Essential characteristics of good leaders

Friday, September 16th, 2011

This is the fifth of the blog posts based on the top ten most read Straight Talk Tips that go to my clients each month. The tips are free and you can sign up for them here
Essential characteristics of good leaders
From ancient philosophers to modern scholars and consultants, we have been obsessed with finding out what [...]

10 Tips for holding better conversations

Monday, August 8th, 2011

One conversation can make or break a relationship, a career or a life. No wonder we find some of our conversations really scary. Getting to a point where you can speak up about almost anything to almost anyone takes practice, but if you start with these tips in mind you’ll go wrong less often.
1. Choose [...]

How to chair a meeting

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

The role of the chairperson is critical to the success of any meeting. There are three roles a chairperson can play.

Plan, structure and arrange meetings so everyone knows their purpose, what is to be discussed, and why.
Create an atmosphere during [...]

When you plan a meeting you must first be clear on its purpose and the items that are to be discussed. Then you can attend to the details of who should attend; where and when it should be held, and how it should be organised.
In deciding who should attend a meeting there is one rule. [...]

Do you really need a meeting?

Friday, May 13th, 2011

In a well run meeting you can solve problems, motivate people, initiate new projects, solve conflicts, get buy-in and build relationships more quickly and easily than in any other way. It’s no wonder meetings are so popular!
Research shows that the written word carries only about 7% of the true meaning of what you communicate and [...]

You sigh as you doodle along the edge of your page, then sneak a peak at your text messages.  Another meeting!
You’re not sure what its purpose is or why you’ve been invited. You don’t have any contribution to make. The arguments go round in circles. And why doesn’t someone do something about the guy at the end of the [...]

A performance appraisal interview is, in many ways, far more important for an employee than it is for a manager. It is essential that you prepare for your performance appraisals carefully and handle them skilfully.
A good performance appraisal can enhance your reputation and accelerate or change the direction of your career. An interview that goes [...]

The downside to stretch goals

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

In most organisations it is assumed that if you want to build a high performing team you need to set stretch goals and objectives. Logically, it makes sense that setting challenging goals and objectives is the best way to inspire the most effort and the best performance. The only limitation that is commonly recognised is [...]

Presentation Skills: using humour

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

If you are a stand-up comic or a natural story teller, you may well decide to use humour as a way of making your presentations or public speaking opportunities memorable. For the rest of us, it is a high risk strategy.
There are three main reasons why attempts at humour in presentations and speeches can fall [...]

In public speaking you only get one chance to make a first impression. In a presentation you may have no more than 10, and at the most 30 seconds to make an impression on your audience. The opening to a presentation is in many ways the most critical part and it always pays to plan [...]