From Techies to Thespians: Formulate Invest in Communication


In the last 14 months, we have expanded from a team of 4, to one of almost 20. How? As we continue to work with global brands to deliver bespoke web solutions that make their teams’ lives easier, our clients grow with us and as a result, we embark on increasingly exciting projects.

And of course, a huge part of this has been down to communication, as a key building block of the valuable working relationships we’ve formed. However, throughout this period of growth, as a group of techies, we’ve found ourselves going the extra mile - presenting to Financial Services executives, and in board rooms overlooking The Gherkin - an exciting, but unnatural habitat.

So, perhaps unusually for a tech company, we decided to invest in getting more familiar with crowds, not code…

Through our recent involvement with ExcellereHub (a ‘hub’ for professional development), we decided to book our team onto a one day, on-site course, with a marvellous trainer from Pinnacle Performance Company, to learn about all things ‘presenting’. Pinnacle specialise in leadership skills and confident communication, having been founded by Fortune 500 executives and interestingly, actors (we figured that if this method was good enough for King George VI, it would be worth a shot for us!).

At the beginning of the day, we were asked to present ‘impromptu’ for one minute about ourselves, including something nobody in the team already knew. Aside from thinking of something a close-knit team don’t already know about you, each and every one of us found it difficult to project with complete confidence having not come from a ‘salesy’ background, despite undoubtedly knowing the subject matter through and through. And that was before we had to watch the footage back.

However, throughout the course of the day, Lizzie took us through everything from vocal dynamics and body language to overcoming stage fright and keeping a large audience engaged and informed. On learning that a person’s initial perception of another person’s communication can be broken down into three facets - 7% verbal (what we say), 38% vocal (how we say it) and 55% visual (how we appear) - it became increasingly apparent that even when delivering a message that is technically challenging to convey, so much can be achieved using other kinds of communication effectively.

In fact, our Creative Director - Tony, will now be presenting a ‘business coaching’ talk for the Surrey Chamber of Commerce with Asahi UK on all the work we have done for them to elevate their online presence. The talk has been designed around the principles learnt on our course, from a great hook right the way through narrative, statistics and audience participation to an effective Q&A.

Not only has this had a massive impact on our particularly high-pressure presentations and pitches, but also our day-to-day business. We are keen to actively apply the techniques we learnt to everything from our daily ‘morning stand-up’ project meetings to each check-in we have with a client, no matter how informal.

Above all, we hope that investing in this perhaps unobvious skillset for our techie team will mean a better service for the clients and partners who have helped propel us into these exciting situations in the first place. We know that servers and Content Management Systems can be hard to get your head around at the best of times, and that IT and Digital teams aren’t usually famed for outstanding communication, so we’re determined to break the mould and make things as straightforward and engaging as possible to help make all your digital ventures a great success.

A huge thank you to Pinnacle Performance Company for helping us on our mission from ‘Techie to Thespian’.

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