Category Archives: HR

Six Essential Positive Steps when Dealing with negative reviews

You have two choices here:

  • you can attempt to rectify the situation and save face for others who may see the review (and earn some new clients in the process), or
  • you can flip a bitch and make yourself look like a complete idiot.

You may want to read my article on DCC reviews Dishonest Competitor Complaints.

Regardless of whether the ghost client or genuine client was right or wrong, it is your job to show others that you care and you are willing to do whatever is necessary (within reason) to make this client happy.

Here are six examples to demonstrate your genuine concern and suggestions what to write:

1.) Apologise. The very first thing you need to write is,

“My name is ___ and I am the owner of this establishment. I am so sorry that you had such a negative experience and I would love the opportunity to make it up to you.”

2.) Show gratitude. Let the client know that you appreciate that they took the time to write the review.

“I am truly apologetic that we did not meet your expectations during this visit, but I do greatly appreciate that you took the time to write a review. As a small business owner, reviews like yours are so helpful to me, so thank you for communicating to us where we are falling short so that we can rectify the problems immediately!”

3.) Make an offer. Offer the client something for their inconvenience. They may not take up the offer, but at least make an effort. If they had a terrible massage, offer to give them 50% off with your most experienced therapist. If they didn’t like the color job, offer to have it corrected for free by your most senior colorist.

“If you would be willing to give us another chance, I would love for you to enjoy _____ for _____!”

4.) Let it be known that you addressed the problem with your staff. Make it clear that you have taken action to correct the problem.

“After reading about your experience, I held a meeting with my staff members and addressed the problems you have communicated in your review.”

If the problem was caused by a communication issue (a rude employee, for example), say that the staff are now going to be more conscientious in their communications with each other and with guests. If it had to do with a bad service, inform the reviewer that you are now going to be requiring all staff members to undergo weekly continuing education and monthly technical evaluations. (Seriously, you should be doing that anyways.)

5.) Promise it will NEVER happen again…and mean it. This is where you take the feedback you were given and you learn from it.

ADAPT YOUR BUSINESS TO ENSURE THAT NOBODY EVER HAS A REASON TO LEAVE A SIMILAR NEGATIVE REVIEW IN THE FUTURE.

“I want you to know I am taking proactive steps to ensure that this issue doesn’t arise in the future. I am doing this by ___. I promise you that nobody will ever experience this problem again.”

6.) Apologise, thank the reviewer, and invite them back again. Yeah, really.

“Again, I want you to know how sorry I am. I do appreciate your feedback and hope that you’ll give us another chance to earn back your business.”

DO NOT GET CONFRONTATIONAL, ATTEMPT TO EXPLAIN “YOUR SIDE” OF THE STORY, OR DISCREDIT THE REVIEWER.

I have seen responses to reviews that were downright nasty and unprofessional.

“This woman is obnoxious and rude. We’re all glad that you’re leaving the salon. We pity the next hairdresser whose chair you sit in.”

“This client fails to mention in her review that she ALWAYS tries to haggle the staff for lower prices when she comes, even though the price is clearly communicated to her prior to the start of her service.”

“This review is completely bogus. This never happened. Whoever this is is lying.”

NEGATIVE REVIEWS GIVE YOU THE OPPORTUNITY TO SHOWCASE YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE SKILLS.
DON’T BURN IT BY BEING PETTY.

A classy, professional, understanding response may impress potential clients, negating the poor review entirely.

Common Negative Review Topics AND HOW TO DEAL WITH THEM

1.) Pricing is too high: A good way to respond to this is to showcase the benefits that set your business apart. (This is assuming that your prices are higher because your services/products justify them.) If you offer monthly specials, mention this as well. Some people just can’t afford to (or don’t want to) pay higher prices. You shouldn’t renegotiate your pricing unless it is affecting your business on a massive scale.

IF A CLIENT OR TWO COMPLAINS ABOUT THE PRICE, THAT’S FINE. WHAT YOU NEED TO LOOK OUT FOR ARE COMPLAINTS ABOUT THE SERVICE THEY’RE RECEIVING.

2.) Rude staff: Tell the reviewer that you have reprimanded the employee responsible. In addition, make it clear that you’ve held a meeting to ensure that all staff members know how seriously you take customer service. Ensure that the client will not have the same experience again should they return.

3.) Bad services: Make a commitment to help your staff continuously improve. Continuing education doesn’t have to cost tons of money. Have each of them teach a one or two hour class on something every week. Set up a rotation for it. They can pick the topic. Evaluate potential new hires before signing them on to work for you. Do regular evaluations of your existing staff members also.

4.) Business is unclean: There is NO excuse for you to have a filthy, disorganised salon or dirty equipment. If you and your staff are too busy to keep it up, hire someone to do so. Seriously, you have no excuse.

5.) Miscommunication: Clarify the miscommunication in the review. Sometimes, miscommunications are honest mistakes. If an employee said something in error, apologise and explain the reason why the employee may have been confused. Never blame the reviewer.

Whatever you do, keep your cool. You want your response to be classy, upbeat, apologetic, and humble.

YOUR GOAL IS TO HAVE OTHERS THAT READ YOUR RESPONSE THINK, “WHAT A GREAT WAY FOR THEM TO HANDLE THAT SITUATION!”

You do not want potential clients to see you rage out on a client online. Show them how well you treat unhappy customers and how quickly and professionally you respond to their criticisms. Keep it together and not only will you salvage the relationship with the reviewer, but you will gain the respect and admiration of the potential clients who read the review response as well.

BOGUS COMPLAINTS

Dishonourable Competitive Complaints (DCC)

Competitors have found a dishonourable way to rubbish another competitors name whilst promoting there own business or services.

Be aware that there are many DCC complaint websites that are not policed in anyway and allows anyone to post a destructive message without any real link back to them.

Messages can also be posted against your Youtube videos, facebook, Google, blogs and articles, so it is sometime worth ticking the box that allows you to approve any messages before they are posted against your name or business.

Read more …


If you don’t already have policies at your salon, consider implementing them.

 

How to drive your instagram visitors to your online store

Instagram social mediaAre you using Instagram to market your business?
by Diane Shawe M.Ed

Want to direct followers to your website, appointment form or online store?

With a few simple tactics, you can generate quality website traffic from Instagram.

In this article you’ll discover how to use Instagram to drive traffic to your website

 1: #Add a Website Link to Your Bio

The most common way to lead Instagram followers to your website is to use the “link in bio” tactic. Instagram lets you include one clickable link in your bio, so make sure you use it effectively. To add a link, go to Edit Profile and type it in the Website text box.

In Birchbox’s Instagram bio below, their link directs followers to a customer appreciation day promotion on the company’s website.

birchbox instagram profile bio

Make sure you include a website link in your bio.

With the tool Have2Have.it, you can use your bio link to direct followers to a page with the same look and feel as your Instagram feed, where they can click images to purchase your products or read your content.

The New York Times has a Have2Have.it link in their Instagram bio. When followers click the link, they’re taken to a curated page with the top stories of the day. Users can click on an image to see the story behind it.

new york times instagram images

The New York Times uses a Have2Have.it link to drive traffic from Instagram to their online content.

With an analytics dashboard, you can gain key insights to see what content performs best. Focus on high-performing posts to form a content strategy.

By tracking clicks on Instagram, you can increase revenue and subscribers to online content (such as blog posts), newsletters or email campaigns. Of course, you’ll want to track your click-through rate, so use a shortened Bitly link or vanity URL to know where your clicks are coming from.

Overall, you can use this tactic for any links including an ecommerce website, YouTube channel or company blog. To take it a step further, create an Instagram landing page that captures email addresses through downloadable content like an ebook. The landing page design should mirror the look of your Instagram feed so there’s a visual connection for the user.

2: #Place a Call to Action on Images

Design Instagram photos that convert. You can layer a call to action and your website URL directly onto an aesthetically pleasing photo.

In Canva’s post below, the image has a call to action asking followers to enter a contest for a year of free access. The photo caption then directs users to click the link in Canva’s bio.

canva instagram image

Add a call to action to your images.

This technique is beneficial for Instagram contests where you ask your followers to enter their email information on your website. Now, you have a strong piece of shareable branded content that drives followers to your contest.

3: #Include a URL in Videos

Instagram video brings digital storytelling to life. In fact, videos on Instagram generate three times more inbound links than image posts, so it’s definitely worthwhile to invest in a 15-second narrative.

Brands like Dollar Shave Club use video in innovative ways to spice up their Instagram feed. Their videos work similarly to a television commercial.

dollar shave club instagram video

Include a URL in your videos to direct Instagram users to your website.

Dollar Shave Club’s videos include the URL in a text overlay and a voiceover (“Shave with a fresh blade anytime; try Dollar Shave Club.com”) that further drives Instagram followers to their website. The videos are quick, fun and engaging, making viewers want to learn more.

4: #Invest in Instagram Ads

Instagram recently announced it was opening its API to all companies and brands. By investing in the platform, you can target the right audience demographic through people’s interests. With an ad spend alongside your Instagram strategy, you’re likely to see an increase in website visits and ecommerce conversions.

Clickable links in Instagram ads give you an opportunity not only to be creative, but also let your followers learn more about your digital campaigns or attribute direct revenue from Instagram.

There are three types of sponsored Instagram ads: image, video and carousel.

Image ads are single photos that tell a story with their imagery.

levis instagram ad

An Instagram ad with a single photo.

Video ads differ from organic Instagram videos. They can be up to 30 seconds long, and you can shoot in portrait or landscape format.

jaspersmarket instagram video ad

An Instagram video ad.

Carousel ads enhance your Instagram storytelling because they can include up to four photos. Retailers, car companies and non-profits have been at the forefront of this new ad product. All three types of ads include a clickable Learn More button that takes followers to your website.

instagram carousel ad

An Instagram carousel ad.

To create ads in Instagram, follow these steps in Facebook’s Power Editor.

With Instagram ads, you can create awareness in a broader audience and promote campaigns that prioritise conversions by tracking sales and views.

5: #Leverage the Reach of Influencers

Sometimes you need an extra push to build brand awareness and extend your reach. By working with influencers, you can amplify your message.

Connect with influencers in your niche or industry (whether that’s fashion, beauty, sports or other verticals) to create effective Instagram content. Influencers capture followers’ attention because they’re recognizable and trusted for their product advice and reviews.

instagram influencer example

Instagram influencers are digital celebrities with loyal followers.

When working with influencers,make sure they use effective calls to action to send their followers to your website. This can be done through Instagram videos or with powerful copy that links to your website also check for any costings.

Final Thoughts

As Instagram becomes a revenue-based social channel predicted to outperform Twitter and Google in ad sales by 2017, make sure your Instagram strategy is focused on driving leads to your website. You can learn about follower data to form content strategies, drive revenue and brand awareness from clickable links and promote blog posts right on the platform.

What do you think? Have you converted Instagram followers to your website? What are your goals for Instagram conversions? What Instagram marketing tools do you use to optimise leads and engagement? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

If your looking for a social media course visit http://www.crashcourses.academy

Tags: drive traffic, influencer, instagram,instagram ads, instagram api, instagram carousel ad, instagram content creation,instagram conversions, instagram cta,instagram for business, instagram influencer, instagram marketing, instagram video, sme show, storytelling, diane Shawe,

12 Do’s and Don’t Tips For Getting And Keeping High-Net Worth-Clients by Diane Shawe

Hair Extension and Makep masterclasses Diane ShaweThere are just over 500,000 millionaire households in Britain, more than in any other European country but fewer than in China, Japan and of course the US.

article by Diane Shawe M.Ed and Eryca Freemantle

As for billionaires, the UK has 1,044 and is second only to the US, though as we all know most of those billionaires are people who made their money elsewhere and then moved to the UK, rather than the home-grown variety.

Worldwide there were 16.3m millionaire households at the end of last year, up from 13.7m at the end of 2012.

Those are three of the conclusions from the latest study by Boston Consulting Group of global wealth – it does it every year and 2013 was notable as the rich got quite a lot richer.

Total global private wealth grew by 14.6 per cent to reach $152bn, the two main drivers being the rise in equity markets and the continuing strong economic growth in the emerging world. The region in which wealth grew fastest, unsurprisingly, was the Asia-Pacific. Since the financial crisis China has passed both Germany and Japan in terms of total household wealth.

So with all that pool of statistics, how do you go about bagging a High Networth Client and keeping them?

  1. Do work at Knowing the trends and your product.When selling a product or service to an athlete or celebrity, it’s all about referrals. You won’t get far going directly to the client, Instead, you need to build relationships with trusted sources of the client. For example, find a way to connect with an agent or financial advisor. If you can get these people sold on you, you have a much better chance of getting a referral.
  2. Don’t Scream – No need to scream. Stay cool, calm and collected. After all, they are human.
  3. Do learn to get around the gatekeeper.To approach a client’s trusted sources, you have to find a way in. Social media makes it easier than ever to find connections, but the power of the phone is still the better route, but you need to plan what your going to offer. Remember the gatekeeper can also get bombarded by lots of enquiries every day on social media so be smarter and look at how you can develop  point 7
  4. Don’t say “OMG” – Some people say “Oh my God” to everything, you sound juvenile
  5. Do try and beat the receptionist to the office. A little clever secrets is to make early morning phone calls, before the office opens. If the company has a dial-by-name directory, you can often catch the person you want to reach at their desk, especially if their name is on the door. You’d be amazed at who picks up the phone at 5:30 a.m.”
  6. Don’t Stare: Its rude and frightening
  7. Do try to stand out.When you’re selling a commodity such as makeup, you’re working with the same inventory as every other artist. That means your value comes from standing out.No matter what your industry, work on developing your qualifications and personality, Have an excellent commitment to client, and find a niche and exploit it.
  8. Do not ever say – “I love You” Do you know how silly you sound?  They will no doubt think your crazy
  9. Do say a memorable ‘thank you.’ Often people do things prior to selling to be remembered, but often when you get the sale, doing a memorable thank you can result in other referrals coming your way.
  10. Don’t take Photos –  Do not take photos of them while working on them without asking their permission
  11. Do have a higher mission.It’s not always about making money just to pay your bills, giving back can also encourage high net worth clients feel good about working with you and support any project that is dear to your heart and help people or animals around the world.
  12. Don’t Cry – Professionals do not cry on the job- especially for nothing
Want to learn how to earn £4000 a month?

Want to learn how to earn £4000 a month?

To busy to Market your business and get new clients? by Diane Shawe

Without new customers your business dies.

Without new customers your business dies.

No business can grow or survive without new customers!
article by Diane Shawe M.ED

If lead generation – in other words – getting more clients and growing your business – is something you keep put off and try to put right in a panic (when it’s too late!)  because you are too busy the rest of the time, then it is essential that you adopt a system that generates new leads – even when marketing is at the bottom of your priority list.

That’s why websites such as pagewiz.com have done so well over the past 3 years.

But before you can even look at setting up  your marketing strategy – the web pages, videos, emails and all the other things you need – here’s how we can help you, for a very small fee (£9.99 + vat) to shape up your campaign in a 3 hour bootcamp.

  • Step One: Visit http://www.clarity4d.softskills.expert and skroll down to the Bootcamp courses
  • Step Two: Select the bootcamps you would like to attend that will give you the most benefit.
  • Step Three: Complete the form and submit it to us and we will send you an invoice.
  • Step Four: We will confirm the venue details, you have already selected the time

As you can see there is no big sales pitch, you either need it or you don’t.  We wont waste your time.

These will be the most constructive 3hours you have every spent in moving your business on.

This is deliberately designed to give the busy business owner world-class marketing – without the effort, hassle, time and stress needed to do it all by yourself.

I know a good deal 3 hours workshop diane shawe

Diane Shawe M.Ed approved Business Start up Loan Mentor’ for Enterprising Women & Virgin Startup

Diane Shawe Host KCW Enterprise Womens Club

Diane Shawe Host KCW Enterprise Womens Club

PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Diane Shawe M.Ed

London UK, Tuesday 5th August 2014 – A successful UK entrepreneur and CEO has announces that she is now working with Enterprising Women to begin providing support and assistance to women from all walks of life who are looking to secure funding for brand new business ventures.

Diane Shawe Start up loan mentor

Diane Shawe Start up loan mentor

The range of supportive mentor services now available provides individuals with comprehensive guidance and support to identify and secure start-up funding, available from a range of providers. Diane Shawe is an accredited and certified ‘Enterprising Women’ startup loans mentor, ‘Virgin Startup Mentor’ and a registered leadership training provider for government backed ‘GrowthAccelerator’ initiative.

virgin startup loan mentors

Virgin startup loan mentors

The specific funding providers offer clients a viable means to secure the required capital to get their businesses off the ground through a range of financial contributions and matched funding. In addition to the practical support and advice to secure the startup loans required, Diane Shawe offers comprehensive mentoring which goes beyond forms and paperwork guidance. Drawing on her extensive experience in achieving decades of business success, she is able to pass on critical experience which money simply can’t buy.

About Diane Shaw M.Ed

leadership coursed for women diane shawe expresscourses

Growing your business? find out how GrowthAccelerator could help.

Diane Shawe M.Ed has proven her ability and aptitude in the business world with a string of successes and accolades including being the chief executive officer of a leading professional and vocational training provider, an acclaimed keynote speaker, published author, certified WEBE a member of the Chartered Management Institute (FCMI) and was recently a 2014 finalist at the Federation Small Business London for Innovation. For further information on the ‘business startup loan mentor’ program, please visit http://www.get.mentoring.dianeshawe.info or alternatively use the contact details shown with this release.

 

 

Pre employment Short Courses

Call us to enquiry about our soft skills courses

Call us to enquiry about our soft skills courses

Whether you are a complete beginner or more experienced, on one of our career development short courses you will find yourself learning in our enjoyable and professional environment.

Our courses allow you  to take full advantage of our specialist facilities and the expert tuition at your fingertips with a full take away manual for further reading.Taking a short course is ideal if you want to add new skills to your tired CV, brush up on an old hobby or refresh your skills, build on your current practice develop expertise to help start your own business review your career build a portfolio for college or work.  We have a range of different creative short courses available. Follow the links below for further information.

 

Call 0203 551 2621

visit http://www.expresstrainingcourses.co.uk for more information.

How can employers help keep their work force healthy so as to avoid high healthcare costs?

5-natural-ingredients-for-preventing-lung-disease-expresstrainingcourses.co.ukWhether you’re talking about asthma, cancer, COPD, or even rare conditions, lung disease is on the rise.

The experts are calling lung disease a “time bomb waiting to explode.”

sourced: by Diane Shawe from the  Institute for natural healing

Whether you are creating a workplace wellness program from scratch, or enhancing what you already have, you’re already on the right track! With increasing costs of health care, a shrinking workforce, and aging workers, a savvy workplace understands the value in supporting workers to improve their conditioning and to live a fitter lifestyle.

For instance you could help by engaging with your workforce through your company blog by blogging about five natural ingredients to keep their lungs young and healthy as follows:

1. Milk Thistle: You might already know that it has the power to help your liver regenerate its cells. But milk thistle contains silymarin. It’s a compound that flushes toxins out of your liver. It also helps prevent lung cancer from forming and spreading.

Milk thistle also contains silibinin. Like silymarin, it protects you from lung cancer. But even better. These cancer cells spread quickly to other organs in your body. And they can become drug resistant. Silibinin doesn’t only reverse drug resistance in these cells… It causes natural cell death in cancerous lung tumors.2 You can find milk thistle extract pills in health stores and online. Organic milk thistle tea is another option.

2. Fiber: Oddly enough, fiber is critical to your lung health. It may help relieve symptoms of–and even prevent—asthma.

A high-fiber diet changes the makeup of your gut bacteria. The good bacteria feed on fiber. When you keep these bacteria well-fed, they produce short-chain fatty acids. These fatty acids reduce inflammation and irritation in the lungs. But don’t add grains to your diet for more fiber. They actually increase the amount of inflammation in your body—including your lungs. Instead, eat more organic artichokes, peas, raspberries, and blackberries.

3. Ginger: It’s full of antioxidant power. But two of these antioxidants in particular protect your lungs against inflammation and damage. Gingerols help clear your lungs by reducing the amount of mucous they produce.3 And 6-shagaol, the compound that gives ginger its flavor, stops bronchial tubes from tightening.4 This keeps airflow open and easy.

Ginger can be pretty intense if you aren’t used to it. Add it to your diet slowly if you don’t eat it on a regular basis. When it comes to ginger, fresh is always better. Cutting up some fresh ginger and adding it to a meal gives you antioxidant power and extra flavor. You can also juice with it or use it to brew your own tea to help soothe your lungs when you have a cough.

4. Broccoli Sprouts: Broccoli sprouts are rich in vitamins A, K, and C. But they also contain sulforaphane. It’s a compound that helps you fight the inflammation that causes asthma. One study found that it helped restore defective white blood cells in the lungs. More white blood cells mean less bacteria and inflammation.5

Broccoli sprouts have about 50 times more sulforaphane than regular broccoli. But you may not be able to find them at your grocery store. If that’s the case, look at your local farmer’s market. Or you could grow them yourself. Try them steamed or throw them raw into a salad. For convenience, you can also find broccoli sprout extract as a supplement online.

5. Bromelain: It’s an enzyme used to reduce inflammation of the sinuses after surgery. But it’s also a natural way to treat pulmonary edema.6 This condition prevents the fluid from draining out of your lungs. The result? Shortness of breath. If left untreated, it can cause deadly infections. One study found that bromelain reduces the amount of inflammatory neutrophils in the lung by up to 85 percent.7

The best way to start getting more bromelain in your diet is by eating fresh pineapple.8 And lots of it. Most of the bromelain in a pineapple is in the stem. Or you can supplement.

Pollution and secondhand smoke aren’t the only things that can irritate your lungs. Inflammation is a major factor in the development of most lung disease. Lowering it will help ensure that your lungs are working at their best. Using these five natural solutions will help keep you free of disease—and breathing a little easier.

So you can see the benefits of preparing a workplace wellness program.

Creating a Workplace Wellness Program

Whether you are creating a workplace wellness program from scratch, or enhancing what you already have, you’re already on the right track! With increasing costs of health care, a shrinking workforce, and aging workers, a savvy workplace understands the value in supporting workers to improve their conditioning and to live a fitter lifestyle. We have a  two-day course includes all aspects of designing or upgrading a workplace program, from concept through implementation, to review.

AVPT’s two-day workshop will help you  to:

o   Describe the necessity of workplace wellness programs
o   Create program elements that reflect the needs of employees and the objectives of the organisation
o   Select program elements that fit the context of current operations
o   Establish implementation and evaluation strategies

Getting you qualified in days not years!

Getting you qualified in days not years!

 

 

 

 

 

 

other article you might be interested in : Dangers of Hypertension to Founder owners of SME.

Have you every wondered why people shy away from solving problems?

banner bbb aug 2013 avptglobalDo you spend a lot of time frowning?  are you even aware that you frown?

article by Diane Shawe M.Ed
CEO Academy of Vocational and Professional Ltd.

Do you think more people focus on the half empty glass or the half full. Which are you? At times, it would seem that we have more problems then we can handle, but this all boils down to self responsibility critical thinking skills and optimism. Taking the bull by the horn can be a scary things, so check out a few well know secrets?

1.      Smile!  It is impossible to hold a frown and smile at the same time, try it, you will be amazed at how your brain will help you look and keep on the bright side of life.

2. Separating negative feelings from positive thoughts. This is an important step in solving problems. Only after you have cleared your mind with unnecessary thoughts can you start solving your problems accordingly.

3.      Treat each problem as a challenge an opportunity for self-improvement.

4.      Lose the scapegoat attitude. Are you pointing your finger or blaming others for mishaps? Take responsibilities for your mistakes. No one is perfect, so never put the blames on others unless your trying to say that they are much smarter because they got you to do something you did not intend.

5.      Commit your problem with a pen and paper, and rate the depth of the problem and state the worse that could happen. Face the fear and then write down all the options of solving it.

6.      Keep a journal and treat it as a “secret friend” who is always willing to listen to your grievances. Write your feelings freely.

7.      Develop a noteworthy hobby, for this will help you lessen or minimise stress in your life.

8.      Take time off from work and create variations of your daily schedule. Relax and check out the best movies in town. Travel and meet new wonderful people. You will find these activities worthwhile in the long run.

AVPTGLOBAL almost 400 courses all globally accredited

AVPTGLOBAL almost 400 courses all globally accredited

 4 Steps problem solving tools

1.      To determine the root cause of the problem. Ask a question, answer it, then ask why, answer that, then ask what if, and so on until you run out, that might likely be the root of the problem.

2.      Draw up a strategy, then act upon it. (Pretend you was advising a friend and follow your own advice)

3.      Give yourself a deadline, and reward yourself when you have completed the task

4.      Reflect so you can avoid repeating the same mistakes .

Problems are problems. They are there not to annoy you; but problems are created when you fail to act upon them. Learn to  Let go and you will free yourself of  worry. Remember, less worries mean less stress, so you won’t just spend your time looking at problems, but working to solve them.

If you think that you really want some time out because of problems, visit the next room called “improvement.”

Why not take a look at some of our problem solving courses now.  Click here

AVPT HAIR EXTENSION DEPARTMENT LOGO JULY 2013

Understanding the Language of Training

questionmarkI know what your thinking…

article written by Tim Dingle MBA
Chief Development Officer  AVPTGLOBAL

Training is about to undergo a revolution and the understanding of body language will be crucial for those undertaking training. Speaking at a conference in Birmingham last year, a leading HR director observed that there was nothing as important as understanding the language of business.  That must mean the non-verbal as much as the verbal expressed language.  Non-verbal communication is commonly known as body language and I spent a lot of time studying the basis of this and its importance in training and interviews. So the question is can it be read and used by individuals, managers and directors- or indeed in their wider professional or social lives?

Body language is a broad term for forms of communication using dress, body movements or gestures instead of, or in addition to, sounds, verbal language, or other forms of communication.  It is part of the category of paralanguage, which describes all forms of human communication that are not verbal language.  This includes the most subtle of movements that many people are not aware of, including, for example, a discreet smile or a slight movement of the eyebrows. Such messages can be communicated instantly and silently through gesture; body movement or posture, facial expression and eye gaze.

Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle would not have recognised it, but just watching an accomplished politician, actor, or shopping channel salesperson can give you some insight into the power of gestures or facial inferenceSuch gestures can add to the stagecraft, amplify the message and can provide surprisingly magnetic assurance about what you are being told.   Have a look at the courses we offer at The Academy of Vocational and Professional Training.

Can the use of these non-verbal signatures be imported into the business, training and HR arena?  It can be a risky strategy to attempt to read and rely upon body language signatures without some training and practice. Should individuals be aware of the power of non-verbal communication and seek to harness this aspect in negotiation? If our desire, as individuals in business, training or HR, is to produce our optimum performance then we should employ all of the communication and interpersonal skills with which we individually have been gifted.

We may well consider investing our time to improve our oral questioning and language skills, but very few individuals seem to give much thought to developing the skill of both reading and transmitting non-verbal clues. We can help! Developing those reading skills would be much easier if all our clients were between three and nine years of age – this is rare of course, even if sometimes a negotiation has something of a playground quality about them.  Children wear their emotions on their sleeves and are, except perhaps to other children or their doting grandparents, pretty easy to read.

Mobile Learning, Mobile Earning

Mobile Learning, Mobile Earning

Tightly crossed arms, a screwed-up face and a stamped foot quickly clues you into the internal voice of the child, even if their response to the question, “Are you OK” is “Yes”. A parent’s sixth sense is often nothing more than a demonstration of the superior body language reading skills that child carer’s, of necessity, have learned to develop.  The older we grow the more we learn how to mask our true feelings, which unconsciously includes the toning-down of our body language as well.  Whilst we can try and make our non-verbal communication less obvious, very few people can completely mask it.

HR directors, business people and individuals, might want to learn to look for those more subtle, but tell-tale, signs of stress, hope, agreement, confidence, resistance, and fear in the body language of the clients, and indeed their own clients.  Picking up on these signs could allow us to make progress in a situation of stale-mate and could save a negotiation that is about to crash.  These skills can allow us to zero-in our questioning, to know when a private meeting or a break is essential, and to see the evident bridges and agreements, even when the other side have yet to verbalise them.  How too are we at listening to clients, staff and business partners when they speak to us?  Are we fully engaged with them, having turned our chair, and thus our whole body towards the speaker, leaning forward and maintaining good eye contact?  If you want to be heard in your turn, you need to be seen to be listening.

People will usually only tell us what is really on their mind if they believe that we are really listening.  Do we really listen?  Taking notes whilst staring at out iPad or mobile phone as the person tells their story, does nothing to build confidence in us or the process.  Active listening skills such as reflecting back a summary of what has just been said by the speaker may just persuade, non verbally, a client to listen to you and thereby facilitate success. HR directors, managers and individuals should be encouraged, therefore, think about using their body language positively to enhance the oral skills that they already have, allowing them to maximise their potential as conflict resolution practitioners.

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article by Tim T Dingle BSc (Hons) MIBiol PGCE MBA, Chief Development Officer at the Academy of Vocational and Professional Training (AVPTglobal)

I sometimes wonder what an alien might think if they were monitoring our schools, downloading training course and looking at how students try to learn.  They would be forgiven for thinking that they have been artfully designed to train students in the art of forgetting. Throughout the time you take most conventional courses (excepting, of course, the cutting edge ones at AVPT  www.avptglobal.com) it may seem that you spend your time ‘learning’ and ‘revising’ for tests. What then follows is extraordinary; we forget that information within weeks.

This pattern seems continue throughout schools, professional training cycles and college courses. This heroic shuffling in and out of knowledge from our cerebral hemispheres seems to be a constant cycle. Then students are tasked, days before a crucial exam, with relearning everything that they have managed to forget over the course of the year. This is the classic ‘summative assessment’ situation with a history of failure in so many cultures.  This often takes almost as much time as if we were doing it from scratch. It seems that the UK Education Minister, Michael Gove is known to be an admirer of this system.

The reason that forgetting is so common in traditional learning cycles is that the way we are taught to encode and recall memories, causes fading over time. Those memories that can be recalled are the one that get repeated and are strengthened. They are prepared for the long term and placed within the Long Term Memory System (LTM). This is important because (from an evolutionary point of view) repetition correlates with importance. Meaningful or important things tend to happen again; random things tend not to.

One of the problems with most learning systems lies in a distinction between two ways to go about this repetition.  It can be separated into ‘spaced learning’ (SL) and ‘massed learning’ (ML). Massed leaning is sometimes called cramming. You may remember those long sessions; students love them and believe the longer they stare at their notes /books, the more it is effective. The spaced repetition method is where the repetitions are spaced out over a period of time. The best analogy is to think of memories as plants in the garden of your memory; then think of repetition as watering with your watering can.

The ML system is like watering a plant by emptying the whole watering can all at once; then failing to do so for months.  The mechanism for SL Learning is to imagine watering the plant once a week in measured amounts from the can, over a period of months. This regularity, combined with a systematic  approach and by using a ‘chunked up’ seems to be crucial to success; an approach that, we believe at AVPT, is how all online learning must develop. The long term effect of these totally different techniques of watering (but the same total volume of water) results in two very different plants (one is probably dead).

Now imagine something else that can radically improve memory and success. Incredible as it seems the greatest advances in improving our chances of success can be had for free, right now. I’m talking about improving your brain from the outside in. If you take it seriously it can and will lead to faster and more accurate decision-making. It will yield greater productivity and inspire innovation. If you want to be mercenary about it, it’s the kind of smart that starts making money.

All you need to ‘invest’ is approximately 30 minutes a day.  And maybe a decent pair of trainers. Over the last 30 years I have seen many articles describing how aerobic exercise is beneficial to health. There is no doubt there is a lot of truth in what has been written.  Improving oxygen distribution in the body… reducing the chances of heart disease… losing extra pounds… exercise has many benefits. But cardiovascular exercise goes way beyond reducing blood pressure and cholesterol.  Current research shows that exercise can alter the very structure of the nerve cells in the brain. You could read the evidence in (fairly dull) scientific papers, of which over 1000 have been produced in the last 12 months.

There are many people like me who recognise the impact that cardiovascular exercise has had on their career and every aspect of their life. It may surprise you that there is a growing cohort of business people and entrepreneurs who credit exercise not as just a component of their successful lives, but as the biological catalyst in all of their achievements.

In very basic terms, our brains function due to groups of chemicals ‘jumping’ between the neurons (nerves) within.  My research indicates that BDNF – Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor – is one of the most significant of these chemicals. BDNF is a protein that is controlled by the BDNF gene in our DNA.  BDNF acts on brain cells by encouraging the growth and differentiation (dividing and deciding what they want to be) of new neurons and synapses.  The neurons start growing new connections on their branch- like ends (called dendrites). The more dendrites that grow, the more connections are made.  The more connections you have in your brain, the greater your capacity to think: using another plant analogy, BDNF is a ‘miracle grow’ for your brain cells.

It works in the areas of the brain vital to learning, memory, and higher thinking.  BDNF itself is important for long-term memory.  Which is why it makes you smarter. So, exercise increases BDNF – great!  But… when you are stressed, you release the hormone corticosterone.  This has been shown to decrease the amount of BDNF!

In other words, being stressed makes you less smart and less able to make good decisions.If your exposure to stress is persistent, this can cause an area of the brain called the hippocampus to actively shrink.  This has been shown to take place in humans suffering from chronic depression. The secret of creating change within the brain that can boost your intelligence, memory and decision making qualities (as well as relieving depression) is

The optimal amount seems to be 30 minutes of aerobic activity a day.  Running, swimming, active walking – they’re all good as long as you do them regularly. I’m always interested in finding new ways to learn better and faster. I am a busy and driven individual.  I try to read one book every day on top of a full time business career.  The amount of time I have available to spend learning new things is limited.  It’s important to get as much educational value out of my time as possible, so retention, recall and transfer are critical.

I need to be able to accurately remember the information I learn, recall it at a later time and utilise it effectively in a wide variety of situations. One sure-fire way to become a more effective learner is to learn new things and keep practicing them. The Science backs this up.  A 2004 article in the journal Nature[1] reported that people who learned how to juggle increased the amount of grey matter in their occipital lobes, the area of the brain associated with visual memory.When these individuals stopped practicing their new skill, this grey matter vanished.

So if you’re learning a new language, it is important to keep practicing the language in order to maintain the gains you have achieved. This ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ phenomenon involves a brain process known as pruning. Certain pathways in the brain are maintained, whilst others are eliminated.  If you want the new information you have just learned to stay put, keep practicing and rehearsing it.

One of the key secrets of memory is how brain cells connect without actually touching.  The gaps are called synapses – remember those chemicals that ‘jump’ across the gaps?  Circuits are formed that retain memory, but they disappear if they are not used over and over again.

So go juggle right now!

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[1] Draganski, B., Gaser, C., Busch, V., & Schuierer, G. (2004). Neuroplasticity: Changes in grey matter induced by training. Nature, 427(22), 311-312.