I was greeted with a beaming smile and open body language as I walked into the Common Purpose leadership development programme. I felt the positive vibe and instantly felt at home. Over the course of the programme, in particular, there were 5 main points I took away.

Silence is golden

Various exercises on the programme reminded me about the importance of listening to one's inner voice and following one's "gut feeling". Over the years, I have privileged "doing" over "cultivating silence" and listening to my inner voice. I therefore plan to prioritise my meditation and yoga practice in order to be more reflective in my approach to leadership.

However, conversation is king

I experienced a potent shift regarding my understanding and appreciation of networking. The space and activities encouraged 29 African Diaspora to engage in dialogue in a very organic way.

This process made me re-evaluate the term "networking". In fact, I have decided to now refer to the whole concept as "net-talking". I think this gives a more accurate and positive spin on the process of how we initiate rapport and build relationships with the people we like and trust.

"Strangers do not create things together" Martin Kalungu-Banda, Common Purpose associate

It was fascinating to observe and be part of the energy generated through the various conversations and I feel quite confident about the possibility of developing ideas into viable projects. I think the collective net-talking inspired ideas and motivated action.

Always remember feedback is a gift

On the programme, I found great value in an exercise where we both gave and received feedback. It was succinct, powerful and effective. I have personally kept my feedback card - it will serve as a source of encouragement to me. In fact, I have adopted this exercise for my own organisation. I am currently designing feedback cards to give my collaborators, partners and stakeholders.

Becoming Cultural Intelligent promises more insights and revelations.

I got a quick taste of Cultural Intelligence through assessing my Core and Flex and I look forward to testing this out in the real world. I was very pleased to get a signed copy of Cultural Intelligence, by Julia Middleton. I envisage conversations with my niece (she is only 2) as I hope I can guide her to become a Culturally Intelligent citizen.

Inspiration is dynamic

For me, a highlight of the programme was the talk given by Martin Kalungu-Banda. Put simply, he is an inspiration. He made me realise I should strive to meet at least one charismatic person a year. I have added this to my goals.

I had a gut feeling this course would be good for me and it exceeded my expectations.

Yewande Okuleye is a lifestyle blogger at yewandeslondon