Heather Hansen is a global communication consultant who helps companies navigate the challenges of communication in multicultural and multilingual settings. She emphasises the importance of conscious communication, confident communication, and connected communication in her approach. The “unmuted” framework she developed from her award winning book, focuses on self-awareness, skill building, and creating inclusive environments. Heather works with companies that have recently undergone strategy revamps and helps them implement their new strategies by ensuring effective communication throughout the organisation. This involves engaging employees, aligning their roles with the strategy, and maintaining communication channels to drive strategy execution. She possesses the expertise to empower clients in conquering communication and cultural hurdles when venturing into new markets or collaborating with diverse teams.

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In this episode we explore:

1. The subjective and Westernised nature of professional presence and how this impacts bias and progress.

2. Gender influences exert a profound impact on professional expectations and leadership dynamics. While men are readily accepted as powerful leaders, women often find themselves navigating a delicate balancing act, striving to be perceived as both powerful and attractive.

3. The challenges faced by women, particularly minority women, are even more daunting, as they constantly grapple with societal expectations regarding their appearance, manner of speech, and behaviour in order to be taken seriously and avoid succumbing to negative stereotypes.

4. The intersection of gender and language further amplifies biases and discrimination. Women with accents, unfortunately, encounter even stronger bias compared to their male counterparts with accents.

5. The COVID-19 pandemic cast a glaring spotlight on the paramount importance of communication skills, thereby leading to a surge in demand for Heather’s expertise as organisations recognised the urgent need for effective communication and seamless collaboration.

6. Successful cross-cultural communication necessitates unwavering clarity, constant checks for understanding, and heightened awareness of the unique challenges faced by non-native English speakers.

7. Asynchronous work affords numerous advantages by enabling individuals to tackle tasks at different times, thereby injecting fresh perspectives into the workflow. To harness its potential, leaders and managers must adopt novel approaches to work allocation and distribution.

8. The advent of asynchronous work dismantles the limitations of the traditional 9-to-5 paradigm, granting teams the ability to work around the clock and endowing startups with a remarkable competitive edge, facilitating rapid growth.

9. The values of authenticity and vulnerability are now highly esteemed in leaders, who are expected to possess a well-defined strategy and stand firmly for their principles.

10. Leaders must employ diverse modalities to articulate their ideas and ensure comprehensive understanding among team members. Utilising visual prompts, repetition, and embracing various communication styles are vital!

11. In order to transform the existing leadership landscape, it is imperative to establish role models who embody vulnerability and authenticity in their leadership approach.

You can connect with Heather Hansen on LinkedIn or at her website www.heatherhansen.com and pick up a copy of her award winning book, Unmuted, from any good book store.