Author Archives: Calvin Benton

21 May 2018 - 9:08 am The power of really listening, a lesson from Spill

Sometimes, we can be terrible listeners. When friends come to us for advice, we often reply by trying to fix their problems or offer our own personal experience of the situation. I recently started volunteering on an online support forum for mental health. You start by having a short course in how to be a better listener – then you get thrown in the deep end!

The main thing that you learn is how to actively listen to people. Active and reflective listening involves truly hearing and understand what the person that you’re speaking to has said, and then working with them to explore that more. This is contrasted to simply putting across your own opinion or thinking about the next story that you can say.

This skill is why counsellors and other mental health support people are so valuable. They allow you to explore your own feelings and emotions by actively listening.

Since finding out how we can be pretty terrible listeners I’ve really tried to become a bit better in life. It can be easy to slip back into the habit of waiting for the next time that you can speak but it allows for much better conversations when someone can really explore what they are thinking about.

Since starting Spill I’ve learn more than I could imagine about mental health. Because the subject has been taboo for so long, the skills that are used haven’t been valued as highly as they could be. We’re on a mission to normalise talking therapy so that everyone can have someone to talk to. Learning to be better listeners is definitely a part of that journey!

20 June 2017 - 2:56 pm The honesty revolution

The world of business is changing. We hear all the time that customers expect more from businesses; from replying to customer complaints over twitter all the way through to businesses operating with complete financial transparency. Continue reading “The honesty revolution” »

21 November 2016 - 5:36 pm Avoiding burnout

Burnout is heavily talked about in the startup world, and you can see why. Wikipedia  defines burnout as “exhaustion, lack of enthusiasm and motivation, feelings of ineffectiveness, frustration, and as a result reduced efficacy within the workplace.”. Doesn’t sound too good… Startups live or die by how fast they can move and disrupt an industry with barely any woman/man-power. Couple that with the fact that almost any successful startup requires huge amounts of labour intensive work in order to get to a popular working product – you really don’t want to burn out.

Continue reading “Avoiding burnout” »

18 April 2015 - 11:46 am Starting a startup as a student: My experience

The Beginning

After many rounds of assessments and interviews I managed to get a placement year at IBM. Starting a full time job after being a student was quite a culture shock. I had to move away from friends and family to go and work in a town that was almost as far away from home as I could get. I had to wake up at 8 o’clock every morning, get home at 6 and not go out during the week (mostly…). I wanted to fit all this all in whilst also embarking on my own startup journey. Continue reading “Starting a startup as a student: My experience” »