September 23, 2021

Meeting Topics 24 September 2021 – 8 October 2021 – Growth: Building a Strong Team at Home Means EVERYTHING Runs More Smoothly (even your business) By Justine Lamont – Verbal Communication – the Leadership Superpower By Diana Thomson

Meeting Topics 24 September 2021 – 8 October 2021 – Growth: Building a Strong Team at Home Means EVERYTHING Runs More Smoothly (even your business) By Justine Lamont – Verbal Communication – the Leadership Superpower By Diana Thomson

Meeting Topic

Introduction for meeting topic discussion:

This article is contributed by Justine Lamont of Good to Great Parenting. When we think about ‘leadership’, we often think about being the boss at work. But ‘leadership’ applies just as much at home! If we are being good leaders at home and the relationships THERE are good and healthy, our ability to be good leaders at work becomes even greater.

As you construct your 60-second introduction, read the article and consider sharing the successful strategies YOU use for bringing good leadership to your home so that those relationships in turn support you to be a good leader at work.

Building a Strong Team at Home Means EVERYTHING Runs More Smoothly (even your business) By Justine Lamont

Do you work proactively in a calm, alert and focused way at work only to find that when you get home it’s a different matter? When we are not in charge at home it drains our energy and affects our ability to function well in both places. I know how this feels – before I had kids I worked as a lawyer in an office, and when I asked people to do things they would do it – without argument!

That all changed when I had a baby and an impulsive and gorgeous pre-schooler.

It was learning parenting skills that helped me to understand how good leaders use their energy. They set things up to go well, rather than reacting when it doesn’t. I found ways to be a calm, alert and focused leader at home and now I work with others to do the same.

What do you notice about how you feel at work and how you feel at home? If I was a fly on the wall at your place, what would I see? Would I see you being a leader? Whether you are a parent or not, there are things that a good leader does to keep things going smoothly at work and at home:

We are the leader

As adults the quality of the relationships we have with others depends on our communication skills and our perspective-taking ability. This applies no matter the age of the person we are in a relationship with. It’s even more important to take the lead with our children, who have immature brains.

Leaders build strong teams by increasing awareness of the things they pay attention to. This requires a deliberate change in what we typically do at home. Parents tend to spend energy focusing on all the things our children can’t do. We don’t just do it with our kids, we do it with other adults too. It’s such an ingrained habit that we can find ourselves repeatedly asking our partner to do things like unload the dishwasher, and when they don’t we feel resentful. If our default position sounds like this:

“You always leave clothes lying around or “You never put the bins out” we are leaning towards this negative habit.

When we do this too much it causes disconnection and weakens the team.

Parents tell me all the time “I would say good things if I could find anything good to say.” I’m going to challenge you to look harder. There are things that are going well. Turn it around and find ways to build connection.

When was the last time you said this?

“I like the way you helped me carry in the shopping bags without me asking you, that was so helpful.”


“I loved the way you took out the rubbish without moaning.”

Maybe you think I just don’t have time to do this. I am a busy person running my business and people just have to do it. The problem is that when we keep on doing it the way we have always done it, we are going to get the same results. It’s not only ineffective, it drains us and we won’t have as much energy for work either.

Research on negative and positive interactions in relationships by John Gottman from the Gottman Institute shows that in order to feel good and be motivated, we need to hear five positives to each negative comment. This is known as the Magic Ratio. Outside of conflict discussions, successful couples had an even higher positive-to-negative ratio—20:1. Having a ratio below 5:1 within conflict became one of the many potential divorce indicators found in the Gottman research. So, when it comes to helping things go more smoothly at home can we afford NOT to pay attention to what is going well?

The choice to pay attention to what we want to see more of is a deliberate one. The more we pay attention to what is going well the more cooperation we will get and the stronger our team will be.

You can learn more about the effective strategies Justine uses with her clients here:

Next Meeting Topic

Introduction for meeting topic discussion:

This article is contributed by Diana Thompson of SpeechMarks. Speaking in public can send people into a state of panic but it is something we all need to conquer in a work environment.

As you construct your 60-second introduction, read the article and share with your group how you use verbal communication and speaker opportunities to raise the profile of your business.

Verbal Communication – the Leadership Superpower By Diana Thomson


To be a leader in a community, business, not for profit or corporation, strong verbal communication skills are essential.

Moving from management to leadership takes many different traits and soft skills. Multiple bodies of research have shown that as we move from manager level to leadership, our reliance on technical skills and use of them decreases and soft skills increases. The most important is communication and even more specifically verbal communication. This is because leaders speak to multiple people or groups everyday, adjusting their style and content accordingly. From one-on-one meetings and phone calls all the way to large industry conferences. If a person is known as a good speaker, they are likely to be asked to present at company functions, industry events and hence gain visibility and credibility.

At the height of leadership speaking are those who inspire and motivate. Very rarely have people been inspired by a letter or an email. What truly inspires people is the way a person speaks, connects and gains the audience’s trust. Hence Inspirational or Motivational speakers are some of the highest paid in the world such as Tony Robbins, Brian Tracey, numerous sporting legends and of course the gorgeous Jess Quinn!

Multiple surveys pre-and-post Covid have confirmed that confident communication skills are essential to leadership. They support communicating company vision, persuading and influencing, proposing strategic thinking and pitching new ideas. Larger businesses usually ensure managers are ‘put on a course,’ but if you are a small business owner or owner/operator, you may overlook it.

The What

Figure out what you need to work on. Here are a few aspects that are guidelines for what you may need to develop.

Some Characteristics of a Speaker who Leads

  • Motivates and leads teams with encouraging language
  • Can present to a large group or on stage
  • Can tell meaningful stories
  • Has impactful memorable messages
  • Uses Sticky messages when needed
  • Can deal with interruptions, questions or disagreements
  • Listens to feedback and to others

First, develop your confidence to speak up in common situations that arise. Venus Businesswomen is great for this because every fortnight you have a safe and supportive environment to do this. But put the extra effort in and actually have a pre-written, well practised opening and closing to your one minute promo. Then work on your delivery. There’s a well-used phrase in public speaking: There is no such thing as a boring topic only a boring delivery.

A confident speaker could make preparing breakfast sound exciting and fun. While an inexperienced speaker can make six minutes feel like a lifetime.

So practice and rehearse your one minute promo delivery and don’t forget to prepare the classic elevator pitch. You will never be considered a leader in your field or industry if you cannot speak confidently about yourself and what you do.

Your use of pauses, varying pace and changes in tonality (usually just called vocal variety) are essential for an interesting and engaging delivery. Do you speak in a monotone, do you lack energy or do you speak at one very fast pace to get it over and done with? Then make vocal variety your priority.

Confident body language and facial expressions that are appropriate are also part of ensuring the delivery looks confident, is engaging and interesting.

Longer speeches and presentations 

People often find that a short speech is harder to deliver than a longer one. 10 minutes of verbal brain dump (or conversation) is natural, as opposed to a carefully planned well-structured five minute presentation. Editing and cutting extra padding out can be one of the hardest skills to master. If PowerPoint or a slide deck is used then “Death by PowerPoint” is a no-no as it will instantly devalue your content and reputation. Make sure that you follow the current trends of a few words in a very large font, high quality pictures, icons and simplistic graphics that make up a cohesive slide deck.

Try to have a basic understanding of the DISC profiling system or an equivalent. These help you learn and spot different personality styles and the way they prefer to be communicated with. This helps you know whether you should be directed and to the point or focus on a more social approach or maybe explain things in detail and allow time for responses.


Find an option that suits your needs, location and budget. Toastmasters International is the most recognised and well known worldwide club system. While there are 100s in New Zealand, so there is likely to be one near you, it is very much a case of ‘buyer beware’. The quality of Clubs varies, depending on the Club members and current leaders. And remember, both good and bad techniques and habits can be passed on.

Books – As the Author of Anyone Can Speak Confidently, it will sound strange that I say you will get very limited improvement from reading a book.  But the truth is you have to get out there and speak. Hence Toastmasters does work.  But there is also a range of books and many won’t be applicable because you actually don’t aim to “Present like Steve Jobs”.  As one client said to me “I just don’t want to make a dick of myself”.

There are also women’s speaking clubs or courses, such as Speaker Sisterhood or She Says So, these have a familiar female vibe, where you can feel more comfortable to reveal personal content that makes fantastic speeches. Many community or interest groups will allow you a chance to speak, as does Venus Businesswomen with the 6-minute Spotlight for members, these are great practice grounds.

Workshops are very popular. Make sure they help you build your confidence, require you to speak multiple times and deliver speeches.

Speaking well is an essential business skill but an even more essential leadership skill. There is no better time to make it your priority than now. Commit to small steps and then schedule a course or workshop to accelerate your public speaking skills and confidence. I know through my own experience and from helping 100s of others that Anyone Can Speak Confidently.

Diana Thomson is an international speaker, author and speaking coach. You can read more about her at www.speech and find out about the ‘She Says So’ speaking club here:

Original blog here

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