Last night I presented the second in a series of interviews with senior Metropolitan Police Officers. Staged by David Randall’s excellent Maple Works facility in Surbiton my job is to facilitate an interview that will reveal not only some of the Met’s processes but also their officers’ essential humanity. I feel very fortunate to have been given this opportunity. It’s not often that anyone is granted such an extended audience with men and women who are so instrumental to literally keeping us safe in our homes. My guest last night was Detective Chief Inspector Claire Moxon. Claire has had a stellar 25 year career which has found her investigating murders while working the (I’m sure pretty frightening) streets of Brixton in the 1990s and even travelling to the Caribbean in search of smugglers trying to get drugs onto British streets!
Claire describes herself as averse to public speaking. Any such aversion was certainly not apparent to me during our interview. On the contrary she seemed very much at ease with her role and with speaking about it. Of course any woman who has risen to the top of a still male dominated profession would have to be pretty sure on their feet. That said, as I listened to Claire speak, the coach in me couldn’t help noticing how a complete command of one’s objectives can turn you into a very confident and effective communicator.
I often say during my workshops that it is more important to concentrate on what you’re doing not how you’re doing it. The reason for this is that inward focus will almost certainly incubate tension whereas outward focus will always release it. If you struggle to make that shift of focus, a clear idea of your objectives will always help. In the theatre we often refer to this sense of objective as having sight of ‘the target’ (Declan Donnellans book: The Actor And The Target is superb if you want to know more) but the term is really a helpful way for actors to visualise their objective.
Interviewing Claire it was very clear to me that she is a person who is sure of her role and what she’s trying to accomplish. This certainty allowed her to convey a fascinating picture of her career and current assignment as DCI for Kingston MPS. It also allowed her to deal deftly with a member of the audience who wished to use the Q&A as an opportunity to grill her about the coming budget cuts. Quite what if any real influence a borough DCI has on what the Met’s commissioners decide to do to save money over the remainder of this decade I’m not sure but Claire dealt with it extremely well. I’m sure that was in no small part due to her focus. She was a pleasure to interview and I look forward to the conclusion of The Real Professionals series in November.
If you would like to learn more about how altering your focus can make you a better communicator drop me an e-mail or even better attend one of my autumn workshops. I am hosting workshops throughout the rest of the year in Kingston and Walton-On-Thames. Keep an eye on my website for more details or Eventbrite for tickets.