Poised Turns 1! What We’ve Learned and Why We Care About Communication

October 14, 2021
10 Min Read

One year ago, many of us thought that a return to work in person was surely just around the corner. But as we adapted to working remotely—from embracing Zoom and Slack to experiencing more flexibility in our schedules—we realized the possibilities of a remote-first world were here to stay.

With those possibilities, we also encountered foundational changes in the way we speak and work with each other. Yet even with an abundance of virtual communication tips, connecting remotely felt challenging in ways that were personal or unexpected. For some folks, speaking in person came naturally, but speaking through a screen felt stifling. For others, communicating virtually magnified challenges like rambling sentences or misinterpreted messages.

In experiencing these challenges first-hand, our founding team saw an opportunity to help professionals everywhere flip the odds. By analyzing how we speak in remote meetings, we can understand our unique communication styles and uncover specific ways to become compelling speakers both virtually and in person.

Today, we’re thrilled to celebrate one year of Poised and our mission to help professionals everywhere become confident communicators. From raising a $4.5 million seed round to launching with a community of passionate superfans, so many exciting things have happened this year for our team. Turns out an app for real-time and personalized speech coaching is something folks (ourselves included) have been wanting for a while!

Our team took a moment to reflect on what we’ve learned in building Poised and why communication personally matters to us. In the coming weeks, we'll also be sharing some reflections and experiences from our users to share how some folks have been using Poised for their communication. We hope you get to know us better through our thoughts on the questions below, and we’re so excited to continue this journey with you.

Hello from the Poised team! 👋

Why does communication matter to you?

Whether it’s to become an effective leader for your team or to build a relationship with your listeners, connecting with others is often our reason for becoming better speakers. Here’s the “why” for some folks on our team:

I feel great communication is critical for having a material impact and for building meaningful relationships, but it’s often an ignored skill.

—Soumya, our COO & one of our Co-Founders whose product leadership keeps us laser-focused on our users

I want to improve my communication to keep my audience engaged and on the same page as me to help us effectively achieve our objectives as a company.

—Zac, our Lead Machine Learning Engineer who’s passionate about NLP and empathetic listening

Communication matters to me because it's often not the best ideas that win out, but those that are the best understood. Personally, I am striving to speak concisely but with enough detail to ensure my intention is delivered.

—Charlie, one of our Founding Engineers and an enthusiast for excellent coffee

What are your communication goals?

When defining any goal, it always helps to be specific about what you want to achieve and why it’s important to the bigger picture. Here are some of the specific goals our team has for improving how we speak:

My main communication goal is to improve my clarity and persuasion because I believe communication is a powerful tool for achieving professional outcomes. From a company level, we aim first to seek the truth because the faster we can get to the truth, the faster we can learn from it. From a job perspective, clarity and persuasion will help set vision and strategy, recruit, and inspire.

—Charles, our CEO & one of our Co-Founders whose humble leadership nurtures our mission

I want to increase the clarity of my communication by reducing rambling and improving my storytelling. I am working with more layered concepts and problems that I want to convey in terms that make sense for the whole team.

—Anya, our Growth Marketer and the author of this post :)

My main communication goal is to be more measured and restrained. I speak very quickly, which can lose people, especially when I string a lot of ideas/thoughts together in succession. Pausing can help me ensure my audience still understands.


What do you like about being part of the Poised team?

We’re delighted that our small but passionate team has grown to nine members so far this year! We care deeply about our culture and building a community that’s supportive for our users:

I like that our culture encourages open discussion and everyone is always open to helping me learn and build better.

—Stas, our Founding ML Engineer who discovered Poised in his own quest to build a tool that helps him speak better 

We are a lean team with a highly curious and supportive company culture. Not only are our coworkers bright and humble, but everyone is genuinely invested in both the company's and each others' learnings, growing, and individual successes.


I like our focus on continuous improvement. The whole team is motivated to learn from the past and continue improving how we operate in every important aspect. I also love how fast we move and the focus on listening to our users.


What have you learned so far in your work here?

Building a speech coaching technology like Poised has its share of head-scratching challenges but also magical discoveries. We’re constantly learning better ways to help folks understand and enhance their communication styles:

I’ve learned how to rapidly test new ideas and ship the product fast. It's better to fail many times quickly and get a few things right than to spend a lot of time on one thing only to fail catastrophically.


I’ve learned that communication is all about trust and connection, and is ultimately deeply personal. Our users have so many different reasons for wanting to become great communicators, but at the core is a desire to be confident that you’ll be heard and remembered.


What do you hope our users and community can gain from Poised?

For the team at Poised, our mission to help people improve their spoken communication is a personal one. We treat our users’ experiences with the highest respect and importance—because we’re been there too.

I hope that Poised can help people at any point in their journey to become confident communicators and can become a superpower for online meetings.


I hope that Poised helps our users unlock more effective and empathetic communication skills that will serve them for life in both professional and non-professional settings.


What does being poised mean to you?

Being poised is surely a good thing, but it’s also a nuanced thing—it goes well beyond what you say and is grounded in why and how you say it. Whether in professional or personal settings, here’s what being poised means to us:

Being poised is about more than sounding eloquent and composed. To me, it’s when you have both the confidence that what you say matters and the ability to make it genuine for your audience.


Being poised to me means being authentic to who you are, always learning and ready to seize the moment to be a better communicator, and being confident, calm, and collected under pressure.


Thanks for joining us in celebrating and reflecting on one year of Poised! We’re deeply grateful to all our fans and to everyone who has shared their experiences with us in this journey so far. We’re ignited by the passion of our community and hope you’ll join us in creating a world where professionals everywhere are empowered to speak their best.

A goofy photo of our team as a bonus for reading this far 😛

If you haven’t already, join our waitlist below or on our website to get early access to Poised. Liking the app so far? We’d love for you to join us in celebrating our one-year anniversary by sharing Poised with a colleague or friend. Thank you!

Say it like you mean it.

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