Talk – Listen – Act

Talk, Listen, Act!

“He completely disarmed me.  This is what makes TBN special”

This quote, shared anonymously with me, expresses what so many of us felt in response to a business-focused presentation by Chris Heffer (LexisClick) on Death, Depression, and Suicide – and how prevalent this is with business people.  It was a stirring sight to see the room rise in solidarity to support all those who will face mental health challenges of this magnitude at some time in their lives.

The impact of great networking is the power to face the hardest of topics and still conclude that it was a good meeting – filled with joy, inspiration, and encouragement.  We are not afraid to face up to even the toughest of challenges that threaten the well-being of our members.

Our other keynote seemed the ideal companion to Chris’s story.  Simon Rigby shared the essential value in having a business coach – someone to talk to with a focused outcome.  Simon also told the story of how he was often in the role of marriage counsellor as part of the complex ecosystem of relationships that make a Small to Medium-Sized Enterprise thrive.  Work and private lives may have functional distinctions but emotionally they are intricately tied to one another.  Chatting with Sam Sharma afterwards, Sam mentioned how he has needed to adopt the role of a family therapist in the pursuit of excellence in business for his clients!

Emotional Intelligence is as essential in business as it is in other aspects of life.

I’m not sure how many people read our blog, nor of how far down each blog folks read, so I’m going to let you know the rest of the structure that’s coming.  At the latter end of the blog, I will share more detail from the two keynotes.  First, however, I will flag up four forthcoming events that will emotionally enrich members and guests!

They are:

  • An Italian Wine Dinner at Hotel du Vin, Poole, exclusively for us.  Friday, 4th October at 7 pm
  • The launch of The Castle Club at No.10 Castle Street, Cranborne.  Tuesday, 22nd October, at 10.30 am
  • The Italian Villa annual corporate open event.  Wednesday, 11th, 5 – 7.30 pm.  Let Tony Beales know for planning.
  • Firewalking with Sam Dyer at the Dudsbury on 25th October – you can come to the seminar and choose not to walk across hot coals, or you can go all the way and never be the same again!

The Italian Wine Dinner

Are you up for a fresh adventure with The Boardroom Network? In the past, many members have enjoyed Wine Dinners promoted by Hotel du Vin. They’ve been so good, we’ve asked for one – just for us.

Use your taste buds to travel together throughout the North and South of wonderful Italy. Guided by Hotel du Vin’s own engaging and inspiring Lorenzo. Here’s the territory we will explore…

…You will be greeted on arrival with a glass of sparkling Mirabello Pinot Grigio Spumante, accompanied by the Chef’s selection of canapés to whet your appetite in readiness for your three-course dinner.

Five wines will lead our journey throughout Italy.

For starters, we’ll enjoy Beef Carpaccio, with Rucola, Parmesan Salad, and a Balsamic Reduction.

The White Wines to enhance this dish will be: Pinot Nero Frecciarossa Syllery, and Fiano Masseria Li Veli.

Our Main Course will be Roasted Duck Breast, Confit Duck Spring Rolls, Dauphinoise Potatoes, and a Red Peppers Jus. (And, of course, there will be vegetarian alternatives.)

The Red Wines to accentuate these flavours will be: Barbera d’Asti Rive Cascinone, and Tornatore Etna Rosso.

For Dessert, there will be a choice of Iced Parfait Tiramisu, Chocolate Panna Cotta, and Cantucci.

Our Sweet Wine will be: Moscato Passito Palazzina. There will be tea and coffee to finish.

You can be assured of great company throughout the evening! So put Friday 4th Oct, 7pm in your diary. How much for this amazing experience? Just £60 per person. Join us by emailing

Launching the Castle Club

Check out the video above to learn more about the exclusive membership opportunity (for only 30 business professionals)

The Power of Coaching

“Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach a person to fish and you feed them for a lifetime.”

Simon Rigby took us through his own journey from SME Business Owner (in the Stationery industry – it was very moving) through to a more satisfying vocation now as an Action Coach.  The focused framework of Action Coach means that Simon is confident and certain that he can deliver a return on investment that eclipses the cost of working with a coach.  Yes, having a coach is an investment in your business, not an expense!

The right coach will help you achieve your business goals, boost your mindset, bring clarity and focus, hold you to account, and be there as a trusted companion on the journey.

Coaching is for successful people who want more.  In fact, Simon stated he was not looking to save ailing businesses but rather seeking to amplify the success of businesses that are going from good to great.  This is in line with the ambition of Action Coach as a company:

“World Abundance through Business Re-Education.”

Only through Education and Support (and at TBN we’d add “Connection”) can you create the true definition of a Successful Business:

“A Commercial, Profitable Enterprise that works without You!”

With a treasure trove of strategies bolstering Simon’s boldness, we were invited to his Master Class at Merley House.  Entitled, “6 Steps to a Better Business,” the event is on Thursday, 26th September between 9.15 and 12.30.

How to Prevent Your Early Death

I’ve not seen our members and visitors so moved since Jamie Forster’s frank and open sharing of his own battle with depression.  Chris Heffer of LexisClick comes across as strong, charismatic, assertive – characteristics you wouldn’t associate with someone facing up to the horrors of depression.  Cheerfully tackling this difficult topic, Chris had the room in the palm of his hand in what was emotionally-intelligent, heart-to-heart communication.

The statistics have been with us for a long time (1 in 4 people facing issues in the UK, and 1 in 2 business people in the USA), but suddenly, as with when Jamie shared, it was personal.  These are members we know, whom we like, and trust.

Depression driven suicide is the most common cause of death for men between the ages of 10-49, and for women between the ages of 10-35.

Chris’ own conflict with depression has enabled him to challenge this unhelpful belief:

“Hard work = more money; then more money = Happier.”

In the best definition of depression I’ve ever heard, Chris explained it was the presence of sadness in the midst of circumstances that ought to make us happy.  If we suffer loss, it is naturaly and appropriate to feel low.  Depression is different.  It is that feeling of sadness in the midst of the good times as well as the bad times.  It is not logical.  It is not rational.

Is there hope for the future?  Yes, if we create sustainable changes.

“Only sustainable changes produce sustainable results.”

…and the first change is to learn to Talk about how we feel.  The second change is to Listen.  The third change is to take Action.

In one of the most dramatically positive interactive demonstrations of solidarity, Chris asked all those who had faced depression to stand up.  This looked like more than 25% of the room, so it may be that the American statistics about the vulnerability of business owners may be true for the UK too.  This was bold and brave of both Chris and those who had the courage to stand.

What happened next, however, was outstanding.  Chris asked everyone to stand who would be prepared to listen… and the whole room rose.

Where do we go from here?

What happens next will define the measure of success such sincere presentations have.  Given the willingness in the room to support one another, it is clear to me that we need help learning how to listen, and training in what action to take.  The month before, in the very same room, at our August meeting, one of our members confided in two other people attending.  This member said that they were ready to finish it that day.  The response from the two listeners was to laugh… nervously, and to take no action.  Fortunately, the member was in the room this month to hear Chris’ presentation.  We care but we don’t know what to do.

I’ve had a chat with Chris about this today and we wondered if there was an appetite for some Mental First Aid Training.  If we had a collection of members who were prepared to be equipped to help others, those of us who face depression would then be able to talk to someone who could ease the pain.

Business networking is a manifestation of connection.  When support, inspiration, encouragement, and direction flows through that network, we can become strong, more resilient, and even more emotionally intelligent.  To say this will have a positive effect on our businesses is an understatement.

Let me know if you’d be interested in receiving some Mental First Aid Training, and I will take responsibility for actioning it.


(And my opinions are my own – not officially TBN’s!)