Personal impact, professional growth
Your impact can help you to communicate better
Our Personal Impact course helps employees of all levels to find their voice, recognise their communication style and hold their own in any work situation.
So what exactly does a Personal Impact course entail? We caught up with RADA Business tutor Leandra Ashton to talk about the three fundamental tools of communication – the body, the breath, and the voice – and how vital they are when it comes to creating a meaningful impact.
Tutor Leandra trained at RADA herself, spending three years studying acting. Since graduating in 2004, she has worked as an actor, writer, director and workshop leader, using her skills to deliver transformative training experiences for clients.
RADA Business’s one-day Personal Impact course – which you can book onto in London – focuses on those three essential tools of communication, using a range of practical exercises to help people develop the skills to understand their own effectiveness.
At the end of the day, participants leave with real techniques they can call upon immediately in a variety of workplace scenarios.
'Personal Impact is about self-awareness. It’s about trying out different ways of being, so that you can start to recognise your authentic self,' Leandra explains. 'We’re not teaching people to be actors – we’re encouraging them to identify their own skills and style, so they can be the best version of themselves.'
'Generally, people join a Personal Impact course because they want to deal with a particular issue,' Leandra continues. 'Perhaps they want to be more confident, to be able to influence people in a work situation better, or to seem less nervous. However, developing your own personal impact is about much more than that. Once you’re in the room, it can be a very transformative experience. What we do is to hold up a mirror so that people can see themselves clearly, identifying habits that they might be seeing for the first time.'
Over time, these habits start to have an effect on an individual’s ability to communicate clearly, which can in turn have an impact on their role in the workplace. Those are exactly the issues that our training can help with.
From presenting a pitch to explaining an idea to a colleague to running a team briefing, in many work scenarios we will often think about what we plan to say, but not about how we plan to say it. There are also situations where we can’t plan anything at all, and those can be even more nerve-wracking.
'On a Personal Impact course, we will often look first at posture,' Leandra says. 'We do this because the shape you make with your body is so important. I know as an actor that I can create a character just through the way I hold myself, but for many people they’re not conscious of the shape they make – they don’t think about how they’re standing, for example. So that’s one of the first things to consider. If you start to gather data on yourself, you’ll start to understand your own habits.'
With this in mind, Leandra often begins a session by getting everyone to stand in the optimum position: feet directly under hips, hands resting at your sides.
'If everyone stands like this, it immediately makes the room feel more open,' she says.
Feel the earth
The Personal Impact course explores a number of different techniques, but Leandra says that if she could give just one tip to maximise your personal impact, it would be to practice this exercise:
'For most of us, our world is so head-based, we sometimes forget about that connection to the earth. Taking a moment to acknowledge it can be very powerful. Stand in the optimum position and feel the earth beneath your feet. You will feel the energy in your body, which immediately changes your posture - and that in itself makes you a better communicator. When you feel gravity, you have more gravitas.'
Try it next time you have a moment to prepare for a specific work situation. It could make all the difference.
Finally, use your voice
Some of Leandra’s Personal Impact attendees are surprised to find themselves practicing their singing during a session – but there’s no need to worry: nobody is judged on their musical ability. Exercises like this are actually about warming up the voice, as Leandra explains:
'Singing is a great way of feeling the power of the voice. It gives you permission to use your full range.'
Understanding your voice’s range can help you use it more effectively in situations that don’t involve song, for example in work meetings or presentations. You don’t have to sing your way through meetings though - humming or doing some quick vocal exercises can be just as effective to ready your voice to create impact.