follow-blog-button

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

newsletter

How Do You Handle Difficult Conversations?

Sometimes in both life and in business, you will have to have a difficult conversation with someone else. It might be with your boss, someone who works for you or your partner. While it might be tempting to bury your head in the sand and ignore the issue, that won’t solve it. You’re better off dealing with it, but what’s the best way to do this, in order to get the best result for both parties?

 

So you know that you need to have a difficult conversation with someone else. It could be over a disagreement that needs to be resolved. It could be a conversation with someone with whom you just don’t see eye to eye. It is certainly not something that you’re looking forward to doing!

 

The most important thing to remember in all these situations is not to rush into having this tricky conversation. Take some time to plan the conversation first and you’ll find it much easier to get the best outcome for both of you.

 

Same versus Different

 

The next thing to do is to take a sheet of paper and write Same and Different at the top – one word on each side of the paper. In the Same column, write down everything that you can think of that you and the person with whom you need to have the tricky conversation, have in common. This could include your gender, age, responsibilities, career aspirations, motivations, level of experience and whether you’re naturallyan extrovert or an introvert. Think also about hobbies or interests that you might share. Do you both have children and if so, are they same age and gender? Do you both drink coffee or tea? Wine or beer?

In the Different column, list everything that you do differently, or that you don’t have in common.

 

Carrying out this exercise gives you a visual way of seeing how much easier this conversation could beif you have a lot in common. If there are few similarities between you, then you will know early on that this could be a trickier conversation. There is nothing wrong with having differences – what is essential is that you acknowledge that there are differences.

 

This exercise can also explain why a relationship with a manager or member of staff is difficult. The less you have in common, the harder it will be to build rapport with someone else.

 

Once you have your list of Same vs Different, you can use it to prepare the ground for the conversation. If you rush in with all your guns blazing, in an attempt to win the argument, that’s just what you’ll get – an argument! Instead, spend some time thinking about how best to open the conversation, based on something that you both have in common. Far better to spend a few minutes talking about a common hobby or interest, to break the ice and put you both at ease, than to go straight for the tough part of the conversation.

 

Try this tip the next time you need to have a difficult conversation and see how it makes getting the conversation off to a good start – and importantly a better finish – so much easier.

 

If you want better results from your training, call us on 01483 303 593 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and let’s talk about your training needs.

Interview Preparation That Will Get Your Dream Job!

Do you get nervous just at the thought of attending an interview? If you’re looking to change jobs – whether you’re moving companies or moving up in your current organisation – there is no getting away from interviews. You might be the best person for the job, but if you let your nerves get the better of you, or you don’t prepare for the interview, then you’re not going to get your dream job.

 

This blog is all about the best preparation that you can do for your next interview, to help you get the job that you really want.

 

Far too many people walk into interviews without having done sufficient preparation. But if you haven’t done your homework, how can you expect to stand out from the other candidates and to impress the people interviewing you? Poor preparation will give the impression that you’re not really that interested in the job for which you’re applying. And why would anyone give a job to someone who doesn’t appear to care about their company?

 

Before every interview, you need to spend enough time preparing for that specific interview. Here are the three areas that I encourage all my clients to focus on when they’re preparing.

 

Do your research into the job and the company

 

Read carefully all the information that the company sends you about the business and the job. Read their website – every page of it. Look them up on the internet to see what else you can find out about the company, how it works, who works there and what other people are saying about them. What sort of reputation do they have? What sort of people work there? If you know who will be interviewing you, look them up on LinkedIn, to get more background information. They will be able to see that you’ve looked at their profile, which will put you in a good light, even before you meet them at the interview. It really is worth spending a couple of hours doing this research, for every single interview you attend.

 

Prepare concise answers to frequently asked questions

 

As well as the questions in the final section below, you need to prepare answers to a whole range of questions that you are likely to be asked at an interview. There is nothing worse than being lost for words during an interview. Make your answers short, clear and concise – don’t waffle! When you give a short answer, your interviewer can ask you more questions in the time they have allocated to your interview. The more questions you can answer, the more information your interviewer will be able to gather about you. The more they know about you, the less of a risk they are taking if they offer you the job. Do whatever you can to make the interviewer’s life easier!

 

Make the best impression

 

Remember to spend plenty of time preparing to look your best at your interviews. Pay attention to the details – are your shoes clean, is your shirt ironed, or is there fluff on your skirt? Does your outfit fit properly and make the best impression? It can really pay off to invest some time and money with an image consultant, who can help you to stand out in a positive way. What does your handshake say about you? Is your posture confident? Do you smile enough? Preparation is key in helping you to make the best first impression.

 

Don’t leave anything to chance when you’re attending an interview for a job that you really want. Take the time to prepare and your preparation will pay off.

 

Three More Things You Can Do to Prepare

Spend some time planning how you would answer these questions in an interview:

1.       On your very best day at work, when you thought you had the best job in the world, what did you do?

2.       Describe your worst day at work and what would you do differently.

3.       In the last few months, when have you been the furthest away from your comfort zone?

 

When you’re prepared to answer questions like these, you will find it much easier to stand head and shoulders above the other candidates and get the job you deserve.

 

Do You Need Some Interview Coaching?

We regularly coach our clients, to help them to do their very best at interview. If you feel you need to shine more at your next interview, we can help. We can discuss the questions that you’re likely to be asked and help you to prepare the best answers to those questions. Together we can make sure that you give a really polished performance.

 

If you would like some coaching to improve your interview technique, call us on 01483 303 593 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Good luck in your next interview!

Do You Want to Achieve More this Year?

The dashboard in your car is a really effective way of keeping track of your progress. It shows you how fast you’re going, how far you’ve travelled and how much fuel you have left in the tank. These days, some cars will even tell you what time you’ll reach your destination and where the next petrol station is. The dashboard provides a quick way to see the important information that you need, without you having to wade through a long report and take your eyes off the road. It will help you reach your destination safely and on time.

You can use a dashboard in just the same way in your life or business, to make you more effective and to help you reach your destination.

 

How does a Dashboard work?

 

First decide on your goal – complete a project, run a half marathon, double your sales turnover, read a new book every month?

Next, choose up to five measures that will track your progress, making them a mix of activities and achievements. It is important to measure both. This is because if you just measure your achievements you’ll lose sight of how much work it took to reach each one. Just measuring activity means that you’ll lose sight of why you’re doing what you’re doing – the big target thatyou’re aiming for.

 

So if you’re training for that half marathon in the summer, your activity measures could include the number of times you go running each week and the time you spend in the gym every week. Your achievements might include running six miles at Easter and then ten miles in June. Your final achievement, of course, would be crossing the finish line of the big event!

Then create your dashboard, using words, pictures and colours – whatever inspires you – so that you can look at it on a regular basis. Your dashboard might be a spreadsheet that counts down the weeks to the ‘big event’ or it could be a flip chart on your office wall. However you create it, you need to put it somewhere that you can see it easily – just like the dashboard in your car.

 

Keep it Up to Date

 

Once you’ve created your dashboard, you need to use it! Look at it every day or week, to track your progress and decide on your next steps. Update it to record your progress – how many pages of the book you’ve read or sales achieved. Record your activity – the number of sales calls you made last week or the number of times that you went running and how far you ran.

 

Good luck and enjoy your journey this year!

Business Is Better When You Take It Off Automatic

I recently heard an interesting discussion between a professional photographer and a keen amateur. The amateur asked the professional why people should invest in expensive photographic equipment when they could take really good photos on their phones. The photographer acknowledged that you can take good photos on a mobile phone, but added “You’ll get even better results if you take it off the automatic settings.” That started me thinking.

These days digital cameras have a huge array of settings, but many people just use the basic, automatic options. The same applies to the cameras in our phones. And I think the same applies to our lives – things are better when we take our lives and businesses off automatic. Read on to find out what I mean by this.

Taking your business or your life off automatic is about using the equipment you have at your disposal to the full, rather than relying on someone else’s settings. Someone else has decided what settings they think you should use on your camera, in order to take good photos. But their idea of the best level of brightness or contrast might be different from yours.

Are you using someone else’s settings for your life and your business? Are you doing something because everyone else does the same thing, in the same way? Or can you adjust the settings to allow you to do things differently? Do you make decisions for yourself, or follow the crowd and take the easier options?

Why should you take your life off automatic?

Some people are very happy living a life, or running a business, on automatic. For some people, this is the best option. However, if you want to become more effective in your job, you need to look at your settings. If you do the same thing all the time – the same tasks every week or every month – you can end up on auto pilot. You’ll do what you do without really noticing it. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But actually, living life on autopilot means that you might stop spotting mistakes that you make or you may miss more efficient ways of doing something. In both your career and your business it is best to look at ways of standing out from the crowd, if you want that promotion or that new client. If you’re doing the same thing as everyone else, your boss and your potential clients won’t be able to distinguish between you and your competitors.

So can I encourage you to look at your life and your business? Are you stuck on automatic, using someone else’s settings?

Here are three things you can do, to take your life and your business off automatic:

  1. Take a break. Get up from your desk and take a walk; go outside and get some fresh air. Change your outlook and you’ll get a different perspective
  2. Change your view. Look at a peaceful view so that you don’t have to process extra information. This will allow you to think more clearly.
  3. Share your learning. Think about what you’ve just done, what decisions you’ve made or what you’ve just learned. Then think about who you can share it with. Sharing the learning helps to embed it and prevents other people from making the same mistakes.

 

Living life and running a business on automatic can give you good results. But if you really want to achieve more, live a really fulfilled life and run a very successful business, you need to do things differently. Use your own settings, and see how much more you can achieve.

Seven Questions You Should Ask Yourself at the End of Each Day

Every day people will ask you questions. “Have you finished that project yet?” “What time does the meeting start?” “What’s for dinner?”

But how often do you take the time to ask yourself a few questions, to see how you’re getting on? By asking ourselves questions we can ensure that we learn from our activities and make life easier in the future. Here we look at seven questions that you can ask yourself, that will not only help you to take a positive perspective on your day, but also set up your tomorrow for greater success. They come courtesy of The Huffington Post.

Here are the seven questions to ask yourself:

One.       What did I learn today?

Just because you’re no longer in school doesn't mean that you have to stop learning about the world around you. In fact, research suggests that a constant pursuit of new information as you grow older may contribute to more well-being. It doesn't matter if it's a few words in a new language or how to use new technology. How can you end each day with more knowledge than the day before?

Two.      How do I feel?

Your emotional wellness is just as crucial as your physical wellness. In health care, the mind and body tend to be split, but the two actually work in tandem. Pay attention to shifts in your thoughts and feelings; if they go unresolved it could start affecting your behaviour.  Rate how you feel on a scale from 1 (hacked off) to 10 (ecstatic)

Three.      How did I make others feel?

How you treat someone else says a lot about who you are. Approaching others with compassion, authenticity and kindness can go a long way. In fact, research suggests that extending generosity to others not only improves their lives, but increases your well-being too.

Four.      What can I do better tomorrow?

No one is perfect. We are all constantly making tiny errors or massive mistakes, but we’re still here. It's important to acknowledge your hiccups and set goals for yourself for the future. In other words, make friends with failure, as it gives you clarity.

Five.      What am I grateful for?

Gratitude isn't just some vague, spiritual concept that only works if you believe it does. There is actual science behind practising a little thankfulness. Studies show that writing down what you're grateful for can lead to stronger relationships, better sleep and increased happiness.

Six.    How much stress did I experience?

Burnout is a silent killer when it comes to your productivity and happiness. If you just roll through the motions each day without taking a critical look at your life, you may not realise how exhausted you really are until it is too late. Check in with your battery and recharge it.

Seven.    What made me smile?

Everyone deserves to end their day on a happy note. Just think of how much better you'll sleep if you go to bed with more jubilant thoughts. If your day was the absolute worst, do something to cheer yourself up before you go to bed. A hot bath or a giggle in front of your favourite funny film will help you sleep much better.

Take a few minutes at the end of each day to ask yourself these questions. Write down the answers if you want to and see how you can use your answers to create a brilliant tomorrow for yourself.