Speak Up, Listen Up

We offer a range of proven, leading-edge workshops that equip organisations to get to grips with the reality and practicality of creating a ‘speak-up, listen-up’ culture


Speak Up, Listen up Services

What we offer

  • A world-renowned research study into ‘speaking truth to power’

  • Ground-breaking work into how ‘advantage blindness’ locks people, especially the most powerful, into sustaining unhealthy conversational cultures

  • Physiological insights into the working of the human voice and what it takes to turn intellectual understanding into embodied practice

  • A rigorous understanding of the nature of organizational change, drawing on Doctoral level insights, which directly challenge much ‘common sense’

Good morning Manchester! Speaking up and

For the Boardroom

Achieve Your Goals

Without Board and Executive Committee commitment to looking in the mirror and seeing how they are part of the pattern that enables and disables a ‘speak-up, listen-up’ culture, any investment in wider initiatives will make a marginal difference at best. SULU offer a premium half-day workshop which introduces senior people to:

  • The latest research into the principles and practice of speaking truth to power

  • The consequences of senior people not owning their biases, unintended or not, and how they create a world of risk through silencing others

  • The techniques senior people can use to overcome kneejerk reactions to receiving news of difference

This is an intensive 2 to 4-hour workshop delivered in person by experts in their field

Marrying head and hand 

Expert Guidance

An organization’s culture exists in the pattern of relationships and conversations that do and don’t take place between people. This workshop looks to bring people together from different positions in an organization so they can explore what creates the current patterns and what they can do individually and collectively to more towards something better. As a result of this work participants will:

  • Have a framework for understanding how patterns of speaking up and listening up are created

  • Appreciate how they are part of these patterns

  • Know what they can do to make a difference to these patterns in a way that matters to them

  • Identify safe experiments that they can go out and try

This is an intensive 1-day workshop delivered in person by experts in their field, with the option of a one-day follow-up to share insights from the ‘safe experiments’ and sustain a change in the speak-up, listen-up culture


Focus on Skills

Grow Your Business

Scaling skills up across an organisation, especially one where people are working in different places and different times, means that it is not always possible to bring people all together face-to-face. The key is to identify which activities really do require the personal touch and which can be done remotely. This workshop will blend together self-led learning through a curated set of materials with focused in-person skills training and will provide people with:

  • A curriculum of videos, articles and books where they can find out about the theory and research of speaking up and listening up

  • Intensive training in specific bodily techniques to enable them to speak up better

This will expect people to review between 2 and 4 hours of material before attending a face-to-face one to two-hour training session that will introduce them to the felt experience of speaking up in the company of others

1 to 1 Speak up Coaching

Calm nerves and speak with confidence

Having the confidence to speak up and hold your own when being challenged, in a high pressure environment or feeling nervous can be hard. All of us experience these moments where our bodies physical symptoms and emotions seem to take over. In this session, you will learn simple, easy to use techniques to help you manage your internal emotional field and speak up in ways sounds credible, confident that get heard in any situation.

Finally caved and signed up to twitter l

The Team

The SULU workshop team

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Mark Cole

London Leadership Academy

Dr Mark Cole has worked in and around the NHS – primarily in learning and organisation development roles – for over 30 years. His work in this regard seeks to help people to develop a critical understanding of power in the workplace – and in the systems where we recognise more and more that our work actually gets done. He sees this concentration on power as the key to unleashing people’s talents and releasing collective desires for new ways of working in organisational settings. In October 2019, his book entitled Radical Organisation Development was published by Routledge.


Kira Emslie

Voice and & body language coach. Estill CMT

Kira is a professional speaking coach and voice specialist with an expertise in voice physiology and performance techniques. Over the last decade, she has worked with performers, leaders and teams on how they can use their voice and their body language to get their message across.  Using a powerful combination of tools, we can all learn to calm nerves, build confidence and increase our impact and influence in any situation. Kira is an associate faculty of Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts and the NHS Leadership Academy and Zenon Consulting. She is also currently doing research into the connections between voice and body language and mental wellbeing, exploring how to improve self-confidence and mood through intentional changes in the way in which the body and voice are used.


Ben Fuchs

Consultant - Kings Fund

is a Senior Consultant at The King’s Fund and associate faculty with Ashridge Business School and the NHS Leadership Academy. Drawing upon a background in group psychology and conflict resolution, he has been developing leaders, teams and organisations for over 25 years. He has particular interest in how organisations can create the climate and culture where people speak honestly and listen openly.

John Higgins

John Higgins

Associate Director

John is an expert in how truth does and doesn't get spoken and heard in the workplace. He has been published widely, including in the Harvard Business Review. His latest five year study has resulted in the book: 'Speak Up. Say what needs to be said and hear what needs to be heard' (FT Publishing 2019). 
Attachments area


Resources and reading

Books, articles and other resources recommended by the SULU team


Research reports

In the Harvard Business Review

On voice and body langauge

In the European Business Review

n the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine

In Management Today, HR Magazine, Minutehack, HR Zone, People Management


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