Richard Newman, the award-winning writer and in-demand speaker with expertise in leadership communication, storytelling, mindset, and personal impact. Richard is the Founder and CEO of Body Talk, global leaders in evidence-based communication training. Since 2000, Richard and his team have trained 100,000 people worldwide, with clients from 46 countries.
In the new hybrid world, there are more ways to communicate than ever before, but finding true connection and engagement still eludes many of us. Without the ability to effectively engage an audience and inspire action, new ideas struggle to be implemented, adding frustration and failure to the workplace. Richard transforms that failure into success, helping one client gain over $1 Billion in new business and winning 100% of the pitches he coached them on by applying the breakthrough strategies he teaches.
Richard began his communication journey by living in a Tibetan monastery in India for six months, teaching English to monks. Body language and voice skills suddenly became absolutely essential to Richard’s work, as the monks spoke no English when he arrived, so they had to communicate non-verbally. When he returned to the UK, Richard continued to study advanced communication skills while working as an actor on stage and screen. In 2000, Richard combined his passion for communication with his love of storytelling when he founded UK Body Talk Limited.
Over the next 21 years, Richard and his team developed a new, science-backed coaching method designed to create real and practical results. Richard’s breakthrough research on communication has been published in the Journal of Psychology. Richard’s clients include CEOs, Vice-Presidents and leadership teams across many industries, including Virgin, Expedia, NYU, Microsoft and 3M.
Richard documented his journey in his best-selling book, You Were Born to Speak, which debuted at #1 on Amazon for both Kindle and Hardback. In 2014, Richard was the recipient of the Cicero Grand Award, the most coveted prize in the world for speechwriting.
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Sometimes people have seen on the TV, they've heard that if you scratch your nose, it means you're lying. Or if you fold your arms, it means you're defensive. It doesn't. There's much more of a big picture that we need to be looking at in terms of someone's overall behavior and then putting that together and allowing them space to speak to us to connect with us taking it all in and then thinking about what to say next.Kyle Roed:
This is the rebel HR Podcast, the podcast where we talk to HR innovators about all things people leadership. If you're looking for places to find about new ways to think about the world of work, this is the podcast for you. Please subscribe your favorite podcast listening platform today. And leave us a review revelon HR rebels. All right, rebel HR listeners, welcome back to the rebel HR podcast. As always, we are so appreciative of you joining us this week. This week's guest is going to be a good one with us today, we've got Richard Newman. Richard is the founder of Body Talk. Over the past 21 years, his team have trained over 100,000 business leaders around the world to improve their communication and impact, including one client who gained over 1 billion with a B in new business in just one year, using the strategies that Richard teaches. Welcome to the show, Richard.Richard Newman:
Thank you so much. Thanks, Carl, for having me.Kyle Roed:
I'm extremely excited for the conversation. You know, before we hit record, I was I was telling you how I could improve my communication. Certainly my wife feels that way. And really excited to explore this topic today. So I think the first question that I want to dig into is what got you interested in this in studying communication?Richard Newman:
Well, this is really a 40 year journey for me. So I'm 44 at the moment. And I've been fascinated by communication in different ways since the age of four. So what happened was four years old, I had a nice school, I was going to a group of friends, and was very happy, confident where I was. And then we we moved house. So my parents moved to a new area, when into this new school. And I really struggled to connect with anybody. It was this bizarre experience of when I was trying to connect with any of the other children feeling like I was almost in a glass bubble where I couldn't connect with them. I couldn't build a relationship or get a friendship going. And I realized at the time that there seemed to be something slightly different about me, I wasn't quite sure what was happening. And I noticed that all the way through school that other kids were picking up on social cues with I wasn't building relationships and friendships easier than I was. And so by the time I got to 16 years old, a friend of mine bought me a book called body language, which I'd never heard of this before. And she said, You really need to read this, because it's going to be good for you. And it's also going to help anyone around you if you can read this too. And so I read this book, absolutely amazed by what I was reading and suddenly thought, oh, is this the stuff that everybody else knows about? Because I have no idea about this. And so I then thought, well, maybe, maybe communication just isn't my thing. I have no skills here. There's no point pursuing it. And when I was 17 years old, my closest friend who actually has gone on to be like, the godfather of my children, is a fabulous guy. His dream was to get into Oxford University, which, you know, to get into Oxford, it's much like getting into Harvard or Yale. It's something people want to root for. And he was clearly the most intelligent person I'd ever met and most intelligent person in our school, and he went for the interview, passed all the exams and so on. But he got a rejection letter. And part of what it said was that they partly rejected him based on his communication skills. So I suddenly thought, well, I could I could work as hard as him, I could read as much as him I could try and be as bright as him. But still, communication skills might let me down. So I have to study this. And so they're in sort of set my my mission often running, where I decided, instead of going off to university, we're at a place all lined up, I would start this quest of study and communication in different ways. And so I ended up putting myself forward to go and teach English overseas, which meant that I then went to the foothills of the Himalayas, I was living in northeast India up near Darjeeling, where the tea comes from. And I was in this Tibetan monastery, teaching English to Tibetan monks. And the big challenge being that when I got there, they had never had a teacher there before. And they didn't speak a single word of English. And so they spoke Tibetan, Nepali and Hindi. And I spoke a little bit of French and a bit of German and we very quickly realized there was no language that we could connect with Naira was stuck in the middle of nowhere for six months trying to communicate with them. And so pretty quickly, we worked out that through body language and tone of voice, I could connect with them I could communicate and by the end of six months, they had then learned how to have a good conversation with me in English and I'd learned how to speak Nepali back to them, which was the easiest one language of the area, I came back to the UK just fascinated by this experience and then studied at a London acting school for three years learning about how to sit and stand and breathe and move in a way that would have an impact on an audience whether they were on stage or on screen or in the audience with me, and continued this. And because I had this hobby, my hairdresser one day, he said, wow, you're interested in acting, and you're interested in communication, come and teach my hairdressers, I'll give you a free haircut, if you just come and teach my hairdressers how to communicate, because they're terrible at communication. And I said, okay, and I came back and did this two hour session, and they loved it. And then they said, come back and do another one. They ended up being a client for 16 years, where they started paying me more than a free haircut. Thankfully, what was fascinating about about training, hairdressers is trained hairdressers talk to people. And I got a phone call pretty quickly from the head of an engineering company who said, I just had my hair cut today. And the hairdresser said, You're the number one communication coach in the country. So how much will you charge me to come and train 30 of my engineers for a huge conference. And so from there, I got a website, I kept on rolling. But to sort of finish off answering that question about my fascination with communication. Between my my team and I, we've now trained over 100,000 people, we've trained them all over the world, I get paid to go on stage as a communicator, teaching communication skills, but I still always knew there was something that I was missing something, there was a different lens I had on communication. And I just found out a few months ago, I was diagnosed with high functioning autism, which is essentially where you don't have the same social cues as other people. So you have to study and to figure out what they are to everybody else. It's a bit like a fish in water, they don't really think about it, they just sort of swim. Whereas there I was sitting on the side of the goldfish bowl thinking I don't know how to get in there and and survive. And so I had to study it the whole way, which I think in a way, it's just given me an ability to look at the the individual actions that people take day to day and notice them, I see them for what they are. And I know that when they're when they're right, and I know when they're wrong when they're missing, and that's where I then coach our clients who sometimes don't have the benefit of that different perspective.Kyle Roed:
That's fascinating. You do have a great head of hair. So you know, whatever, you know, investment, the hair dressers put in, you know, it's working for you. It's working for you. Yeah. But what a great story, and I really appreciate you sharing that, you know, the, the image of when you were four years old, and and, you know, feeling that kind of that bubble, and feeling like you were isolated and shy. I'm sure many of our listeners, myself included, can can relate to that, you know, that moment of being a maybe a shy kid, I was fairly Believe it or not fairly introverted, when I was younger, and, and I had things to say, but I didn't feel comfortable saying them and you know, so So I think that was really a powerful story. And I think I'm sure there's many people who think yeah, that, you know, there's this is not easy for me as easy as it seems for others. So as you were, you know, kind of going through this journey, and and through this process of self discovery, and the power of communication. How did you reflect on that inwardly? And what, what tactics helped you overcome kind of that natural shyness that that you had?Richard Newman:
Well, I think that, you know, really, what has always helped me is, if I feel resistant to doing something, if I notice that an experience is going to be uncomfortable for me, then I've always leaned into it and thought, there's only one way I'm going to grow. If I stay in this comfort zone, there's no growth in here might feel nice, but I'd much rather step outside of it. And, you know, my policy on life is always about making long term decisions. So often, if you want something in the long term, you need to have the short term pain in order to get the long term pleasure. Whereas you know, when I see people making decisions that can hurt them or others around them is where they go for short term pleasure that often leads to to long term pain. So I've always decided that I will, that I will step into that that growth opportunity. And early on, there was an opportunity that came to me from a Formula One racing team. Where this I know that the Formula One oddly it's really popular all over the world, but in the US. There's less and less support. People are more into the Indy 500. But remember, like imagine Indy 500 or NASCAR, but happening all over the world for 300 million people watching each every couple of weeks, and I was coaching one of their teams where they wanted me to deliver 200 presentations per year. That would be two hours long. It's all about the science of how you do the engineering that goes into a Formula One racing car and talking about things like the, the, the unit uni directional weave carbon fiber that goes into the autoclave at 100 psi, like it was really technical stuff. And they said, you know, could you come and learn this information, it's legally approved, you have to deliver this word for word script and deliver it to investors from all over the world who will be paying a sort of 50 or $60 million per year to put a sticker on the side of our car. And there was part of my brain that said, there is no way I can do this. Because I am so shy, I'm so bad at communication, I am highly introverted, that this is not the job for me. But then the other part of my brain kicked in and said, This is an amazing growth opportunity. Of course, you want to do this. So I said, Okay, I'll do this. And I ended up delivering for them. 1000 events, so 200 meetings per year, 200 presentations per year, for five years, and sometimes I was doing three a day, and they'd be interpreted into multiple different languages, I'd have like three different interpreters there for me, for international audiences. And what was fast, fascinating about it was it gave me this opportunity to deliver the same script, word for word for people all over the world. And I then got to see what worked and what didn't, so I could tell part of the story and just notice, okay, this is not getting a good reaction. Tomorrow, I'm going to make a slight change and see if there's any difference. And then the next day, I make a slight change again, and a slight change, I started to realize, okay, there's certain things I'm doing repeatedly here. That gives me a much better reaction, much better engagement from people who I speak to internationally. And now I know I can teach it, because I saw it in book, I looked at the research behind it, I've tried it out, it definitely works. Now I can teach it. And that's really how the toolkit built up that we've been working with people for the last couple of decades.Molly Burdess:
So the things that you notice those little tweaks, were they mostly the words, you were saying? Was it your tone? Was it your body language? Like what did you find?Richard Newman:
But yeah, it's a great question. So we were told, we cannot change the these words, you can only update the statistics after each race. And you've got to engage people as much as possible. So the only things left that we could change was to change the body language or to change the tone. And so there were elements that I learned in that, that if I, if I was to use a different gesture, while I was telling a story, I got a different reaction. And it was working universally, there were certain elements where I noticed, if I paused partway through a sentence, and then put extra emphasis on the end of the sentence, that I get a much bigger laugh from the end of a story, you know, much like a stand up comedian who sort of goes and practices their material, and then they go on tour, and they're gradually getting better and better at it. And so I built up this set of tools, where I thought, I know that this works, and it works over and over again. And so in 2016, we then published some research, which at the time was the largest study on nonverbal communication that had ever been done, as far as we're aware, which was essentially taking those pieces that I've noticed, and putting them into a study where we involve people from all over the world, people across Europe, the Middle East, we're working with people from Asia and across North America and South America, where we, we did the same sort of thing where we had them, where they would deliver the same words over and over again. And we just slightly changed what they did, from one video to the next they had like these 32nd videos, and we created 100 videos, where we had men and women in the video older and younger, lighter skinned darker skin, in every video the saying exactly the same words and wearing the same clothes, but just making slight changes in the body language and the tone of voice. And what we found really blew us away. We just we didn't know what was going to happen. But we're asking people who watch these videos, and each person watching it only saw one video. At the end, we said to them, how convincing is this person? Would you vote for them in an election? How confident are they do you think they're a good leader, and we were looking for maybe like a 5% difference would be something interesting to talk about. And it turns out that if you go from the most common habits that people have day to day when they're communicating with each other at work, and you change them across to what we found was the utopia style, the most effective style, you can increase the chance of being voted for in an election by 59%. And you can increase the chance that your team think that you're a good leader by 44% and so you don't have to change what you're wearing. You don't have to change who you are or what you say you just change a couple of those elements you get this massive increase and we found that worked worldwide so so everything I was doing, it's easy now as Steve Jobs used to say you can kind of paint the dots backwards join up the dots of your life and where it led you to and all of it for me led me to that space where we can now teach people these little shifts you can make them make a huge differenceKyle Roed:
okay, I'm sold utopia. Okay, so yeah, It's fascinating. So I've always kind of assumed that this is the case, but I'm thinking in terms of politicians, which, you know, maybe we shouldn't use politicians as a as a benchmark. But is that why they never point that they that they don't use a finger to point that they use like a thumb? Or they like, you know, like, there's like, it's like this. It's like odd gestures or mannerisms that you wouldn't normally see in everyday life. Is this. Is this part of what we're talking about here?Richard Newman:
Yes. So what I would say in regards to that with politicians, I'm sure everybody's seen a politician doing something weird. And you think, Well, why are you doing that? And so that they say, for example, they're not pointing because if it seemed that they are wagging a finger, and it can be seen as aggressive, it'll turn into a meme. It's not going to work out well. But the challenge being whoever's coaching them, if you see them do something that feels weird to you, then guess what it feels weird to a lot of people's, that just means that they've had bad coaching from someone who said, Ah, yeah, don't wag your finger, what should we do, maybe Jabba thumb, somebody, and they come out with a thumb jabbing thing, and it just doesn't look like anything you'd normally see. So you know, our rule in terms of what we coach people on is, if you wouldn't see somebody do it, when you're speaking to them at the bar, or at the pub in the UK where I'm from, if it would look odd there, then it's going to look odd everywhere. So you've got to make sure that you're using things that are simple human instincts. And so everything we teach, it's never about manipulation tactics. And there's a lot of that that happens in in politics, which is where sometimes people do something strange, but it's for the reason, reason of potentially persuading you to do something you may not have done otherwise, where what we talk about is great communication is actually about stripping away all of the bad habits you've built up throughout the course of your life, any armor that you've put on because of rejection or pain that you've been through, getting rid of all of that stuff, and getting back to how you were born to communicate. So, for example, we talk about this in terms of posture and stance. So if somebody's standing up, just imagine this, if you think about a one year old child, they're trying to work out how to stand up, if they stand up, they grab the furniture and the tourniquet up on their feet. And they have their feet together. As soon as they let go, the furniture, they fall down because the feet are too close. If they stand up with their feet really wide apart, splayed at a funny angle, again, they fall down. But eventually they work out that if they stand up with their feet shoulder width apart, their knees are slightly soft, and they've got their weight weight evenly balanced between left foot, right foot, suddenly they're standing. And then they can start to move from there and start to walk. Now when when we come to sort of later in life, people build up all kinds of weird habits. And so if you see somebody speaking, whether they're speaking to one person speaking to a group of people, you often see them leaning off to one hip, maybe they've crossed a foot over, or they like to sway backwards from side to side as they're speaking and this sort of rocking, monotonous movement, and all of those things distract us from from listening to them, it makes them physically look like a pushover. Because, you know, if you just gave them one nudge and they're leaning on one hip, they're going to fall over it. So they are the embodiment of being a pushover. When you coach that person to come back to how they were born to speak, they naturally have gravitas because gravity is working with them, not against them. And so you come back to this natural position, nicely centered, and your posture working the way it needs to be. And this has the same impact to if you're speaking to somebody on camera, if you've got that elevated posture, gravity working with you, then you can get the kind of gravitas that people have on screen on stage. If you think of someone that you admire, maybe it could be a politician or it could be an actor, presenter somebody like that, who seems to be charismatic, that will be one of the small aspects of what they're doing, moving from being a pushover to having gravitas that everybody can then use and when it comes to gestures to just coach people to come back to how they're physically born, to interact with each other, getting rid of habits, and that's how you start to move towards that Utopia style.Kyle Roed:
I just started to sit up a little bit higher, my chair, youMolly Burdess:
know, I'm likeKyle Roed:
I think it's, it's such an interesting, interesting point. And so often we you know, we don't notice this, you know, I think it's, it's your story about you know, kind of seeing things that others don't, you know, because of, you know, some of the neuro diversity that you possess, I think what a powerful, you know, opportunity for us to reflect and think about that. I, you know, I always kind of lean from one side to the other across my legs are kind of, you know, you know, I never really thought about it in the context of that might be actually, you know, giving some people a certain feeling that I you know, could be a pushover that's that's, that's fascinating. So literally a pushover. Yeah, yeah. That's where the Yeah, now it's all making sense.Richard Newman:
So there's so many phrases like that to where you see people somebody might be leaning on the back foot, so one foot behind the one foot in front. And then we talk about people being on the back foot. And so it's connected again to that phrase. So whereas if you think someone, you say someone's grounded, or they are centered, and we also would relate that to being authentic, there's a physicality that goes through that. And if you break it down, you can start to see what it is. To me,Molly Burdess:
it's all about confidence showing displaying that you are confident.Richard Newman:
There's certainly a part of that, that comes through. And what we what we notice is, so what we're aiming to get away from is a sense of fight or flight. So a lot of people display fight or flight when they are speaking, if they're leaning back, they're in flight mode. If they're leaning forward, you get this a lot. This particularly I mean, if anyone sells cars here, I apologize. But you tend to see this if someone's really trying to sell you a car, where they're leaning forwards. And they're saying that like vigorously gesturing and saying, hey, just take take the car, what do I have to do, I'll give you some money off, I'll give you a free toaster and a trip to Hawaii, what do you need, and then the leaning forwards, they're in fight mode. So fight or flight mode doesn't work well for persuasion. Whereas if we see someone in a meeting, where they're sitting, really grounded, their gestures are flowing evenly, they've got an expressive face, that their voice has color, and it's dynamic, then suddenly, we get drawn into this person. And we think, Wow, this person's thoroughly engaging, and all they're doing is freeing themselves from the kind of tension and habits that other people may have day to day. And then we think of them as a leader, we think of them as more compelling, and they appear more confident. And what we've been really enjoying teaching people to is that, even if you don't feel confident, if you start to take on those behaviors, your brain says, Wow, I must be confident I only act this way, when I feel really confident, and therefore the fear starts to subside. And you're much more likely to feel good in the situation.Kyle Roed:
Now, it's fascinating, you know, I'm reflecting on your, on your story and kind of your journey. And I'm curious, is the time that you spent, you know, going through this experience in Nepal, with Tibetan monks, was that also formative for you? As far as kind of the the lifestyle of those individuals? You know, I've got to believe that there's, there's probably some, some correlation there between, you know, kind of the the approach on being mindful and aware. And, you know, and kind of that, you know, maybe societal focus that's a little bit different than, like, you know, what you would find in a western, Western society, any insight there?Richard Newman:
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, the situation was so formative for me. So first of all, on one level, I'd say, for anybody listening to this, if you are a parent, if you have a child who's in their teenage years, they're talking about maybe taking a gap year of some sort, before they go to higher education, just let them go. Because everybody around me, including my parents thought that I was completely crazy. And then when I went and I came back from the experience, they could see at the independence that I had that sense of understanding the world better understanding myself better than there was a hint of jealousy from other people thinking, Oh, I wish I'd been able to do that sort of thing. But the other pieces that I gained from the monks was that, you know, we teach people questioning and listening skills to have much more deep, meaningful conversations. And something that I always remember with the monks is that when they were having conversations with each other, they didn't have that quick back and forth banter. Instead, when somebody was speaking, there was very deep listening, that would happen. And they were so comfortable with little pauses in the conversation, and only speaking when they had something really valuable, that they wanted to share. And so that's that stayed with me as well, that sense of really wanting to make sure you've heard what a person has said, that you've taken it in that you've given respect to their words, as well, before then coming back with something when we're teaching people questioning and listening, we say to them, okay, when when somebody when somebody else is speaking, what are you really thinking? And people usually say, Well, I'm thinking about what I want to say, and I'm thinking, are they right? Are they wrong? I'm also thinking, you know, what time is my dinner going to be happening? And did I leave the oven on? And I'm also wondering about my emails, should I check my social media, there's all this noise that's going on. And if you're able to slow that down and zone in and focus on what's happening, then you're much more likely to build a true relationship with this person. And so we coached them on doing three areas of listening. So really listening to the words hearing every word, and particularly the words that people don't put much emphasis on because those might be the slightly hidden clues to their inner thoughts, as well as listening in to just the tone of voice if You didn't understand any word and you just heard the tone, what would you be picking up about this person? Because, you know, again, this, this, I always think, would the monks understand this communication. That's how I always think about my tone of voice, would they know how I was feeling right now, because when I was working with them, I had to be congruent. If I was trying to teach them the word excited, and I didn't sound excited or look excited, I could have been saying pineapple and they had no idea. So I always had to make sure that, that my tone was right. And so I coached people to think of that too. But also then to thoroughly notice the body language and not be thinking about, sometimes people have seen on the TV, they've heard that if you scratch your nose, it means you're lying. Or if you fold your arms, it means you're defensive, it doesn't, there's much more of a big picture that we need to be looking at in terms of someone's overall behavior, and then putting that together, and allowing them space to speak to us to connect with us taking it all in, and then thinking about what to what to say next.Kyle Roed:
I'm trying to mindfully pause right now, before I ask, because that resonated with me.Molly Burdess:
makes so much sense. You know, I've got to imagine that a lot of people's workplaces and life has changed so much since the pandemic. And a lot of this communication is now you know, online or through a screen, we don't have that interaction, like we used to have any more, and we're struggling a lot in our organization, that you're missing the tone. So people are taking what they're saying in entirely different ways. You know, what advice would you have in this in this new world, when you're not communicating person to person?Richard Newman:
Yeah, I think you're so right. And I think, you know, people right now is starving for human connection, where we used to have that opportunity where just around the watercooler or coffee breaks, you have that physical sense of being with people and rapport building. And we're really crying out for that. So we've been coaching people through the virtual communication, but also now hybrid communication, how do you connect with people who are in the room, and some of them are not in the room, as well as some people who are coaching, who are saying, I haven't been in a room with another human being for two years. And I used to know how to do it. And now I'm coming back into that piece. And so the biggest piece that we're working on with people is congruency is to make sure that their body language, their tone, their words, their facial expressions, that everything is going in the right direction. So we often ask people to think about this, where before they go into a meeting before you go into your next zoom call or team's call, because so many people are having 10 Zoom calls a day. Before you go into the next one, just consider this. How would you like these people to feel by the time the meeting finishes, and have that maybe write it down. And whenever you speak, have that as your focus for your body language, tone of voice words, facial expressions, know that that is what you are aiming towards. And by doing that, it gives you this congruent thread through your behavior that allows you to be much more likely to connect with them on an emotional level. Rather than showing up to a meeting and just sort of staying saying stuff and doing an update and so on. If you want to do that, you can just send them an email. The only reason we ever are on the phone with each other on a video call with each other or in person with each other. It's we're never there to give people information. We are there to give additional emotional information. We're there to emotionally connect with people and change the way they feel about what we're sharing with them. So if you're not doing those things, send the email if you are there, you've got to focus on that emotional connection.Molly Burdess:
It's really about being intentional, huh?Richard Newman:
Yeah, the intention can can truly change everything. And we also put this behind how people go into challenging situations to, I'm sure people listening in HR, you got to deal with some challenging conversations, challenging conflict, that may be coming up. And, you know, we coach people on major conflict resolution all over the world. And we have that we get a lot of people coming to us feeling very tense, and saying, Hey, look, this person is terrible at what they're doing at the moment. And, you know, could you teach me how to manipulate them into saying yes to something so they change their behavior. And we always say, Look, we're gonna go from the other direction, which is where we talk about the concept of lift. And lift simply means that if you have intention in your conversations, where you want to make sure that you lift the people who are there, so they move from a negative or a neutral state, to a more positive or useful state. That's the full intention for each inter action if you really want to be a great communicator. And so when you do that with conflict resolution, there's only really one way forwards, which is that you have to see the greatest version of that human being. Because they may be presenting you with a version of themselves that they're not proud of that they wouldn't behave like that in some different situations. And in order to bring them back to a better version of themselves, you have to believe it before they show it to you. And once they know that, you see that within them, they are much more likely to bring the best version of them to the meeting. And it may not be in an instant fix, but they will know that you saw them. And they will want to do it perhaps in the next meeting. So I'm sure everybody can think of this where you're going to have somebody in your life, which might be a grandparent, or it might have been your greatest teacher at school, someone who saw something extra in knew that you didn't know that you had. And they enabled you to grow into a better version of you. And for me to come back to where we started on this. You know, one of those people in my life was my hairdresser. I was just sitting there, I was just talking at the time I was, you know, working in a restaurant and just trying to get by in my life. And he saw something in me I didn't know I had. And at first I was like, I can't do this. There's this no way I can come and teach body language and that sort of thing to hairdressers. And he said, No, no, I see that this is part of you this is this is something that you can do. And because I stepped forward into that, then you know, I've had this amazing opportunity for these last couple of decades. So it's one of the greatest gifts that you can give to somebody today in a meeting is to see that greater version of them, and they may not thank you right away, but they will always feel thankful because you saw that.Kyle Roed:
Now, I just love that. And I think it's so powerful. And I'm thinking in the context of you know, our role as HR practitioners. Yeah, a lot of times we're not dealing with the fun stuff, right? We're Mark communication at times is conflict, you know, written because we're sometimes called in to try to reduce the conflict or try to, you know, mediate and moderate and I just, I remember so vividly early in my career. You know, I'm a person I like people to like me, you know, like, that's just one of my, one of my things, I'm kind of a people pleaser, naturally. And so going into a situation like that, you know, untrained for lack of a better word. The only way I could get through it was to put on like armor, like, literally, like, flip a switch and become a different person and become completely like, emotionless. And it was, it was like, a coping mechanism for me to, like, have somebody be mad at me, and be okay with, right. But, you know, the, the more I did that, the more I realized this is toxic, like, this is like, eating away at me, like I can't like, and, you know, I love the term lifts, and kind of that thought process of, you know, seeing someone's greatest version of themselves. And I'm gonna be very intentional about that going forward. But, you know, making it more human and making it more about the person and actually just being a good listener. And working through that. And being an allowing my emotions to come into the conversation for me, makes it a much more effective conversation. It doesn't make it any easier for me personally. But it makes the outcomes better. And, you know, ultimately, that's, you know, that's how I approach those situations now, but it's, it's hard, it takes intentional effort. Hazel has Yeah, so how do you how do you do that? Like, like, okay, when, when a client calls you, and they say, Richard, we're struggling, we got, you know, there's trust issues, we got, you know, I got a bunch of technical people that that don't, you know, don't know, communicate well, you know, how do you go into a client and help them work through these problems in a way that, you know, is kind of based upon your science and research? And, you know, where do you start? What do you diagnose? And how do you how do you tried it?Richard Newman:
Yeah, well, I think, you know, a lot of people will resonate with what you just said, about the way that a lot of people tend to cope is that they put on armor, and they go in, and they're not really being true to who they are. But they're putting up that front so they can protect who they are. And the challenge that comes up there is that we, we become what we what we repeatedly do, as people may have heard that phrase, and so if you're repeatedly putting on this armor, then actually, it's it, it spreads out to every part of your life, that it's shutting down part of your heart, your soul, however you want to think of it. And so we've got to make sure that we resist that version. So so what we do for people when we're working on this sort of piece is that there's strategies that we give them for going into the meeting for giving them a structure that they can use to flow through the meeting, so that they're allowing them to show up and the best version of other people to be there. But we also talked about lifting yourself before you go in. Because, you know, if you're dealing in a stressful role in HR, and you've got stress coming at you all All day, every day, by the time it gets to like Thursday afternoon, and then situation comes up, it could be that the best version of you is just not right there accessible to just go into a meeting. And so you've got to make sure that you are taking a moment for yourself, it doesn't have to be anything more than than a few minutes. But you need to take the time that you need, so that you are ready, you're centered, whether that is doing some breath work, we also talk about getting intrinsic validation. So you focus on your core values and principles, reminding yourself of who you are as a person, before you go in. It could be taking a walk, if you need that, doing some kind of visualization, we talk about creating future history, which is a popular term on really envisioning what part of you is going to show up for this meeting, seeing how you will act, how you will react. And the most important piece is to switch yourself from before you go into a meeting switching from the sympathetic nervous system to the parasympathetic nervous system. If you're going into a situation with stress, overwhelm fight or flight kind of reaction that's happening, then I'm sure everybody has done this, you go into the meeting, you'll say something that you regret, you come out and think why did I act like that? Well, that isn't me. And it's because there was no moment of grounding or centering yourself before you went in. So that you can show up as the version of you that you'll feel proud of. So we talked about getting that piece, right? So that then when you are in the meeting, that you're able to guide and flow the meeting so that other people are then resonating with your energy and more likely to come back to that space as you guide them through it. So there's so much that we share with people in that space, but that's where it has to begin with.Kyle Roed:
It's fascinating, you know, some of the advice I got early in my career was literally go in there and just act like you're putting on a bulletproof vest. Like that was like the that was like the advice I got, like, you know, and in retrospect, like, gosh, that was so that was so off, right? Yeah, I mean, there are readings that are not fun, and you need to like kind of buffer yourself against what's going to happen, but like, just like getting tense. And I mean, that's what we were doing. We were you know, fight or flight get ready to fight, you know, put on the vest and go in there. And you know, give it to ya, right. I mean,Molly Burdess:
you're absolutely right. So Kyle there. I mean, for most HR individuals and leaders for that fact, we go into this with with zero communication training. And I think, Richard, what you're saying is great advice. There's been so many times I just walk into a meeting or just run into a situation. And then after the fact, it's like, I wish I would have said this, I wish I would have brought that up. And I think if I would have taken that time at the beginning to really think you know about what I want the outcome to be and what I want, just taking the time to reflect on on what I want to say what have helped you that significantly?Richard Newman:
Yeah, it's great. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I would encourage people not to go down the bulletproof vest. Like you can come up with serious stress from that. There was there was actually someone we coached over in Ireland who was working in a big telecommunications company. And, you know, he was dealing with overwhelming stress, he'd been off work for months, working there in HR, because he, you know, people would come to him and he would take on board that stress and much like that vest approach, it was like he was being shut out all day long. And eventually, he just needed to take some some space away. So So we worked through a few strategies with him so that he could come back to work as the version of him that he used to be so that that that true version of him could be there. And it was it was just joyful to see him then smiling back at work. About a month later, we're working with some of his colleagues, and and see the relief that he was feeling through not taking on everybody else's stress, but having other ways to navigate the situation.Kyle Roed:
Absolutely. Absolutely. I think meat is really powerful, you know, powerful advice. And I think something that, you know, it's it's, as we talk about it here, it's so easy to understand how this works. It's a lot harder to actually do this day in and day out. And so I've got to believe that that's, you know, part of this is just is kind of realizing this is a journey, and that you need to continue to focus on this, right.Richard Newman:
Yeah, and just, you know, to put people's minds at rest, it's something that if you if you practice that this is where we like to coach with clients until they get to the point where they go, Oh, this is the new version of me. I'm here now I can do this, you know, to give people reassurance. I've gone from a position of being a shy child and highly introverted with high functioning autism to now being someone who gets paid to communicate for a living teaching communication skills. And so it was just about a matter of learning the strategies and practice practice. You know, much like if you learn how to play tennis, and you've never had a ball before you just you hit 1000 forehands and you get used to doing that until it becomes the way that you play The game. And the same goes with this. It's just about getting in one new habit per week. And then you build that up to a point where it's just who you are. So you who you are is really a changeable feast. So I don't want anyone to ever get stuck in that idea of this is who I am. Anything else isn't possible. What that means is, you know, that's your habits and your comfort zone. Anything that you want to become, you can absolutely get there. It's about stepping out of that comfort zone into a new habit until it becomes something that you feel is naturally part of you. And then you can grow some more.Kyle Roed:
Absolutely. Well, this has just been a wonderful conversation significantly appreciate all of the the contributions here and some of the content and certainly something that I'm going to reflect on personally. But we do want to shift shift gears a little bit, we're going to go into the rebel HR flash round. So three quick questions here. Question number one, what is your favorite people book?Richard Newman:
Well, my favorite people book is actually people watching by Desmond Morris. It's an old book now. But at the time, it was my Bible, and it is known as the Bible of nonverbal communication. It's about 500 pages long. It's not a it's not a page turner, I'll be honest with you. But for me, it was so fascinating because it was the greatest work of research on nonverbal communication of its day. And it's, you know, a couple of decades old, but I've, I've still got, it's actually up on the bookshelf just behind me review.Kyle Roed:
Perfect, we've not had that recommendation. So that's to check that one out. Question number two, who should we be listening to?Richard Newman:
Hmm, wow, that's I love how open that question is. Who should we be listening to? Well, I like to say, there's a little quiet inner voice inside of you that if you get quiet for a moment, that's a great voice to listen to. Because that is sometimes the higher part of you, that is noticing how you're heading in the wrong direction, and it wants to give you a nudge. And if you don't listen to it early on, the voice may need to get louder and louder until you do listen to it. But I'm not sure if that's really where your question was headed. Who else to listen to? I'm a huge fan of the Rich Roll podcast if you are interested in health, wellness and nutrition. He goes really deep. He does two hour long podcasts. And lots of well known people have been on there. And he's got an incredibly soulful way of speaking. And so a really interesting one to go and check out Rich Roll podcast.Kyle Roed:
Yeah, that question can be whatever you want it to be. So we've had people like bands and whatever else. So that's it. That's allMolly Burdess:
okay. Yeah, a great answer.Kyle Roed:
Yes. All right. Last question. How can our listeners connect with you?Richard Newman:
Well, the best place to find me and find my team is on UK body talk.com. UK body talk.com. And there's lots of resources on there. We've got resources, videos, and articles that are all free for people to go and check out. And you can also find me on LinkedIn is the main place that I'm on social media. So come find me on LinkedIn. I am Richard Newman speaks. And I'm also on Instagram, if you'd like being on Instagram, it's Richard Newman speaks.Kyle Roed:
Perfect. And we will have all that in the show notes. So open up your podcast player, click right in and you'll be able to get directly connected to Richard Richard. It's just been a wonderful conversation. Really appreciate the efforts and the research that you've done here. And all the people that you've helped thank you for some time today.Richard Newman:
Thanks so much. I've really enjoyed it.Kyle Roed:
Thank you. Thank you, though. All right, that does it for the rebel HR podcast. Big thank you to our guests. Follow us on Facebook at rebel HR podcast, Twitter, at rebel HR guy, or see our website at rebel human resources.com. The views and opinions expressed by rebel HR podcast are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any of the organizations that we represent. No animals were harmed during the filming of this podcast. Maybe