The Power of friendship in business
People come into our lives for a reason to teach us, challenge us, rattle our cages when we are stuck, motivate us and make us believe in who we are. Behind many successful small businesses there is often a team of creative people and in my case, there is and I am grateful.
Someone special came into my life fifteen years ago at a leadership programme in London. This talented, warm and strong woman, Giulia Sirignani, was born in Italy and raised in Sydney. She began her impressive journalistic career with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation working as a political reporter, Olympics Correspondent and news presenter and went onto cover the biggest news events in the world for global TV networks as well find meaningful stories to tell through writing and directing feature documentaries.
I knew instantly Giulia would be in my life forever, no matter where we lived in the world. We simply clicked! The feeling was mutual and our personal and business relationship has grown with time and a fierce commitment to stay connected no matter the different time zones in which we find ourselves or how demanding our schedules get. While I was living in London, I’d regularly travel to visit her in Rome where she lived on a cobble-stoned lane in the historic centre, then at her home in Lake Bracciano, 40km north of Italy’s capital and later in Milan where she was raising her young daughter. We’d frequent the best and smallest authentic restaurants in Italy where tourists don’t go, simply because Giulia is also an accomplished and trained cook who speaks fluent Italian. How did I get so lucky to have my personal guide? I saw Italy through her eyes. Giulia would also often visit me in the WestLondon flats I lived in and we’d walk and talk and share the darkest and sunniest moments in our personal and professional lives. She’d cook me the finest Italian meals on her visits and we’d savour them with a vino or two. Giulia became the sister I never had. And she also became a new colleague, thanks to the synergy of our talents and deep desire to combine them.
My mantra has always been ‘work and play’ with those you love and respect. All ‘Fresh Eyre’ associates have aligned values - not by accident but by deliberate choosing. And they are all my friends. Running a business with people I trust means the world to me.
Sowing the seeds of collaboration
During our first media training workshop at my camera woman’s residence in the London suburb of Tower Bridge, Giulia and I coached a high-profile politician from the UK’s House of Commons. I got to see that Giulia was a born teacher and our humble client warmed to her instantly and soaked up the learning. We have never looked back and the many business trips back and forth crossing the oceans have been a joy. We’ve had meetings indifferent cities and brainstormed ideas in Rome, at Lake Bracciano, Milan,Tuscany, London, Sydney and Auckland. We’ve even had a meeting in an airport lounge in Hong Kong while both flying to the bottom of the world.
Southern Hemisphere Dreaming
After I returned from my years in London, I unabashedly declared to Giulia I hoped somehow, someday she’d return to her hometown of Sydney so we could make some more work magic together. In 2019, life unexpectedly asked Giulia to change course, so, after 20 years abroad she headed back down under. Although busy making news documentaries for Australian BroadcastingCorporation, our conversation to work together ricocheted across the Tasman with our WhatsApp ring tones singing to each other constantly. I was busy with some key clients but suggested Giulia fly to Auckland to participate in my 2-day workshops and someone-on-ones. The Fresh Eyre family embraced her as part of the long-lost tribe. Keen to create a cross-Tasman opportunity, I jumped at the chance to meet with an emerging company, Sprouta whose partners were friends of a friend of Giulia’s (See how it always comes down to friendship and/or relationships!) Giulia and I quickly organised to roll out videos and a social strategy to launch Fresh Eyre’s further expansion inAustralia with an event planned for March 2020. I’ve worked continuously in Australia over my career, but since returning from London, although loving NewZealand, this girl still gotta fly!
Ready, Set ….. STOP! A pandemic slammed the brakes on.
While my dream was that one day Giulia would live back in Australia so we could physically work together, like all of us,I’m learning to give my dreams a make-over. What do I mean? They’ll still happen, but they might look a little or even a lot different. New tools but same goals. The loss, fear and uncertainty is real but so is my resolve. I’ll stay and keep everyone safe but never surrender my dreams. My belief is that something positive can always come out of a negative situation or a crisis. Yes, COVID -19 has slowed us down and interrupted the flow but that’s an opportunity to pause, regroup, recreate and reinvent ourselves. What else can we offer our clients? Technology is now our lifeline on Zoom, Skype, team meetings, WhatsApp and phone. So, I ask myself now “how can I use these tools to make an impact?” And as we’ve seen, technology isn’t stopped by lockdowns because in the virtual world there are no boundaries. That’s why my rollout across the ditch and plans to team with Giulia is, I’ve learned, perfectly still on track.
The importance of an online presence
The truth is that I have always wanted to work more in the virtual world and it’s taken a virus to jolt me into action. I’m loving it and in so many ways my life has expanded. I’m connecting more with both current and prospective clients around the world and geographical distance is no longer a barrier. I can travel to and be in anyone’s space to talk and work with. What an epiphany and what an opportunity!
How can we help you?
Experience has taught me that you stand out more if the ‘real you’ is present in your storytelling. We will show you how to do this and how stories help you to connect with people. We are now faced with the challenge of working online and because there is no one in the actual room to bounce off, reading body language has become trickier but ever-more important. It requires added effort,patience, focus and concentration. It is a learned skill. Building rapport is crucial to establish trust and the good news is that it’s possible to build a client relationship through a screen. However, it takes time and practice.
This is where Fresh Eyre can help. Our trainers have backgrounds in communication, professional theatre, television and journalism. We know how to teach our clients to create a presence (on and offline) and we know how to show you how to manage your nerves. We guide people to be themselves in all arenas/forms of presenting and how to engage an audience. Everything can go wrong presenting with technology. Trust me I know! I hosted a panel and moderated for clients in two countries in India and New Zealand recently and the technology let us down badly. I had to stay calm and carry on. Giulia has been a TV news anchor and gone live from locations around the world during breaking news events. She shares readily with me and Fresh Eyre’s clients stories of stage fright and her personal battles with nerves.
We will teach you how to wing it (during a tech crisis) and still look and sound confident no matter what happens. And we have strategies to help you overcome nerves and shine on your chosen stage.
Fresh Eyre’s work
‘’If you can’t explain it simply you don’t understand it well enough’’ - Albert Einstein. A genius in every way and word.
Our job is to help our clients be memorable, which requires rehearsal and knowing your key messages. The thought of speaking in public inspires fear in almost everyone but speaking online can be even more daunting especially if you are doing it for the first time. Having a background in acting, TV presenting and journalism means we have tips, techniques and tricks to help you stand out. We will show you how to structure your business presentation or speech to speak online.
We’re here to help you build your confidence during endless COVID lockdowns. Communication is your best currency. The secret to a convincing performance is not just knowing the content to capture your audience, it’s about your authenticity. It’s about you being true to yourself.
"Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you’’ – Dr Seuss
To learn more about Giulia click here
If you would like to work with Fresh Eyre contact us
A fifteen year friendship spanning multiple countries, Giulia and Maggie are here to help you build your confidence during endless COVID lockdowns.