EP #0011 Kate Barker
#storytellerjewels Welcome to the telling of story podcast, I’m your host, Storyteller Jewels and along with my guests, it’s my endeavour to explore the art and science of storytelling to attract, engage and retain a business audience and to unpack why it works for some and not for the many that try this week I have the pleasure of talking with Kate Barker, listen in as she answers the question, how do you go from expert in your field to world renowned speaker, talking on stages all over the world.
Kate Barker It’s really about putting yourself out there, taking risks uh seeking out the challenges and the opportunities that may rattle your cage both personally and professionally.
#storytellerjewels Kate barker is a globally recognized chief HR leader future of work expert and an awarded authority in talent management, leadership development and people and technology advancements. Kate’s career spans three decades. Working with clients such as Microsoft, Virgin Deloitte and Google, just to name a few. Kate has been a regular feature on future of work, a keynote speaker and publishes on topics on digital technology disruption, innovative talent strategies, inclusive cultures, and workforce transformations at HR summits and executive roundtable globally. Kate was invited to attend Harvard’s Women’s in Leadership program and recently commenced her PhD in Women and leadership at UCL Kate is both a dynamic engaging speaker and insightful expert advisor and a proud champion for diversity and inclusion and if that wasn’t enough Kate is a seven time marathoner who loves to cook, dance and sing despite herself confessed complete lack of talent at all three. Kate, welcome to the show.
Kate Barker Thanks Jewels, Good to see you again.
#storytellerjewels Nice to see you now Kate, you’ve got an incredible bio and a rich history in your background but I just wanted to start with for myself and for the audience. What is the future of work expert?
Kate Barker I work with organizations and governments globally around the world, consulting them with them on how to create an organization that’s prepared for the future of work. And we look at things like policies and procedures. We look at how the organizational culture is adapting. We certainly look at work and workplaces and how work is done as we look at organizations that have adopted digital transformation and now what does this look like in terms of how we need to live and work? So there’s been some really exciting transformations that organizations have gone through and I help advise them around what are some leading practices in this place and some areas to be mindful of to make sure they remain quite competitive and navigate some of the risks.
#storytellerjewels So does that include creating a strategy, you know, how far in the future would you be looking at when you’re working with these organizations? Is something that’s sort of a work in progress that we’re always thinking about, you know, this year, next year or is it more about what does the next five years, 10 years, 15 years look like?
Kate Barker Typically I look at around 2-3 years no more and we know because the industry work is changing so rapidly if we’ve got a good view around two maximum three years, I know in the past would often have conversations around five and 10 years strategies. But what we’ve seen typically two from the last two years is that things are significantly shifted far faster than we’d ever expected. So you know, 2-3 strategy. And we typically talk about reviewing that regularly and that could be every month and every quarter going back to review incest. So we look at running more pilot type programs, reviewing, getting the data amending and going back out and doing it again.
#storytellerjewels So you mentioned the last two years and obviously we’re sort of two years into the lovely COVID-19 pandemic. How has that dramatically changed the way we do it Because obviously there’s been a hell of a lot of work from home type situations and clearly that has accelerated things like the ability to use zoom in, you know, and other platforms in in almost every situation where it’s traditionally been face to face, what else have you seen or what have you experienced over that period and what has accelerated a little more than you possibly thought was possible?
Kate Barker Yeah, it’s interesting. We certainly saw in 2020 the mad scramble to say to zoom and we saw a lot of organizations that hadn’t started the digital transformation journey, get on board with that pretty quickly. And then we saw those organizations that had started to ramp up the efforts. So 2020 was really that scramble around getting digital transformations launched or evolved much faster to accommodate this workforce that was now primarily lockdown at home working from home. In terms of that we also saw in 2020 some working from home policies come out and obviously some covid principles across organizations but we were all really a deer in the headlights. This is all quite new. In 2021 we saw organizations start to now think about what do they need to do to start to create some flexibility and agility in their organizations regarding their workforce. We saw some organizations straight go to streamlining and back down to redundancies laying off staff and we saw the other organizations ramp up their activities, creating work from home policies as standard. In 2021 we saw this whole debate regarding do we work from home or do we work from the office? And we saw that Rolling on for what was a good 6-12 months as organizations implemented the policy and then took it away and then implemented as new variations of the COVID came through. But what I’m seeing, what we need to start to focus on is no longer actually thinking about working in the moment, we actually need to think about completely looking at this in a different lens to say as well. What do we want to be known for and how do we create an employee value proposition that’s more compelling than oscillating between hybrid working or not and what we’re seeing now is organizations that are being quite innovative in this space, starting to create new ideas radically shifting away from how work was done in the past two completely new ways of working. And that really excites me and I’ll tell you what excites me really jewels from. The reason is that we’ve been working in a space for as long as I know and I’ve been in this world now in a professional capacity for three decades. That is really created privilege for a very few. And that has really been around. We want you to commute to a workplace, we’re going to put you in an office, we want you head down with a manager overseeing your work and then we’re going to let you go and leave the opposite the end of the day and commute all the way home. Now, that works well for people who live in major cities, people that are able to get to and from the office quite easily with access and transport and realize well on people being able to sit for long periods of time in a controlled environment. Now that is a very small part of the population. The idea that we can now move into the future work and why I’m so passionate about it is that we get to be able to open up the workforce to all those people have missed out on those opportunities. And we’re talking about people from right around the world that doesn’t need to come into a head office to work those perhaps that are managing disabilities that can’t come into the office and those people that perhaps perhaps like to work in different ways of working that like the freedom and the creativity about how they do their jobs. So we’re opening up opportunities now for a much larger workforce to participate in actually being able to give back to society to their organizations, to their own families. And I think I’m passionate about seeing what great ideas, what inspiration, what new ways of learning that section of the population that’s missed out for some years gets sick can contribute.
#storytellerjewels I’m a massive advocate from working from home. I’ve been doing it for the last decade and I think, you know, maybe I’m an early adopter perhaps, um but with that, as you describe that has allowed me personally to do work all over the globe, you know, for various companies everywhere, because it doesn’t matter where I am because obviously it’s about at a consulting level, it’s really all about, you know, producing something and having an outcome. So if you’re able to commit to those outcomes in a, you know, in a time period that satisfactory, who cares where you do it from, who cares what time you do it at, whether you want to do it at midnight or whether you want to do it on a weekend is up to entirely up to you, as long as the output is. Right? So all of that’s super exciting and I love what you’ve just said there, where it allows people from all walks of life, doesn’t matter where they are, doesn’t doesn’t negate them from being part of the conversation, which is awesome. What I don’t quite understand how we’re going to address or this area to be addressed is how does it shift the cultural element of the working in the office environment? You know when you do go into into an office and you meet people face to face, it’s a very different experience and it builds a quite a tight, can build quite a tight culture around the people because as we know, companies are really about the people and not about the company brand itself. Right. How are we looking at or how are you addressing the idea of the cultural shift when it comes to building a culture within a company?
Kate Barker Yeah, look, it’s really important and that social connectivity that we have with our workforce, Our employees is really key. The way we address this is through leadership development leaders have typically being able to lead with physical bodies in front of them, they’ve been typically be able to communicate, convey their message and being able to lead an environment where they’re demonstrating a role modeling. A lot of the behaviors and a lot of these behaviors are usually more subtle than our people pick up what we’re teaching now, leaders is to be more flex more agile in their own style of leadership. So this may mean is that you may need to develop your leader, your leaders in ways that you can communicate with those who prefer to work from home for those that are quite happy to work from a screen and given a deadline and like a high degree of autonomy, leave them alone, let them do what they want, empower them. This is how they work. You may also have someone who wants to be close to you, who wants the attention, who needs monitoring, likes the mentoring of their work and like someone to being part of their team. They might also have someone that works globally in a different language and there’s language barriers or country barriers or time differences. We’re asking now leaders to really step up and what skills do they need to lead in a myriad of different types of employees and how they like to work. Now, that is mind blowing, mind blowing in many ways, you know, how do they just in the moment On the moment, all day to say, actually, if I’ve got a team of typically say 12-15 is the ideal size of the direct report team, how do I manage that group and then how do I bring them all together at one point because we do need to come together as a team. So then those skills need to be actually built down into the team to say how does the team need to come together collectively and start to look at as peers? How do we work in that space and that becomes equally important Now these skills and we talk about, you know, EQ skills, we talked about the ability to manage flexibility, agility and the team communication skills all wrapped up in a setting where we’re also looking at leaders own well being because we know they’re going through this personal experience themselves, we are all human and often we point to our leaders as being the problem that the leaders themselves are going through these situations themselves. So how do we actually get them around how they need to do this while also looking after their own well being? So some of this is about developing those leaders to better manage up as well.
#storytellerjewels It’s I think it’s one of those, you know, it’s an evolving environment, right? We’re all learning as we go and I think it will be super interesting to see What the next 2-2 to 5 years looks like now that we’ve had this accelerated reason to go forward much quicker then we have a could, I mean the technology itself has been around for a long time, the the decision to do, you know, to use that technology in this way was always held back for whatever reason, you know, it’s probably a myriad of reasons why we’d never got, never quite got there in the past, but I’m super excited about where it’s heading and what it might look like and you know, with technology too, I think because of the accelerated use of the technology, I think that’s also going to accelerate the Innovation in the technology as well. So what we’re using today, you know, this two dimensional sort of zoom environment in 2-5 years time might be a lot more three dimensional perhaps um which you know, again changes the experience and brings people closer together. I do love what you said there about the leaders having to adapt per person, I guess to be flexible and understand each individual as an individual and it’s not a sort of one size fits all. And I can imagine that would be quite stressful and quite challenging for a lot of people. So it would be interesting again to see How leaders step up into that sort of space. And on the other side of that coin is, you know, potentially it takes it from being a 9-5 kind of leadership role to potentially being a all hours leadership role with the flexibility for the leader themselves built in to their environments and their times timeframes. So it will be in a really interesting space, I’m super excited and what I love about that space more is that because we are now having work at home, we’re going into people’s living rooms.
Kate Barker So we’re starting to see people’s background stories around their life. So instead of having that what the coolest situation at work where we’d ask them how their families, we can actually peer into their lives and actually see what’s going on behind the scenes and it brings to mind that great situation that only happened a few months ago with Jacinta Ardern doing a video call globally across new Zealand and she’s got here a two year old calling out money because the two year old is meant to be in bed and here she’s thinking she’s got a quiet time after bedtime stories that she can now get online and have this global call. So I think what it tells us though and what’s really key is that we have a greater understanding for the whole of the person and that it’s not just this minute part that we bring to work, which is very important and very critical to what we do to feel utilized, but we’re bringing the whole person and that background story which includes kids and families and the elderly and living circumstances that change and I think that makes our conversations and our relationships even richer and I think that’s the important part if not the silver lining to Covid.
#storytellerjewels I love that because you’re right working in an office you put on a suit, you turn up at 9:00 or whatever time and you put this work facade on and that’s who you are, right. And you know, sometimes you don’t know much about their personal lives at all. You have a great, you might have a great relationship in the office but you really don’t know too much about them other than, you know, maybe their partner’s name and that’s about as far as it goes, right? So that’s super exciting and you’re right, that would only enrich our relationship. So that’s definitely a positive in the cultural element too, isn’t it?
Kate Barker Yeah, absolutely, absolutely.
#storytellerjewels Just changing tact a little bit. So how do you go from HR person Um you know, 20 odd years ago to HR expert, what’s that journey look like and sound like and what you know, what did it entail for you?
Kate Barker Yeah, look, it’s a really great, great question. And I’ve been working in HR leadership roles across Australia for some time and was really looking at how do I work closely with the organization and the leaders to really create sustainable at that stage? A lot of practices and processes across organizations, driving performance, maintaining engagement, reducing attrition levels, very structured around puppies. But what I found more and more were two things and the first one is that the leaders were really struggling around what they were required to do as leaders. Um and there was really no handbook for them for how to manage or navigate some of the challenging times that these organizations were also experiencing and to that some of these practices and processes while important were rigorous and overly structured that only accommodated a few and they really lacked the gray shade of the conversation that we engage with people that really makes most these conversations important. So what I really got to the stage then is working in more around leadership development, which is a course, I went through with PWC and developing partners globally for PWC, which was a phenomenal experience. Even down to the stage, is setting up my executive coaching and leadership development business out of Australia. From what was then is throwing myself in the deep end of my one bedroom bronte apartment and going for it. Um setting up a multimillion dollar executive coaching, leadership development business around the world and my first client happened to be Virgin Richard Branson, which you ever thought you were going to jump off the pier and go for it. That was certainly going to be my case, which was phenomenal, but I really got into the space of going actually, instead of rolling out repeated what they say is world class bank practices about HR that are fundamentally not shifting attrition levels are fundamentally not really moving engagement levels and are fundamentally really not addressing the diversity issue. What do we need to do differently? Well, we had all this technology coming through, there was a lean towards how do we implement the technology? A lot of the focus then at that stage was around what is this silver bullet that’s going to solve all our problems and a lot of excitement around this fantastic technology but really wasn’t integrated with HR at that point really wasn’t actually paced around well what is it in an organization that we want to create? So instead of a lot of these outdated HR policies and practices and the new shiny bullet of technology, how could we bring those two together under the lens of well, what do we want to redesign our organization to do That coupled with in a parallel process going on is the rise of the tech organizations and fundamentally re shifting regarding how we’re going to work on what we’re going to do. So the wealth had been moved away from what is typically oil and gas industry is more into tech. So how we created wealth and an organization was going to be moving very differently coupled with a rising millennial workforce and I’ve never seen anything like it. Like I have in asia, these guys are hungry to learn are all over it are the first to raise their hand and asked numerous questions to get ahead of the game. They are passionate, enthusiastic and on mass. So these these future leaders and what we’re certainly seeing is millennial Ceo is coming through the park line now will be the next wave of how we’re going to work and what we’re going to do coupled with the millennial workforce. We then see areas around the rise of how we want to use technology. So the way that we use technology in our personal lives and how we consume that right is usually through our iphones on an app and we have delivery services here in the anything particularly can be delivered within an hour. Um and we like to engage and use that as a consumer and then we get into a work environment and we find that we’re given updated iphones or laptops or things that don’t particularly work and go, well, how am I meant to do a great job when this is so difficult for me to work? So we’re paying people well but not really giving them the tools they needed to do it. So I came into a space of going, well, how can we make this make more sense? And if this is the opportunity for me to radically change and help organizations shift to how we can make work one more enjoyable for more, more inclusive and more productive. Well, we’ve got to be heading to something good so that lead into becoming an expert.
#storytellerjewels I’m always curious, you know, kind of chicken and egg kind of question is do you make the conscious decision to become an expert and then therefore they go looking for speaking opportunities or do you subconsciously, you know, you’re an expert in your field and therefore doing a great job and then you’re, you know that in turn attracts people who say, hey, would you like to come and speak to, you know, in front of our organization? So was it conscious or did it just happen by default?
Kate Barker I think it’s actually a nature of my personality. I’m inherently curious and I love experiences. So my career has really been around developing myself my experience and my learning to constantly learn around what’s going to be the growth of the area that I want to develop. So going in and working for some of the tech firms has developed my own technology skills so much so is that when I started working with clients and one of my superpowers is my client relationship skills is I started to be able to relate to those clients to understand well what is the problem they’re trying to address and how we’re going to find solutions around it. And so being a trusted confidante, using my executive coaching skills in this space, really being able to consult with clients around what do we need to be doing in this area? Building those relationships, spending time with people solving their most challenging problems in a trusted confidence space really gave me a network of contacts and relationships with people globally and that was really what I value and enjoy what I do the most and based on that it was an opportunity where I was approached by one of my clients, funnily enough out of Australia who asked me to go, would you be interested in doing some work for us in new Orleans? Saudi Arabia Of course, kate is always open to experiences what better than a woman that’s passionate, passionate around leadership development, Loves consulting and loves the biggest mega project that you have done to find globally, which is a $500 billion dollar futuristic city in the middle of Saudi Arabia. Um looking at putting together a team of course this would be amazing what it came down to and further conversations with the client. What they were looking for was really someone as an expert. I can consult with someone that they can have those quiet conversations to go, where do we need to go and can you advise us and what we need to do. So this is an opportunity where I packed up what was 90 kg of luggage if you can imagine me coming from Singapore to Saudi Arabia with bags and bags of luggage on a Singapore Airlines flight ready to hit the Middle East in an area that I’ve never worked before in a country that was restricted by visas, women working was unheard of in the space and the capacity that I was in ready to take on this new project advising, essentially the crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and the executive new and green eyed completely. It was frightening at all sense, but also exhilarating. I arrived with a bear that I had borrowed from one of the leadership team that sent to me ready to check into a hotel. And of course if you’ve been to Saudi airport, you arrive as blue eyes, blonde hair, long blonde hair. So I stand out and amongst a sea of black bears and the Middle Eastern culture. So that was certainly exciting. So putting myself into extreme circumstances, I think to learning and evolve and adapt is really key for the sake of taking on new, exciting challenges while being able to draw on my expertise as a consultant in this space I think has been really rewarding. So it’s really about putting yourself out there, taking risks, seeking out the challenges and the opportunities that may rattle your cage both personally and professionally.
#storytellerjewels So what I’m hearing there is go that little step or step or two further than perhaps you’re comfortable with. But with a background and a conviction of self knowing that you’ve got to where you are because of your experiences, because of the situations you’ve put yourself in the past and all you’re really doing is layering those experiences on top of each other and by pushing those boundaries that opens up those opportunities that perhaps you wouldn’t have come across or you wouldn’t have been made available to should you have, you know, stood back and perhaps waited for those to come to you.
Kate Barker Yeah, exactly. And I carry with a mindset around um and experience carry it as an experience and a life well lived, full of life experiences. Um and that’s when I’ll know I’ll be satisfied. So continue to seek out those experiences and to challenge your own level of ability, I think in many ways, um while holding a soft, high degree of self efficacy. But yeah, I mean an incredible experience being certainly in that environment.
#storytellerjewels So you’re a advocate for women and leadership and obviously, you know, putting a lot of effort in both your personal side, but at an industry level as well, what advice would you give to? You know, young women perhaps that are coming up through the ranks that, you know, look at you and think, wow, that’s just a little maybe that’s a little bit too far out of my comfort zone. Or how do I get into a position like you, given that, you know, you put yourself perhaps in one of the most difficult women in leadership positions, in the regard that you’ve just described in Saudi, you know, what kind of advice would you give to somebody listening to this gang? I’d love to do it, but I’m, you know, I’m scared to hell
Kate Barker I’d do it anyway, step off the edge, trust your judgment degree of self efficacy and go for it. What I would certainly say is you don’t get the experience. And I use this analogy, you don’t get better at yoga unless you’re on the yoga mat. So you’re not going to improve until you’re actually doing it. So get out there and try. I certainly keep a high level of sense of self awareness. I check my environment and I check feedback and emotional cues from others that I’m around and that will give you feedback in the moment of what you may need to change or adjust. And that is a great way from an intentional learning capacity that we need to focus on. But go for it absolutely go for it. It’s interesting and I want to share with that is that I keep this under the radar. I don’t often share this. In fact, I’ve only spoken about this twice. I personally mental six young women and I say six young women, they’re typically in their twenties and thirties and these are six young bright women that have reached out to me personally through my networks or through linkedin and asked me to mentor them. I take six on each year and we typically meet every 4-6 weeks. It is a formal semi formal process and we discussed everything from their work, their opportunities, their personal development, whatever that maybe this is my donating my time to six young women in a space that if I can play it forward for them, let me help now, what is really remarkable that these six young women, they’ve taken that chance and just buy off the cuff, have done their research crafted a really clever personal reason why email to me to capture my attention and ask for my time now, I’m not putting that out to everyone, but what I’m saying is that women out there is, if there’s a woman out there that inspires you, do your research, get in front of her and that could be an email or attending a conference that she’s speaking at and ask her to mentor you. This is a great way to get ahead. And I’ve got to say in that sense is that I’m doing this on the basis that when I was building my career in my twenties and thirties, a lot of the women more senior to me. So young women as competition, women also saw that there was limited seats at the senior level and they needed to compete with other women to maintain their own seat at the table. So there wasn’t a lot of women more senior, developing younger women. We were really as peers trying to navigate this unusual space around how do we build our education, our skills and capability ourselves without really being able to have some really strong mentors. While a lot of male mentors are around, there’s a new way of how women want to lead differently in this space. So to have that oversight from someone who has perhaps had this experience, maybe the wisdom and the maturity they will pass that on. That’s really key. So my messages to women is get out there and give it a go. Get on the yoga mat anyway and reach out to those women that you are inspired with, get in front of them and asked them if they would be kind enough to help mentor you.
#storytellerjewels Fabulous advice. And I truly love the get on the yoga mat because there’s nothing like giving it a crack to see whether it works or it doesn’t. And then possibly refining your approach to give it another go and then give it another go until you get towards the goal because nothing ever often it doesn’t work. First go.
Kate Barker Right. So it’s important to have that confidence in yourself that you are giving it a try and should it fail, it’s not actually a failure. It’s just another piece of experience that you can put under your under your hat and and keep moving towards the direction that you’re heading in and what’s great about luxuries that no one does yoga, everyone practices yoga. So it’s a constant learning of practice and I’ve got to say it’s a fantastic if I could say it’s a sporting analogy that also is more relevant to women. We often hear a lot of sporting analogies that are all around male sports. This is one that’s maybe male and female. So we can all give it a go.
#storytellerjewels Yeah, fabulous. I love yoga. I’m right into it. What something you mentioned there as well was capturing the attention or you know, seeking out those who inspire you and then perhaps, you know, sending them a world crafted email that captures their attention and this podcast really is about storytelling and maintaining or capturing people’s attention and then maintaining you are a speaker and spend a lot of time on stage. What are some of the tips and tricks or things that you’ve learned over the years when it comes to that exact point is how do you grab somebody’s attention and then keep it for the duration of the time that you really need them to pay attention? Right, because it’s, it’s an art and a craft, but it’s also well practiced one.
Kate Barker Yes, so I think there’s a few things, there’s certainly around intentionality. So set your intentions before you go on stage with a clear view around what you’re here to do, certainly be well prepared. But the energy you bring is the energy you’re convey. So the energy you bring on stage and what that looks like, how that presents itself is the energy that the audience is going to pick up on and go with you. So think about where your energy is at where you’re focused at and bringing more of that to the stage. And while I’ve done a lot of keynote speaking and particularly around the future of work, bringing in to your point to Jewels is stories, bring them stories about where this is done before, how it’s happened, where it failed. What worked well what didn’t bring people into that story so they can actually follow along and understand is perhaps some of their fear and anxiety about making change in an organization is real. Um perhaps they’re more powerful as a leader than they realize and that they can bring a lot of followers with them on this. But there are some incredible stories around the future work and what organizations are doing to change things up, which is super exciting. But I wanted to share with you a story that I had make these stories that last year I was on stage and I’ve been a delivered keynotes and virtually an impressive probably two or three a month. So here I am, we’re peak keynote seeking season and I’m on stage here in Dubai and this is a, the HR government summit here in Dubai. This is a major summit, it’s the largest HR summit in the region. It’s by government employees only. And this really sets the tone in the eye what government does private practice follows. And as if you can imagine we’ve got government leaders sitting in throne style chairs, four of them immediately opposite the stage With what was essentially a room full of about 1000 people. I did the session last year and I’m familiar with the environment and having worked with the A U. A. E government, I’m familiar with some of these people. So it was exciting a new, I developed a new presentation which I’d been trialing out a few times. So thrilled to learn it. Opening up with a fantastic video with large sound, large pictures ready to roll. I’ve got to say 10 minutes into the presentation, my presentation goes blank. The tech team have lost my visual. I’m on the middle of stage in front of 1000 people in these senior government officials and ministers meeting on the areas, looking at me, staring at me bluntly going, what is she going to do? The visual behind me is completely black. I stop, take a deep breath. I look over to the ICTy, the support desk and immediately six of the teams stand up and rush out the door. They’ve identified what’s going on. They’ve gone out behind the black curtain, very Wizard of Oz to try and fix what’s going on, what’s happened? I’m standing on stage going, okay, I get the impression that 1000 eyeballs are looking at me. This is not going to be a quick fix because they’re not pressing any buttons and time for me feels like it’s ours when I know it’s probably only seconds. So let’s use this moment. I’m going to use deliberately use this quiet pause on stage because I’ve got their attention like never before have you seen a well produced conference where the visual screen has completely gone off and we’re talking about a ballroom size function room. So this is massive, right? I’m in my element. This is the moment. I love, I love when things don’t go quite right. I love when we get to see people for who they really are. We get to see the core of the humanity, of what happens. Let me see what’s going to happen here because it’s going to be incredibly exciting. And sure enough, I said, well surprised now we’re going to continue on and I’m going to go on and we’re going to see how well we progress and you can hold me to account of how well I know my content, I pause and before you know it when I started to continue, people stood up and started clapping. Unbelievable. I’ve never had a conference of all the keynote speaking I do where people actually rise out of their chairs and started clapping. Holy hell, this was momentous. This was incredible! So here I am now drawing it from my memory going for it going okay, I know the stories I know and while the presentation is only ever a background and it’s always for me, no text, it’s always pictures. So I tell the story through a visual behind me which is full of pictures, but all they had was to me to listen to and I was going to go for it, I was incredible on stage and loved it About five or 6 minutes which felt like five or six hours later the presentation popped up and would you believe it? It popped up at the section of my talk which was relevant to the presentation, which was six more slides on. And here I am going, There you go, We’re all back on track as sleep. Obviously as that was, thank you to the IT team and thank you for your generosity and your kindness and manage me through this. It was a phenomenal experience. Were wrapped up on time. I had a series of Q and A and I’ve got to say, is the amount of emails and messages and people coming up to me in the lunch break saying how phenomenal that was and how I remembered how professionally well I handled it. They were overwhelmed with. So sometimes it’s those moments in our career where things don’t go right, that will leave that memory for people in that presentation to go, wow, we really got to see behind the scenes and that has really sparked our attention and our interest. So, the message I want to leave behind that is look for those opportunities. And when, you know, you’re confronted with them, take a deep breath and step into the space and go, this is the moment where I can really step up and really show them what my moment is. And I want to leave that message, particularly for leaders when they’re looking at the future of work going, you’re stepping into a space that people don’t know how to do, You’re stepping in and there’s been more after view than ever, ever before. And this is the opportunity while you have that blank space and perhaps without the presentation behind you, who had that opportunity to really step into an area and really create it in a memorable way that people will be blown away.
#storytellerjewels It’s a fabulous story, Kate, thank you for sharing that. And there’s a couple of things that came out of that for me was one is the importance clearly of knowing your stuff and being well prepared so that, you know, your experience clearly has come through there where you’ve done it enough times, you know, your content, you know, the strength and even if it wasn’t, you know, even if it hadn’t followed the script entirely, the stories still would have made sense. They still would have jelled with the audience. The fact that the picture was there almost to some degree was irrelevant. So the importance of preparation really key the other part of that story is, and I love, you know, every time I do one of these podcasts, people are telling me bits and pieces of stories and not just through this podcast, but through speeches and through writing and all sorts of other mediums, what I notice is the best stories and often the stories that people tell are the ones that were particularly painful at a point in time in their lives and that does two things. One is it shows how human everybody is and allows them to sort of feel like they’re part of that story because maybe they’ve been in a similar situation. Um and the other thing is I think and it comes back to what we were talking about before, how perhaps it drops the facade a little bit, you know? So when it’s too polished, when it’s too blank faced and professional, it doesn’t, it doesn’t always resonate because people feel disconnected to that clean polished, totally perfect environment. And yet when you tell a painful story or something goes wrong in part of your speech or you use that to your advantage. People are drawn closer naturally to it. So I find that people typically will tell more painful stories than they will tell more great stories of, of winds along the way.
Kate Barker And I think that’s the value of our own personal growth and development, isn’t it?
#storytellerjewels So I’ve, you know enjoyed this conversation and I could talk for hours on these topics but I do want to ask you one more question. If I may, If somebody was to offer you $1 million dollars and they were going to offer it to your favourite charity of choice and they wanted to pick your brain but you only had a few minutes to impart your wisdom. What might that sound like?
Kate Barker It would certainly be around. Think about the legacy. Think about your legacy and make every conversation, every decision every interaction you have based on the legacy that you want to leave behind, and that will leave memories in people’s minds, of your integrity, your, your energy, your passion or your enthusiasm and your purpose. Make that decision.
#storytellerjewels That is a beautiful response Kate, thank you for all those people listening. How can people find out a little bit more about you Kate.
Kate Barker So you can go to my website www dot Kate barker dot com or you can find me on LinkedIn Kate barker and by all means, reach out, ask me any questions are keen to see what you come up with.
#storytellerjewels Okay, thank you so much, I appreciate your time.
Kate Barker Thanks Jewels, always a pleasure.
#storytellerjewels What a breath of fresh air Kate is and I hope you enjoyed that episode as much as I did. I learned through that conversation with Kate that communication and keeping people’s attentions not just about speaking on stage, but it’s everything that surrounds you and everything that surrounds an organization, be that the leadership team, b that the employees, be that the guidance, the mentorship, it’s all about good communication, and if you can master the art of communicating well and individualize it, where it’s needed. I think the whole world and particularly the corporate world could become a whole lot better. Much love chat soon.