Posted: 6 October 2023


An award-winning author shared her insights on non-verbal communication at an event for learning and development professionals, based on her work with a herd of horses to develop leaders and teams.

Learning and development professionals from across the country heard from leadership coach Jude Jennison, founder of Leaders by Nature, in an event at Ashorne Hill in Leamington Spa.

Meeting of Minds is a free event organised by the dedicated learning solutions provider, development and conference centre which enables professionals to share best practice, new approaches, discuss organisational strategies and challenges, and gain insight into future learning trends.

Jude held a senior management position at technology firm IBM before founding Leaders by Nature, a leadership and team development company where she works with a herd of horses to reconnect leaders and teams to their own natural leadership behaviours.

The topic of the event was ‘To speak or not to speak, is that the question?’ and explored team dynamics and relationships within a business.

Jude highlighted the impact different leadership styles has on her horses, with the animals either relaxing, becoming playful or responding with force, and how different non-verbal approaches impact people in teams in a similar way.

Jude said: “Businesses are under huge pressure, so having the skills to develop people and keep people engaged is critical at this time.

“It’s vital for professionals to come together, share ideas and network. The CEO often says its lonely at the top, but HR often say that too.

“I presented on the hidden dynamics of team performance, looking at what’s not being said in a team. We are communicating non-verbally all the time, but we usually don’t pay attention to it.

“Horses provide leaders and teams an opportunity to understand the impact of their non-verbal behaviorus and explore new ways of communicating in order to be more effective.

“The key takeaway for me from the discussions at the event was how we promote self-directed learning and also recognise that people may need to be guided out of their comfort zones to engage in new topics and ways of learning they may not normally explore or understand.

“I think the future of learning and development is how do we position the workforce so that people are more human, so we use technology in a positive way to enhance the lives of employees and be more productive, without turning people into robots with unsustainable and unachievable workloads. We need these human skills more than ever before.”

The topic of the Meeting of Minds event was ‘To speak or not to speak, is that the question?’ and explored team dynamics and relationships within a business.

It attracted representatives and consultants from major organisations, working nationally and globally, who manage learning and development strategies and training delivery at their companies.

The industry leaders highlighted that the biggest challenges facing the profession currently are; leveraging and maximising ROI, self-directed learning, cultural differences, changing mindsets and balancing the importance of technology with human skills.

James Lee, Learning and Development Director at Ashorne Hill, facilitated the session.

He said: “Our Meetings of the Minds forum continue to grow in reputation, attracting learning and development professionals from across the UK, ranging from SMEs and consultants, to managers from large corporates.

“We would like to thank Jude for speaking at our latest event and sharing her unrivalled knowledge on the impact of non-verbal behaviour and how what is not being said can sometimes be one of the most significant factors impacting a team’s performance.”

Jude Jennison’s book OPUS: the Hidden Dynamics of Team Performance is available from Meeting of Minds will be returning early next year and for more information about future Meeting of Minds events visit