Last year I chaired one day of a communications forum.  I had to think on my feet and speak in front of other seasoned communication professionals.

Author of “Lead the Room” and speaker Shane Hatton was the Chair of the second day. When I expressed my nervousness, his advice was to be myself, harness my stories, and to say yes to other opportunities – to keep practising.

In his book, he hammers home the connection between communicating and leading. He outlines four practices leaders need to commit to if they want to develop as a leader and a communicator:

– thinking – leading the brain

– investing – sharpening your skills

– asking- seeming out feedback

– failing – dealing with disappointment.

Shane’s point about failing better is great.

The pursuit of growth inevitably includes moments of failure. How you respond makes the difference. There’s a natural fear of failing. But accepting it, recognising, owning, learning, sharing, changing and moving forward is key to failing well. Failing is part of the process not the end of it.

Learning makes the failure usable. In a simple way, at the conference I felt I hadn’t failed exactly, but I hadn’t ‘done my best’, and I hadn’t led the room.  But as Shane says, start before you think you’re ready. Just start. Because every moment matters.

Find your Story. Be your Story. The Art of Why.

Last year for the first time I participated in the RMIT mentoring program. A second year business student who wanted to write.  She had a clear idea of her end goal.  The challenge was how to get there. We had different backgrounds; different life experiences and different confidence levels when comparing age for age.

Our first contact was ignoble; when she didn’t get back to me for days on end after I suggested a range of dates, she declared she was incredibly busy. I laughed in a huff to myself in a ‘don’t you know who I am and how busy I am’ kind of way. And then I laughed at myself at how out of touch I was with the life of a working student.

As a mentor I was supposed to delve into my own experience and provide support, suggestions, examples and ideas.

In doing so, I perhaps learned more about myself and what it is that has shaped me over a career spanning journalism, local council communications and varied portfolios crossing tourism, civil and criminal law, racing, court services and emergency management.

A wealth of experience I worked hard for, but I couldn’t help feeling a little envious all these years later of the confidence my mentee displayed when striving for the top!

I walked away unsure of which of us provided the most value, but sure of the potential of mentoring when goals are clear and communication lines are open.

Find Your Story. Be Your Story. The Art of Why Communications.