A review of The Power of Outrageous Expression

The Power of Outrageous ExpressionMy good friend John Power who write in the Moulsham Times a local Chelmsford Magazine, wrote a review of my book the Power of Outrageous Expression by Helene Musso

“When Helene asked me to write a review of her book it seemed like a daunting task, because it is a book  written mostly for women about how to develop their self confidence. However as I began to read it I realised that our backgrounds in teaching had given us a lot in common. When I first met Helene, maybe ten years ago, she was teaching Drama at Harlow College, and I was at Chelmsford College, teaching Art. I also worked for a mental health charity, as my Degree had been in Art and Psychology. The Arts and Psychology obviously have a great bearing the subject of Helene’s book.

We are all brought up in our own education to be square pegs for square holes, apart from in whatever Arts our schools have included in the curriculum. There we are given an opportunity, if we have the right kind of teachers, to express our individuality, and many of us find we are round pegs who aren’t going to fit into societies plans for us as a workforce, and have plans of our own. In the Arts there is very little need for competition: there are many ways of doing things, but in Maths 1+1 always has to add up to 2. Creative maths in any great sense is not a possibility. In the outgoing  world of creativity almost anything is possible. We don’t need to be the same as others. We are all unique, and that is one of the main points Helene is putting across. She wants to coax her clients out of the shell that life has put around them to become themselves, and confident to be that way.

Helene looks at the polar connotations of ‘outrageous’ and what different outlooks put on them:    “That’s dreadful, how outrageous”, or with a positive spin “That’s outrageously good, why didn’t I think of that?” Which one sounds to you like a Drama teacher talking? You have to have confidence to go on stage to perform in front of other people, so who could be better to coach people to regain their Mojo and express themselves with confidence than a person experienced in the Dramatic Arts?

So how do you start? Helene proposes five key elements:

Be Yourself,

Be Kind to Yourself,


Have Fun and

Discover your own  Extraordinary Story.

So the first stage is going to be self searching: what is my unique identity, and how can I bring it out so that I work to my strengths? Simple things like a name change: maybe a nickname you picked up that is more about your real persona than what it says on your birth certificate. Mannerisms: watch yourself, even do a short video. What quirks do you have? Don’t censor them, use them, they are what makes you what you are. People watch others. You may find more mannerisms you’d like to adopt. We learn by imitation. You see, you like it, you do it. Practice it alone and only you will notice yourself, then in public as your confidence grows. When you are involved in a situation that worries you slow down and take deep breaths to give yourself more clarity of mind: that’s yoga. Turn a ‘problem’ into a ‘challenge’ or ‘opportunity’. But don’t try this without preparing: to be in authority you have to be an authority. Helene doesn’t mention dress, perhaps as women have less restraints when being themselves, but if you want to feel comfortable, wear what feels comfortable to you not what you think people want you to wear. Uniforms breed robots, and we’re not talking about corporate identity here!

Be kind to yourself: don’t struggle with words you find difficult, find simpler synonyms. Admit weaknesses, not pretend to be good at things you havn’t yet mastered. When things are going badly teach yourself to roll through the wobble, we all make mistakes so make fun of them rather than panic. Grab a nap if you can rather that risk mistakes though working when over tired. Relaxation is yoga too! Take little steps when learning, don’t try to run before you can walk. Rest, play, breathe, move, eat healthily, and don’t judge yourself against the way others do things.

Practice: if you’ve ever heard someone learning to play violin you’ll know what this is all about. You’d certainly know if it was too early to go on stage and perform…only when you are confident should you try. But you do have to ‘take risks’ as you come out of your shell, you can’t stay there for ever …. but gently does it. Safety before big risks. Move at your own pace, not others, as you expand your horizons.

Fun: that can be passive, like people watching. Make work fun. You’ll enjoy it more if you can. Dancing is good exercise and fun, and after a few drinks no one is taking notes on what you do. Learn from young children and you’ll stay young. Dream.

Find Your own extraordinary story. You may think its boring as it was the one you went through it, but with a bit of thought you can pick out the parts that make it an interesting story. Write your own eulogy. How would you like to be remembered? If not like that, get on and make it interesting!

Helene’s book is full of games to put over points she is making, and anecdotes of people’s transformations, along with stories  by her clients, filled with praise, saying how her courses have brought about change. And of course it has to be said, as many of these stories do, that her very personality exudes confidence and charm without any stodgy authoritarianism, and that has to be her finest asset. What you see is what you get.

John Power

Buy Helene’s book here, £9.99 only.

7 reasons to hire a coach for your organisation

These days we can have a coach for everything, a dating to interview coach to health to happiness  coach and so on. And we are now bombarded with information about the benefit that such an individual can provide.

However, there is still some shame to have a coach. I think it is to do with the fact we deal with emotions and feelings and that it can be very scary to talk about them.  I have numerous clients who are happy to work with me but can not cope with anyone finding out they have used a coach. you need to be wary of you you hire as the coaching profession is not regulated at all. 

What is the point of a coach and how can you benefit?

1/ A coach is usually an outsider with no political /personal/ professional  interest in your organisation. In other words he/ she is neutral and entirely detached from your company.

2/ A coach is therefore more objective.

3/ A coach respect total confidentiality

4/ The coach is not a therapist. He or she is not there to fix you or  your staff , there is no treatment, you are not considered ill or inappropriate.

5/ A coach comes from a non- judgmental zone and will take you as you are

6/ A  coach does not make empty promises but will work consistently with you or  your staff

7/ A coach is able to challenge you  or your staff and make you think in different ways but in a very supportive way. There is no threat, no disciplining, no punishment.

What is the gain for you and your organisation?

For example if you are an organisation, what type of problem do you have with your staff?

-Are some of your staff underachieving, overreacting, disorganised, negative,  stressed?

And on  a personal level,

if you want some changes in your life, if you are fed up to repeat the same mistakes, if you get frustrated with others

  • The coach will help you to bring the best of yourself
  • The coach will help you to be more self- aware and to have more control over your own life
  • The coach will help to feel better about yourself and to accept others in a more open and positive way.
  • It is not about a quick fix but a process of discovery.

But you need to accept to change a little bit or a lot and then life at work and in general will be much easier.

Helene Musso is a  confidence and communication coach, a mother, a teacher and a trainer .She helps individuals and organisations  to be better communicators,  at  interviews,  in public , in meetings. She helps your staff to manage stress and to interact with other people in a more positive and assertive way, in confidence and with confidence.  She is based in Chelmsford, Essex and work face to face or on skype. You can contact her on 07875627485 or drop her a mail on beconfident@helenemusso.com, website www.helenemusso.com


Changing perceptions, change time

school run Changing perceptions, change time.

Everyday millions of us get the kids to school and battle against time to get them ready, looking fresh with  packed lunch and PE bag and a big kiss on their cheeks. Everyday after that school run, how many of you feel exhausted by it and often annoyed as you might even have lost your temper because your so-called child could not even be bothered to hurry up. If this is stressing you out, I can tell you that it has for me for years and I recently decided that it had to change as my son was increaasingly getting worried and annoyed by his usually good humoured mum suddenly changing from kind to being a mean bear a bit like in Toy story.

I started making it easier on myself

1/ Make getting organised a little ritual .  I now get organised the night before, if possible, and put neatly folded Leon trousers shirt, pants and socks on top of my wardrobe. I enjoy the folding and have considered where it is best to place it so that it will be visible to me and Leon in the morning. This was a big achievement as I am quite spontaneous and random but  once I realized that would save me looking in the morning and allow me to get dressed instead of rummaging to find some clean clothes

2/ I had already decided that I would not do packed lunch for my children. Some of us might argue that schools meals are expensive, is it really. Most of the meals cost £2 , a £10 , £390 a year but complete peace of mind and knowing that they will have a balanced meal and that your mornings are not going to be so stressful, is it not worth that amount?

3/ Change your perception of time- make time a friend instead of an enemy!

Our routine goes like that

We get up at any time between 6.45 and 7.10. We chat and play up until 7.30 then we have breakfast and at 8 we have bath and get ready to leave at about 8.35. Now at about 8 I used to panic and by 8.15 started to get anxious about being on time. I have decided to let go and not worry anymore and after a few morning hiccups,  this morning was magic

Both up at 7 am, Leon decided to write a party invitation on the computer, we decided on the date, which kids to invite and he went to do the invit. I started dreaming, picked up a book and started reading. At 7.30, we had breakfast and at 8 went into the bath and Leon joined, we talked and played for a short while and then i got dressed and sorted out his PE back and his snack. I did not look at the time but at 8.30 I was nearly ready. There was no “Let’s get ready , Leon we are going to be late”, only “Please would you brush your teeth” and when he went, no a few times to tease me. I said firmly but kindly, please brush your teeth. We were out of the house at 8.42 and on time for school and walking and chatting.

Feel the time instead of check the time- guess the time and then have a look but do not get obsessed . In dealing with kids let them be a bit, Have you noticed that you are ordering them all the time and telling them off when they do not do what you want them to do immediately? Some kids are dreaming, when playing they are so engaged in the present, they won’t hear you

Make it simple for yourself : breathe if you feel the tension, watch my video on Breathing 

  • Make small changes be worthy of your attention. i used to think that small things details as i called it were not important.  I now bring it them  to the forefront, to my attention to improve my life.
  • If you want to get rid of something in your life, like no more drinking coffee or  no more wine, replace them by something else that you enjoy, find a substitute, I love fizzy water so I drink gallons now when I feel like having a glass of wine. Not quite the same but overall ok. I do not restrict myself, just organise it so that i am not going to drink too much during the week and also drink when I am out

Helene is a mission to improve her life and the life of others and helps others to find their voice and overcome their fears of speaking in public, in meetings, in social gathering and in life. Find her on helenemusso.com 


Helene is a dreamer, a poet, a trainer,  a coach, a mother, a daughter.  She is passionate about helping others to find their voices through her training. Get in touch with her helenemusso.com. If you want to book a discovery call with her, please get in touch on 07875627485. If you want to buy her book, click here.


7 tips on how to prepare for a difficult meeting

7 tips on how to prepare for a difficut meetingAre you always fully confident when you have to announce some news or share a new idea in a meeting? 

How do you prepare for a difficult meeting? 

For professional or personal reasons, we often or sometimes have to break some news to others, positive and negative.

Have you felt the butterfly in your tummy when you have to deal with people who don’t make feel at ease immediately?

I am going to pick on a very personal encounter. I have to prepare for a meeting with the father of my child who has not lived with me since our son was 1.

The relationship is usually stable during the term with some hiccups with holiday arrangements.

However, my whole approach to the meeting is based around 2 core principles

-A child needs both Mum and Dad and that even if we are not together anymore, we ought to find a way of dealing with each other amicably for the sake of the child.

-Do not talk of ill of the other parents to the child as the child will suffer, avoid bringing your emotional baggage to the child. If you do not get on, it is better to keep it to yourself. I actually learnt that one from my daughter’s father who used to turn round calmy when I yelled and screamed at the door and simply said “I will talk to you when you are prepared to talk to me instead of yelling  

Anyhow, going back to the father of my son ( who is not the same person as the father of my daughter- it does get complicated!) I have to break some news which might unsettle him and I want the best outcome for Leon, myself and his dad too

1/ Set a positive intention to the meeting: what do you want ultimately to happen? Think win- win instead of just getting your own way,  are you doing it for the child’s sake or are you doing it out of convenience or for your own personal satisfaction?

2/ Choose a time and a place which would be suited to both and would invite to constructive discussion instead of just by the front door with a “ By the way”. I am alert in the mornings and my ex is similar to me so I have chosen the morning. It will be also after he has dropped leon off to school so it will minimize to and fro for me. The place is a cafe, a public place and I actually said I would buy a drink. People are less likely to scream or yell at you if they get angry than in their or yours house.

3/ Prepare the meeting : research the arguments online, produce some documents for him to see, make sure he has the right to argue, any last minute photocopying

4/  Come with a smile on your face and use small talk to catch up first. Preferably mention how wonderful your son/daughter is.

5/ Start with the chit chat and the feel good factor: how are you and how is everything at the moment? It is better to ask about the other one as he will be more relaxed afterwards.

6/ I have 3 different things I want to raise tomorrow, I have ordered them from the positive to the difficult to the negative . Even with the negative, I am going to start with

“Have you noticed anything, what is your opinion or feeling about it” so that it does not come accusatory and I can hear his perspective.

7/ Keep calm even it is hard. An argument only carries on if both parties argue. If you do not then it will be diffused.

I am getting prepared. You can yourself apply these guidelines to other parts of your work and personal life.

Wish me luck. I will give you a debrief on how I got on in my next blog. Please comment below. Thank you. 


Anglia Ruskin Away Day


I was invited to deliver an  Away day  for Anglia Ruskin University Student Services staff, at The Manor of Grove Hotel,  near Sawbrdgeworth, set in beautiful gardens, a year ago.

The group consisted of around 100 people who worked across the three campus of Anglia Ruskin.  Many had never met, the common link being the University they worked for and the Student Services Department they belong too. There had been many changes taking place within their work which some had found difficult, my day with them was meant to offer motivational training in dealing with change, but also to acknowledge their hard work. I was excited by the challenge and wanted to make sure they were fully involved in a day organised for them.

We talked and played interactive games about communication skills and how to interact with others more effectively. We looked at strategies for dealing with change without falling back on jargon and enforcement of change as a fait accompli. Something being imposed on them rather than something that they are instrumental in and part of. Using the change Curve by devised in the 1960’s by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross I was able to make change more approachable for all.


I began  work with the group by using some ice breaking activities which set a good tone for the day. The activities encouraged the groups of people to talk to one another and to explore some ‘blue sky thinking’. There was a lot of laughter and good humour in the room which created a nice bond within the group. That session was followed by a presentation on how to get the most from yourself and from other people. It was an interactive exercise involving everyone moving around and talking to lots of different people. As there were members of staff from the Chelmsford and Cambridge campus this was the ideal opportunity for them to meet and talk to each other and not stick with their own cohort. The purpose of it was to help them to see things in a different and more positive way.

We also explored how managers can support their team during this transition, offering equal support to those members of staff enthusiastic to embrace new systems and those who are more cautious.

The staff were able to to also use their creative streak as they had to devise an “Art Gallery” . This idea was greeted with much enthusiasm and creativity. I strongly believe that people learn when they are able to engage with all of their senses.  By being able to see, feel, hear, and physically move around whilst creating in an atmosphere of togetherness.  It was important that people worked in groups to produce their own three dimensional interpretations, and to photograph each other’s work, around the topic of inspiration.  It produced an amazing atmosphere of collaboration, some explored the grounds and found some quirky places to work.  The end result was a fantastic  portfolio which was collected together as a reminder of the day and created a real sense of collaboration and purpose.


When I arrived at the venue it was so beautiful, a large airy room with large windows at the back looking onto wonderful gardens. Because the weather was so good I knew I would be able to run one of the activities outside as planned. My power points and notes were ready and in order.  Those who know of my Public Speaking courses will know that being well prepared is key to success.

Throughout the day we had a reflective tool in the form of post it notes.  These allowed people to record their thoughts feelings and impressions anonymously as the day went along. Everyone was able to share their thoughts without fear of judgement or comment directed at themselves. This takes away the risk of anyone feeling bad or uneasy about their views being heard.  It is a safe way to express an opinion.  These were shared as part of a reflective process at the end of the day and as the day itself progressed.


The most significant achievement of the group was the interaction between people who that morning had been strangers, the coming together of people whose only common link was their job description. The experience of them learning together, working together and enjoying the experience.


The day ended with the Vice Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin coming in to talk to the group about how change wihin univeristies are going to affect them and the impact this might have on them in their work. He also asked them to continue working with integrity and a sense of pride in delivering excellence through their work at the university. I thought this tied in very well with the work we had been doing throughout the day and made complete sense. Of course, my work was hypothetical, dealing with change in a general sense.  But here were the facts they would need to put into practice using the lessons of the day.

It was an amazingly powerful day.  Then suddenly it was all over!  I am very grateful to, and would like to thank, Isabelle Cook for giving me the opportunity to work with other companies.   I was delighted to be able to work with her and I really appreciated her time in agreeing to compile the photographs from the art gallery activity into a portfolio of the day.

Have look at my website to check when my next course is. 19th of March if you are free in Chelmsford