GHC14: Communicating for Impact and Influence Workshp

Blogging from GHC14 session: Communicating for Impact and Influence Workshop, Facilitated by Denise Brosseau (For detailed workshop description please see end of post)

Nothing seems more important in today’s workplace than having great communication skills. The difficulty lies with the fact that not everyone is a great communicator, as well, men and women tend to communicate differently. This can have an impact on an individual especially for women in a workplace with majority men.

Drawn by curiosity and the desire to learn some tips and tricks to becoming a better communicator, was what led me to this workshop. I definitely wasn’t disappointed and learned a great deal.

I really loved how Denise started right away with getting participants actively involved in the workshop.   She asked, “Excellent communication skills are a gift… why?”

Some thoughts included:

  • not something everyone has
  • (something you) give to other people
  • (it is something that) works two ways
  • (the) influence and impact important on the receiving end
  • (make for a) healthy work environment
  • builds confidence
  • people want to listen to what you want to say
  • build credibility
  • opens up more opportunities (like advancement)

Following this Denise went into our agenda for the workshop “What is Effective Communication?”:

Prepare – 5 Biggest Mistakes BEFORE

Present – 5 Biggest Mistakes DURING 

Prevail – 5 Biggest Mistakes AFTER

5 BOLD steps you will take

Agenda for the workshop.

Agenda for the workshop.

This was followed up by an activity, with a new person at our table we were to “Think of someone in your life who made a big impression on you.” And discuss, “How did they make you feel, think or act differently?” noting also that nowhere did this say the impression had to be positive or negative.

Activity 1, think about and share.

Activity 1, think about and share.

This really allowed us the opportunity to talk with others and realize that the strong communicators we know are Inspiring & Informing us, and that in turn we should then be able to do this to others. Key people who inspire and inform us in our lives include:

  • Teachers
  • Colleagues
  • Family Member
  • Minister or Religious Figure
  • Something that you read

Another important take-away and food for thought was:

“How would your life change if you could influence and inspire more effectively.”

Denise then presented us with her Communications Checklist, which was discussed in detail throughout the rest of the workshop between more partnered and group activities:

Communications Checklist

Communications Checklist

Communications Checklist printed

Communications Checklist printed

“The first thing to do is to prepare but a lot of people don’t – they wing it. People know it, but how often do we implement and do it?”

Pondering this for a while an open discussion led to the question: “Why don’t women pitch the really big ideas (why guys pitch bigger ideas than we do)?”

“Women push out achievable first before something bigger.”

Starting at A, we (women) only will go to and see E as feasible, guys will say they’ll go to Z anyway. These are reasons why we don’t get funding; we see the realistic limitations.

However others take it as, women:

  • Don’t see the inspiration
  • See it as a lack of confidence
  • Not being able to have wiggle room
  • Lack of creativity – we all know we’ll get to E
  • Lack of risk taking

As women we don’t take enough risks and investors see only what they can make out of it:

  • why get to e when everyone else can
  • likely hood of return is better if go with Z

This makes us seem less capable.

A recommended read was the article “Women and the vision thing” (I plan to find and read it later).

  • Women believe spreading a big vision is seen as lying where as guys say its vision
  • Guys will pitch amazing ideas, even though there is no way the guy is going to get there, but people get excited about it, and want to get onboard
  • People do not excited when a small idea is pitched.
  • If more of us can pitch the big vision then reach for the stars, it will change things if more can.
  • It is also related to lack of self-confidence.

Something we can do now, is to start applying with 60% – let old thinking go and adopt new thinking.


A few more activities were done throughout the workshop and more detailed discussions had but to keep this post from being too long I’ll highlight a few more things, starting with the last activity which I enjoyed the most:

“Let’s Amplify each other”. In groups of three we took turns stating our proposal (person 1) to potential employer (person 2), while another amplified the proposal and the person making the proposal (person 3).

For example: Person 1 is asking for funding and explaining why they should get it from person 2, person 3 endorses and enhances what person 1 says to person 2.

After participants discussed what they liked about this:

  • Positive energy to be around people who can and will do this.
  • Now someone reinforced this feel you can do it, must be true.
  • Good to do this in environment without the pressure.
  • Let go voices of other people in our heads.
  • Let other people do this.
  • Brag others, makes us much more likable leader.
  • Listening and amplifying what others around us do.
  • People like to be around people listening what to do and amplify each other, “take a wing woman with you.”


The next slide appeared and we were asked “When you wake up and look in the mirror, do you see a cat or a lion?” and hands shot up around the room. It was very interesting to see how many women in the room put their hands up to cat.  Shocking really. But we need to work on changing this to more lions.

Do you see the cat or lion in the mirror?

Do you see the cat or lion in the mirror?

Some encouraging words:

“Let’s Make Better Mistakes Tomorrow.”



“Failure doesn’t even really exist. If something doesn’t go the way you planned, and you learn from it, that’s just called learning. That’s not really failure.

Failure is if you keep doing the same wrong things over and over; then you’re not really making progress.

Otherwise, it’s just learning –

And learning is good!

So, if your goal is to learn as much as possible, rather than not to fail, then you can keep going, going, going.” – Hank Leber CEO, GonnaBe

Wise words on failure.

Wise words on failure.

“There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” – Madeleine Albright



How can you help someone else Prepare, Present, and Prevail?

What can we do? :)

What can we do? 🙂

I personally highly enjoyed the interactive workshop.  I was able to take a lot from it; some helpful tips to better prepare, present and prevail with communication tasks.  It was great to hear so many others in the rooms view points, experiences, and how similar many of them were.


Communicating for Impact and Influence Workshop (October 8th, 2014)

Track: Leadership Workshop
 For: Early-Mid Career Industry
Facilitator: Denise Brosseau
, CEO, Thought Leadership Lab

To get ahead in today’s workplace; women must develop their skills as highly effective communicators. Whether you need to craft winning emails, answer that oft-asked question ‘what do you do?’ or present your ideas to higher-ups, how you present your ideas (and yourself) can mean the difference between creating a reputation as an influential leader or being overlooked or easily sidelined. In this workshop, Denise Brosseau, will share some actionable strategies for Preparing, Presenting & Prevailing as Influential Communicators. She will also share the templates and strategies of some of the world’s best communicators – including top-rated TED presenters, platform speakers and best-selling authors.


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