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Gain The Confidence To Stand Up For Yourself With Communications & Soft Skills Trainer, Leah Mether

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What is your area of expertise, who do you serve, and how do you serve them?

I am a communication and soft skills trainer obsessed with making the people part of leadership and work life easier – and let’s face it, the people bit is the hardest part!

I work with leaders and teams striving for success but struggling with the challenges of different personalities, reactions and behaviours.

My proven process for communication and self-management improves culture and gets results.

I work with people from a diverse range of industries, government agencies, and businesses across Australia – including AGL, Optus, and the Department of Health and Human Services.

As a proud Gippslandian, I have a soft spot for regional organisations.

Why would someone choose you over a competitor?

I’m not like other trainers. I’m not interested in teaching flash-in-the-pan tips that lead to minimal or no change. I’m focussed on delivering tangible, immediate, and long-lasting results.

I make communication real life for real people. My plain-speak approach and practical strategies resonate. I don’t do ‘fluffy’ and my favourite people to work with are those that have never trained in soft skills before.

I bring experience, practicality and process to my clients to deliver training that is real world, relatable to your people, and relevant to your organization.

My trademarked ‘Five Cs’ model lays the foundations that underpin effective communication and can be applied by anyone, in any role, in any industry.

Share a specific time you encountered an obstacle and describe how you overcame it.

In 2014 I was caring for my three-month-old baby and two toddlers, aged two and three. At the same time, my husband was battling debilitating chronic back pain and was unable to work. He could barely get out of bed, couldn’t lift our children, couldn’t even put on his own socks. Alongside this, he also developed depression.

This was the most challenging period of my life and every conversation we had was fraught. It was incredibly stressful, and I knew I had to work on developing my own self-management, emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills if we were to have any chance of communicating effectively under this extreme pressure.

Getting out of the ‘Dreaded Drama Triangle’ and developing a growth mindset enabled me to stretch myself and learn new coping skills, which ultimately got me through this period of my life. Learning these skills and strategies changed everything for me. I still draw on them to this day when dealing with difficult professional and personal situations.

Share a short story about your best (or favorite) case study.

Though I most often work with leaders and teams, I get most satisfaction when I see the huge impact soft skill development can have on individuals facing difficult personal situations.

One that comes to mind is Sarah, a business manager who was working in a small business in regional Victoria. She was unsure about how to handle her bosses’ sexist jokes, undermining behaviour and patronising manner towards her in front of other staff, which had been going on for a number of years.

Her reaction had been to stay silent – she was fearful that raising the issue with him would result in her losing her job. Her confidence was down and she was experiencing significant self-doubt.

By having her realistically consider what the worst outcome for addressing the issue with her boss would be, and what strategies she could put in place to manage this, she had an insight that completely changed her mindset. She realised that far worse than losing her job, by not raising it with her boss, she was risking the behaviour significantly impacting her physical and mental health.

As a result, she devised a strategic plan to have a very difficult and honest conversation with her boss, and then resign once she had secured another job.

With a change in mindset, big dose of courage, and new communication strategies, she approached this with confidence and determination, rather than nervousness and apprehension.

It was two months later, in December 2018, when I heard from Sarah again: “I just wanted to say thank you for helping to give me the courage to have that difficult conversation,” her message read. “I did it and resigned. I feel very empowered and I’m proud of myself.”

That is why I do what I do. It’s about helping people get out of their own way and step up for success in life.

What advice would you give the “20-Year-Old-You” who’s eager to start in life?

Starting out as an adult is such an exciting time, and the world is full of possibilities! I’d recommend to anyone though to take the time to understand yourself – what you value, who you are, who you want to be, what you stand for, and what you don’t stand for – as a priority.

This can take some time but having this knowledge will provide so much clarity and make so many decisions in life much less fraught with indecision.

To find out more about yourself try out new things, have a crack, learn all you can, and take opportunities as they come up. It’s this trial-and-error approach that will help you understand most fully about yourself and what works for you.

Please describe a monumental time in your life that you’ll never forget.

At 21 and newly graduated from university, I travelled around Australia for twelve months on my own in my red two-door Hyundai with a tent in the back.

I worked in a remote roadhouse in a tiny Aboriginal community; I sold movie vouchers door-to-door in Darwin; I meandered across to Broome and down the west coast to Perth; and drove home across the beautiful Nullabor. I stayed in caravan parks, backpacker hostels, and a few share houses.

This, followed by other solo trips to Africa, South East Asia and South America, were the absolute making of me. Travel opened my eyes to the world and gave me a whole new perspective.

Travelling on my own helped me learn who I was. Without having to meet others’ expectations or preconceived ideas about what I should do, I found out who I really was and what I stand for. I also found out how I respond to challenges.

I was forced to connect with new people, form new friendships, have different conversations, go on adventures I wouldn’t have otherwise considered, and communicate and relate to people from all walks of life.

I learnt about my strengths and weaknesses. I had to overcome self-doubt and I developed an inner strength that still holds me in great stead today.

I also learnt that I’m good at staying calm in a crisis and using my communication and negotiation skills in tricky situations. I realised how futile and self-indulgent my perfectionist tendencies were.

I encourage anyone seeking this kind of clarity to do the same. It doesn’t have to be far (which is a good thing in this COVID world), or for long – even a day or night away on your own might give you the time out you need to get clarity about who you are and what you want.

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Actor, Singer, Comedian, and TikTok influencer with a knack for eye-catching and creative trends. Paige is a talented writer and networking efficianado.