October Newsletter 2020


Welcome to our October Community Newsletter.

How quickly has this year flown by? Are you noticing that many people are getting busier and more stressed? We are certainly seeing this at present, particularly in how people are listening to one another (or not listening, as is sometimes the case). Many people are listening to reply, rather than to understand, which is causing miscommunication and, in some instances, conflict. We‘ll share some tips below on how to listen to understand.

Our theme for this month, including our free webinar, is Creativity and Innovation. These skills can help us and our organisations move forward, by doing things differently. You’ll find ideas on how you can improve your creativity later in this newsletter.

And please share the link to our free ML Community Support Calendar with anyone you know who might benefit from a confidential conversation with us.

We look forward to seeing you on our webinar this month (details below).

Until then, stay positive and be magical!

The Magical Learning Team

ML Community Support Conversations

Each month, we dedicate an afternoon to providing free support for our communities.

This is a space where you can book in and chat to one of us confidentially (over the phone or via online platform) about any area that you need help with. This could be handling stress, working remotely/from home more effectively, managing your team, having difficult conversations, building resilience, strengthening your mental health.

This month, sessions are available on Wednesday 21 October from 12.30 – 5.30pm. To book a call with Danette or Grahame, click here.

Remember if you need support and this date doesn’t work for you, please just email us to organise another day and time.

We are here for you.

What Are You Listening For?

Lately, Peter has been feeling the pressure. He has become easily frustrated with some of his team. Peter’s team have complained to others several times about how he raises his voice with them. In addition, he and another manager, Pat, are not getting on.

When we were facilitating a planning session with the managers, this fractured relationship became apparent. They would interrupt each other, not listen to one another’s ideas and generally dismiss the other person’s comments. They were listening to reply, not to understand. Unfortunately, we are seeing this type of behaviour more and more.

We know that when someone is stressed, their ability to truly listen to others is diminished. We’re not taught how to listen properly, so many of us listen with the primary intention of replying. We are looking to reply in order to support our viewpoint.

Very few people listen to understand. Yet to be a truly effective communicator, we need to learn this skill.

Listening to understand can lead to increased trust, respect and understanding… a better relationship.

Some tips to help you to listen to understand include:

  • Take a couple of deep breaths before you start a conversation
  • Check-in to see if you are calm and curious
  • Focus on what the other person is saying
  • Don’t interrupt them while they are speaking
  • Take notes if there are points you need to clarify
  • Repeat back to them what you believe you have heard
  • Once they have said what they needed to say and have been fully heard, then ask if you can share your perspective or viewpoint
  • Before you start to speak, check-in to see if you are still calm and curious
  • Focus on speaking about one topic at a time
  • As much as possible, use neutral language
  • When you have finished speaking, listen to what they have heard.
  • This is such an important skill. One that will improve your communication skills and your understanding of other people’s perspectives.

As the late, great Stephen Covey said, ‘Seek first to understand, then to be understood.’

Building Your Creativity

Recently we received an email from one of our favourite restaurants. They pivoted during the lockdown to create ‘bake at home’ meals and now with Christmas coming up, they are taking bookings for functions and also moving into supplying a chef if you want to host a corporate function elsewhere. One of the reasons we love this restaurant is that the food is creative and always fabulous. Even before the disruption, they didn’t rest on their laurels.

No matter where you work, building your creativity skills will help you stay relevant.

Some simple things you can do to build your creativity include:

  • Regularly try new things, eg. when grocery shopping, buy two ingredients you have never cooked with before and find a new recipe
  • Practice art: painting, drawings, doodling, make a collage, etc.
  • Enjoy being bored
  • Do one-handed tasks with your non-dominant hand
  • Take a different route to work/home/the shops
  • Watch a foreign language movie
  • Start a conversation with someone you’d normally never speak to
  • Keep an ideas book and come up with 10 new ideas a day (don’t judge your ideas)
  • Start a Creativity Jar at work and encourage your team to add suggestions
  • Look for connections between two very different things, eg. a potato and a phone.
  • Watch Kyle Macdonald’s TED Talk: What if you could trade a paperclip for a house?
  • Read The Artists Way by Julia Cameron
  • Play and have fun
  • Adopt a beginner’s mindset; be open and curious, even if you’re an expert in an area.

If you are interested in developing your creativity and innovation skills, please join Danette on our free monthly webinar on Wednesday, 7th October at 10.30am AEDT. Click here to sign up.

New Learning Opportunities


Tuesday 20 October 2020, 9.30am – 12.30pm AEDT.
Price: $325 (incl GST where applicable)


This half-day online workshop engages you in understanding how to improve your communication skills as a Finance Business Partner (FBP), to influence your stakeholders.


  • What Finance Business Partnering is and the core skills you need, to work effectively with your stakeholders
  • Understand how to adapt your style to be an effective FBP
  • Understand how to effectively communicate with non-finance people
  • Tools and techniques to improve your communication and influencing skills.


Wednesday, 7th October 2020, 10.30am – 11.15am AEDT

In this webinar, you will learn:

  • What creativity and innovation are
  • Why creativity and innovation are important for your career
  • 5 tools and techniques to improve your creativity and innovation.

Book Of The Month: The Inner Self by Hugh MacKay

Reviewed by Danette Fenton-Menzies

If you’re interested in running online webinars or workshops for your workplace, click here

“Creativity doesn’t wait for the perfect moment. It fashions its own perfect moments out of ordinary ones.”
Bruce Garrabrandt

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Have questions or comments? Email us at community@magicallearning.com