From a charisma masterclass to a crash course in how to say ‘no’: the self-improvement workshops to book now

·5-min read
 (Evening Standard )
(Evening Standard )

You’ve nearly made it through January, and things are looking up. The days are getting lighter and, dare we say it, things are starting to feel a bit more, well, normal.

Still, if you were one of the thousands of Londoners to return to the office this week, perhaps for the first time in almost two years of WFH, your watercooler chat might be a little rusty. Feeling a bit lost? Make 2022 your year of reinvention. From charisma crafting to mending a broken heart and even a stand-up comedy course to boost your confidence, these are the self-improvement workshops to book now.

The charisma masterclass

Let this be the year you learn how to charm the pants off your peers. Psychologist Richard Reid believes anyone can become charismatic with the right training (yes, really) and teaches “charisma masterclasses”. Sessions take place at his Mayfair practice Pinnacle Therapy, or on Zoom, and involve a series of exercises that are geared towards teaching a tangible set of behaviours that will transform how you communicate with and are perceived by the people around you. According to Reid, after a programme with him, you’ll be a dab-hand at rapport-building and grow your gravitas so people are naturally more drawn to you, in turn making you “stand out from the crowd” and banishing pesky imposter syndrome. Sound good? These enviable traits will come at a cost, of course, but who can put a price on allure?

From £1,710 for a block of six sessions,

 (The Heartbreak Hotel at Barnsham Barns in Norfolk)
(The Heartbreak Hotel at Barnsham Barns in Norfolk)

The heartbreak retreat

Still struggling to get over that break up from 2019? Consider booking in for a stint at The Heartbreak Hotel. Founded by counselling psychologist and lecturer Alice Haddon in November last year, the-three day retreat is hosted at a private home near the Norfolk coast. Whether you’ve been dumped, divorced or cheated on, Haddon’s team of “heartbreak specialists” will get to work “liberating you from your relationship trauma”. Learn about your attachment style and break free of unhealthy relationship narratives that could be holding you back when it comes to love. Your journey to healing will begin with the help of one-on-one time with an eye movement desensitisation reprocessing consultant (aka EDMR, the therapy Prince Harry used to deal with his grief), as well as group therapy sessions that combine cognitive behavioural therapy and neuro-linguistic programming techniques. There’ll be plenty of time for bracing beach runs and rambles and cosy cups of tea by the fire, too. Retreats are for women only, and new dates have just been released for 2022.


 (Georgie Nightingall’s Trigger Conversations workshop)
(Georgie Nightingall’s Trigger Conversations workshop)

The small talk bootcamp

Quarantine messed with your ability to work the room? Do you break into hives at the thought of social events? No need to cancel your diary until further notice, coach Georgie Nightingall has got you. Bored and frustrated with every conversation beginning with “what do you do?”, she founded Trigger Conversations in 2016 to help people communicate more meaningfully in their everyday lives. Her classes will help you relearn the art of talking to strangers and make conversation your new superpower. Brush up on your skills via online or in-person taster workshops or commit to longer courses that will leave you with a greater sense of self-awareness. Awkward silences and painful weather commentary will be but a distant memory as you navigate the art of the DMC (Deep Meaningful Conversation) with finesse and learn to break the ice in even the most uncomfortable of situations. Conference bore, no more.

From £7.59 for taster events,

Would you have the guts to try stand-up? (Getty Images/Rubberball)
Would you have the guts to try stand-up? (Getty Images/Rubberball)

The stand-up course

Feel like your office banter always falls a bit, well, flat? It might sound terrifying, but everyone from entrepreneurs to ad execs and lawyers are taking stand-up comedy courses to improve their confidence, presence, and even likeability in the workplace. Author and stand-up director Chris Head teaches comedy courses above a Soho pub. He says that stand-up is all about learning to be natural and conversational in front of an audience, despite your nerves. (Timing is, as they say, everything). It’s about having the confidence to show vulnerability, imperfections and flaws, which can make you more appealing both on stage and in everyday life —all highly transferable skills for presenting or pitching at work. The group meets every Monday for eight weeks, writing scripts and working towards an end-of-course show at a real-life comedy club to show off the fruits of your labour to family and friends. If that all sounds too mortifying, Head also offers classes and sketch writing workshops online.

£275/£250 for eight weeks in Soho,

The spiritual awakening

Want to know the secret to Jennifer Aniston’s successful Hollywood career, abundant wit and popularity? For more than three decades she has been indulging in goddess circles with her closest gal pals, and while we’re not attributing all of her credentials to her spiritual side, she could be onto something, right? The ritual involves sitting cross-legged on the floor, and passing around a feathered “talking stick” to set intentions and mark major events in each other’s lives (stay with us). The term “Goddess Circle” is believed to have been coined by modern mystic C. Ara Campbell, who describes the rituals as dedicated to “reclaiming the powerful feminine energy found within and surrounding us all.” You might not be privy to Jen’s A-list inner circle, but you could take on Campbell’s online course, the Inner Priestess Awakening Journey, which has been completed by thousands of women around the world. It includes access to 28 online sessions, involving ceremonies and meditations, as well as access to a Facebook group “for connection, empowerment and encouragement” along your “transformational journey”. If it’s good enough for Jen...


The crash-course in saying “no”

Find it impossible to draw up boundaries in life? The City Lit offers a wide range of adult education courses, classes and workshops, which, crucially, are available at a concession rate for those who need it. Its one-day live online Assertiveness workshop is highly rated and is essentially a crash course in learning how to say “no”, learning how to give and receive compliments, take criticism and give feedback in an assertive way. You’re future work persona will thank you.

£139 (£70 concession),

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