With over 25 years of agency experience, you’d think Andrew Basham from Audience in the UK would know everything there is to know about communications. Turns out you never stop learning! We caught up with Andrew to discuss lifelong learning, taking a leadership leap of faith and doing what works best for you.
"From when I first joined Audience in 2016 to where we are now, a lot has changed."
Andrew is speaking to us from his home office where he has been since March 2020 with the exception of a couple of days spent in the Audience Cambridge office.
"We’ve been so busy and so focused on adapting to evolving needs that I didn’t even realise so much time had passed until I stopped for the end of year break. It was great to look back and reflect on the experiences we had as a team and what made the year so rewarding for us in serving our clients."
One of the growing areas where Andrew and his team have been supporting their clients is through communications skills training, integrated learning journeys and leadership coaching.
"The clients we work with are already well trained through their own corporate programmes. What they learn is relevant to their job, their leadership role and ensures that they’re both prepared and compliant in all their interactions. Where we’re fulfilling a need is in the way they communicate what they’ve learned to have the most impact and help them feel at their most confident. We’ve developed a specialist communications training programme that is designed to be a booster, to give people an additional edge and make sure they feel supported around what they say and how they say it."
We believe there is a direct correlation between confidence and performance.
"As you’d expect, for clients there’s a lot of emphasis upfront on acquiring the skills and knowledge to perform, but communicating with confidence is always secondary to communicating with competence. Those who feel good about how they’re conveying their knowledge and interacting with their customers are more likely to make connections and build lasting relationships."
"Therefore the programme we have designed, and which our clients are following, has communicating with confidence at its heart. In addition, through our employee engagement programmes run over the past 18 months we have come to learn that flexibility in how, when and where they learn is key to clients. What is great about the programme we have developed is that you can access it from any device at any time with podcast, video and long form content all being used in addition to face-to-face interaction and discussion time."
"Being confident, asking great questions, improving your personal presence, developing your emotional intelligence and learning how to make lasting connections in the virtual world are skills we can all benefit from. The key is learning in a way that works for you."
people will want to ‘cherry pick’ their learning and engagement experiences
"We’ve talked a lot about 2021 being the year of choice and how we believe people will want to ‘cherry pick’ their learning and engagement experiences at work the same way they choose what they watch or listen to in their free time. For that reason, we’re looking forward this year to continuing to create a range of different ways to support people that speak to diversity of learning styles and preferences as well as time they’re able to dedicate or energy they have to give. Communicating well and with confidence is an interesting topic because so many of us think we don’t need to learn it."
Which brings us back to our starting point: surely Andrew knows everything there is to know about communications with all his experience.
With the demand for our Leadership Training and Coaching programme increasing all the time, Andrew was one of the first to test the new Audience online platform that supports learners on their leadership journeys.
"I’ll admit that getting started also wasn’t easy. It was a real step into the unknown. I asked myself if I really needed it. I thought ‘Surely, I know this already’. Making that first step felt a bit like a leap of faith but I’m glad I did it and I’ve learned a lot. Not everything in the programme resonates with me personally, but what does resonate stays with me and I’m able to apply what I’m learning to my everyday work. I feel that the time I’m dedicating to learning is time well spent."
And how else is Audience supporting clients to foster a happy team environment and positive and productive culture?
"Everything we offer is still bespoke to each client because it is always presented in their individual context. We’re working with teams and team leaders to understand what they need more of – not just around areas for improvement but also to push those who are already excelling in a certain area of communications. We see it is helping teams understand each other better, build their internal culture and see each other as a support system they can all rely on. Team culture building exercises and team charters are often a starting point for additional communications training. That’s the point that we go from being a project provider to a trusted partner. We move from creating a stimulus for change to helping nurture teams and – along with the team leaders – to taking responsibility for their longer term success."
Are you interested in learning more about our bespoke complement learning programmes? Would you like to discover our full Leadership Communications Training programme or how we combine our online learning platform with face-to-face coaching? Reach out to your local Audience office through the contact form to learn more.
Andrew’s reading recommendation: Developing the leader within you 2.0, by John C. Maxwell