Eileen Fisher hosting Learning Lab last night

Eileen Fisher hosting Learning Lab last night

Susan Cain

Susan Cain at Eileen Fisher Learning Lab

Eileen Fisher, one of my most favorite woman business owners on earth, held the second in a series of her Spring 2016 Learning Lab last night in Irvington, NY. She conducted a conversation with Susan Cain entitled Quiet Audacity. Yes, the extraordinary introvert turning extrovert who gave the sensational TED talk based on her book Quiet.

I’m going to bullet point the highlights from the evening. It was so rich, and there was so much I want to share with you.

  • While most TED speakers choose to hire an acting coach for a 2-3 hour session before their talks, Susan worked 8 hours a day for a week with her own acting coach.
  • Part of getting over shyness is recognizing that what you have to say is really important, like when Eileen Fisher was asked to introduce Gloria Steinem and was terrified. Steinem told her that her antidote to her own fear of public speaking was realizing that her message needed to be spoken.
  • Eileen is passionate about sustainability and knows that her speaking about it is vital, especially since the fashion industry is the second largest polluter (behind oil companies) in the world.
  • Susan Cain has started a movement called the Quiet Revolution. Find out more on her exquisite website.
  • When asked about the culture Eileen Fisher has created among her employees, a hallmark she noted was that “no one interrupts anyone.”
  • Susan used the terms ‘radical candor’ and ‘ruinous empathy’ as communication styles. If you want to successfully practice radical candor, you must first actually show great care for the person you choose to use it with. Ruinous empathy is caring that is indirect.
  • There is no correlation between ambition and quietness. I.e. If a worker is working without a lot of communication, do not assume that there isn’t a well of passion fueling the productivity. This may be falsely projected onto an employee by co-workers.
  • Eileen mentioned a company policy of ‘no email weekends,’ but, “We cheat! Only instead of the recipient feeling guilty, the sender does.”

As a shy person myself who definitely identifies as an introvert, it was comforting to witness a discussion that underscored the power of quiet and those who prefer it.

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