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Elja Boxman

Introducing: Elja Boxman, facilitator at TTI

At The Talent Institute we educate our talents with interactive training on the latest digital tools & skills. Sometimes we facilitate the courses ourselves, but we tend to invite experts from the field to come and share their knowledge with us! 

We’d like to introduce some of our experts, who have been involved with TTI for several years. This time: Elja Boxman!

With over 15 years of experience in the corporate environment, Elja knows like no other what it’s like to work with corporate clients and stakeholders. She has always been fascinated by how difficult communication between people can be, and she decided to turn this into her new job. She started her own communication training agency, EB Academy, and now teaches people everything about leadership, communication and sales. 

Elja, can you tell us a little bit more about what your training sessions look like?

All my sessions revolve around communication. This is the same for Digital Innovators as well as Growth Hacking Trainees. I tend to dive into one communication model per session and explore how you can use that model in specific situations. I never use too much theory during my sessions, we start practising immediately. We use role plays a lot. I ask participants to bring in an example of what they’re dealing with at work and we then use that to practice.

What’s it like to give these training sessions at TTI?

At TTI these sessions are always very interactive. Everybody is assigned a role and that’s sometimes a bit awkward for them, but within TTI everybody plays along nicely. 

Why is communication training important, according to you?

You learn a lot at university, but that’s always very much focussed on hard skills. People forget that soft skills are important, too. You won’t get anywhere with hard skills only. Nowadays responsibility is put in the hands of the whole team, rather than just the manager telling everyone what has to be done. Teamwork is getting more and more important and to work together efficiently, you have to be able to communicate.

Especially young people joining teams at large corporations can often run into problems. We prefer to communicate how we think it’s best, and tend to forget how the other feels, even though his or her communication style might be very different. This is what I try to teach in my sessions.

The Digital Innovators and Trainees seem to be learning a lot from you, but what have you learnt from them?

I learn a lot from them! They’re all very intelligent, nifty people. They put me on edge, too. I have to be well prepared for sessions at TTI because just teaching them theory won’t cut it. I’m 44 years old, and they’re a lot younger. I don’t feel like I’m old, but sometimes I hear things, and then I think: wait a minute, maybe things are different these days. They also shed some light on what it’s like to work at their organisations and they bring in interesting topics to talk about. 

What is a typical Digital Innovator in your eyes?

To me, Digital Innovators are really ambitious and smart, they’re very open to feedback, they want to grow, they’re critical towards themselves, they’re very good at self reflection. And they’re all just really fun people, we laugh a lot during our training sessions. But they can be very serious and motivated at the same time. That’s why I really enjoy hosting sessions at TTI. 

What has been the highlight in your work with TTI?

I really enjoy those aha’ moments with participants. That’s what I ultimately do it for. When someone realises that you can influence situations by adjusting your behaviour. Or when they gain more self-insight after practising situations with a role play. 

What kind of people should apply to become a Digital Innovator?

You have to be willing to invest in personal development. If you’re interested in that, you’ll be at the right place. The big salaries and high positions will come, but early on in your career it’s very important to invest in personal development. And you’ll be able to make fast progress later.

(So think about this: what is your motivation at this moment? Do you want a senior position with a high salary while driving around in an Audi A3? Or do you want to invest in yourself now and make these steps in your career later? I’m sure you’ll learn a lot at TTI and have a very fun time. And I really believe those big paychecks will follow suit.)

Any final comments?

The Talent Institute is definitely one of my favourite clients to work for. And that’s because everyone here loves to learn. As a trainer and facilitator nothing is better than giving sessions in which people actively participate and contribute. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered resistance during a TTI session. 

At TTI there’s also a lot of recognition for me. I started at Nestle and I also wanted to learn and grow as much as possible. The Digital Innovators have this drive as well, which is very fun to see.

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