Are they listening – or playing Catchword Bingo?

Like many I’m an inveterate people-watcher, but as a soft-skills trainer I have an extra level of professional fascination, particularly when it comes to watching those in customer service roles.

On the first morning of our Xmas fly-and-flop getaway, our holiday rep gathered us all together, to do what holiday reps are paid to do – make us feel welcome, answer our questions, and . . . → Read More: Are they listening – or playing Catchword Bingo?

Bread, Ham, Bucket

Some time ago I was part of a small team working with a company who had asked for help to make their annual conference more inspiring and memorable.

So we worked with each of their staff presenters, helping them to become as interesting and engaging as possible.  We encouraged the speakers to move their presentations to their colleagues away from just dry fact, and to make . . . → Read More: Bread, Ham, Bucket

Building Engagement Brick By Brick

This past month has seen a lot of Lego building.  No, not at the weekends, not as de-stress therapy, but as an integral part of my working day.

I was asked to run a series of workshops for a medium-sized organisation (around 75 staff) to boost employee engagement, and to provide an opportunity for everyone to examine and discuss the internal issues that were . . . → Read More: Building Engagement Brick By Brick

Fake It Until You Become It

I recently watched a great TED Talk by Amy Cuddy, Social Psychologist and Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard, called “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are“ which has profound implications for anyone who gets anxious before giving a presentation – i.e. all of us.

Channel a Confident Speaker

For many years I have been encouraging those who suffer from performance nerves to “fake . . . → Read More: Fake It Until You Become It

Talk To Me

It’s been a busy period of late, and both my partner and I have been spending a lot of time travelling and working. Consequently household chores have taken a bit of a back seat.  Last night we had one of those typical domestic conversations that I’m sure all couples have, about who has been creating all the mess, and who doing all the cleaning . . . → Read More: Talk To Me

Which Reindeer are you?

FIND OUT WITH THE XMAS PROFILER FROM LET’S TALK

Our North Pole Training Associate, Mr Kringle, specialist in Snowciology and Psycho-baubles, has developed a special Xmas psychometric yule-tool. Find out which of the 8 Reindeer Personality types you match with the Let’s Talk Sleigh-Team-Role Preference Profiler.

 Which of the following sentences best describes your approach to work?

1)  I like to whizz through my . . . → Read More: Which Reindeer are you?

The Boat That I Row…

There are more books than ever out there to inspire and instruct.   Alas, there are also many others that are more, shall we say, humdrum, and which do less to repay the time spent reading.  Sometimes it’s hard to do the wheat/chaff sort, so I’d like to recommend one that I came across recently, which I found informative and thrilling in equal measure. 

It’s called “Will it Make the . . . → Read More: The Boat That I Row…

Putting a Man on the Moon

 I am writing this while sitting in the Jurors Waiting Room of Birmingham Crown Court, where I have been called for 2 weeks’ jury service. As you know, there are strict laws curtailing what I can say about events in the courtroom, but nothing prevents me sharing some thoughts about the experience itself.

Tea Drinking

If you’ve ever been called to jury service, you’ll . . . → Read More: Putting a Man on the Moon

The Doctors Will See You Now….

Last September, I launched The Improv Evangelist initiative, offering free Applied Improv workshops to organisations anywhere in the UK, just because I believe in the incredible transformative power of Improv.

This week a group of GPs-in-training fromt the West Midlands Deanery were the latest to go through the experience.

Now remember, these are people who work in an environment where even a tiny error . . . → Read More: The Doctors Will See You Now….

Customer Service to Crown it All

I recently had a tooth re-crowned.  The existing crown was old and discoloured, and my dentist and I agreed it was time to replace it.  Dentistry is an intimate practice – after all, you have to have faith and trust in anyone who is going to put a high-speed drill inside your mouth!  I’m pleased to say that my current dentist has never given . . . → Read More: Customer Service to Crown it All

No, not the fence!

A group of us had gone for a fun day out at the Milton Keynes Xscape. The plan was to spend the morning ski-ing on real snow in the Snowdome, the afternoon flying in the skydiving windtunnel, and then rounding off the evening with a curry and a couple of beers.  Perfect easy-access adrenaline!

One friend was a little wary of the morning session.  . . . → Read More: No, not the fence!

The Improv Evangelist

This is a big week for me.  I have finally come out publicly and unashamedly – as an Improv Evangelist.

I have launched a new website at www.improv-evangelist.co.uk.

To show my profound belief in the power of Applied Improv to transform the way individuals, groups and organisations operate and co-operate, I am offering, from now until March 2013, at my own expense and absolutely . . . → Read More: The Improv Evangelist

Lead Boldy, Follow Ardently

The Diamond Dance

A couple of weeks ago I was leading an exercise during a rehearsal with my Improv group.  In this exercise, people are placed in a diamond formation, like this, all facing in the same direction.

They then have to move around the room as a group, with the person at the front leading. So when they are all facing towards . . . → Read More: Lead Boldy, Follow Ardently

Furnishished with Expectations

I was thrilled and delighted earlier this year to be invited to run two Applied Improv workshops at UNESCO in Paris, as part of a series of development events for staff from the Culture Sector.  It’s great to know that more and more organisations are beginning to understand and appreciate the skills and learning that Improv can bring to the workplace.

The workshops proved . . . → Read More: Furnishished with Expectations

The Santa Clause!

Last year we brought you vital Elf and Safety Training. This Christmas Let’s Talk offers you guidance on the hot legal issue of the moment – The Santa Clause!

Make sure you are fully prepared as the party season gets underway – this latest drafting of European/Laplandish legislation could have a profound implications for your organisation. This festive training day will cover such crucial . . . → Read More: The Santa Clause!

Why Values are Priceless

As I wrote in my previous blog entry I have unexpectedly been involved in directing a second piece of theatre recently. Last week saw the sell-out performance of a great one-woman show written and performed by the very talented Tonya Joy Bolton of ICU Transformational Arts , and directed by yours truly.  And what an interesting and stimulating journey it has been.

I first met . . . → Read More: Why Values are Priceless

And that’s why they call it a Play...

It’s been 11 years since I hung up my spurs as a professional theatre director, and refocused my working life as a trainer/facilitator/consultant.   Since then I have been asked many times whether I missed the theatrical life, and had any plans to stage a return. My answer has always been a steadfast and happy “Nope!”   The multitude of things I do now . . . → Read More: And that’s why they call it a Play…

Another big, fat, useful, mistake...

Recently I have been rolling out some customer care training for a national retail client. Rather than bring their staff into central venues, the company decided to hold the training in each branch, in the evening, after work (pizza provided!) As the branches are all different sizes, sessions are held with groups as large as about 20, and occasionally as small as 3.

. . . → Read More: Another big, fat, useful, mistake…

Nothing to fear but fear itself....

Last week saw the first ever “Fear of Flying” course, and what an inspiration it was!

I had advertised it as a “Presenting for the Terrified” course.  I am approached countless times by people who want to tell me how much they dread having to speak in public, how they wake up sweating at the thought, and of their experiences of shaking, mumbling, blanking, and . . . → Read More: Nothing to fear but fear itself….

Champions - Skydiving and Otherwise (pt. 2)

At the risk of giving the impression that my life consists only of parachuting, and that I do no work at all, I feel the need once more to write about a recent skydive experience. I spent last week at a training camp in Spain with my primary team, who have just moved up to the “big boys” league of AAA in 4-way formation . . . → Read More: Champions – Skydiving and Otherwise (pt. 2)

Champions - Skydiving and Otherwise (pt. 1)

Team 4mula

Over the Easter break, during all that glorious sunshine, I was having fun being a skydive cameraman, jumping with and filming a team that is learning to compete in 4-way Formation Skydiving – a discipline within the sport which comprises 4 skydivers turning a series of pre-determined shapes in the air during a timed 35-second freefall. It takes excellent freefall flying skills, clear mental . . . → Read More: Champions – Skydiving and Otherwise (pt. 1)

Set your phone to 'stun'

Right up to the moment it all went wrong, I had been feeling pretty pleased with myself. Because it had been a really tough brief, yet it all seemed to be going so well. I had been asked to create an experiential workshop on customer care, and deliver it, solo, as a participatory session for 140 delegate from my local PCT! I had serious . . . → Read More: Set your phone to ‘stun’

Elf and Safety Training - a last-minute Xmas offer!

In a burst of seasonal benevolence my client, a jovial bearded gent named Mr Kringle, has generously decided to make places available on an upcoming Elf and Safety training day.  He has commissioned this refresher course primarily for his own very small workforce, but is now happy to offer the spare capacity to anyone involved in the Seasonal Philanthropy industry.

Topics covered will include:-

safe gift . . . → Read More: Elf and Safety Training!

Dude, where’s my delegates.....?

The undisputed highlight of a training course this week was the moment when half the delegates disappeared!  Far from worrying that something had gone wrong, I knew in that instant that everything was fabulously on track.

Research, not to mention all my personal experience, re-affirms that the best learning takes place when students are in an open, curious and lively state, more concerned with . . . → Read More: Dude, where’s my delegates…..?

Getting the geography right

I am currently delivering some training for Heart of Birmingham Teaching Primary Care Trust, as part of an excellent project to improve public health.  The idea is to recruit people who are active in the community – youth workers, religious leaders, voluntary group co-ordinators, ESOL teachers and the like – and get them to help promote particular important health campaigns locally.

The hotel venue for this . . . → Read More: Getting the geography right