Learn Through Listening

How do you learn about someone? Listen to their story.

In July this year I ran a workshop with Megan Spencer, Deep Storytelling : Creating A Culture of Connection. We assisted an amazing group of people’s ability to refine their own story and create a community around their message.

The focus of this project was to learn how to connect to others through listening to how they perceive you. We produced a podcast as a way to not only record their deeper connection to their story; also as a way to look back from the future. The participants will be able to see how their story has shifted and changed over time.

Life and stories will change. As our narratives shift we must also shift the way we connect with our story.

I would like to invite you to listen to the journey of this weekend. Listening for the learning, in our podcast.

Image credit copyright Megan Spencer

Berlin, The Final Stop On The Journey Of A Life Time

I am sitting in the office of a guest house in Bangkok. I have two large husky dogs at my feet and one under my chair. It is the end of a very long journey. I am waiting to go to the airport. I need to talk myself onto a plane, because I missed my flight.

Let’s back up. A few days ago I was sitting in a mid-century furnished room over looking Kottsbusser Damn in an art studio in Berlin. The theatre of the street moved below me as people picked up their dinners, rode their bikes with their children balanced on the back, or stopped for a drink at the bar downstairs. It was a warm summer day and the Berliners were not going to waste it.

This was my last and final stop on my world tour. I had been traveling for 2 months at this point: from New York to London and the final leg of the journey, Berlin. I held a workshop at Impact Hub Berlin with my collaborator Megan Spencer as well as a Twitterversity workshop with betahaus. Both of them were amazing. Berlin is like a rare exotic bird. It is a place full of colour and bustling life. It attracts creative thinkers from all over Europe.

I had the pleasure of meeting some of these innovative thinkers at both of my workshops. The two-day workshop on Deep Storytelling allowed myself – and my co-presenter Megan Spencer – to get to know the unique stories of people who are living extraordinary lives. Some are bringing us back to the basics in life; some are empowering people to build their own spaces though collaborative architecture; others are saving the world one illustrative visual graphic at a time, and some are searching for the right place for their passion.

This was a very diverse group of individuals from all over Europe. I know I have said it all before, but I will say it again: it doesn’t matter where you are from some things are the same the world over. If you have a passion, share it and other people cannot help but connect with it. We love a good story – even better if we learn something new about ourselves, and the people around us. This is what happened in the Deep Storytelling workshop.

My very talented collaborator Megan Spencer took a wonderful gallery of images. It shows the some of the activities we did, especially on day two where we created a recording of the each participant’s story (this will later be turned into a podcast). This amazing group of storytellers shared their inspiration with us! When the podcast is finished in around a month’s time, we will share it with you on my blog.

I would like to thank all of the people who supported us at Impact Hub Berlin: Vishal, Community Catalyst, for all of your advice and for allowing us to bring our vision to your wonderful space; to Aleksandra for helping us promote our workshop and to Sophie for connecting me to the rest of the team in New York.

And a special shout out to Matt who was our point of contact for the event, and for lending us the recording equipment that will make our podcast possible!

And of course the amazing Megan Spencer my partner in this workshop and empathic listener extraordinaire! Thank you for taking the leap with me, just to see what would happen!

I would also like to thank Iva, Program Director for Education at betahaus for your support with my event in at the wonderful and vibrant coworking space. I look forward to collaborating with you in the future.

And last but not least to my family, Mom, Dad, Erin and Matt – I don’t get to see you enough and I enjoyed the time I spent with you. To my amazing friends April, Martin, Rhiannon and Huw – thank you for taking me in while I stayed in London! And to all of the wonderful people I have met in my workshops and on the road. I am nothing without any of you.

And thank you for all of the messages of support sent through while I am stressing out about missing my flight. I am going to the airport in a few hours to plead my case to fly standby. I am sure it will be fine. I have relied on the kindness of many people on this trip and it hasn’t let me down yet.

Mistakes happen – like getting your days mixed up when you are extremely jet lagged! But this trip was worth everything I put into it. I know that only good things will happen and I am looking forward to more adventures in the future!

I will see you soon Melbourne! I can’t wait find out what you have been up to!

Class photo by Megan Spencer

London, Stop Two On My Entrepreneurial World Tour!

Twitterversity Workshop London

The red of the double decker buses contrasted against the blue British summer sky. Piccadilly Circus buzzed with laughter as people enjoyed the pleasure of a warm afternoon. I located the coworking space I was looking for, Impact Hub Westminster, located in the New Zealand Embassy on Haymarket Street. I am in London, the second stop on my workshop world tour.

I meet with the Community Enabler, Floree who helped make my Twitterversity workshop a sold out success.

Floree’s official title is Community Enabler. When she took part in my Twitterversity workshop on June 30th and we agreed that her alternative title could be “Matchmaker”. She matches up people, ideas and events to make beautiful things happen.

There were a few differences between running a workshop in London versus New York. There are also a few similarities. The similarities are the enthusiasm that people have for sharing their passion and ideas. The differences came in the way people responded to sharing. In London people had a very polite way of interacting. I had to ask people to share their thoughts or questions with the room. In New York people needed no invitation, they felt comfortable jumping in with ideas as soon as they had them. Once the groups started sharing, it was contagious, regardless of what side of the pond they where from.

I discussed this experience with a friend Farid, the founder of business accelerator Ignitr in London. He explained that London is a wonderfully balanced mix of polite consideration and enthusiasm for ideas and innovation.

This international experience has reinforced how important it is to be aware of how small the world is. Before my trip I saw myself as just one person on a vast blue planet. Now I see myself as a person who is part of a global community. Through this journey of presenting international workshops, I understand how ideas, innovation and passion are a unifying force in the world.

Having an international outlook has opened my eyes to how unique each and every one of us is. I have met a variety of people who have created niche ways to interact with the world. They have created businesses that I never would have dreamed of. This has been an important lesson for me. Never stop learning and dreaming. Those dreams could become the answer to someone else’s problem or the inspiration for the foundation of a new business.

I am writing this from a workspace in tree house in Hoxton Square, London. Some very wonderful people at Groundwork.org.uk have built a space that people can rent to work in as well as bring awareness to underfunded parks. This tree house began as someone’s dream and now I am sitting in it!

At my last workshop I met entrepreneurs who wanted to open coworkings spaces, sustainability coaches and super food advocates. The more people I meet the more inspired I become. I see the value in others and that in turn helps me to recognize what is valuable in me. We all have something to offer. Often the trick is finding the best way to express ourselves and share it.

With amazing experiences in New York and London under my belt, I now have the last leg of my trip to look forward to, Berlin. So far the event at Impact Hub Berlin is filling up, with only 1 space left. I am also looking forward to running my solo Twitterversity workshop with Betahaus.

Joseph Joubert said, “To teach is to learn twice”. Every workshop I run leads me to think and connect with others in new ways. I never tire of the cycle of teaching, as well as learning what the participants can teach me.

Collaboration is what I live for and dream about as I continue on this path around the world.

Thank you Impact Hub Westminster, it was better than I ever could have imagined.

My Entrepreneurial Journey, Stop One New York!


The lack of street noise wakes me up. The city that doesn’t sleep does have its quiet moments and for the Lower East Side that appears to be 6 am. It is the morning of my first Twitterversity workshop on my world tour with Impact Hub coworking spaces. The first cab off the rank is New York.

Flash back to 6 months ago and I am sitting at my kitchen table in my home in Melbourne, Australia. I decided it was finally time to take a leap of faith and see what would happened if I undertook a journey of international coworking and presenting workshops. It was a calculated risk, but I knew the experience would unlock opportunities if I jumped.

In January this year I committed to making my dream of traveling the world while teaching storytelling and social media into a reality. I met with a friend of mine, Zahava Mandelbaum, from New York and asked for her recommendation on coworking spaces. She said anything at Impact Hub NYC would have her seal of approval. She explained the types of events hosted there were of a high quality and focus on positive social and environmental change.

I started my own research and discovered it would be the perfect space to support my plan. Impact Hub is an international network of awesomeness. “MissionHUB” owns and operates Impact Hub coworking campuses, in San FranciscoBerkeleyNew York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., as well as the Social Capital Markets Conference (SOCAP) for impact investing.

There are also an international community of coworking Hubs around the world. I chose the triumvirate of cool, New York, London (Westminster) and Berlin. Side note, a childhood dream of mine has been to play Broadway. Guess where Impact Hub NYC is located? Mom is so proud, I’m on Broadway!

Through the magic of networking on LinkedIn I discovered a kindred spirit in broadcaster and eclectic creative Megan Spencer. We connected via our love of storytelling and Berlin. We decided we were fated to facilitate a storytelling workshop together. Long story short, it is happening July 18 and 19th at Impact Hub Berlin. It will focus on storytelling, design thinking and deep listening with the end result being a podcast each participant can take away from the workshop and I cannot wait!

Megan Spencer packed up her life and permanently relocated to Berlin in April this year. As soon as her jet lag wore off she met with Vishal the Community Manager at Impact Hub Berlin and explained we would love to use their space for our event. He agreed learning the art of storytelling was a great opportunity for his community and accepted our proposal. Vishal connected me via email to his international team of community managers in New York and London Westminster.

I was welcomed by each of the spaces with a resounding yes, what an amazing journey, we love what you are doing and we want to support you. Floree the Community Enabler from Impact Hub Westminster even rearranged their schedule to accommodate my workshop as their monthly Hub event. I was humbled and honored by that act of support.

I was blown away by how quickly it all came together. When you find your flock, everything takes wing! I am officially hosting a Twitterversity workshop at all locations as well as a joint storytelling workshop with Megan Spencer in Berlin.

Being an entrepreneur means being comfortable with the three C’s – change, chance and challenge. By embracing the three C’s and seeing where it takes you, doors do open. And when they do, it is fascinating to see who steps through. Create change, be open to chance opportunities and do not be afraid of challenges. They always pay off!

This is why I teach social media and Twitter in particular. The lack of controlling algorithms allows people to connect through wondrous acts of serendipitous discovery. Reaching out and connecting with like-minded individuals leads to possibilities you never could have imagined.

As of this writing I have just completed my first workshop in New York. The participants had a blast as they refined their messages and stories while harnessing the power of Twitter. Check out the stream under my hashtag #Twitterversity to see what we did.

The people I have met through Impact Hub NYC have been invaluable. I would also like to thank Jeremy from Firebrand Group and Kevin from ManageFlitter for your networking support in New York. I am also looking forward to collaborating Sharon from Freelancers Union to co-create content for an event in September! I will be back New York, I have met wonderful people and want to stay in touch.

My experience of coworking out of the space has also lead to great experiences. For example today there was a shared ‘Sexy Salad’ lunch. It operates in the true spirit of collaboration, Eva the Community Manager worked with work trade host Vania to prepare the food, while coworking members Michele Iadarola, from Especially Puglia provided gorgeous olive oil for the dressing and Radicle Farm provided the living greens foundation for all the sexy fixings heaped on top.

Stay tuned this journey has just begun…next stop London!

Photos curtesy of Vania, Michele from Especially Puglia, Mission Hub and Zahava