If you’ve done any presenting at all you can probably think of moments when you could feel that your audience was completely absorbed by what you were saying. Most of us unfortunately have also had the experience of talking to an audience when we just couldn’t seem to make any connection.
When you have a good connection with [...]

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 [...]

Presentation skills: know your audience

Friday, February 11th, 2011

Do you dread having to make an important presentation? Do your hands sweat? Does your mouth go dry? When you start to speak, does your brain freeze up?
There are few people who don’t feel some nervousness when they speak to a large audience in a formal environment, but once you know how, you can control [...]

Toxic people are those whose attitudes and behaviour poison the environment. They blame, complain and criticise, put people down, and infect everyone with their pessimism, negativity and bad humour. Some moan about anyone they see as more successful than they are; some are angry; others are bullies who dominate and humiliate anyone they see as [...]

Don’t do it by e-mail!

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

My heart sinks when I hear someone say, ‘John isn’t performing well these days. I must send him an e-mail’. Doesn’t everyone know by now that you can’t do sensitive and difficult conversations by e-mail!
In any conversation that has a strong emotional tone you must be face to face. These are the kind of conversations [...]

Teaching older dogs new tricks

Monday, November 29th, 2010

It is very difficult to change adult behaviour, and the older the adult, the more it is difficult.
Many people, including human resources people who should know better, still behave as if a few days in a classroom can produce managers who will build high performing teams and people who will communicate effectively. Would that it [...]

Leadership style hasn’t changed

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

While most things change, rapidly and unpredictably, a few manage to stay the same in spite of all efforts to the contrary. To a great extent leadership style is one of them.
On the face of it that sounds unlikely, given the extensive research that has been done into leadership best practice over the decades and [...]

You want it done? Tell them what to do!

Monday, November 1st, 2010

How did something that started out as a straight forward training course last week develop into a conversation about reality?
I was training a group of young graduates who are on a two year development program, on completion of which they will be appointed as junior managers in their organisation.  As a group they all exhibited [...]

Authentic - to be or not to be

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Being authentic is very scary. It must be, or we wouldn’t have so many ways of avoiding it.
Think how often you have posed as someone or something you are not; prevaricated to avoid telling the whole truth; procrastinated when you should have faced up to difficult conversations; pussyfooted around sensitive issues instead of dealing with [...]

All or nothing

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

When it comes to communicating about feelings, it is noticeable how most people operate in one or other of two modes.
Most of the time, they do not share their feelings. You never quite know what they are really thinking, or where you stand with them. You get hints in their non-verbal behaviour or in humorous [...]