Friday, April 08, 2011

Taking a positive view

I was so pleased to hear someone else taking a positive tone; Jackie Orme, CIPDs Chief Executive in their new look magazine comments on the importance of self-esteem & confidence. There’s a need for HR professionals to raise their game in promoting the role of people, morale and investment in skills. As Jackie puts it, “as individuals HR professionals we can’t single-handedly rebuild the confidence of a nation. But we can make a difference to the ambition and culture of self-belief in our own organisations”.

And I believe it’s not just up to HR professionals, we can all do our bit. We can all make a difference to our own self-belief and infuse some into others too.

The media love negative headlines and often what you see or think about is what you get. So stop focussing on the "can't dos" and look for what you can do.

One small step:
Find a positive message, or quote and put it somewhere prominent to remind you as you start each day.

There's always something positive, even in adversity, if you look hard enough.

Happy hunting.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Climate in business and clubs

Tomorrow I shall be running a workshop around "What makes a good club climate?" for the Toastmasters Area event, and while planning I have noticed so many similarities between that topic and business so here are a few of the parallels:

1. The physical environment
It is important to set the right tone. Think: clean, tidy, welcoming.

Within Toastmasters one person has the role to ensure the meeting area/room is prepared on time, often with support from other club members. How could you do the same within your work environment? I find tidying my desk at the end of the evening leaving a plan (really just a quick outline!) for the next day helps me walk into the room the next morning and start working straight away. Are you going to take responsibility for this, or is it better to delegate? Decide, then act.

2. The first point of contact
Who is the first point of contact?

At Huntingdonshire Speakers we have another person who takes the role of "greeter" to ensure all members and guests receive a warm welcome. Who meets and greets your staff, visitors and clients in your business? Are they welcoming? A smile and "hello" isn't too much to ask for, but I've been places where that doesn't happen... and sometimes it's the boss who doesn't say "good morning"!
Pass on a smile

3. The people
This is where everyone plays a part in creating the climate.

Again, at Huntingdonshire Speakers we are reminded at the start of the meeting of our roles and responsibilities, not just through the agenda, but also verbally around the room and the club mission statement is always read out. Now that might sound a little "groupie" to you in business, but if your staff don't reflect the business values, and value each other as people what climate is being created...? How can you remind them? Better still, how can everyone remind each other?
Be congruent.

There a load more, so I'll follow up with more tips after the workshop tomorrow.

Go create a positive climate :)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Brain Friendly Learning can aid communication

This morning's treat was a workout at the Learning & Professional's Gym... not as strenuous as it might sound (though I did cycle there!). the presentation by Kimberley Hare of Kaizen Training got me thinking about our normal styles of communication and how we tend to stick to our own preferred "channel". I decided it is definitely worth the effort to use the intelligences and communication channels not just in the arena of training, but in all communications.

Take a moment to think about it...

Which would you rather have?
A verbal presentation of the new product or change process or project
A visual, verbal and involved presentation of the same?

With a little effort we could all recognise the 5 core principles of Brain Friendly Learning and apply them to our every-day communication:
1. Keep it REAL
2. Make it RICH
3. Facilitate CREATION
5. STATE is everything

Happy Communicating

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Presenting your Pitch with Confidence

On Sunday I featured on The Business Hub radio show talking about the importance of presenting your pitch with confidence. Have a listen to the whole show here: Click "The Big Fat Red Listen Button" for #bhub online!


Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Powerful Pauses

Take your time when speaking and maximise the power of the pause.

For those of you who have seen The King's Speech, you'll know instantly what I am referring to, for those of you who haven't seen it yet here's a little more explanation...

Our brains work at around 450 words per minute and generally we speak at around 150 words per minute. That means our listeners are busy thinking about all sorts of other things while we are speaking, not just about what we are saying or have just said!

To help your listeners take in your key points and remember your message do the following:

1. Don't speak too fast!
2. Repeat your message in different ways
3. Use powerful pauses

A pause is a great aid to a speaker. It allows thinking time for the audience AND the speaker (thinking such as: "hmm, now, what is it I'm going to say next??"); by avoiding filler words, making the message loud and clear; and by adding dramatic twist to the presentation, such as those in The King's Speech.

Whatever the reason for your pause, whether it be for a speech impediment or simply to slow down your rapid-fire-words, make them powerful.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Three viewpoints, one purpose

I was invited to a Rotary guest evening in Cambridge last night and spent an enjoyable evening listening to Doug Sanders, journalist & author of "Arrival City", Julie Spence, Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire 2005-2010 and Mohammad Razai, a 25yo clinical medical student at Cambridge, and former asylum seeker.

The interesting thing I noticed was the way in which the points were made: Without emotion. Factual. With the brief exception of Mohammad Razai - no-one could fail to be moved by his story of life in Kabul and being smuggled to the UK at the age of 15 after his father and uncle were imprisoned and murdered. Yet he too stuck to the facts.

Most of the time I am encouraging people to include an emotional draw into their presentations. To "bring them to life" by appealing to the listener's emotions. To make full use of Pathos.

Yet last night was a detailed, factual, grown-up discussion.

Interesting then that I can remember a few points made by Doug, a few points made by Julie and most of those made by Mohammad.

Perhaps emotion does have a part to play after all?

Monday, January 31, 2011

A dangerous 3-letter word

Having watched a clip of Andy Murray after his grand slam defeat one word stood out.

While I too would like to see him rise to the top I have my doubts whether he'll make it. And why? The use of a dangerous three-letter word... TRY! The interview clip shows Andy Murray saying "I want to try and win one, of course I do".

Think for a moment - to try and win one. That's just what he's done, tried. So he's succeeded, he's achieved his goal of trying to win a grand slam title.

There was no certainty; no Arnie "I'll be back" assurance; no desire shown to actually win one.

How do you set your goals?

To try and achieve them? Or to achieve them?

As Yoda would say "do or do not, there is no try"