Our latest edition in our 60 Second Interview series is with Caroline Goyder. Caroline has an international reputation for her work as an expert speaker and trainer with senior management within organisations as well as private individuals. In this interview, Caroline gives advice on how to exude gravitas in different scenarios as well as tips and tricks for those anxious about public speaking. Caroline has also written a book on how to communicate with confidence, influence and authority which is available here;
Where were you born? The lovely north-east of England, though I don't sound like a Geordie, sadly!
Where do you live now? South London was where I landed when I first came from London and I've lived in roughly the same area ever since.
What did you study? BA English Literature, PGCE English Literature and Drama, An Acting training, MA Voice Studies (which changed everything!)
What is your favourite drink? A gin and tonic or an espresso martini at the right moment...
What is your favourite food? Lebanese.
What are you reading? A pile of self help/ business books but the novel that I loved recently was the "Improbability of Love" by Hannah Rothschild.
What was your first ambition? I always loved drawing cartoons as a kid, so illustrator or cartoonist.
How do you relax? We go to the coast at weekends which is when I slow down properly. No wi-fi helps.
How do you know The Barton Partnership?
I had the great pleasure of running a Gravitas training session for the whole team recently. They were pretty stellar for 8am on a Friday!
Describe your understanding of the word ‘gravitas’?
The ability to know, trust and settle into yourself and your purpose to the extent that you are able to truly listen to others and see the bigger picture. You know who you are, what matters, and you own your words when you speak. Others perceive that groundedness as weight, dignity, influence, which is how the Romans defined the word.
Who do you look up to for being the epitome of composure and gravitas?
Malala. In the U.K currently it's somewhat sparse politically...
What is your best piece of advice for those anxious about public speaking?
Practise, practise, practise. And allow yourself to fail, fail again and fail better each time you rehearse. Use voice notes on your phone to become your own coach.
Is there a trick you always rely on to build confidence before a meeting or event?
I always take time to get calm and physically centred, something I learned as an actor and have kept for the simple reason it works. When you are calm and present you access a deeper ease and confidence.
What are some tools that actors use that can be transferrable for a business environment? Learning to use your voice and physical self expression is invaluable. I highly recommend Alexander Technique as a discipline to help with that.
What advice would you give to women who feel they lack gravitas in the male-dominated boardroom?
Gravitas is a state of mind and presence that comes of trusting your own style and liking your own energy. So, learn to love being different and find your own voice.
How do you engage a disengaged audience?
If an audience is disengaged, clock it, don't take it personally, and find out what they want to know. If you give people what they want, they engage.
What advice would you give to people going into a group interview?
Hone the game plan and then rehearse so everyone knows their role and angle. Then you go in as a team, present and ready for anything.