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Communication Skills

Wendie’s Weekly Diary – 1st Impressions

Monday 31 August

1st Impressions

My brother has just called to say that he has fallen in love with a farm that he has seen for sale.

After 2 minutes of being there, he has already mentally moved in, bought the wellies and worked out how he can raise the half million he’ll need to live The Good Life. And this from a man who took longer to choose which kind of pasty to have, on our recent trip to Cornwall.

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly we decide to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on a home. You just know, don’t you? Except sometimes, you don’t.

First impressions aren’t always right but the brain is very good at deleting the things you don’t want to see; like the dry rot, the fact that none of your furniture will fit or the crack den next door.

The same applies when choosing people. For jobs, I mean.

Many managers I have spoken to recruit based on gut feeling or first impressions and then are later disappointed that the people they have chosen don’t meet their expectations. more…

Posted by admin,
31st August 2010, 6:47pm

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Category: Weekly Diary

Wendie’s Weekly Diary – Influencing Skills

“I wish all your family were dead”.

So said a less than satisfied caller as she slammed the phone down on a lovely Helpline assistant that I worked with this week. The Helpline assistant had been politely and patiently trying to explain that the caller would not be entitled to receive a payout from her late ex-husband’s insurance policy.

It’s hard not to react when another person attacks. We’re hard-wired with a ‘fight or flight’ trigger when we come under fire.

There are, however some basic things to remember, when dealing with ‘difficult’ customers:

  • There is no such thing as a ‘difficult customer’ – only a customer who is in a difficult situation.
  • We have all been someone else’s difficult customer at some point – it doesn’t mean we’re not nice people the rest of the time – someone, somewhere loves us!
  • People in difficult situations do not always behave in the way we’d prefer – they make the best choice they can at the time – which might not be the choice we’d make in the same situation.
  • There is always an underlying reason for the way a person behaves. Even if we can’t accept their behaviour, we can usually empathise with the cause (in this case; shock, confusion, grief and mourning – the lady’s ex-husband had tragically been murdered abroad).

Dealing with difficult customer situations on the telephone requires skill and resilience and I greatly admire those who do this well. more…

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28th June 2010, 3:11pm

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Category: Weekly Diary

Wendie’s Weekly Diary – Communication Skills

road rageCommunication Skills

Driving home from an appointment late last Wednesday, I felt somewhat harassed as a young man in a souped up Ford Escort came up behind me on a dual carriageway at speed. He began swerving  from side to side and flashing his headlights.

As I surveyed him in the mirror, I could see that he was shouting and gesticulating for me to get out of his way. This continued for several minutes and I became increasingly agitated as the traffic in the inside lane was too heavy for me to safely pull in.

Eventually a gap appeared and I indicated to move over. He beat me to it, nearly taking my bumper off as he did so. He then cut in front of me, once he’d passed, causing me to brake hard. I was less than amused. more…

Posted by ,
19th April 2010, 10:31am

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Category: Weekly Diary

Influencing skills – Red Box or Green Box? Which should you choose?

Four steps to great influencing skills

Ok, so it’s not quite The Matrix, but the answer to this question will help you get what you want… and it’s right here on this podcast.

Listen to this podcast for the four (yes, just four) steps to great Influencing Skills.

If you’d like to explore how Think Training & Development can help you with your own influencing skills or the general communication within your company, we’ll be waiting in the green box, to listen to what you need. Give us a call or drop us an email.

Posted by Gavin,
12th April 2010, 3:01pm

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Category: Leadership, Podcasts

Wendie’s Weekly Diary – Effective Communication Skills

Effective Communication Skills


Without speaking to any of the people concerned last week, I learned that:

•    My brother had lost his last 35,000 bhats in an ill-judged midnight swim in Kho Samui
•    My cousin had eaten bran flakes for breakfast all week
•    My friend had given birth to a baby grill

This is all well and good.

•    I mean, I was delighted to know that Billy had chosen me to bail him out (or ‘Birry’ as he now refers to himself on Facebook, on account of being in Thailand);
•    I’m glad my cousin is getting some daily fibre, it’s important;
•    And although I suspect my friend’s husband might have meant girl, I’ll take her some steak when I visit, just on the off chance… more…

Posted by ,
22nd March 2010, 1:59pm

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Category: Weekly Diary

Wendie’s Weekly Diary - Effective Communication Skills

Effective Communication Skills

Last week, I did some training with a group of schoolteachers… on the terminology used in financial services.

As well as knowing your subject, good Communication Skills are paramount when you are training, developing or coaching others. There are many aspects to this, but here is one simple example.

When I asked which terminology they particularly wanted to discuss, a lady put up her hand and said that she couldn’t quite see how ‘Market Value Reductions’ worked. (There is something strangely satisfying about having teachers put up their hands to ask you a question….but I digress.) more…

Posted by ,
1st March 2010, 2:57pm

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Category: Weekly Diary

To understand behaviour, look beneath the tip of the iceberg.

Have you ever asked yourself what drives human behaviour? Why people sometimes act in ways that you find difficult to understand?

Imagine an iceberg. The tip is above water – you can see this. The majority of the iceberg is under the water – hidden from view.

A person’s behaviour is like the tip of the iceberg – the part you can see. What drives that behaviour lies underneath the surface. Venture below surface level and you’ll discover the values, beliefs, experiences and thoughts that drive a person’s behaviour.

Listen to the podcast to find out more.

If you’d like to better understand and influence the behaviour of the people in your team, a good place to start is with some Myers Briggs or Influencing Skills training.

Posted by Gavin,
4th February 2010, 4:55pm

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Category: Leadership, Podcasts

Effective Communication

There have been many studies on how non-verbal behaviour (body language such as facial expressions, gestures etc) impact communication.

Back in the 1950s, Dr Ray Birdwhistell was one of the first to suggest that no more than 30% to 35% of the social meaning of a conversation or an interaction is carried by words. (There were others before him but Dr B has by far the coolest name, so we like him best).

Today, there is a strong school of thought that, when we communicate, people pay attention to our words and actions as follows:

Posted by Gavin,
30th December 2009, 4:21pm

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Category: Leadership, Podcasts

Communication exercise – great icebreaker

Words, by their nature, are ambiguous. Why? Because we each give different words meaning – depending on our own experiences, beliefs, values, thoughts and ideas.

This video demonstrates this through a simple ‘ice breaker’ training exercise on…sex!

Take a look and you’ll see what we mean. No giggling like school kids now. This is a serious and highly scientific lesson in Communication Skills. Oh, ok then, it’s just a bit of fun…

But seriously…if we cannot agree on the meaning of a universally acknowledged, simple little word like ‘sex’, what hope do we have of ever being properly understood?

If you want to improve the clarity and impact of your communication, take a look at our Communication Skills courses or Contact Us to talk through what you need.

P.S. We run this exercise a lot and ‘love’ doesn’t come up too much. Shame on everyone. And whoever said ‘Zygot’ in a recent session – well that’s just weird.

Posted by Gavin,
29th December 2009, 10:55am

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Category: Podcasts

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