This is the most frequent request of learners on Presentation Skills courses and Trainer Training courses – and on plenty of other interpersonal skills programmes as well. Sometimes people call it “presence” or “self assurance”. Basically, it’s “when I stand up in front of others, can you teach me how to feel and how to project confidence?”
How far is non-verbal communication a factor when we are influencing someone – or being influenced ourselves?
We know that when we are attempting to persuade, any messages transmitted non-verbally will override the verbal message in the event there is discrepancy between them.
So the boss who tells you the new system is simple to use, thoroughly tried and tested, and completely fool proof, will be persuasive if his body language is congruent or harmonious with what they say, but will be doubted if they appear incongruent. Body language is a hugely important factor in influence.
NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) represents a practical toolkit for making goal setting, planning, decision-making, and all kinds of communication at work, stunningly more effective. Introduced to the UK from the States more than 25 years ago, much of the British business world thought of NLP initially as a bit “left field”, perhaps not very relevant to the operation of industry and commerce, or to the way people conduct themselves at work on an everyday basis.
They couldn’t have been more wrong. In many organisations, sales directors and sales managers were the first to recognise the potential of NLP for raising their game. Now, NLP is accepted as a fast-track skillset to help all functions of any business achieve more of what they want – ethically, and cost effectively.
1. Decide specifically who your participants will be, and list the things you want them to be able to do by the end of their learning process. This is much more useful as a basis for discussion and planning than simply a course or subject title.
2. Choose between three and five providers for an initial approach by telephone. A word of mouth recommendation from a colleague or associate is a good way to source providers, or of course you can research a few websites. Ask about their experience in delivering this type of training, and about fees. You can also ask them to send you sample programme outlines.
3. Interview two or three “shortlisted” providers personally, and ask how they can build and deliver the learning outcomes you want how long it will take, and how much it will cost. This will give you more relevant information, and will be a better test of the providers’ experience and capabilities, than simply asking them to “come and present what they can do”. Ask for a written proposal.
Now February is here, are your best intentions starting to crumble at the edges? Is your New Year determination disappearing and your motivation beginning to melt?
Revisit and re-boot your Resolutions using our 6 easy-fix tips below:
1. Did you make your goal specific?
A target of “improving my interpersonal skills” is vague – it’s hard to know where to start. More useful, for instance, might be “to start conversations with three new people each week”.
2. Is your goal achievable enough to be motivating?
Success is a real boost to keep you working at your resolution. An over-ambitious goal soon seems daunting or impossible and you are tempted to give up. If your ultimate goal is indeed ambitious and therefore long-term (3 months or more), break it down into separate milestones to achieve by the end of each month. Each milestone should be specific as above!
Once long ago, in a monastery in an ancient land, lived two monk brothers, who agreed together that after they passed on they would like to leave something of real value behind to enrich the life of their community. And so they decided to plant an orchard. A winding road passed through the middle of the monastery lands – the elder brother said he would plant his trees in the west, and the younger agreed to plant in the east.
It was a brilliant, hot summer’s day, and the younger brother was vigorous and energetic. He immediately set out for the village, where he bought a brand new spade with a bright shiny blade and a shaft varnished glossy red. He also made a deal with a passing tree merchant and negotiated the delivery of a job lot of saplings at an excellent discount. He set to work – thump, dig, lift and place the sapling – and in a very few days, all his trees were handsomely planted in the eastern orchard, before the elder brother had even stirred from the veranda in front of the monastic dwelling house.
Business management training brings many pleasures and satisfactions, as well as the occasional challenge or frustration, as any trainer will know. One of the most energising aspects of being a trainer, perhaps, is the ever-present possibility of surprise – which never diminishes however long you’ve been doing the job.
On a recent Presentations Skills course in India, Margot was running a light-hearted preliminary exercise, “My Worst Business Moment”, in which each delegate delivers a one minute talk, using a personal anecdote to “lift” the presentation and entertain the audience. Continue reading