home. You can just get a little blank wall behind you. It’s one of my colleagues who has just got a piece of wall that’s maybe, I think, maybe two meters wide. That’s it. And she actually took one piece of beautiful looking wallpaper that she just put on that piece of wall behind her. But the desk very close to the wall and presents from there. And suddenly, you know, it gives this representation of a beautiful home and a non distracting background for me. You know, if I’m on camera all day, every day presenting to clients, I’ve just given them a fairly tidy bookcase. Well, one thing that I aim to do is to just behind my head is darker than elsewhere so that I stand out a little bit. You definitely don’t want to. Lots of light behind you or some of the light area, because it can put you in silhouette. So, so much like yourself, John, I’ve got this slightly darker area that draws you in. So the key thing is really just to minimize distractions and make sure that you can engage as well as realize that it’s OK if you catwalks in it really, and people understand you’re at home and you don’t need to be perfect. So, you know, just just be more of a human being in that way is OK. 

John You know, and that’s such a good point, too, because there’s a bigger message in that. Also, because I think a lot of people were were not wanting to show their backgrounds or do a virtual background. For that reason, it wasn’t even so much. Maybe they’re there. They were not happy with the background itself. They just didn’t want. They were uncomfortable people seeing into their home or seeing what was happening. Yeah. And and it’s it’s become pretty evident that that’s what people want. They want transparency. They want to really know the human, not just the role that the person is in and who they are and work and that. Have you seen that help leaders as they’ve really become more transparent and more authentic, I guess is probably a better word. 

Richard Yeah, absolutely, I think this is a really critical moment for a shift in what we are looking for in leadership, what we’re looking for in work as well is that there’s so many people who have decided to leave the workforce and maybe start their own business or decide to change jobs during the last couple of years. And people are questioning, why am I here? What is the point of my role? Is there meaning in it is their purpose? Do I feel connected with the other human beings here rather than just putting another thing on my CV for a couple of years? And so it’s critical that leaders connect with the people that they’re working with and care about them as human beings. And to do that, you have to be able to open up yourself and be somewhat vulnerable there as well. Now, I mean, take a look at people who’ve done well on social media. You can see people out there. Well, maybe if we take a look at movie stars, there’s some movie stars not to name names, but you know that they they will maybe only do a post on social media when they have a new movie coming out. And it just says, buy tickets to my movie or buy the new DVD or download it. 

Richard So those people are getting some followers if people are really interested, but then you take other people who are really sharing more about themselves. So, for example, Will Smith is a good representation here where he’s just decided to say, Look, this is me. You may have seen the polished movie star who’s always buff and has the right line to say, Well, actually, I’m going to show you who I really am. And the same has gone through, you know, social media influencers who might be experts in marketing, for example. But they also say, Hey, I’m just taking a walk with the dog on the weekend, and it’s just that sense of letting someone into your life in the way that you would with a tribe, with a community, with people that you care about. And that’s that’s what’s drawing us in right now is to have someone we work with that we feel like we know them, we care about them, we want them to do well. Therefore, we want the company to do well. And so, you know, I wouldn’t say leaders need to share what they’re having for breakfast every morning and all of their kids photos or anything like that. But just allow yourself to drop the facade, drop that corporate armor and allow people to see you and to see them more so is going to help you build that really effective team that cares about the results and cares about each other? 

John Yeah, and it almost goes against some people’s natural instinct. They might feel like, OK, the the more I, you know, prop myself up, so to speak or create this image and social media is all about that. You know, it’s your life on social media versus your real life. You know, we all know the real life behind, you know, the Facebook pictures and everything like that are what people want them to see them as. But what you’re saying and what I hear you saying is that those leaders that really and sometimes it’s a step outside their comfort zone because that’s not natural. But when you do let people in a little bit more to who you really are, you know, I’ve always said that being a mysterious leader is not a good thing. People, people, when they can’t figure you out. That’s not a good thing. That’s on the other end of the extreme. But yeah, this is really, you know, when people know more about you, there’s higher trust. There’s a little bit more relaid ability. There’s a little bit more willingness to follow, is what I’m hearing you say. 

Richard Yeah, I think that, you know, if there is a mystery around somebody, the stories about you can go one of two directions. People who put you on a pedestal for whatever reason may tell beautiful and wonderful stories about who you are, whether they’re true or not. But it also gives you more space for people to create negative stories about you if they don’t see you much. If they don’t have much contact with you, if they’re not sure about who you are, they tend to fill it in and the mind has the tendency to fill it in with negatives. A mind is highly cautious, wants to keep us alive, cares about our survival, wants to avoid paying. And so if we’re not sure about someone and this has been key during the pandemic too, we’ve been in this state of being separated with each other. A lot of distrust around what’s happening globally and should we be locked down and people talking about vaccines and the government controlling them. This has been a lot of weird stuff that’s been talked about in the media that we’ve never had to deal with before, and this puts our mind under a state of pressure where we want to look at the things that are happening around us thinking, I’m uncomfortable. 

Richard This is difficult. I don’t like where I am. I’ve got stress I never had before. Where is this coming from? And they may look towards the leadership in the company saying, I don’t know much about this person. Maybe this person is the cause of pain for me. Maybe this stuff going on here, I don’t know. And so that suspiciousness can come up. So I think that’s, you know, it’s naturally to build a friendship with anyone. You know, you sit down, you maybe have a beer with them or you go out for dinner with them and you just talk about life and you talk about, you know, what’s important to you and what you care about and you start to open up with people and that sort of thing. Because of the pandemic, because of people staying at home. Now, more, even if the restrictions are lifted, has become harder because there’s less of those chats around a water cooler, just grabbing a quick coffee with people, grabbing a quick drink at the end of the day, and that social bond has become somewhat harder to achieve. So leaders need to work much harder on making sure that that exists so that people are feeling connected on that level of humanity, not just trying to hit a certain number this month. 

John Yeah, you’re absolutely right. It’s interesting because I feel that myself, I’ve seen that when I was working in an office, you do. You have those little quick conversations? You pass somebody, you pass their desk, their office, pop your head. And hey, how was your weekend? I mean, you really do lose that in the virtual world. You’ve got to be very deliberate and intentional with that. Yeah. And I’ve seen leaders that you know you have, and every meeting virtually has an agenda to it. There’s no agenda less, you know, accidental meetup on virtual. I mean, you’re both attending that for a purpose. And there’s a specific reason for it. And there’s a downside to leaders that jump right into the business. And there’s nothing because then there’s really, truly no. There’s a there’s a great. I remember reading years ago, one of Harvey Mackay’s book books about the Mackay 66 66 things he committed to know about everybody that he was doing business with. And it was an interesting it just stuck in my head. I’m thinking, that’s a lot. First of all, I don’t know if I know 66 things about myself, but but it does make a point that, you know, it’s almost a scary thought. If you ask, the leader will tell me what you know personally about the people that you’re leading. If you’re leaving a thousand people, maybe not a thousand, but the people that you work with and your core leadership team, for example. I think there’s probably a lot of leaders that would struggle with that question. 

Richard Yeah, I think, you know, in our company, we’ve we’ve put in place a purposeful 30 minute conversation that you have with a random selected member of the team once a month and you are not allowed to talk about anything related to work. And so it just sort of pops up in your calendar. You go, Oh, OK, this this week I’m going to be meeting with Anna. That’s great. I just sort of sit and chat and you can do at the beginning of the day and have coffee together. You can do at the end of the day and have a glass of wine together and you just talk, which I think is like a really nice sort of giving a little bit of structure to something which is then not structured as a conversation so that people can be doing that. But yeah, that’s an extra piece that has to be there. And, you know, sometimes you’re going to have structured conversations where you think, OK, we’re under time pressure, everybody needs to move. But if you come down to one thing for each meeting thinking about your brand as a leader, it’s a brand, as I’m sure people know about is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. 

Richard So if you think about every meeting that you go to with your team and indeed so the clients and stakeholders is to think, how do I lift the people on this call? What could I do that would lift them? And by doing that, I mean, to elevate them from a negative or neutral state to a more positive state by the time they leave that conversation and not doing this by sort of falsely saying, Hey, I love your orange shirt today, you look fantastic. It’s not that it has to be real, and all it means is just changing your intention. The intention is not to get through the agenda. The intention is not to discuss the numbers. The intention is to as a result of interacting with each other, you feel more positive and sometimes that coming leaning into the tough conversations. So this is harder over Zoom, or some people may find it. Maybe it’s easier because they feel less scared about it. But having tough conversations can be a way to lift people because it shows that you really see their greatness where somebody perhaps delivered disappointing numbers last week. And instead of just having a go at the museum saying, please do better if you as a leader, see their greatness and you really look into them as you, as you’re talking to them over that call and say, You know, this is the situation I do believe in you. I know how well you can do here. I talk to me, I’m here to support you. Let’s see what we can do. They may leave with a sense of some disappointment in themselves of what they did before, but knowing that you believe in knowing that they’ve got someone there who is rooting for them to do better still leaves them feel feeling lifted. So if you can do that as a leader, it just gives you a tremendous value to the rest of the team because by doing so, everybody is going to perform better. 

John Yeah, I love that. That’s so, so important. And when you think about that, what are some, some examples of how people can leave more positive? I mean, because it’s not just like you said, the rah rah, you know, complimenting somebody, but what other emotions would be examples of that? Because what comes to mind, for example, is if you help give somebody even clarity around something they were confused about, that might be an example. What other types of things might? Examples of. 

Richard So the I mean, the broader context it to give people a sense of how do you do this all the time is that I see a lot of leaders going into meetings trying to be the hero thinking that in order to be a leader, I have to know the most. I have to be to fix the most things. I have to know how to do everyone’s job and you can go into a meeting and leave people feeling disempowered, effectively saying, Look, if I did it, I would have done it like this actually sent it to me and I’ll fix it. I’m going to get this stuff done and people leave thinking, Well, OK, now I feel clear on what we need to do, but I don’t think you believe that I can do it. So instead, if you think of yourself not as a hero, but as a mentor figure, as somebody who who sees everybody in the room sees that they have challenges, sees that they have goals and you can mentor them towards this. Give them guidance, ask them valuable questions that will make them think about it in different ways. 

Richard That will allow you to have people who are working at their greatest potential because they feel that you’re not trying to take it away or blame them or shame them in any way. But actually, you are helpfully supporting them to to be the hero of that situation. And you can apply this to all sorts of situations team meetings, one to one catch ups with people and we’ve even done this apply to negotiations where if you go into I’ve had this in negotiation situations where people think, OK, I’m the hero of the situation, be a person I’m speaking to is the villain of the situation and by approaching it that way. But of course, it’s going to end up as a negative relationship because you believe that you know you’re the good guys, they’re the bad guys. How dare they try and get a better price? But if you approach it from another situation, 100 percent put yourself in that person’s shoes and realize that person is aiming to hit a number that their boss has asked them to hit, and they need to hit the targets by which they get judged for their bonus. They’ve got the challenge, they’ve got the goals to pay their bills, to move forward in their career and come into it. From a perspective of thinking in this situation, we are going to be working together as allies towards this, this goal. Knowing that they have a target, I have a target. Neither one of those may be possible for us to hit, but we’re going to make sure that we’re forming a stronger relationship such that we can serve each other, be supportive of each other, moving forwards. And by doing so, they feel lifted by speaking to you because they appreciate you see they have needs much as much as you have needs. And so it creates a lifted relationship. 

John I love that perspective, and that’s so true. I mean, just thinking that way, and I love that that point of making them the hero. It’s not just you, it’s not. And and when you think about it that way and you look at it from their perspective, it does probably lead to a more naturally positive conversation and negotiation. I mean, that’s ultimately what you’re trying to do is is get to that win win point. Is it something is plain and simple as asking somebody, you know, what would be the I mean, desired result, the best case scenario for you? And let’s start with that and kind of is that is that the way or is there a different way to kind of get to that point? 

Richard Yeah, good question. We coach people on what we call three levels of questions, which is if you if you go into a situation where you’re struggling, probably what’s happening in your mind is thinking, why is this person behaving this way? And how do I get them to change? But if you go in directly and ask them that, then they tend to get defensive. So we tend to respond badly to the word why? Because when we were, you know, five years old and we dropped a bowl of jam or something on the floor and it smashed, our parents said, Why did you do this? And so later on in life, people say, why then we might get defensive. So there’s a way of going through three levels of questions depending on, you know, how well you know that person first level of questions is really around gaining information about the context, the general information like gaining as much knowledge about that person and their situation, the situation in general as you can. 

Richard And once you’ve done that, you’re in a better position to then ask more questions, because if you dove into why has this happened? It could be obvious, even at that first level, of more context around something that John and Barbara had done last week that you weren’t aware of. So then you get the context. The second level is to find out not just logic, but how they feel about this. So what we’re coaching people to do here is to go through the three major areas of the brain, which is the logic, the feeling and that sort of survival brain that is the core driving purpose. And so in the second level, you’d ask people their feelings about the situation, which can lead you to much more valuable information. They may be feeling frustrated. They may be feeling stressed, they may be feeling angry about something. They may be feeling delighted. You don’t know until you start to ask them a little bit more in that area. And then once you’ve done that, you’ve built up a strong enough conversation, which is what? Do with friends, so it’s not, you know, it’s not a strange thing to do if you meet a friend for dinner and they say, Oh, I had such a for such a big day today and you start to ask them, Oh, what happened? So you start to know that and you say,. 

Richard How are you feeling about that? And you start to drop into second level? And then the third level of question, which might be important in some situations is to understand what is the core driving purpose behind how they feel about this situation and what they want to happen. You know, what is what is their strongest motivation to act here? Are they aiming to achieve something in particular? And if they were to nail it down to just one thing that is most important for them? What would that be? And so we tend to build up a strong friendship with someone if they know what really drives us as a human being. And you can bring that into business as well and just find out what is really driving you. And so once you’ve figured that out, you can then start to talk about, you know, where you’d like to be. We’d like to take them, where they’d like to take the situation in the future. Where do they want to be? What does that look like? Give the context. 

Richard Find out how they feel about it. What would be the greatest purpose for them if heading in that direction? And suddenly you understand them, what drives them, what motivates them, and therefore how you can be useful in the conversation and when they leave, they’ll think that person really knows me and understands me, and we aim to do this with clients as well. If it’s a potential client and that they’re asking us to to pitch for business, we really want to understand that we genuinely care about what is the situation they’re dealing with, how do they feel about it? What’s the most important motivation for them in speaking to us or anybody about this? And so they’ll leave feeling like actually, we’ve built a relationship already with this company. Before we even send the proposal, we have started to get to know each other in a deeper way than others who show up with a slide in the brochure. Mm hmm. So I think that’s important to business in general right now. Getting to really know people on a deeper level and great questions and great listening skills can help you to get there. 

John Yeah, I love that. And that’s really whether you are a leader and that’s a leadership scenario there or a sales situation that applies just the same in reality. Right? 

Richard Yeah, absolutely. I placed it to everybody and to all of your relationships. If you feel like you don’t feel that connected with somebody, then you can go straight to this piece in any situation and suddenly have a stronger understanding of them what you might need to do and have a stronger relationship. 

John Yeah. So I’ve a couple of last questions and I know we’re running a little bit short on time. But what what is the the leader today? Obviously, leadership has changed a lot over the years. I think back to leaders what what was the ideal, you know, type of leader 10 years ago, 15, 20 years ago? You’ve got today’s leader, which has evolved tremendously in a lot of different ways. What do you see in the future? What do you see five or 10 years from now, the leader that truly becomes incredibly impactful, influential, effective and really doing what they’re trying to do? What is that? Does it look different than the leader today, and if so, how? 

Richard Yeah, I think that this this need that people have right now to be to be doing something purposeful, to be doing something that really feels like it has meaning behind it is so important. We’ve seen this build up of tribes, which was talked about a long time ago by Seth Godin, talks talking about the importance of tribes in organizations and in the world. And this is what the internet has done. This is what social media is done as well is people wanting to find their tribe, find people who have the same values as them, who are doing something that they deeply care about, and they feel like a meaningful part of this. And I think that that is key for leadership going forwards is to to think about the wider context of what you do. So, you know, rather than just saying, OK, we sell this widget, we’ll think about, we know what is the wider impact of your business, on society, on the environment, on the people who are there and what sort of values drive your behavior? What sort of vibe do you have at your organization? Because people want to be a part of something, but they say I was there. I did some of that. I had like a little smudge print on the side of creating something magnificent and having that pride of feeling like they were part of something that means something to them, but didn’t just pay the rent. And so I think that’s more and more so. 

Richard This is what social media is sort of pushing us into that sense of I want to find people who who believe what I believe, who care about what I care about, where I can serve something in that direction. So. So leaders who can represent that and really explain that use great storytelling skills, have great human and communication skills, are going to be able to explain it in a way that, you know, other organizations tend to take their values and they sort of chip them into marble. In the large atrium area of a big glass building, but it doesn’t really mean anything, they’re not living and breathing it. So I think leaders need to live and breathe those values genuinely every day so that people see they’re not just talking the talk, but really are walking the walk. And by doing so, people will flood towards them because they want to be part of what that person represents. 

John We’re here with Richard Newman, CEO of Body Talk. So, Richard, if people want to learn more about you or your organization and what you do, where can they go? How do they do it? 

Richard So the easiest place to find me and my team is on ukbodytalk.com. And if you want to stay in touch with me on social media, I’m on Instagram @Richardnewmanspeaks and also on LinkedIn. It’s Richard Newman from UK Body Talk on LinkedIn. 

John Excellent. And you’re available. I know you do. Obviously, company wide or organization wide trainings, you do. Masterminds, you do one on one coaching, you do speaking. Is that correct? But there’s all different ways somebody can engage with you right? 

Richard All of those pieces. Yeah, we over the last two decades, we’ve worked in-person with people all over the world. So I’m based in the UK, but we’ve worked in Australia and across the Middle East, Asia, all across the states and into Canada as well. And right now, I’m doing the same thing virtually for people to taking many thousands of people at a time, or maybe just one person at a time. So whatever people need, when they need it, we’re there to do it for them.

John Do you see moving forward, you continue to do as much virtual or will it resume back to to more in-person? 

Richard I’m seeing this year a gradual return to some in-person so so we used to do pre-pandemic 100 percent in-person, and then we shifted to 100 percent virtual and we’re starting to see last year about five percent was going back. This year I’m starting to see maybe like 15 percent is heading back to in-person events. I think that’s going to gradually ramp up towards the end of the year, where I would imagine at least a quarter, maybe 30 percent, maybe even 50 percent towards the end of the year in-person. But so many of our clients have said that virtual gives them an amazing return on investment. Instead of needing to hire a conference venue, fly everybody in pay for their hotel to several days in order to get a keynote speaker, they can just say, Look this lunchtime telling your webcam, press this link. So I think that for sort of large scale events, that virtual is going to stay there for less important events, sort of general meetings while stay virtual and the big key events of each year will happen in person and also working sort of close, close important coaching work with senior leadership teams. We see that going back to being face to face because that’s where you get the greatest hit from the coaching itself. 

John Which do you enjoy more? You enjoy the face to face more or the virtual. 

Richard I enjoy the virtual for being able to be at home and be able to see my kids more. But I have to say I still get such a thrill from being in a room with somebody while they transform through the training to better take them on that journey is is still a magical experience. 

John Oh yeah, well, keep doing the great stuff you are. I’ve loved their conversation, lots of takeaways. I’m sure my audience feels the same way and I’d love to have you back some time to talk more. And I know now what time is it in your neck of the woods? 

Richard So it’s just coming up towards 3:00 p.m.. 

John OK, gotcha. Well, I appreciate your flexibility in joining us today. We’ve been here with Richard Newman, CEO of Body Talk. As always, like Subscribe, share this episode. I appreciate your future suggestions on other guests and content. And as always, go down below and give a five-star review. And Richard, thanks again for joining us today. 

Richard Thanks, John. It’s been a pleasure. 

John Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader for suggestions or inquiries about having me at your next event or personal coaching, reach me at John@johnlaurito.com. Thanks, lead on! 

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