In May I was fortunate enough to attend a fascinating business leaders’ conference in Sydney run by the organisers of RU OK? Day.

Titled ‘Conversational Leadership: Inspiring People, Inspiring Change’, the conference explored the powerful role meaningful conversations can play in achieving successful business change, delivering positive impacts on both workplace health and the bottom line.

The conference featured an inspiring line up of speakers. Each shared motivating and informative strategies to help better engage with your own team, as well as personal anecdotes that really helped to drive home the benefits of embracing convesational leadership.

Personally, I walked away with a lot to think about. Some of the most interesting presentations for me included:

John Pastorelli

John is passionate about building teams that work together and was part of the start-up team for Sydney’s famous BridgeClimb tourist attraction. His ‘Sandpit’ theory was extremely inclusive and he advocates strongly for business leaders to ensure protected ‘spaces’ that allow creativity and open thinking. I found it a wonderfully energising session.

Lisa McInnes-Smith

Lisa is a gifted communicator who has presented to over 2 million people across 26 countries. She’s a master of shifting behaviour. On the day she spoke about the critical importance of the language we use in the workplace. She really spoke from the heart and shared some very personal stories. It was compelling and powerful.

Avril Henry

Avril is an internationally-acclaimed keynote speaker. She talked about having conversations that ‘matter’ and how listening, rather than talking, was actually key to effective communication. The audience especially appreciated the quote, “It is better to remain quiet and be thought of a fool, than to speak up and remove all doubt.” Avril’s key point was that most of us don’t actually listen, we simply hear. She truly believes the greatest gift you can give anyone – your team members, peers, clients, partners, children and friends – is to actively listen with intent, and to be truly 100% present in your conversations.

This really struck a chord for me, as learning to truly listen really underpins what RU OK? is all about. Many speakers talked about this in one form or another on the day, and it’s something I’ve continued to think about a lot since – and endeavoured to put into action every day.

RU OK? Day 2017 – 14 September

RU OK? Day is a movement dedicated to encouraging all Australians to connect with the people they care about and give them the skills to have a conversation with someone they’re worried about. Taking part can be as simple as asking, “Are you okay?” This year, RU OK? Day is on Thursday 14 September. Hill Rogers will be hosting a small event to help spread the message and provide support for our own team members. If you’re interested in hosting an RU OK? event at your workplace, or would like to find out how to get on board, there are a number of ways you can get involved.

To find out more simply visit: