The Story of Speak with PeopleNov 21, 2022
A LITTLE BACKGROUND
Stories are incredible! They take us to a place where our imaginations can soar. They give us a break from reality and they also inspire us to achieve more because of what can be accomplished. Even though this story has just begun, I thought I would give you a sneak peak behind the curtain. There isn’t a lot to Speak with People’s story yet, but there will be! So, here is a behind the scenes look into our history to give you a glimpse of the dream, the vision and really our hopes of what Speak with People can become!
To start, let’s fast forward to the end of the Speak with People story. Our hope is that our story would be described this way:
Speak with People was breathed into existence by a group of leaders who cared passionately about helping people communicate in healthy ways so they could change their worlds for the better. That’s exactly what they have done all these years. Time and time again, they came alongside and helped leaders elevate and practice the importance of healthy communication and by doing so, those leaders breathed life into their organizations. Their leadership and their organization flourished because they put a priority on communicating in healthy ways.
That’s how we want our story to go. But, before we get too far ahead, let’s pause and talk about why we started Speak with People. It’s important to know the reasons we started Speak with People.
- We recognize the state of communication in the world. Our world is starving for healthy communication. And, not only in the world, but our own individual worlds. For our families, schools, neighborhoods and companies. The way our world communicates is getting progressively worse by the moment and many lives are being dismantled by apathetic, hurtful, angry and hateful words. This is in our workplaces, our schools, and our homes.
- We wanted to do something about it. We don’t want to just be worried. We want to be a part of the solution. Yes, there are other organizations that exist that can help and do, but the burden we have is strong enough that we had to get off the bench and in the game.
- We truly want to help people. Whether it’s the dad who can’t seem to communicate with his teenage son. Or the mid level employee who is tired of being demeaned in the workplace. Or the owner of a small business who feels the weight and responsibility of leading their workplace from a healthy place. We want to help. We want to provide practical tools to help people experience success in their relationships when it comes to communication.
Healthy Communication builds trust and is oxygen for our relationships. In our personal relationships, in our work relationships, in our schools and in our neighborhoods. Our dream is to come alongside people, leaders and organizations and help them elevate the importance of healthy communication in their leadership and culture. Can you imagine what kind of impact that would have? When there is a foundation of healthy communication, everything is better.
You’re getting the idea, so let’s rewind to the beginning of the story so that you know where this idea and phrase (Speak with people, not at them) started and how it has developed. We’ll go back in time to a few different stops.
Stop # 1…The early 90’s
It all began in 1992. Now, Speak with People the company didn’t begin in the early 90’s, but that’s when the first seeds were planted in my mind of a better way to speak and lead. The early 90’s were great! CD’s ruled the world, the Ninendo was the gaming system of choice and the radio was still King! The airwaves were ruled by Celine Dion, Garth Brooks, Michael Jackson and Nirvana. I was a junior in high school and I truly enjoyed everything about life. I was blessed to be in an amazing family, I had great friends and I loved school. Now, I wasn’t an academically gifted student by any means, but I had a special experience because of an amazing teacher who inspired me, breathed life into me with encouraging words and released me to lead.
Of all the teachers I had in high school, there were a few that stood out to me. But, I gravitated towards one because I realized as a junior in high school that they spoke with me and not at me. There was a giant difference between this teacher and the teachers who spoke “at” us. The teachers who spoke at us did so in a very authoritative manner and it felt like they were trying to control us. The teachers who spoke with us brought us into a bigger story and they made us feel like our stories mattered. They gave us a purpose and challenged us to think bigger.
This is where the passion to help others “speak with people and not at them” was born.
Stop # 2…The late 2000’s
Let’s keep moving through time and stop in 2008. I was working on an MBA and one of our required books to read was “Primal Leadership” by Daniel Goleman. This book changed my life. At the time, I was working for a large nonprofit organization where the use of leading through fear and control were normal. My direct report very much spoke “at” our team and led in that way as well. That form of leadership and communication demoralized our team and created a culture of fear and distrust. When I read Goleman’s book for the first time, every cell in my body started doing back flips. It resonated so greatly with me.
Goleman says; “Leadership is not domination, but the art of persuading people to work toward a common goal.” This was HUGE for me! This entire book is about emotional intelligence and it completely debunks the method of speaking and leading “at” people. It points to a better, more healthier way and because of this book, Speak with People was born.
Stop # 3…My basement in 2019
There are many forms of communication. Whether it's one-on-one, on a team, from a stage or in front of a camera, we should always strive to speak with people and not at them. In 2019, I set up a makeshift studio and began hosting zoom webinars to help leaders speak with people and not at them. It was all very exciting! Our first online cohort had leaders from around the country and we dove into this concept together. It was exhilarating to see leaders from all different seasons and walks of life come together and share in the learning process. These early online conversations and cohorts really paved the way to Speak with People becoming its own company.
Stop # 4…The summer of 2022
It was in the summer of 2022 that Speak with People, Inc. was officially launched and became our own organization. On one beautiful Saturday morning, I was catching up with Dennis, a long time friend, and we began to dream a bit about what this idea could become. He injected some incredible vision and brought fuel to the plan. It was not long after that, I found myself in another conversation with another friend named Dennis, and again, he brought some amazing ideas for how we could really help leaders. Without the help of the Dennises, and many other leaders, Speak with People officially launched and became a reality.
Today, Speak with People exists for two primary purposes:
Purpose # 1:
Inspire and educate people to become the kind of person who uses words that breathe life into others and not tear them down. We do this through our podcast, our weekly communication guide and our courses.
Purpose # 2:
Empower and coach leaders to elevate the importance and practice of healthy communication in their leadership. We do this through our learning pathways.
Courses, Coaching, Cohorts and a Conference. Whether a leader communicates one-on-one, on a team, from a stage or behind a screen, we want to help you be heard and communicate in healthy ways. All leaders communicate, but do they do so in healthy or unhealthy ways?
Unhealthy communication is taking over, and it’s time to reverse the trend.
So, that’s a peek into our story. We will keep working hard to serve leaders and organizations and help them elevate the importance and practice healthy communication.
Jason Raitz - Founder & President of Speak with People