How we listen to others and ourselves is the key to problem solving for both organisations and individuals.
What about my journey? A packed road map with over twenty years of listening experience.
I grew up in Dublin, trained as a lawyer and quickly discovered the joy of advocacy. I honed my public speaking skills and got to grips with how to use language in a formal setting, learning how to advocate on behalf of other people. I discovered I really enjoyed working with my voice.
My sister dared me to send a show-reel to Channel 4 Television, we were big fans. Never known to duck a dare from "big sis", I did and a year later Channel 4 called. I moved to the U.K. into the world of media becoming the first Irish Voice Over Artist for Channel 4 Television, scripting and delivering conversations on behalf of Channel 4 to the UK and Ireland. I also lent my dulcet tones to OK magazine, Paco Rabanne, 20th Century Fox, Kerry Gold Butter and Sony Pictures.
Soon I had my own family and as my kids grew up, the challenge of listening at home kept raising it's head and the ease with which I was avoiding listening to loved ones began to bother me.I didn't have the presence of mind to tackle it back then. Eight years ago I had a moment. Mainly through the experience of very challenging relationships with my family, and some difficult relationships at work, I realised that I am the consequence of my listening skills.
I threw myself into researching and building expertise around that very subject. I've been working with organisations and individuals fine tuning bespoke services with the end goal of leaving a legacy of attentive listening. It’s through the power of attentive listening that both organisations and individuals can grow.
At Channel 4 an impromptu conversation led to a corporate disability and diversity drive with real on air results. It was something other UK channels tried to imitate and a reminder to the public of Channel 4’s brand: "Born To Be Different". Attentive listening allowed me to embrace, explore and make that happen.
I’ve recently worked with Guinness and Meatopia, at the Open Gate Brewery in Dublin. The drive here was to have great conversations around Guinness and food. In hosting the event, I navigated the most amazing conversations, listening attentively to brewers and chefs from around the world and was central to the desired outcome, that Guinness and Meatopia’s joint venture became one of the most talked about events of the year.
For individuals I’ve seen first hand both in myself and others, how attentive listening can optimise your personal and working life, help with confidence, build human connection, compassion and mutual respect. Listening makes you happier and healthier. Speaking of health, it would be remiss not to mention Covid. I caught Covid, coma for 6 days, intubated and ventilated. From my hospital bed the value of good listening was brought home to me quite starkly. The odds were low and saying goodbye to my family just before going under was the hardest conversation I’ve ever had. It took all of my listening skills to get through it in the healthiest way for me and more importantly for them.
I deliver motivational talks on the power of attentive listening, most recently for the NHS. View my video here.
I also write and deliver a series of communication modules for the Higher Education Sector, each one grounded in the need to learn the skills to engage in attentive listening.
I present a live radio chat show every Saturday from 18:00 for Maritime Radio for Greenwich and Kent.