Episode 4: Inclusive Behaviour – Personal Values

In our first series we cover the Voice At The Table Inclusive Behaviours.  There are 8 of them.  In this episode, we look at the importance of Personal Values (Inclusive Behaviour #4).  What are personal values in the context of Inclusion?  How are they relevant to making our environment more inclusive?  What do we do once we identify our personal values? 

Listen to this episode to get answers to these and other questions.

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Episode 3: Mitigating Bias

In this episode, Melissa and Rina discuss Unconscious Bias: how the mind works, why it’s a problem and how to mitigate it.  

Unconscious Bias in a natural brain process – our brain sorts things into patterns so that we can learn from these patterns.  But sometimes, these patterns are far too simplistic when it comes to complex beings.  Like people.  So how do we ensure that we don’t apply the simple patterns formed in our brains to complex situations?  Listen to our podcast to find out.

Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/rina-goldenberg-lynch/message


Inclusive Behaviour #2: Listening

In our second episode of Inclusion Insights, we look at the importance of Listening in order to create a more inclusive environment around us.  We look at what good listening means, who are the people who are good listeners, and why it’s important.  We share our tips on how to get better at inclusive listening.

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That was the month that is… November

Rebecca Dalton

By Rebecca Dalton

“I think it’s the worst thing that we do to each other as women, not share the truth about our bodies and how they work.”

Michelle Obama, in an interview to promote her strikingly revealing new memoir.

I have a long-standing girl crush on Obama, but this confirmed her as my top living hero and life guru. I also immediately started a Christmas list with her book at the top, along with tickets to the Spice Girls reunion tour.

Michelle – as I’m sure I will call her when we become BFF’s – was talking about the biological clock and miscarriage (something I’ve experienced). However, that’s not the only part of our reproductive lives women feel shy about sharing. I’m now on the approach road to (whisper it) the menopause (Edvard Munch ‘Scream’ face/ lightning/ thunder crash), and that really is taboo in polite company.

It does strike me as strange that as women we often pride ourselves on our emotional intelligence and our communication skills. We are also stereotyped as chatterboxes, over-sharers, having ‘more rabbit than Sainsbury’s.’ Yet we are often unable to articulate what is happening to our bodies – sometimes even to close friends.

In the workplace I feel this stems from years of feeling that any physical weakness that can be linked to our sex – period pain, pregnancy, breast feeding – is going to be used against us in the competitive race for promotion. Am I the only person who’s had a female boss who seems like an automaton, totally impervious to the usual vagaries of the female body? Let’s not just hear it from the girls – let’s hear it about the girls: let’s have the courage to speak up and open the door for others to do the same. That would be real Girl Power.

A postscript: on finishing reading the Obama interview, I immediately tried to Google her speaking dates in the UK, only to find there was only one – and that a mere 35,000 other people were in the digital queue ahead of me. This was bad news for me, but brilliant news in every other way. And anyway, perhaps I shall have better luck with the Spice Girls.


The Brain Alchemy Needed for Successful Negotation

By Melanie Lilley*

We are all negotiating and influencing all the time. Most of our daily interactions involve a negotiation of some kind. From the obvious, interacting with your team members or landing that next client or job, to the less obvious: is that journalist negotiating with your existing beliefs? Once we stretch our interpretation of negotiating we open up opportunities to influence and impact.

The Science bit:

Trust and distrust are located in two different areas of the brain – distrust in the primitive reactionary amygdala and trust in the rational executive brain – Pre Frontal Cortex. When assessing someone initially, our brain makes a reactionary judgement 400x faster than rational thought and either processes it to protect us (fight or flight/stress and distress – releasing Cortisol) or as trust to begin a relationship (releasing Oxytocin).

Steps to Influencing:

‘We like people like us’ the science says, so how can we use this to activate our Pre-Frontal Cortex (PFC)? Let’s look at areas of potential influence:

  • How well do you know the other person/people? What overlaps are there in your lives? How old are they? What information sharing style resonates with this age group?
  • What can you find out about them (social media platforms/mutual colleagues/reputation)? What are their habits/hobbies? In one negotiation we worked on, we discovered a member of the other party was an avid follower of the Tour De France, so a member of our team became a cycling enthusiast overnight.
  • Watch them closely to discover what really drives them. In our courses a key concept is understanding the personal needs of the other party. Are they data driven? If so present an analytical case. Are they a big picture thinker? Present visionary scenarios.
  • How do they dress? Can you mirror style/colour?
  • We can subliminally influence when emailing or phoning. Repeat back words (without obviously mimicking), tone, pace – this is all saying ‘we are similar’ and triggering subconscious reactions.

Where can you find common ground and start a conversation?  Research shows that even if we find one nugget of common ground our brain inexplicably assumes we have so much more in common.

Environment has an impact on emotion. When working with a particular government body (which was very keen to showcase its success stories, naturally) we had to advise that pictures around the walls of aircraft carriers, tanks and the latest weaponry were sending out a very aggressive and intimidating message to external contractors.  Of course, this is also a tactical use of power in some instances. 

Watch out for irritators

Insults, rejection, and micro-aggressions – whether intentional or unintentional, actually cause physical pain. Upsetting someone through exclusion or criticism for example, engages the same neural pathway through which physical pain is relayed, so we really do feel that perceived insult as a physical blow, this is why you may forget a compliment but never forget a slight. Don’t damage the relationship unintentionally.

Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, Endorphins and Cortisol all play a key part in our everyday interactions (your daily DOSE). We have the ability to activate these neurochemicals within ourselves, and more importantly understand what it is that increases these levels in others.

People are 6x more likely to make a deal with someone they like’ Chris Voss FBI International negotiator.

* Melanie Lilley 07971 008848

As a trained negotiator with a leading global consultancy, ENS International, I have a passion for supporting women and researching applicable commercial neuroscience. Sign up here for newsletters, tips and techniques at www.icd.company.  Or contact me via LinkedIn.  Let me share details of how we can work with your organisation and in particular your Female development journey.

How to avoid an appraisal emergency: Hear our SOS – be Specific, on Time and Sincere

Appraisals: a necessary evil, which if you play your cards right, may give you a slightly bigger slice when the bosses carve up the bonus pot. Yes, a cynical but not completely unfounded view of the annual appraisal system – a system which at its worst can be a demotivating and unpleasant experience for everyone.

It should be very different: a way of improving rather than judging individual performance. One thing it should never be is a surprise. The annual chat with your line manager is not the place to hear for the very first time how well – or not so well – he of she feels you have done over the last twelve months.

On a personal level, I regard it as a major perk of running my own company that I no longer have appraisals. I used to get butterflies in my stomach and have at least a couple of nights of disturbed sleep beforehand.

I don’t want anyone else to feel the way I used to, so I’ve sought out and collated what I think are the best techniques used by the most enlightened companies. I hope adopting these methods makes me a better manager, and also fosters a culture in which my colleagues feel able to give me open and honest feedback. In that way, hopefully, everyone continues to develop and improve. Isn’t that, after all, the whole point of appraisals? And, what’s more, it’s good for business.

Here are the results of my research:


  1. Don’t wait all year (or even half a year) to give and ask for feedback. It’s never pleasant to be caught unawares with comments about things that happened months before. Equally, waiting until the formal appraisal to give praise feels like a wasted opportunity to capitalise on goodwill and momentum.
  2. Don’t measure people on a bell curve. Putting everyone into one basket for the sake of ease of processing does nothing for motivation or commitment.  Instead, it pitches people against each other, knowing that a good review depends on manipulating the system to cherry pick and reward those destined for great heights.
  3. Don’t become a slave to numeric Key Performance Indicators. Yes, objectives are important, but numbers never tell the whole story.  Instead, focus on the narrative and heed words rather than numbers.


  1. Do instil a culture of openness and non-judgment in the team. This encourages people to share feedback with each other frequently and grow not only closer as a team but also as individuals.
  2. If you’re a manager, do encourage open feedback on your own performance at the end of each project. Embrace feedback as a form of well-intentioned learning points rather than a personal affront and learn to take yourself less seriously – we all have room for improvement, even as leaders.
  3. Consider introducing individual development plans – objectives that are based on the strengths of the individual performer, setting goals that continue to develop them as a professional, regardless of how they compare to others in the team. This will ensure the team continues to improve and work together.

Many organisations have already shifted to systems that acknowledge individual performance and development needs. The only thing remaining now is to cultivate a work culture that supports these behaviours – it’s no good if it’s all just a paper exercise. An inclusive culture of mutual respect: a team culture that values our individual differences and experiences and encourages us to utilise them as part of our working lives will make assessment and giving and receiving criticism a routine matter. We need to take the fear out of feedback.


That was the month… October

Rebecca Dalton

by Rebecca Dalton

As the days grew shorter this month, the list of men accused of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape, grew longer. As did their excuses and denials – their ‘vigorous,’ ‘repeated’ and ‘absolute’ denials according to the reports. But so too did the sound of fury and outrage from women across the world, and behind that the whisper of yet more women: women who haven’t spoken out or marched in public, but who listened to the radio, watched the television, scrolled through social media feeds, and made their own minds up.

Whatever the legal system decides, the parade of male bad behaviour on show was as unsurprising as it was depressing.

Then, like a shaft of golden autumn sunlight through rusted leaves, the good news began to filter through: Donna Strickland became the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 55 years, Frances Arnold, along with two male colleagues, was recognised for Chemistry. Finally, perhaps most poignantly, and possibly with the most impact, the peace prize went to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.

And, as a bonus, Zoe Ball got the Breakfast Show job on Radio 2, the first woman to do so, nearly 20 years after she became the first female presenter of the Radio 1 Breakfast Show.

It all gave me some hope that it’s not Winter that’s coming, but Spring.