INTERVIEW: Phil Lowe, an Assurety communications trainer
Phil Lowe has drawn on many aspects of his life and career to provide communications training for Assurety’s witness familiarisation programmes. Here he explains what his role involves.
One of the most exciting things about Assurety’s programmes and the communications trainers it uses to deliver them is the wide variety of experience that they bring to their role.
Phil Lowe is no exception. He started out as an actor and stand-up comedian and did a Masters’ degree in work psychology and organisational behaviour before becoming a leadership coach. He now writes and directs independent films alongside his work for Assurety. His short film, The Driving Seat, won six awards at film festivals around the world and he is currently developing it into a full length feature film.
The knowledge Phil has gained enables him to bring a unique insight to Assurety’s programmes, both in its witness familiarisation programmes and in its effective presentation courses.
Phil says: “I come from a background of analysing performance and analysing personality. My work in the arts means that I notice the things that people are doing and look at the whole picture, and my knowledge of personality and psychology means that I can help people understand the impact they might be having on someone else and what they might be able to do to change that. At the heart of what I do is helping people make the best of what they have got, by working on their own authentic style and helping them to bring that out.”
Phil says that we all unconsciously give out all kinds of signals that can either give the listener the impression that we know what we are talking about, or which can completely undermine that. Having an upright posture, remaining still, maintaining eye contact and speaking at a calm pace, for example, are all signals that give the impression of credibility.
Being comfortable with silence is important too. Phil says: “This is quite useful in court because witnesses often say more than they need to when answering a question. Giving a very clear succinct answer and being prepared to sit quietly regardless of what the cross examining barrister is throwing at you is a big advantage. Often people feel awkward where there is silence and feel that they ought to be saying something, but that is usually a killer because then they say something they haven’t really thought about. Cross-examining barristers are very good at exploiting those kinds of weaknesses.”
The wonderful thing is that once someone becomes aware of what they are doing wrong, they are able to change it. Phil says: “We can deal with most things that people need to think about, even when they have deeply ingrained habits. We get rid of the bits that are in the way and allow them to come across at their best.”
He adds: “What I like about the Assurety process is that by the time you have finished working with somebody, they are actually behaving differently, so you get instant results. I find that very satisfying.”