Written by Kate Billing, Founder & Creative Director, Blacksmith

A 3 minute read

Welcome to The Real Room!

The Real Room is an idea that first came to me about 18 months ago: an event built around conversations about the tricky business of being fully human in how we live, lead and work.

I turned it over and over in my mind but, what with one thing and another, I didn’t get around to doing much with it. Well. Okay. “Not much” means nothing. It stayed on the sushi train in my mind, periodically coming around again prompting an “Oh yes! I love that idea. I must do something with it one day” response.

Well, that ONE day has come!

It can’t be a real world event (yet!) so I’m starting with a virtual ‘room’.

My plan is to bring lots of different voices and perspectives to the conversation about being FULLY HUMAN in life, leadership and business, all with a healthy, heaping dose of realness

I’ll be having Real Room conversations with fabulous humans from all over New Zealand and the world, drawing on their expertise and experiences, with stories from their past and visions for our shared future. Expect conversations with a diverse group of people about all things human-related. My guests will range from people leaders to thought leaders, researchers to practitioners, corporate legends to creative entrepreneurs, artists to sports professionals, and more. If they’re all about taking a more human-centred approach, I’ll want to talk with them!

I believe it’s definitely time to put the tricky business of being FULLY HUMAN at the centre of how we live, lead and work so let’s talk about it!

Conversation #1 with Lisa O’Neill

I first met Lisa when she was assigned to me as my Mentor at Thought Leader Business School in 2017. She has since become a dear friend and I’m a mad fan of her and her work – her realness, her belief in others, her joy for life and her high level of give-a-shit-ness about people who want to be better versions of themselves.

The opportunity to finally get The Real Room up and running came about after Lisa and I had finished recording Restructure Your Life and were talking about the power and impact of real conversations – both in having them and being witness to them between others. This happily coincided with the sushi train doing another round of the circuit in my mind,so we set a date, I sent a Zoom invite and we got to it!

The format we decided on was simple – THREE prompts:

  1. I’ve noticed…
  2. I wonder…
  3. I think…

In this first Real Room conversation, Lisa and I talk about:

  • the choices we have and the decisions we can make to create certainty in ‘the current reality’
  • how power and control dynamics are changing as social and organisational constructs evolve
  • how rules simplify as much as they constrain
  • why you should wear pants in a Zoom meeting
  • “When the tide goes out the oyster catcher strikes”
  • the importance of not just what and where in our new ways of living and working but also when
  • the odd experience that is “a socially distant, large gathering”;
  • the psychosocial impact of living in a COVID-19 world; and
  • how the weirdness isn’t over yet!

A quick side note: this was recorded the day before the updated new Alert Level detail announcements so ignore the reference to 100 person gatherings. We now know the maximum number is TEN.

Lisa and I will be having another Real Room conversation in early June so watch out on LinkedIn for a post from me inviting you to share what YOU’VE noticed and what YOU’RE wondering so we can add your thoughts to the mix : )

In the meantime, watch out for my next conversation in The Real Room in the coming weeks.


P.S: If you haven’t already, sign up to join our growing Fully Human Tribe HERE or at the bottom of this page and we’ll keep you posted with upcoming events, new thinking and development opportunities!