Episode 154: How to Fix Your Broken Meetings

Whether we like it or not, meetings are essential in running an organisation. But when was the last time you attended a meeting without feeling bored? Meetings are supposed to help us get work done more effectively. It’s an opportunity for us to raise issues and make critical decisions. But despite their importance, very few of them are done well. Does anyone really know how to run a meeting without it turning into a boring one-hour slog?

Dr Carrie Goucher joins us in this episode to discuss better work communication and how to run a meeting. She also explains how to disagree with other people in meetings while maintaining good relationships. Then, we lay down simple and practical actions making meetings shorter, more productive, and better.

If you want to know how to run a meeting effectively and productively, stay tuned to this episode.

Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:

  1. Learn how to plan meetings beyond just hygiene factors.

  2. Discover how to engage and encourage people to speak their minds during meetings.
  3. Find out how to run a meeting that everyone will agree was interesting, helpful, and productive.

Episode Highlights

[04:16] How Carrie Got into Meetings

  • Carrie’s work has always been about helping people and companies collaborate better. The sticking point for many of those companies was meetings.

  • She got highly interested in meetings as a place where critical things happen or don’t happen. She ended up doing a PhD in it.
  • She used her PhD research and current knowledge about culture and leadership to address meeting issues in organisations.

[06:07] Planning Beyond Hygiene Factors

‘We want to stay psychologically safe, we want to keep our job. But more than that, we want to be somebody who is high-value to our place of work.’ – Click Here To Tweet This

  • Setting agendas and starting on time is important, but they’re not enough to ensure a productive meeting.
  • Many forces are at work in planning a meeting, from power and hierarchy to tribal forces.
  • Centuries ago, wanting to stay safe in the tribe was a life-or-death matter. Today, we want to be psychologically safe by being of value and keeping our jobs.
  • Hygiene factors include starting promptly, finishing on time, having a session plan, and making sure everybody speaks.
  • Having standing meetings that rotate around makes us forget what they’re there for in the first place.

‘…Make sure everybody speaks. I think it’s a lot more complex than that, but it’s a really good start. Did everybody have the chance to say what they thought? And if they didn’t? It’s a question you can ask at the end.’ – Click Here To Tweet This

[09:57] Carrie’s PhD in Meetings

  • She was most interested in understanding what we would find if we looked beyond hygiene factors and took a more systems approach.

  • Carrie’s approach is to make people talk about their experience of meetings and how they connect with things outside the meeting.
  • Her findings indicated that meetings are a systems problem. There are various stages we need to go through before and after the meeting.
  • The social contracting that happens before a meeting can be quite harmful. A simple way to clear this up is to engage people beforehand through a quick conversation.
  • Her research showed two sides to running a meeting: facilitation and using light structures.

‘When people have different expectations about what a meeting is supposed to be, about how it’s supposed to be run, what we’re supposed to get out of it, what our roles are going to be, that’s actually quite harmful in the meeting itself.’ – Click Here To Tweet This

[15:02] How to Encourage People to Speak Up

  • Going around everybody helps clarify and speed up the process of turn-taking. It gives everybody the opportunity to speak and a bit of preparation time.

  • Other than work-related questions, it could also be just pure fun. You’ll be amazed at how it can change the dynamic.
  • Doing this early equal contribution models how we want the rest of the meeting to go. It shows that everybody’s views, data, and insights are essential.
  • Another technique is inviting people to consider a question and write down their thoughts. Then, have them share what they think upon reflecting on it.
  • Giving a good briefing, clarity, and timeframe for what you’re asking them to do allows more people to provide more valuable contributions.

‘If it’s unrealistic to get people to prepare something before or to think about something before, then give them a bit of time in the meeting to write that down.’ – Click Here To Tweet This

[21:42] Addressing Hierarchy

  • Meetings are usually run by people in authority. It is human nature to show deference to people with higher qualifications than us.

  • Those people should demonstrate that they value everybody’s opinion and validate, encourage, and appreciate everyone’s contributions.
  • It’s easy for people with more senior roles to see what’s wrong with what somebody has said. But direct criticism will only make people reluctant to contribute.
  • Always remember that there’s an audience in meetings. It’s easier to restore a one-to-one relationship than a group.
  • Think about how you can address critical things without criticising them.

[24:58] Disagreeing without Criticising

  • There are two types of conflict: the task conflict we want and the relationship conflict we don’t want.

  • These two conflicts often blur together, ending up in a situation with lots of false positivity. It’s thus critical to identify how to separate them.
  • Use the VAB framework: validate, appreciate, boundary. Validate what they’re talking about, appreciate their contribution, and bring back the conversation to the task.
  • It doesn’t mean nobody will ever feel criticised, but it offers a balanced approach. Over time, it builds trust to speak about the task more directly.

‘Keep the conversation around the task, around the evidence, around the outcome.’ – Click Here To Tweet This

[29:13] ‘Yes, but…’

  • When setting boundaries, instead of using the word ‘but’, try to say ‘and’.

  • Something we say habitually has a significant impact. The word ‘but’ can invalidate your earlier agreement about something.
  • There are ways to give the ‘Yes, but…’ a constructive place to go rather than running them into two parallel sequences.
  • Asking people to write down their ‘buts’ from an idea acknowledges the importance of their internal thought processes.
  • Asking everybody to critique your idea can be a way of establishing that it’s beneficial and normal to critique ideas.

[34:04] How to Run a Meeting

  • A good session plan includes the purpose of the meeting, questions, decisions to be made, and expectations from people.

  • Once you have a good session plan, you’ll have a platform to use.
  • The best way to move the meeting forward with authority is to go around, verbally collate your progress, ask questions, and make suggestions.
  • In these ways, you’re stimulating and prompting people to take the steps towards your purpose.
  • A shared canvas or document helps capture what has come out of the meeting.

‘Given what we’ve achieved so far, what is the best possible use of our time if we want to get to Zed?’ – Click Here To Tweet This

[38:53] The Four Quadrants of a Meeting Documentation

  • First is establishing any set decisions. It’s useful for people who weren’t in the meeting or in case you forget something.

  • Secondly, identify what needs to happen next and who is responsible for it.
  • Third, determine who you need to communicate the documentation with or involve in any established decisions.
  • Fourth is a car park or what came up that is for another meeting.

[42:17] How to Run a Meeting with Time Constraints

  • The best way is to break the meetings into chunks and use the time limits as a creative constraint.

  • Think about the best structure that can speed up the decision-making process. Some strategies are to use a voting technique or a third-party timer.
  • Giving people a five-minute break to switch between topics allows them to prepare for the next phase.

[45:11] How to Share Information in an Engaging Way

  • The first thing is to give people choices. Some people prefer listening to a recording, while others prefer emails or a newsletters.
  • Put your key messages in your heading when writing. Then, provide bite-sized, scannable content with lots of subheadings.
  • The thing about work communication is that out-of-work communication sets the bar for it.
  • Our brains already understand the formats of what we usually receive. You can borrow some of those principles and apply them internally.
  • Meetings are part of an ecosystem of how we communicate and get things done at work.

45:13] ‘Give people choices.’ – Click Here To Tweet This

[48:56] Carrie’s Top Three Tips for How to Run a Meeting

  • Set people up with the right expectations.
  • Get people to contribute as early and equally as possible to set the tone for the rest of the meeting.
  • Capture the meeting outcomes on a shared canvas using the four quadrants.

About Carrie

Carrie Goucher is a business culture practitioner and the founder of FewerFasterBolder. She has a PhD in systems engineering and is a specialist in meetings and meeting culture. Bringing in her expertise, Carrie has worked with various organisations on their meetings for over 18 years. She is passionate about addressing the system and transforming how we think about meetings.

Enjoy This Podcast?

In today’s high-stress work environment, you may feel like a frog in boiling water. The pan has heated up so slowly that you didn’t notice the feeling of stress and overwhelm becoming the norm. You may feel it is impossible to survive AND thrive in your work.

Frogs generally have only two options — stay and be boiled alive or jump out of the pan. Fortunately, you are not a frog. You have many more options, choices, and control than you think. Sometimes there’s a shark, but sometimes, it’s really nothing.

Learn to master your destiny and thrive even in the most difficult of situations. If you enjoyed today’s episode of You Are Not a Frog Podcast, hit subscribe now!

Post a review and share it! If you enjoyed tuning into this podcast, do not hesitate to write a review and share this with your friends.

For more updates and episodes, visit the You Are Not A Frog website. You can also tune in on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

Sign up here to receive a link to the episode workbook and CPD form downloads for each podcast. You can use them for reflection and to submit for your appraisal.

You can also join the Shapes Collective Facebook group, where we chat about hot topics and regularly post interesting articles.

Have any questions? Contact Rachel through these platforms:

LinkedIn: @Dr-Rachel-Morris

Twitter: @DrRachelMorris

Email: hello@youarenotafrog.com

Find out more about our training here.

Here’s to surviving and thriving inside and outside our work!


Product placements: We are including short promotions for companies or products that we genuinely stand behind – and think will be helpful to you. Thanks for helping us support the businesses that allow us to keep hopping into your ears every week. We do take a small commission from the company’s product placements, but we only ever recommend stuff we love!

Episode Transcript

Rachel Morris: Most of us think that meetings are the things that happen in between all the real work that needs to be done and view them as an evil necessity, but like or not not, for many of us, meetings define the culture of where we work. They’re often the only way we have to raise issues, make decisions, or even clap eyes on our colleagues. So why are they so bad and so hard to get right? j

I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s because they’re run by humans with buttons and triggers and conflicting ideas and priorities, just like any other gathering of humans. So why do we put so little thought into doing them right, particularly when some of us spent so much time in meetings, and some of the decisions we make in meetings are quite literally life or death? Like anything, I think that with a bit of thought, planning and understanding, you can transform your meetings from bad and boring to helpful and, dare I even say, interesting.

In this episode, I’m chatting with Dr Carrie Goucher, who has a PhD in meetings. She’s worked out some fundamental principles and hacks, and has created a FewerFasterBolder system, which can transform your meetings. Since this episode, I’ve started to use her meetings capture canvas in my meetings, which has made it so much easier to record and share discussions, decisions and actions.

If you’re thinking that because you don’t currently chair any meetings that this episode isn’t for you, then think again. There’s stuff we can all do to make meetings better, even if you’re not the boss. So listen to this episode to find out the basics which must be present in any meeting from the get go, how to disagree with other people in meetings without wrecking the relationship and some astonishingly simple and practical actions you can take immediately to make your meetings shorter, more productive, and just better.

Welcome to You Are Not a Frog, the podcast for doctors and other busy professionals in high stress, high stakes jobs. I’m Dr Rachel Morris, a former GP, now working as a coach, trainer and speaker. Like frogs in a pan of slowly boiling water, many of us don’t notice how bad the stress and exhaustion have become until it’s too late, but you are not a frog. Burning out or getting out are not your only options. In this podcast, I’ll be talking to friends, colleagues, and experts and inviting you to make a deliberate choice about how you live and work so that you can beat stress and work happier.

If you’re a training manager or clinical lead and your teams are under pressure and maybe even feeling overwhelmed, we’d love to share our Shapes Toolkit training with you. Our practical tools are designed by a team of doctors and practitioners who know what it’s like to work in a stretched and overwhelmed system, with topics like how to take control of your time and workload, deal with conflicts and managing stress.

From team away days and half day sessions to shorter workshops and webinars online or face to face, we’d love to find out how we can help your team work calmer and happier. We work with primary care training hubs, ICS wellbeing teams, new to practice GP fellowships, hospital trusts and lots of other health care providers with staff on the front line. To find out more, drop us an email or request a brochure at the link below.

It’s wonderful to have with me on the podcast today, Dr Carrie Goucher. Now, Carrie is a business culture practitioner, and she has done a PhD and is a specialist in meetings and meetings culture. She is the creator of FewerFasterBolder, that is an approach and some techniques for transforming how many things are led. So welcome, Carrie.

Carrie Goucher: Lovely to be here, Rachel.

Rachel: Now, I wanted Carrie to come on the podcast because meetings are something that I don’t think we do very well in healthcare. I’m not sure anyone does them very well. Carrie, what do you think?

Carrie: No, they aren’t. They’re mostly mediocre at best. There are some great meetings, but for most people, their meeting experiences, negative.

Rachel: Yeah. So you have really dug deep into meetings and how to make a better meeting. What led you to that in the first place?

Carrie: My work has always been about helping people and companies collaborate better, so things like culture, relationships, ways of working, building an adult to adult culture, but for many of those companies, the sticking point was meetings. So I remember somebody saying to me very, very clearly, “If you’re going to change our culture, you have to start with our meetings.”

I loved working with companies on things like design thinking and agile and lean and coaching and all sorts of things that we now know help organisations work brilliantly, but I couldn’t understand why all that evaporated when it came to meetings, except for a few handful of really good companies. I’m not a very patient person myself, so I found sitting in meetings pretty boring and frustrating as well.

I got so interested in meetings as a place where input really important things happen or don’t happen in companies that I ended up doing a PhD in it. Then when I read the 300 or so papers written exclusively about meetings, I just could hardly believe what I was reading. I couldn’t understand why the research that had been done so far seem to me to be about tick box exercises they did.

Was there an agenda? Did it start on time, etc? We know so much more about the human psyche at work and about behaviour and what makes people trust each other and what helps us make progress on things and get clear. So I used my PhD research and everything we now know about culture and leadership to try and address that in organisations, and that’s how I landed where I am now.

Rachel: Wow, that’s interesting. So everything was just looking at like, is there agenda? Does it start on time? That’s a really low hanging fruit, right? That’s the thing that everyone thinks, “Well, that’s pretty obvious that that should be there.”

Carrie: Yeah. They’re hygiene factors, so it’s not that they’re not important, but on their own, they are not enough to ensure that we have a powerful productive meeting. There are so many forces that work from power and hierarchy to tribal forces, so where we want to look useful in the tribe. We want to stay safe, and hundreds of thousands of years ago, that would have been a matter of life or death, whether we were safe in our tribe, whether we had to go and fight tigers on our own.

Now, it’s not a matter of life or death, but nevertheless, we want to stay psychologically safe. We want to keep our job. But more than that, we want to be somebody who is high value to our place of work. Now, we never want to look like we’re not doing enough, or that we didn’t think of something, or we asked a stupid question, or we weren’t on it. So there are so many forces at work and just simple hygiene factors while it’s so tempting to say if we just kind of really double down on those and are really disciplined and always have an agenda.

It’s just not quite enough, but we can now understand what is enough and what simple sort of sometimes quite annoyingly simple things are enough to trigger really helpful behaviour and helpful conversations.

Rachel: So Carrie, very quickly, just lists for me, what are those hygiene factors that really are the no-brainers that just really should be there to make a meeting effective, that we can get out of the way now and just go, right? If you’re not doing those, then at least do that, right?

Carrie: Yeah. So they would be things like starting promptly and finishing on time. It’s a basic, basic thing, which means that people’s time is respected. So clearly, in medicine and clinical work, like everywhere else, things happen to diaries. But broadly speaking, if you’re late, say, “I’m very sorry. Please carry on.” If you’re running the meeting, then finish on time so that you’re not leaving people with an overhang to deal with.

Have a clear plan of what you’re going to talk about. I would recommend a session plan, not an agenda. The main thing being where are we trying to get to today. So particularly meetings where we have one every week or every month, the sort of standing meetings that rotate around, we kind of forget what they’re there for. There’s something about meetings that’s quite resistant to change.

It’s not that easy to stick your hand up in a meeting, say, “Hang on a minute, why are we here, again,” in a PCN meeting or something like that. However, some group reflection on what is the most useful use of our time in these sessions as a group is a really good start, and that can form the basis of what some people call an agenda, I would prefer to call a session plan, which is the these are the things we’re trying to achieve while we’re here.

So those would be the three really basic ones. Another one that people add quite a lot is make sure everybody speaks. I think it’s a lot more complex than that, but it’s a really good start. Did everybody have the chance to say what they thought? If they didn’t, it’s a question you can ask at the end. Before you close the meeting, you can say, “Does everybody feel they got the chance to say what they wanted to say?” That’s a sort of checkpoint for you and for others. So all those things will be a great starting point.

Rachel: Great. So those are the hygiene factors that if they are all present, that will mean that people don’t get really irritated and et cetera, but they don’t necessarily make the meeting absolutely, brilliantly fantastic.

Carrie: Exactly right.

Rachel: So I’m really interested, Carrie, when you were doing your PhD, and I was gonna say, I’m not going to ask you to sum up your three years of PhD in five minutes, but actually I am. What was the one thing that you were really interested in? What did this lead you to finding?

Carrie: I was interested in understanding if we looked beyond some of these hygiene factors, and we took more of a systems approach, what would we find? There aren’t particularly excellent academic books written about meetings. But mostly, the studies that have been done were dominated by asking people, “What meeting did you go to last? Were you satisfied with the process? Were you satisfied with the outcome?”

Then listing a number of factors that people have to say if they were present or not, or to what extent were present, including all these hygiene factors. I felt, if you only asked about those factors, you’ll only hear which one of those are important. I wanted to flip it on its head and take a much more inductive approach and say, if we ask people to talk about their experience of meetings, and what happened before and what happened after and to link them to other things.

Clearly, meetings are just part of other things. We don’t have meetings other than to achieve something. If we’re not trying to achieve anything, it’s a pure social, and that is slightly different. That’s not to say meetings don’t include a bonding and connecting element they absolutely do, but pure bonding, that’s social, that’s different. So I was keen to understand if those things were trying to achieve in the meeting to serve a purpose outside of the meeting, how did all that connect together?

I learned some really interesting things. So my research findings indicated that absolutely, meetings are a systems problem. They’re not something you can just fix between 10 and 11 am while you’re actually running the meeting. So we need to understand a little bit more about what’s going on around them. But there are also various stages that we need to go to that go through that start before the meeting and finish after it.

So for example, my results show that there’s a big piece of stuff that happens before a meeting, which is around social contracting. Clearly, in a contract contract, everything’s written down, and we sign at the end of it. In a social contract, nothing’s written down, but we hold it as an expectation. So where people have different expectations about what a meeting is supposed to be about, how it’s supposed to be run, what we’re supposed to get out of it, what our roles are going to be, that’s actually quite harmful in the meeting itself.

So a really simple way to clear that up is to share an agenda beforehand, or share a session plan in an invitation, and also to ask people what they want to get out of that session. So that process of getting clarity and engaging people beforehand, which can be as simple as an email or a very quick conversation. That makes a huge difference to what happens in the meeting. That’s what my research shows.

My research also showed that there are two sides to running a meeting. One is facilitation, so how do you, with your words and your body language, keep the meeting progressing towards its goal and keep engaging people and keep involving people and getting the best out of everybody there. The second part is how do you use some light structures, so how do you put some scaffolding in place that gives people a few simple rules, either for all of the meeting or part of the meeting that, again, frees people to contribute better.

So in many, many aspects of life, where we want frankness, focus, maybe even a bit of fun, dare I say it, with our colleagues, flow, all of those things work best. Often with a clear understanding of what the rules of the game are when we’re in a group interaction. So football is one example. There are many others. In a meeting, it is helpful to have a few little pictures in place that people rather than a total free for all, where actually what happens is power and hierarchy dominate.

Rachel: I love that concept, because you’re absolutely right. If no one knows when they’re expected to speak or anything like that, then yeah, you will just get the most dominant people or you’ll get the extroverts. I’m an extrovert, and I find silence really uncomfortable. So if there’s a silence of the meeting, I’m sitting there, and my hands go, “Don’t butt in. Don’t butt in. Don’t butt in.” Often people do need that silence to jump in.

But if you know that you’re going round and everyone has going to have a chance to say, then that’s great, isn’t it? Then people don’t have to worry about butting in or being dominant or being too quiet or whatever, I think. That’s a well known technique. I’m just thinking for when we teach about group facilitation, small group facilitation and teaching. If you’ve got a really noisy student, you’ll then go round so that they take their turns with everybody else.

So there always are a few people in the meeting, you know that you’d really like to hear from but they don’t speak up. In your research, did you find any specific structures that really does help people to speak up?

Carrie: I think that there are a few options. The one you mentioned earlier about rounds is a really helpful one. So that just clarifies and speeds up the process of turn taking, and it gives everybody an equal slot. A round works really when you ask a question or give people a couple of questions to answer and some kind of indication of concision. It could be “in two words, please share…”, or it could be in one minute or whatever it is that we’re going to go round everybody. This stage will take 10 minutes when people have a little look at the clock and look at the number of people around and do a little bit of mental arithmetic and come up with their own conclusion.

So it’s up to you how formal or informal you make that, but it does give everybody the opportunity to speak, and it gives them a little bit of preparation time, particularly if you tell people the order in advance. So people know that, “okay, I’m going to be the third.”

So certainly that’s a great technique. Those questions, they can be sharing data. So you might have a number of people who have a number. I don’t know whether that could be missed appointments or a patient metric or anything else that is material to the meeting. That’s a really good way to get some of that data right at the start.

It could be something that asks people just to share a bit of the world they’re bringing into the meeting. So you could ask people what their workload is, and in two words, give me your workload in a temperature. So I’m on a rolling boil, tepid, hair on fire. So it’s an opportunity to people just bring a bit of where they’re at, a bit of humanity in through the door, or it could be just pure fun. I used to not do the fun, what I used to plan the fun ones and not do them, because I’d get there and think, “oh, everyone’s too serious. They wouldn’t want to do it.” I stopped doing it at one meeting, and it was full of engineers. They said, “Hang on a minute. Where’s our question about animals?”

Rachel: Where’s the fun bit? Okay, give us three fun things that you’ve done, Carrie.

Carrie: So a nice one is if you’re on a video meeting, hand on heart. Are you wearing pyjamas right now? That’s a good one. Good Cambridge one. How many miles have you cycled this week? There was another one in that particular organisation about cake. You’ve got to be brave to go for the really fun ones. But I think if you can think of something and you can count it as a bit of an experiment.

Say, “Just for today, we’re just going to try something different. It’s been a long day. We’ve got loads to do tonight. Let’s just take one minute to . . . “. If you feel there’s something that people are ready for that with a bit of humour they will accept, then you will be amazed at how that can change the dynamic. The other thing that happens when we do this early, equal contribution. So rounds are really good for starting meetings is with modelling how we want the rest of that meeting to go.

So we’re modelling and demonstrating that everybody’s view and data and insights are important, and we are providing a template for the kind of interaction that we want, which is concise, succinct, equal, involves quite a bit of listening to others. So it’s a nice technique to use. Another technique is to invite people to consider a question and to write down their thoughts on it. So to give them some time to work, we call it alone together.

So that they can gather their thoughts, reflect even if it’s only for a couple of minutes, and then have a chance to share what they think having had enough time to consider it. So some people love shooting from the hip, and that’s how they think they go to meetings. Suddenly, all these amazing things come out of their brain that even they hadn’t thought of before, and if it wasn’t for the meeting, they couldn’t have produced that ‘content’.

But for a lot of people, that’s not how they work, and it can almost be quite shaming to be asked to contribute immediately to something in a meeting. If it’s unrealistic to get people to prepare something before or to think about something before, then give them a bit of time in the meeting to write that down, could be a couple of minutes. Now clearly, if you can give people something to consider beforehand, that’s great.

So if you’ve got a weekly practice meeting, you might say, “Okay, for next week, could you have a think about X. Come ready to talk about Y.” Give them a little reminder midweek somehow. Then at the start of the next session, you might want to give them one minute to think about it just in case they haven’t already. All these things are much, much more neuro inclusive as well. So we know that neurodiversity is far more prevalent than we ever realised.

There will be people in your team who are neuro-divergent. There will be people who are probably neuro-divergent, but they don’t realise yet. They’ve had no kind of diagnosis. So doing things that allow, that give people really a good briefing, clarity on what you’re asking them to do, and a bit of time to do it in their own space, that’s really worthwhile and allows far more people to contribute and to provide a more valuable contribution.

Rachel: That’s really interesting, I think, really, really important. I have used techniques in my teaching and training where people talk in pairs first, and then contribute. But actually, I think that writing down is almost even better, because even in pairs, you then say, right, can you feed back, and it’s always the most dominant one in the pair that feeds back, right, but they’ve got the quiet one.

But I love that writing down and not only helps with neuro divergence, but it also helps with hierarchy. The problem with our meetings, I think in healthcare, is that they have a lot of hierarchy, no matter how much the doctors think there’s no hierarchy here. We’re all good friends. I think it is still felt, particularly by the newer, younger, more junior members of the team. They really, really, really feel it, and so that will massively help with that as well, right?

Carrie: Absolutely. I guess if hierarchy is part of the issue, and clearly it is human nature does show deference to people with higher qualifications than us. It just is. Usually, meetings are run by people with ‘higher’ qualifications. So the responsibility is on those people to really demonstrate that they do value everybody’s opinion and to modify their own behaviour to validate, encourage, appreciate other people’s contribution.

So if you’re in a highly technical role, it’s easy to see what’s technically wrong with what somebody else has said, whether it’s a clinical point or something different. That’s part of what your job is to pick up detail and to kind of pick up things that are not right or unsafe, but it can make people very reticent to contribute. Actually, you only need to do that once or twice for that to be remembered.

So I remember I had a colleague, very senior colleague in the first organisation I ever worked in, and he was a very exacting person. But I remember saying to him, “You’ve never ever said anything critical to me, or you’ve never framed anything from a critical point of view or made me feel criticised, or I have never felt criticised in your presence. Why is that?” Because I said, “Clearly, you have very high standards.” He said, “It just breaks the relationship.”

It doesn’t mean I can’t address things that matter to me, and we can’t improve things. But as soon as I frame something as a criticism, we’re very quickly off the mark, tell somebody what their point isn’t right. It just whack a great block off that relationship, and that will take me another six months to rebuild that. I need good relationships to do my work well, and that stayed with me for the last 22 years. It’s a really hard discipline.

But the thing about meetings is, there’s an audience. So whilst you might just about be able to kind of restore that relationship one to one if something’s said, it’s much harder in a group, because 3 other people or 10 other people have witnessed somebody criticise, and so it might be interesting to talk about. Okay, so how do you raise things that are important without criticising?

Rachel: Yeah, that’s such a fascinating comment, Carrie. I do remember having another conversation with someone about meetings, and she was a very senior leader in healthcare. She said, in meetings, she just shuts up, and she always tries to speak last because she knows the minute she speaks with her opinion, no one else will give their opinion because she’s the most senior in the room. Boom, she knows that we’ll just shut everyone down.

That has really got me thinking particularly or thinking about criticising because one of the things we talk about a lot on the podcast is how do you tell people what they don’t want to hear, and how do you disagree with people well. I completely take your point, but now we’re in a quandary, aren’t we? What if you are discussing a really thorny subject in a meeting and you really do disagree or someone is blatantly wrong, what do you do without, like you said, knocking a chunk off that relationship?

Carrie: Yeah, yeah. So there are two types of conflict. We want one. We don’t want the other. So there is task conflict. We want this. We want people to disagree about the task, and it is crucial that we do that from a fundamental point of view to keep patients safe. It’s also crucial they do that, so that we improve how we work so that we get the best out of our resources. Whereas smart people disagree about something, that’s where magic happens. We want task conflict.

What we don’t want is relationship conflict. Relationship conflict is we’re no longer debating the task or the implication is the person is wrong, the person hasn’t done enough, the person is inexperienced or wrong or difficult or bad, or something negative. The problem is that the two end up blurring together, and what we end up is in a situation where we have lots of false positivity.

So for example, 10 people share an idea each, clearly some are better than others. To avoid any kind of conflict, somebody says, “Okay, great. Well, that’s 10, brilliant ideas, let’s go away and do them, lovely. We’ll put some effort behind all of them. Great.” Well, I go, “Hang on a minute. That’s madness.” We can end up in this sort of area of friendliness and rapport, where it’s not okay to say anything that doesn’t sound like, “Oh, brilliant, thank you so much. That’s absolutely brilliant.”

Then you never really know that that’s not what people are really thinking. So all the kind of important stuff is hidden, and that doesn’t help either, that doesn’t build trust. That’s rapport over relationship. So the answer is to get really good at separating those out. Over time, you can speak much more directly about the task. The trust based is sufficient that you don’t have to, you have to qualify anything or say anything too carefully.

But at the start, it can really help to use a little framework called VAB, so validate, appreciate, boundary. You can apply this to lots of different things, including how you handle if somebody is talking a lot in a meeting. So the validate part is you express the fact that you understand what they’re talking about. So it’s almost like a playback. “So it sounds like you…” So it’s a clarification piece, and it’s a kind of, “Okay, got it, heard you.”

The second part is appreciate, so you are valuing the contribution, and the fact that it’s enriching the conversation, even if you’re not going to agree with it. So to appreciate you might say, “I can really see why that is seems important, or for you that is important.” Or “I really appreciate you bringing that to our attention or bringing that to the group,” or “everybody’s ideas are valuable, because it gives us more things to choose from,” or “it’s really helpful to understand different perspectives. So thank you for that.”

Then the boundary part is where you can bring it back to the task. So if it was somebody talking a lot, you could say, “So it sounds like you’re talking about this. I’m really glad you’re bringing that to our attention. Today, we need to focus on X.” Mostly, people will say fairplay. If you were to play that video of that interaction to a hundred people, how many of them would say, “Oh, that was very critical.”

Probably not many, so it doesn’t mean nobody will ever feel criticised ever again, but it’s a very reasonable, balanced approach to take. Over time, it will rebalance the ability to talk about things that matter, without people feeling criticised. So we’re trying to keep the conversation around the task, around the evidence, around the outcome. There’s one word I didn’t use at the start of every boundary. I wonder if you might have spotted it. So when I say, “And today we’re going to focus on…”

Rachel: Yes, “but”.

Carrie: Yeah.

Rachel: “But.” “But.”

Carrie: I didn’t use “but”. It’s really difficult not to use “but”, and I do forgive the odd “but”, but if you can possibly say “and”, it’s more powerful. How do you find the “but, and”?

Rachel: It’s interesting, Carrie. I was speaking to a colleague the other day and everything I said she agreed with, but she started her response to me with, “Yes, but I think this,” and then would sort of agree. It started to really get on my nerves, and I thought why is she doing this? Is she just trying to exert authority, or show that she knows as well or something? It was really odd, and I just found it really irritating. It reminded me of the recent Alan Partridge show. Now, you’re an Alan Partridge fan, right?

Carrie: Of course, I live in Norfolk.

Rachel: So he’s interviewing a reporter on his TV show, and he goes, “So don’t you think that childhood poverty is because of this?” She’ll go, “No, Alan. Actually, it’s not.” Then his Alan psychic would say, “Yes, what don’t you think it’s because of this?” She goes, “Yes.” Then whatever Alan says, she goes, “Yes, but,” and then whatever the other woman says, “Yes, and then.”

We laugh about this all the time, and it’s got us very in tune to the “yes, but”. Even if you’re agreeing with someone, some people seem to want to assert their authority or so the fact that they know stuff, by saying, “yes, but” even if they’re sort of agreeing. It’s a very old thing. So it’s not even a disagree that people say “but” so that’s just my little hobbyhorse sidebar.

Carrie: So “yes, but” is a flag placing, ground claiming statement. For many people, it’s a verbal tic. It’s just a habit, something we say a bit like sort of or a bit like. It’s something we say habitually. Its impact is significant. It can invalidate everything you said before. You’re really saying, I mean, I like you and everything, but.

Rachel: But.

Carrie: I’m not being funny or anything, but.

Rachel: But with respect.

Carrie: We have all these things that we use to then we’re kind of saying, the bit you really need to listen to is what I’m going to say next. There is a place where “yes, but” is very helpful. I use it as another structure. So if I’m presenting something, and actually when I’m teaching and coaching for FewerFasterBolder, one of the things I do is say, if I’m in real life, I say there’s a flip chart at the back. It’s got a big “yes, but” at the top, and you’ve all got post it notes.

Every time we talk about something and you think, “yes, but that’s never going to work in my organisation,” or “yes, but what about dadadada,” write it on that post it note. If it’s not burning, and you want to talk about it later, write it on the post it note, put it in the back of the room. If we have a video meeting, then it goes in the chat. Actually, you can just informally say to people, “I’m going to share . . . on this, and every time I say something and you think, ‘yes, but …’ write that down. At the end, let’s talk about all of those.”

Because what you’re doing is giving people a place for that energy that thought, you’re giving a constructive place to go, rather than them running two parallel sequences in their brain. So they’ve got the thing where they’re listening to you and trying to kind of understand the thing they’re being told. The other part that saying, “Yeah, but this is irrelevant, or this is not helpful.”

You’re acknowledging the importance of their internal thought processes and using that for the benefit of the group later, so really easy thing to do and a great use of the but.

Rachel: You can also, and I’ve seen it done where you present an idea and you say, “Right, we’re gonna go round, and everyone’s gonna tell me one reason why this idea isn’t going to work,” which could be quite, quite helpful. So everyone has to pick holes in your idea, even if they love your idea, which means that the people who really hate your idea, fill in good companies, and then feel more apt to sharing.

Carrie: Absolutely, another really nice structure. You can see how you can get quite creative and playful in a serious way. So by asking everybody to critique your idea in turn, you’re also saying it’s really important that we critique ideas, and it’s absolutely normal and expected to do that. So you can use these structures to model what you want people to do more organically in the rest of the meeting.

Rachel: So we’ve talked a lot about sort of getting some structures so that everybody can talk so that they’re not feeling criticised, so they will speak up. What else did you find in your research really, really makes a difference to how effective meetings are and how people feel about meetings and the organisation in which they work?

Carrie: So there are lots of things we can say to help meetings progress, rather than just saying, “Shall we stick to the agenda? Let’s get back to the agenda.” So assuming we’ve written a really good session plan, which might include what the purpose is, what we’re trying to get out of it, a couple of questions, the meeting needs to answer a list of any decisions that need to be made, plus a bit of expectation around what you want people to do.

“So it will be most helpful if everybody comes ready to . . .” “It will be really helpful if you are happy to speak frankly about your experiences of . . .” So assuming you’ve got that in place, you’ve then got a platform from which you can return. So you can say “Okay, the questions we were asking ourself in this meeting are A, B and C. Where are we at with those questions? Or the decisions that we said we’d make these two decisions, where have we got to? Have we got enough information?”

You can start to gather. What often happens is it’s not as simple as that. So it’s not like, “Oh, yes, we have made that decision. Great. So let’s write that down.” Normally, there are some things we agree on, some things we don’t. We don’t feel like we really got to the bottom of it. There’s some people we haven’t really heard from. So a nice way to handle that is to do around. So we need to make this decision.

Could you summarise where you’ve got to, so whether you need a bit more information, or whether you’re leaning one way or the other. You can gather the threads in other ways, so you can start to collate verbally, or you can write it down, but you can even just verbally collate what’s happened so far. So you might say, “Okay, these are the things I think we’re clear on, and these are the things I think we haven’t yet got clarity on.”

That will stimulate people to say, “Oh, actually, I think we are clear on that.” “Brilliant. Let’s add that to the we’re clear on sides.” So you’re prompting people to then take the next step towards your purpose. You can gather some other threads as well. You could say, “Okay, so I think this is what we know, so far, but it’s clear that what we don’t know is a, b, and c thing. And you’re just stimulating people to say, “Oh, well, I could find that out by . . .” or “do we really need to know that? No. Okay.”

You might say these, it sounds like these are things we agree on, and these are things we don’t yet agree on. Well, these are the things we’ve done so far. These are the things still to do. So you’re kind of verbally organising the material that’s been shared in the meeting so far, very, very simple, easy, neutral way to do it. You can also ask a question. So you can say, “We have x minutes remaining, or we’re halfway through. Given what we’ve achieved so far, what is the best possible use of our time if we want to get to zed, by the end of this session?”

So you pose it back to the group. You can also make suggestions, and these are things you can do whether or not you’re leading the meeting. You can make suggestions. Would it help if we went around individually, and just got a very quick three word indication from people on where they sit on this or what they think we should do next? So those are some of the things you can do in the meeting to move it forward with authority, but without being authoritarian, without unilaterally making a decision and say, “Well, it sounds like we’ve decided this. So let’s move on.”

Then the last part is about how do we capture what has come out of that meeting. So it might be that you produce quite a lot of documentation at the moment, or it might be that the problem is you don’t produce any documentation at all, and no one’s no one’s very clear. I tend to find people either have way too much and it’s too formal, and no one reads it, or there’s not enough, and everybody leaves with a different idea.

By the time you get to the next meeting, well, no one’s got a clue. I like to do something in between. So my research points to using a shared canvas, so a shared document, whether that’s on screen, on a flip chart, a Google Doc or even a document that you’re writing on, but in a big enough pen and in a big enough writing that other people around the table can see. Nothing needs to be high tech here.

What you’re doing is saying we’re not only taking our own individual notes, we are trying to produce a piece of work together that we’ve agreed. What I would put on that are four categories. So I do have a format, a template for this, which I’ll give you a link to, if that’s helpful. But you can just draw it yourself. So take a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle, draw a line across the middle, four quadrants, what have we decided, so what decisions have been made today.

That’s often a thing that we don’t put into our documentation. We say what we talked about. We say what the actions are, but we don’t say what were the decisions. Actually, it’s really useful for other people who weren’t in the meeting to see what those decisions were. If you’re anything like me, you forget that you decided something. So it is a really simple, helpful thing to capture. What next, so that’s a bit more than actions which can be very tactical. But what needs to happen next, and who is responsible for that?

Next quadrant, who do we need to communicate this with, so who do we need to share this document with, who do we need to tell or involve in those decisions that we’ve made. The final quadrant is a car park, so what came up that it’s for another meeting. It’s important, but it’s not for it wasn’t for today.

Running a car park is a really useful discipline because it allows you to say to people in a meeting, “That sounds really important. Today is about X, so let’s put it in the carpark,” without that being something where you’re just trying to get people to shut up about something they’re talking about. If you genuinely use your car park and unpark the cars and get them back on the road again in the next meeting, then people will be happy to put it in the car park because they know it will be well treated, and it will come back out again.

Those will be the simplest, most annoyingly logical and obvious things that don’t take any more time, that don’t need any more money, that don’t need any technology, but that my research show make a really fundamental impact to people’s clarity, their commitment and the level of action they take afterwards.

Rachel: Well, you’re right. It’s really fundamental, really simple, but we just don’t do it. You’re absolutely right. We just don’t do it, and I think even if everyone next some other meeting just did that four quadrant thing. I think it would be really, really powerful. The other thing I’ve got in my head, Carrie, is that in healthcare, we often got very difficult meetings, because they’re very time limited, even though you probably need a three hour meeting to discuss some of these issues.

You’ve got an hour, and then maybe people turn up half an hour late because they’ve got their surgeries going on, etcetera, etcetera. We try and fit so much stuff in. Like, there’s all this information. No one’s ever read it beforehand, then there’s like 10 different decisions that needs to be made. We might even try and force a palliative care or vulnerable adults meeting that you’ve got to do every month to review your list in there as well, and you get other people coming in.

What’s your advice around managing that sort of smorgasbord of “Oh, my gosh, we got to do everything in this partnership, meeting all this whole practice meeting that we have once a month, and we just never gonna get to it”?

Carrie: So I think break it into chunks and use the time limits as a creative constraint. So if we need to make these decisions, what structure can we use to speed that up? So can we make the way we share the information about it more precise and concise? So that doesn’t take 10 minutes. Can we put a little structure around how we discuss it so quickly listing out the pros and the cons, or the decision making criteria, or whatever it is?

Can we get smarter about that? Then can we use some kind of doc voting technique or something to kind of speed up that decision making process? The other thing you can do is use a third party timer, so put the stopwatch on your phone and some kind of fun that ring at the end of it. So rather than you as the facilitator constantly saying, “Oh, we’ve got two minutes left or three minutes left.”

Actually, the phone beeps when the time’s up. When the phone beeps, okay, at this point, now we need to make a decision, or say we don’t have enough information, we need to come back to it. Then finally, break up the chunk. So if you’re asking people to context switch a lot, so from some decision making, which is about how the clinic is run, or something to do with the practice strategy, I don’t know, these really big meaty issues and then to flip across into something that’s very clinical, discussing a patient caseload or something.

Then give people a five minute break, or do something in that five minutes that allows people to have a bit of a reset, and then bring them back into the new phase almost as if it’s a new meeting, that kind of frame people up for that next phase, so it feels different. Those are the kinds of things you might consider.

Rachel: That’s really interesting. I have heard that about time as a creative constraint before. You’re right, you actually focus more, don’t you think. You’ve got five minutes to talk about decision as opposed to five hours, and you really focus on the important bits about it? So you one thing that strikes me is we, I think in healthcare, often spend a lot of time giving information out in meetings, which is actually really boring and doesn’t need to be done in the meeting.

But I think people do it because they think well, if I don’t do it in the meeting, I can’t guarantee that people are going to read it or get this information. I do know one department that during COVID actually released a podcast to keep everybody updated. Now, that sounds dreadfully difficult. Oh gosh, we have to record a podcast but literally it is as simple as recording a voice note into your phone and then sending that around, and then people can just listen to it on their way home. etc, etc.

But how would you suggest people share information in ways that people will engage with and listen to but not necessarily in the meeting? Or am I asking an almost impossible question?

Carrie: No, it’s a great question. So the first thing is to give people choices. So some people will lap up a podcast that will perfectly suit them as they drive back from the school run or something like that. Other people will skim a well signposted newsletter, so an email, and to give people a few different options, other people like group type chat. I mean, the simplest form of a podcast is, as you say, a voice note in a WhatsApp group.

For a lot of people, recording a voice note is a way to convey something that’s hard to put into an email without writing a lot of words to get tone across. I think another thing that’s helpful is some kind of written format that’s in a similar structure every week or every month, whatever it is, so you get good at picking up the data from that. So that could be an email with four really, really clear sections with great headers.

Without getting too much into the detail of an internal comms and copywriting technique, headings are what we use to scan. It’s how we read something without reading it. So when I see something at the top of an employee communication that says November newsletter, I want to weep into my porridge, because I feel like that’s the only bit they’re going to read, some people, and that’s your prime real estate, so put your key messages into that.

For some people, those key messages will be the things that make them read further. So providing very bite sized content, which is what I would call scannable, so lots of subheadings. You could just read those subheadings, and you’ve essentially got the message, plus a call to action, a link or something at the end. That’s what our brains are wired to receive. The thing about communication at work is the bar is set by communication outside of work.

So part of the reason that many people are frustrated, patients and clinicians with NHS systems is the gap is so wide between what we used to find car insurance quotes or what we used to do our online shop or, and so on. So actually, you can get brilliant if you just look at the things that you receive yourself that really work, and then apply some of those principles or even do a version of that, because our brains are already geared up to understand those formats.

So you can borrow some of those formats and use them internally, and people will get the sort of semiotics of it. They know what that means just by looking at the shape of it.

Rachel: That’s absolutely brilliant advice. Carrie, I’m just thinking, actually, I’m gonna have to get you back to talk about communication in the workplace, because it really goes with the meeting, so that goes hand in hand with all of that, doesn’t it?

Carrie: So I think one thing that might be helpful to say is meetings are part of an ecosystem of how we communicate and get things done at work. They’re not standalone events. They knit together with email, conversations, everything on our online systems, all the different ways that we communicate, and that’s partly why sometimes people find meetings frustrating is because there’s repetition.

So consider meetings as part of this whole web of communication and use them for what they’re really good for, which is humans talking about uncertainty and using judgement together.

Rachel: I love that. We’re going to have to finish but before we go, what would be your three top tips for running really good meetings at work?

Carrie: Say firstly, set people up with the right expectations, make a social contract, whatever that looks like in your practice or your clinical or your hospital, so that when people arrive, they’re already clear. Their defences are down, and they are ready to participate. That’s one. Two, get people to contribute as early and as equally as possible, probably with around, set the tone for the rest of the meeting.

Then three, capture the outcomes on that shared canvas with four quadrants, decided, next, who should we communicate this with and car park.

Rachel: Brilliant. You’re gonna share with us the link so people can get that canvas if they want to.

Carrie: So it’s fewerfasterbolder.com/resources, and there you’ll find a meeting invitation templates and the capture canvas. You don’t need to sign in, provide your email address. You just hit download and off you go.

Rachel: That is fantastic, Carrie. That has been so interesting. I’ve been furiously scribbling notes, because we’re going to revolutionise the way we do meetings in my organisation as well. I’m going to commit to that now, because I can see everything that you’ve been saying just makes absolute perfect sense. I’ve been thinking, so my day is spent in MDTs and vulnerable patient meetings where we didn’t get as much done and then we didn’t get on to other things that we needed to do and all these things.

It’s so, so important. I know, Carrie, you provide sort of consultancy. You have courses about how to run better meetings. If people want to find out about that, how can they do that?

Carrie: So the best way is on the website, so fewerfasterbolder.com. You can register for the e-course. You could join a cohort of pioneers, so people who are trying to change meetings across whole organisation. The other place is to follow me on LinkedIn where I post not quite every day, but most days, something that is insightful, helpful, practical, around facilitating group work, running meetings, changing meeting culture, so some food for thought and some annoyingly obvious practical things as well.

Rachel: Fantastic. So we’ll put all those links in the show notes that. Carrie, thank you so much for being with us today. Will you come back again at some point?

Carrie: Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me.

Rachel: Thank you. Bye bye.

Carrie: Bye.

Rachel: Before we go, just to let you know that Carrie is offering all You are Not a Frog listeners 25% off the FewerFasterBolder meeting leaders e-course price. This course is three hours of powerful and actionable learning, plus templates, scripts, and a playbook of meeting tools to draw from. You’ll learn the psychology of meetings and how to use it so that every meeting you lead is much more valuable in less time. You’ll find the link in the show notes.

Thanks for listening. Don’t forget, we provide a self coaching CPD workbook for every episode. You can sign up for it via the link in the show notes. If this episode was helpful, then please share it with a friend. Get in touch with any comments or suggestions at hello@youarenotafrog.com. I love to hear from you. Finally, if you’re enjoying the podcast, please rate it and leave a review wherever you’re listening. It really helps. Bye for now.

Podcast Links

Take an off-grid You’re Not a Frog retreat with us this coming May. Get a special discount when you book before February 10th.

Get 25% OFF of FewerFasterBolder’s Meeting Leaders E-Course!

FewerFasterBolder’s Free Resources to download

For people changing meetings across a whole department or organisation – listeners can express interest for Meeting Pioneers cohort from March 2023 here

Download FewerFasterBolder’s Invitation Template and Capture Canvas here for FREE!

Connect with Carrie: FewerFasterBolder | LinkedIn

THRIVE Weekly Planner

Join the Permission to Thrive CPD Monthly Membership Programme for Doctors here!

Reach out to Rachel at hello@youarenotafrog.com

Sign up to get your CPD workbook for this episode

Other Podcasts

Episode 160: How to Avoid Burnout on Repeat

Dr Claire Ashley joins us in this episode to discuss the common occurrence of burnout and what we can do to avoid it. You have the option and the permission not to burn out. Tune in to this episode to find out how.

Episode 150: How to Get People To LOVE your Ideas with Toby Moore

Toby Moore joins us in this episode to share communication techniques that can convince the people around you to change. He shares his insights and advice that can improve how you speak to people, whether to an audience of hundreds, a sceptical team, or to a key decision maker or colleague. Want to learn the best communication strategies to convince others to change? Tune in to this episode.

Episode 143: Is It ‘Normal’ Not to Cope?

When you’re burning out, stop blaming yourself and start being compassionate. If you want to know how to cope with stress and burnout in the normal and human way, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 142: How to Stop Your Finances Controlling Your Career

Dr Tommy Perkins joins us for a conversation about money and career. We talk about why people make unusual financial decisions and what motivates a person to spend. Find out how you can make the changes you need in your life without worrying about money when you tune in to this episode.

Episode 141: You Choose

You might feel your obligations box you in. But the truth is, you make a choice whenever you act — even if it seems you have no choice at all.

Episode 140: How To Stop Emotional Eating, Eat Better and Feel Better with Dr Matthea Rentea and Keri Williams

Keri Williams and Dr Matthea Rentea talked about the causes of emotional hunger and how it affects our mood and hormones. They also discussed their inspiring weight loss journey and explained why diets don't always work. Finally, they imparted tried-and-true advice on how to stop emotional eating. Don't miss out on this episode if you're looking for the most practical ways to manage binge eating and experience consistent weight loss!

Episode 138: How to Balance Life and Work

Dr. Claire Kaye joins us in this episode to discuss why we should never aim for work-life balance, and why you should aim for life balance. If you want to learn how to do a life audit to work out your priorities, this episode is for you.

Episode 137: Shark Music

If you're not careful, the assumptions you make can turn your thoughts into a spiral of dread. Don't listen to the shark music!

Episode 134: How to Tell People What They Don’t Want to Hear

No one wants to hear a no from other people. However, for many professionals, knowing how to say no and maintaining your boundaries is a must. Jane Gunn joins us once again to talk about how you can say a clear no. Stay tuned to learn how you can say no in the best possible way.

Episode 133: But Is It A Tiger?

Are the things that annoy you in your daily life causing frustration, irritation, and bad moods? Learn how to stay calm in the face of irritations, shake off disruptions and make better decisions even in the heat of the moment.

Summer Replay 2022 Episode 3 – How to Break Up With Your Toxic Relationship With Your Career with Dr Pauline Morris

Dr Pauline Morris joins us to share her career counselling advice for physicians and other professionals in high stress jobs. We discuss the common pitfalls that lead doctors to unsustainable work habits. Pauline also sheds light on why staying in your comfort zone can be detrimental to your performance. To avert this, she shares tips on how to better recognise and advocate for your own needs. We also learn about the importance of self-care and taking time for yourself.

Summer Replay 2022 Episode 2 – Should I stay or should I go? with Corrina Gordon-Barnes

Corrina Gordon-Barnes joins us to share how to better relationships and take control and stay in your zone of power. She shares how to make a good decision by questioning thoughts and assumptions. We also discuss how you can change your perspective to become more compassionate, accepting, and empowered. If you want to know how to better relationships, stay in your zone of power, improve your decision-making skills, and be true to yourself, then tune in to this episode!

Episode 131: What To Do If You’re Stressed AND Bored

Rachel discusses how to address and navigate the toxic combination of stress and boredom in the workplace. She talks about the role of learning in living a good, meaningful, and self-actualised life. Rachel also lays down five ways that will enable you to fit learning into your schedule without increasing the chances of burning out.

Episode 130: How to Say F**k It and Become Ridiculously Relaxed (Even about Stuff That REALLY Matters) with John C. Parkin

John C. Parkin joins us today and encourages us to say ‘fuck it’ more in our lives! Not everything is important, and sometimes we try too hard living up to society’s excessive expectations. John shares how overcoming stress and setting boundaries often results in overthinking and feelings of guilty. He wants us to calm down and breathe! Let’s learn to finally prioritise relaxation in our lives and see how much better we become through it. If you’re struggling with stress and want to know how to calm down and let go of what you can’t control, then this episode is for you.

Episode 127: After Burnout: Going Back to Work with Dr Katya Miles

When major issues occur in your life, it’s often necessary to take a break and deal with them, and of course, there’s also the other reasons we take significant time off work - maternity or parental leave, taking a sabbatical or taking a career break. If you want to know how to go back to work thriving, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 126: Using Nature to Answer Your Big Questions With Henri Stevenson

Henri Stevenson joins us to talk about the ways connecting with nature can shift our thinking and open up new solutions. We discuss the differences in our thoughts and feelings when we're in nature versus within artificial walls. She shares her stories of finding metaphors for life situations reflected in nature and what she learned from them. Henri reminds us that sometimes, the solutions to our problems may show up in quiet spaces when we take a few moments to connect with nature. Curious about how to take time to learn and connect with nature? Learn how and much more when you tune into this episode!

Episode 125: How to Say No and Deal with Pushback with Annie Hanekom

Everyone has difficulty enforcing their set boundaries, from top-end executives to junior employees. Logically, we know that we cannot do everything people want, but biologically, our minds are hardwired to please people. In this episode of You Are Not a Frog, Annie Hanekom guides you through how to say no and deal with the inevitable pushback.

Episode 124: How to Change When Change is Scary with Dr Claire Kaye

Change can definitely be scary. However, it doesn’t always have to be a difficult experience. Dr Claire Kaye joins us in this episode to talk about how you can approach change proactively. Whether you dislike change or thrive on it, her insights and enlightening tips will help you make the most of the opportunities in your life. Are you undergoing a difficult change right now? Learn more about how to change even when change is scary in this episode of You Are Not a Frog.

Episode 123: How to Live With No Regrets with Georgina Scull

Georgina Scull joins us in this episode to talk about what she learned from writing the book, Regrets of the Dying: Stories and Wisdom That Remind Us How to Live. She shares three revelations that people have while on their deathbeds: not being able to make other people happy, living up to other people’s expectations, and trying to rewrite history. We walk you through practical steps to help you reflect on your true desires so you can live a meaningful life.

Episode 122: How to be Happy at Work with Sarah Metcalfe

Joining us to talk about the importance of happiness in the workplace - and how we can find it - is Sarah Metcalfe. The founder of Happiness Coffee Consulting, she shares her top tips on simple things you can do to pursue happiness and share it with others. Even in high-stress jobs, it’s possible to choose happiness and spread it. And the results can be extraordinary. If you want to learn more about how and why we should be happy at work, tune in to this episode.

Episode 121: How To Be A Happy Working Parent with Corrina Gordon-Barnes

Corrina Gordon-Barnes joins us to discuss the common struggles of working parents and the things we need to unlearn. She shares how to take radical responsibility as a parent and delegate responsibilities from housework to emotional load. We also teach you how to stay in your zone of genius and accept help when you need it. It’s time to live a life you love and enjoy, even amidst all your responsibilities! If you’re struggling to balance work and parenting, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 120: Making Online Meetings Work with John Monks

John Monks joins us in this episode to discuss designing better online meetings and interactions. We clarify the difference between a meeting, a presentation, and a workshop. We also discuss creative ways to design online meetings that energise and infuse rather than drain and demotivate. And John shares some simple exercises on limits and boundaries that can radically improve our problem solving and creativity. If you want to know how to make the most out of online meetings, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 118: How to Manage Upwards (and Sideways) with Dr Claire Edwin and Dr Keerthini Muthuswamy

Dr Claire Edwin and Dr Keerthini Muthuswamy talk about their experiences working within a hierarchical system as junior doctors and share what they have found to be essential if you want to build trust and foster good relationships with your seniors, your juniors and your peers. If you want to know how you can build trust and influence your workplace, and manage upwards and sideways this episode is just for you!

Episode 116: What I Got So Wrong About Mindfulness And How It Might Transform Your Life with Dr Steve Pratt

Dr Steve Pratt joins us to discuss what we really mean by mindfulness, and how it could work for you. He'll debunk some of the myths of mindfulness and how you can make it worth your time and effort. We'll discuss how certain techniques can help us live happier, be less anxious, and harness our resources to make better decisions. Finally, Steve shares his mindfulness practices and takes us on a quick three-minute breathing exercise! If you want to learn about mindfulness, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 114: How to Get an Appraisal that Doesn’t Suck with Dr Susi Caesar

Dr Susi Caesar joins us to talk about how you can elevate and enjoy your professional life with annual appraisals. She shares the purpose of appraisals and how they can help you choose the best way forward in your career and personal life. Dr Susi also gives her top tips on what you can do to make this process more meaningful. If you want to know more about appraisals and how you can benefit from them, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 113: What To Do When A Junior Is Badmouthing Your Colleagues with Dr Ed Pooley

Dr Ed Pooley joins us in this episode to discuss what we should do when we see inappropriate behaviour like badmouthing. He shares how we can manage difficult conversations with the intent of helping others. We also discuss the importance of recognising triggers through the SCARF model. If you want to know how to deal with difficult conversations for a better workplace, listen to this episode.

Episode 112: Why We’re Ditching the Term ‘Imposter Syndrome’ with Dr Sarah Goulding

Dr Sarah Goulding joins us to talk about imposter syndrome and why we need to drop the word from our vocabularies. We also discuss how self doubt can be helpful to us. Finally, she shares tips for overcoming wobbles and incorporating more self-compassion into your life. If you want to get over your imposter syndrome and practice self-compassion, then this episode is for you!

Episode 111: What To Do When You Start To See Red with Graham Lee

Graham Lee joins us to discuss our emotional states and ways to apply simple mindfulness techniques to change them. Most conflicts are rooted in unmet needs. When we admit those needs, we can instantly change relationship dynamics. Graham also shares tips on what to do during stressful situations where your emotions cloud your judgement and thinking. If you want to use mindfulness practice to be more aware of your emotions even during difficult situations, tune in to this episode.

Episode 110: How To Stop People Pleasing And Absorbing Other People’s Angst

Dr Karen Forshaw and Chrissie Mowbray join us to discuss how our core beliefs shape the way we respond to situations. When taken too far, empathy and helping people can be a big cause of stress. In addition, we also talk about we can learn to reframe and reassess their core beliefs. If you want to know how to help people without absorbing their emotions, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 109: Is It Possible To Have Fun At Work? With Dr Kathryn Owler

Dr Kathryn Owler joins us in this episode to share her fascinating research on the characteristics and traits of people who enjoy their current jobs. We dissect the common themes these people have in finding success in their careers. And we also talk about changes we can implement as individuals to make work more fun and enjoyable. If you want to start adopting the mindset people who have fun at work have, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 108: What We Wish We’d Learnt at Med School with Dr Ed Pooley & Dr Hussain Gandhi

Dr Ed Pooley and Dr Hussain Gandhi join us in the latest episode of You are Not a Frog. They discuss the management skills a doctor needs that you won't learn in med school, plus tips to help fresh doctors feel empowered in their workplace. Whether or not you work in medicine, these skills are crucial when it comes to working effectively and managing your own and others’ time. Tune in and listen to the experts talk about the management skills med school doesn't teach you and how to learn and develop them today.

Episode 107: Define Your Own Success In Life With Dr Claire Kaye

Dr Claire Kaye joins us to talk about the importance of honesty and clarity in defining our own success. We may think that achieving certain goals will make us happy, but evidence shows us it’s the other way around. It’s only when we’re happy that we can be successful. We also discuss how to overcome common barriers to our happiness and success such as fear, guilt, and uncertainty. If you want to know how to live a happier and more successful life, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 105: The Simplest Way to Beat Stress and Work Happier with Dr Giles P. Croft

In this episode, Dr Giles P. Croft joins us to discuss how our thoughts and emotions trigger stress signals. He shares his controversial approach to tackling stress, and why most of our efforts to cope better don’t really help at all. We also delve into the importance of pausing to allow yourself to calm down and letting go of the things you can’t control.

Episode 104: How to Cope With Nightmare Relatives and Colleagues Without Losing the Plot

In this special Christmas episode, Corrina Gordon-Barnes shows us how to create the groundwork for a peaceful and successful holiday season, even while navigating difficult relationships with relatives or colleagues. Corrina guides us to relax our expectation of a perfect holiday with our family, so we can face reality in ourselves and others. She explains a simple framework to allow you to resolve conflict, and walks us through what we can do during difficult gatherings and how to shift our responses to create different outcomes. Tune in to improve your strained relationships with relatives and co-workers through empathy and letting go of past assumptions.

Episode 103: How Not to Settle For The Way It’s Always Been Done

Dr Abdullah Albeyatti talks about improving your life and career by making changes and taking risks. He explains why settling for the familiar could be slowly ruining your life and how you can avoid this situation. Finally, he shares his top three tips to become a changemaker in your field. If you want to start doing things differently, creating change, and take more risks, then this episode is for you!

Episode 102: Why FAIL is Not a 4-Letter Word

Drs Claire Edwin, Sally Ross, and Taj Hassan join us to discuss how we can manage and deal with our failures more effectively. We explore the idea that rather than doing something wrong, failure is an opportunity to really grow and learn both as individuals, as leaders and as organisations. In any situation, it’s important to remember that we’re all human. It’s okay to be honest with ourselves and each other about our mistakes - after all, vulnerability is not a sign of weakness. If you want to know how to change your mindset around failure, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 101: Making Helpful Habits Stick with Sheela Hobden

Sheela Hobden joins us to discuss how we can harness the power of checklists to create a routine. She shares how you can approach your goals in a more realistic way and learn to encourage yourself using specific goal setting techniques. Sheela also recommends creating identity-based goals to ensure that you keep building your new identity even after completing certain milestones. Start small, and eventually, you’ll see these good habits stick!

Episode 100: Dealing With the Guilt of Not Being Okay With Dr Nik Kendrew

Dr Nik Kendrew unravels why we experience overwhelming guilt when bad things happen to us. He also shares some tips, techniques, and resources on how to deal with guilt, especially in these difficult times and circumstances. Apart from this, Nik talks about the significance of scheduling our entire day to do important things. Finally, he discusses why setting boundaries is necessary to maintain our sense of self.

Episode 99: How to Deal with Criticism When You’ve Reached Your Limit with Dr Sarah Coope and Dr Rachel Morris

Dr Sarah Coope joins me to talk about the workload of medical professionals and the benefits of setting boundaries while dealing with criticisms amidst the global pandemic. We discuss the three elements of the Drama Triangle and ways to navigate or avoid them reliably. As we dive deeper into the conversation, we explore the art of saying 'No' through acknowledging our limits. Awareness and recognition can go a long way in maintaining our boundaries. If you want to take the first step in recognising your limits, handling criticism better and setting proper boundaries, tune in to this episode.

Episode 96 – How to Deal with Difficult Meetings with Jane Gunn

We hear from the expert in conflict management and mediation, Jane Gunn. She discusses important tips to keep in mind to host great meetings. She shares some practical conflict management tips and how to make decisions that you and your team agree on. Jane also emphasises the importance of putting the fun back in functional meetings and the need to give a voice to participants.

Episode 93 – How to Delegate, Do It, or Drop It with Anna Dearmon Kornick

Anna Dearmon Kornick joins us to share the time management strategies crucial for busy professionals. She lays down tips on how medical practitioners can have more control over their days. Anna talks about how to manage admin time and imparts ways to combat distractions. We also discuss the importance of delegation both inside and outside work. For this, Anna introduces the passion-proficiency lens and knowing your zone of genius.

Episode 92 – How to Avoid Becoming the Second Victim with Dr Caraline Wright & Dr Lizzie Sweeting

Dr Caraline Wright and Dr Lizzie Sweeting join us to discuss the second victim phenomenon. They explain why patient safety incidents are occupational hazards and how they can affect healthcare providers. Caraline then shares her personal experience of being in the “second victim” role. Finally, they share tips on how to avoid second victimhood and how to provide support to someone going through it.

Episode 91 – How to Break Up With Your Toxic Relationship With Your Career with Dr Pauline Morris

Dr Pauline Morris joins us to share her career counselling advice for physicians and other professionals in high stress jobs. We discuss the common pitfalls that lead doctors to unsustainable work habits. Pauline also sheds light on why staying in your comfort zone can be detrimental to your performance. To avert this, she shares tips on how to better recognise and advocate for your own needs. We also learn about the importance of self-care and taking time for yourself.

Episode 90 – What to do About Bitching and Backbiting with Dr Edward Pooley

Dr Edward Pooley joins us again to discuss what to do when colleagues make inappropriate comments about others. We talk about why it’s crucial to consider the question behind the question in workplace backbiting. Ed also teaches us how to challenge in a supportive way. Most importantly, we learn some strategies to prepare ourselves to speak up when the situation requires it.

Episode 89 – Should I stay or should I go? with Corrina Gordon-Barnes

Corrina Gordon-Barnes joins us to share how to better relationships and take control and stay in your zone of power. She shares how to make a good decision by questioning thoughts and assumptions. We also discuss how you can change your perspective to become more compassionate, accepting, and empowered. If you want to know how to better relationships, stay in your zone of power, improve your decision-making skills, and be true to yourself, then tune in to this episode!

Episode 88 – How to Ditch the Saviour Complex and Feel More Alive with Rob Bell

Rob Bell joins us in this episode to discuss the perils of the saviour complex and the desire to keep hustling even when we’re miserable. We learn that taking time for rest and reflection only helps us get stronger. You can’t heal and help rebuild a broken system if you don’t look out for yourself first. Tune in to this episode to find out how to ditch the saviour complex, feel happier and live a more fulfilling life.

Episode 87 – Complaints and How to Survive Them Episode 5: What Should I Do When I Think a Complaint is Unfair? And Other Questions with Drs Sarah Coope, George Wright, Samantha White, and Andrew Tressider

We’re joined by a panel of expert guests to share their thoughts on how to handle complaints. Together, we discuss ways that you can adjust your perspective and respond to unfavourable situations. Most importantly, we tackle issues regarding malicious complaints and how to cope with them. If you’re having trouble managing yourself during complaints, then this episode is for you.

Episode 86 – Gaslighting and Other Ways We’re Abused at Work: What’s Really Going On? with Dr James Costello

Dr James Costello joins us to talk about his new book and the insidious ways that organisations and individuals can undermine us. They compel us to do extra emotional labour for us to cope with the workplace dynamics. We also chat about what happens when authority and power are misused. Finally, James shares some of the disastrous consequences bullying in the workplace can have and what we can do about it. Tune in if you want to know what to do if you suspect that you or a colleague are experiencing relational abuse in the workplace!

Episode 85 – How to have crucial conversations with Dr Edward Pooley

Good communication between colleagues is crucial for the success of any organisation. Dr Edward Pooley joins us again to teach us how to communicate well. He discusses the three strands present in any conversation and helps us understand how we can be more aware of each. We also share some frameworks that can help you navigate difficult conversations. Understanding the importance of emotion is crucial in being an effective communicator and connecting with your team.

Episode 84 – Complaints and How to Survive Them Episode 4: Creating a Workplace Where It’s OK to Fail

Professor Susan Fairley and Dr Jane Sturgess join us to discuss how to create a workplace that doesn’t shy away from failure. We talk about how civility can save lives and also touch on the issues around incident reporting in healthcare. Most importantly, we talk about creating a culture where people can have difficult conversations without defensiveness. If you want to know how to approach failing and speaking up in the workplace, tune in to this episode.

Episode 83 – The Ups and Downs of Being a Man-Frog with Dr Chris Hewitt

Joining us in this episode is Dr Chris Hewitt who also uses the metaphor of a man-frog in coaching professionals to have a better work-life balance. Chris talks about why we find it so hard to recognise burnout. He also shares his top tips and practical strategies to address work dissatisfaction. If you want to stop feeling like a man (or woman) - frog in a pan of slowly boiling water, listen to the full episode.

Episode 82 – Complaints and How to Survive Them Series Episode 3: Surviving the Process

Drs Jessica Harland, Caroline Walker and Heidi Mousney join us in this episode to discuss healthcare professionals’ experiences when dealing with complaints. We talk about the different emotions you may experience and practical tips on getting through. If you want to know how to survive the process after making a mistake at work and receiving a complaint, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 81 – When Soft and Fluffy Met Coronavirus with Steve Andrews

Steve Andrews, Associate Director of Leadership for East and North Herts NHS Trust shares how, through using just five crucial questions, you can check in on people, rather than check up on them. The 5 questions will help you to find out how people really are, help them look out for their colleagues, empower them to solve their own problems AND communicate empathy and support. Want to know how you can apply compassionate leadership in your organisation? Then, this episode is for you.

Episode 80 – Complaints and How to Survive Them Episode 2: What to Do When You Make a Mistake with Drs Clare Devlin and Dr John Powell

Drs Clare Devlin and John Powell join us to discuss the proper way of responding to professional mistakes. We talk about why doctors have a hard time whenever they make a mistake at work. Clare and John also share valuable advice on minimising negative consequences and getting a good outcome for you and your patient. If you want to learn a roadmap for what you should do you make a mistake at work, then tune in to this episode.

Episode 79 – How to Give Yourself Permission to Thrive with Dr Katya Miles

Dr Katya Miles joins us once again to talk about burnout and giving ourselves permission to thrive. Having experienced work burnout, Katya shares her story and discusses the red flags of burnout. We also talk about why we find it difficult to give ourselves permission to thrive and how we can overcome our own internal barriers. If you want to learn about how you can listen to your needs so that you can thrive in work and in life, then this episode is for you.

Episode 78 – Complaints and How to Survive Them Series 1: Preparing to Fail Well with Drs Sarah Coope, Annalene Weston and Sheila Bloomer

Drs Sarah Coope, Annalene Weston and Sheila Bloomer join us in this first episode in a new series on ‘Complaints and How to Survive Them’ to talk about coaching doctors and dentists through complaints made against them. We also talk about the perfectionist mindset and how changing our perspective towards failure can help us and those around us. If you want to know how to deal better with complaints made against doctors and other professionals in high-stress jobs, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 77 – Denial, displacement and other ways we neglect ourselves with Dr Andrew Tresidder

Dr Andrew Tresidder joins us to talk about how many medical practitioners and other professionals in healthcare and high stress jobs neglect their health and well-being. We're so focused on taking care of others that we forget to take care of ourselves but our well-being is vital if we want to keep doing the work we do. Find out why healthcare professionals need to learn more about health, as opposed to only learning about disease and if you want to know how to focus on taking care of your health and well-being, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 76 – Tech Tips for Happy Hybrid Working with Dr Hussain Gandhi

Dr Hussain Gandhi, or Dr Gandalf of eGPlearning, joins us in this episode. He is a GP, PCN director and host of the eGP Learning Podblast that shares deep dives into health tech for primary care. He shares his tech and time hacks for hybrid working to survive and thrive in the new virtual environment. If you want to find out how to improve your hybrid working experience, then tune in to this episode!

Episode 74 – Managing your Time in a System Which Sucks with Dr Ed Pooley

Dr Ed Pooley joins us in this episode to share his take on time management techniques for busy individuals. He discusses the three types of competing demands and how to manage them. We also talk about being more comfortable holding difficult conversations about workplace issues - vital to help change the environment we work in. Tune into this episode to discover how time management techniques and communication can help you get a calmer and more time-efficient workplace.

Episode 73 – How to Find Your Tribe: The PMGUK story with Dr Nazia Haider and Dr Katherine Hickman

Dr Nazia Haider and Dr Katherine Hickman join us on this episode to discuss the importance of a work community. We talk about the inspiring stories from the online community they created, the Physicians Mums Group UK (PMGUK). Nazia and Katherine also share their tips on how to increase connections and find your own tribe at work. If you want to know how to create a network of supportive colleagues and feel more connected, then tune into this episode.

Episode 72 – Working well – from anywhere! with Dr Katya Miles

Dr Katya Miles joins us to discuss how to work well from home by creating healthy boundaries. She shares how to be more productive by using the third space hack and taking breaks. Katya also talks about how to be more active and better connect with people in the workplace. If you want to learn about working well from home and achieving a better work-life balance, then tune in to this episode.

Episode 71 – Create a Career You’ll Love with Dr Claire Kaye

Dr Claire Kaye joins us to discuss how to find a career you love. As an executive coach specialising in career development, Claire is an expert in guiding people how to find a career they love. We talk about the value of job networking and diversifying in our career journeys. We also share our tips and experiences on how to find a career you love. We do this by helping you identify the roles that best suit you and how to go about getting these roles.

Episode 70 – How Safe Do You Feel at Work with Scott Chambers

Scott Chambers joins us to talk about why we need to make people feel comfortable and safe enough to speak up in their workplace. When we create psychological safety in our team, we improve overall happiness and boost performance! If you want to learn how to create psychological safety for a better and happier team - whether you’re the boss or not, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 69 – Make Time for What Matters with Liz O’Riordan

Liz O'Riordan joins us to share productivity life hacks. These have helped her transform how she approaches work. Now, Liz can spend quality time with her family and enjoy life. In this episode, she teaches us how we too can achieve this. If you want to learn some new life hacks, beat burnout and work happier, then tune in to this episode!

Episode 68 – The Revolutionary Art of Breathing with Richard Jamieson

Richard Jamieson discusses how we can utilise breathing techniques to feel calmer, make better decisions and be more productive. He explains the different steps we can take to change our breathing patterns. When you’re in a high-stress situation, remember this: just breathe. If you want to know how to use breathing techniques to beat stress in everyday situations, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 67 – Bringing Your Best Self to Work with Dr Sarah Goulding

Dr Sarah Goulding discusses how to bring your whole self to work without leaving bits of you behind. Sarah shares her own story of experiencing burnout at her old job and rediscovering her true passion. We also discuss how applying our core strengths to our jobs can mean the difference between burnout and having a sense of fulfilment. Don’t miss out on this episode if you want to learn more about how to be yourself and how to bring joy back into your work!

Episode 65 – Passing the Naughty Monkey Back with Dr Amit Sharma

Dr Amit Sharma joins us to discuss the effects of taking on too many of other people’s ‘naughty monkeys’. We talk about why professionals in high-stress jobs so often take on the rescuer role and how to shift that mindset. Amit and I also discuss the importance of empowering patients to take control of their own health. If you want to know how to avoid being weighed down by too many naughty monkeys, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 64 – What to Do When You’re Out of Fuel with Dr Jess Harvey

Dr Jess Harvey, a GP partner and GB triathlete, talks about what happened to her after running out of fuel and feeling burnt out. She discusses how we often ignore the symptoms and signs for too long and why resting and refuelling is as important as what we're doing in the first place. If you’re feeling burnt out, tune in to this episode to find out how you can plug the holes in your energy bucket!

Episode 63 – How to Survive Even When Times are Tough with Dr Caroline Walker

This episode is part of the COVID-19 Supporting Doctors series, and joining us again is Dr Caroline Walker. She's here to discuss why rest is crucial, especially for people in high-stress jobs. Caroline also shares key strategies that can keep us going through the crisis. The previous year has been tough, so don’t miss this episode to start 2021 better prepared.

Episode 62 – Self-Coaching for Success with Dr Karen Castille, OBE

Dr Karen Castille joins me in this episode to discuss her book on self-coaching. She shares powerful questions to ask yourself which will jumpstart your self-coaching journey. She also talks about the importance of developing this vital skill and crafting powerful life questions. Before we close the show, Karen gives her top tips for self-coaching. Don’t miss this episode if you want to learn how you can find clarity and achieve success through self-coaching!

Episode 61 – The Self Help Book Group on Happiness with Dr Nik Kendrew

In this episode, You Are Not A Frog regular Dr Nik Kendrew joins me to discuss the concept of happiness. We tackle the everlasting question of ‘What is happiness’? We also talk about perfectionism and fear and how these can hinder us from doing the things we want to do. At the end of the show, Nik and I give our top tips to being happier. If you want to know more about living a happy life, then this episode is for you.

Episode 60 – Creating a Workplace that Works with Dr Sonali Kinra

Dr Sonali Kinra joins us to discuss why people leave their jobs and how to prevent it. We talk about the importance of workplace culture and its role in creating an environment that makes people want to stay. We also discuss why you need to seek opportunities that broaden and develop your career. Don’t miss this episode if you want to find out how to keep yourself in a job you love.

Episode 59 – A Social Dilemma? With Dr James Thambyrajah

In this episode, Dr James Thambyrajah joins us to talk about social media’s subtle yet profound effect on our daily lives. We discuss the perils of being unaware of how our online decisions are influenced. James also shares his insights on how we can improve how we stay informed and inform others. Tune in to this episode if you want to learn more about how to go beyond your digital echo chamber.

Episode 55 – The One About Alcohol

Dr Giles P Croft is back to chat with Rachel about his experiences following a revolutionary read he was recommended. You might remember Giles from episode 46, where he talked about how as humans, we naturally default to happiness.

Episode 52 – A year of the frog

The week’s episode is a special one as the Frog celebrates a year of podcasting! It’s been quite a year - including charting in Apple’s Top 100 Business Podcasts in the UK!

Episode 50 – Freeing yourself from the money trap

Joining Rachel in this week’s episode is Dr Tommy Perkins, as well as being a GP Partner, and father, Tommy is one half of Medics Money. Medics Money is an organisation specifically aimed at helping doctors make better decisions with their finances. It’s run by Tommy and Dr Ed Cantelo who is not only a doctor but a qualified accountant.

Episode 49 – The Self Help Book Group No 2 with Nik Kendrew

This week Rachel is joined by You Are Not A Frog regular, Nik Kendrew. Last time Nik joined us, we discussed a book that has helped him in his professional life as a GP, trainer and partner as well as his personal life. Nik’s back this week to talk about another brilliant book and to share what insights and learnings he’s gained from it.

Episode 47 – How to Have a Courageous Conversation

Rachel talks with Beccie D'Cunha about the conversations that we avoid and the conversations we really need to have with our colleagues, teams and managers. They can be described as difficult conversations, but we can redefine them as courageous conversations - because ultimately it takes courage for both parties to listen and be heard.

Episode 46 – Default to happy

Rachel talks with Dr Giles P Croft about his take on how to beat stress and burnout. Giles  is a psychology graduate and former NHS surgeon who stepped aside from clinical practice for a decade to explore a number of career paths, including health informatics, cycling journalism, public speaking and high street retail with his wife.

Episode 45 – Rest. The final frontier

Rachel is joined by Sheela Hobden, Professional Certified Coach, wellbeing expert and fellow Shapes Toolkit facilitator. We talk about why rest isn’t just important for wellbeing, but important for productivity and creativity too. 

Episode 40 – Leading with tough love with Gary Hughes

In this episode, Rachel is joined by Gary Hughes, author of the book Leadership in Practice, blogger, educator and facilitator who is a Practice Manager by day. We chat about how leadership in the COVID-19 crisis has had to adapt, and the different roles that a leader has had to take.

Episode 37 – How to manage conflict during COVID with Jane Gunn

Rachel is thrilled to welcome back Jane Gunn – lawyer, mediator and expert in conflict resolution who has been known as the Corporate Peacemaker. This episode is for you if the thought of addressing a difficult issue with one of your colleagues send you running for the hills…

Episode 20 – A creative solution to stress with Ruth Cocksedge

In this episode, Rachel is joined by Ruth Cocksedge a Practitioner Psychologist who started her career as a mental health nurse. She practices in Cambridge and has a particular interest in EMDR for PTSD and creative writing as a way to improve mental health and wellbeing.

Episode 11 – The magical art of reading sweary books

In this episode, Rachel is joined once again by Dr Liz O’Riordan, the ‘Breast Surgeon with Breast Cancer’, TEDx speaker, author, blogger, triathlete and all round superstar who has been nominated for ‘Woman of the Year’.

Previous Podcasts