Soft Skills Training

How to Deliver Constructive Criticism

Delivering Constructive Criticism

Constructive criticism is useful when used with the aim of improving circumstances in the place of work, but it can be very challenging to receive or give construction criticism. When emotions are involved, it could become a delicate matter. The goal is to handle constructive criticism in an effective way that employees will benefit from.

Timing

Timing is important when delivering constructive criticism. While some instances can be addressed right away, others can be done on the employee’s next annual review. When it comes too late, the employees might dismiss any help and likewise, if it is done too early, the employees might doubt themselves. Deciding when feedback is given may rely on key situations. Usually the best time to give feedback is directly after an occurrence, addressing the problem right away.  If the problem is allowed to continue, it could affect the employee, as well as co-workers. The value of the feedback decreases as time passes.  Informal or formal feedback can be used.

Preparation

It is commonly easier to deliver constructive criticism when properly prepared. Decide on what situation needs to be addressed and on what information needs to be conveyed. A sense of understanding toward the employee will result in better performance, and a better relationship between employees and management.

Location

The location should allow for the employees to speak in private, away from other co-workers. Other factors can affect what would be the best time, such as if the employee is getting ready to go to lunch or tired. The manager should also consider how they are feeling before setting a time.

Setting Goals

Goal setting goes both ways. Both parties need to know the reason of the goal and what efforts will need to be made to achieve them. You should avoid letting the goal come across like an order or demand. Let the employee know what you want to see in regards to achievements, but also ask them what they want to gain from it. When goals are made as a team they will be more willing to work for it and succeed.

What not to do

Knowing what negative phrases and sensitive topics to avoid can be just as crucial. Try and avoid the following when delivering constructive criticism:

  • Talking Down
  • Attacking or Blaming
  • Becoming Emotional
  • Not giving the other person a chance to speak

Following up

Schedule a follow-up meeting to check on progress and if concerns have risen. Be available to the employee and provide feedback on progress. If goals were met and the employee has improved, congratulate them. If not, go back to the drawing board and see what other actions need to be taken. Do not leave the employee in the dark about their progress or shortcomings.

constructive-criticism-training-course

 

Why Critical Thinking is Important

Why Critical Thinking is Important

Critical thinking equips you with the skills to evaluate and analyze information, and obtaining the most knowledge from the information. Critical thinking reduces damage when mistakes occur, but also provides the greatest likelihood of making the right decisions.

Critical Thinking leads to a more ordered and logical thinking. It will decrease your bias and prejudice which provides for an improved perspective on your situation. It allows you to assess, recognize, and differentiate between irrelevant and pertinent information.

Critical thinking is similar to studying of common sense. It relates to decision making and good judgment. Critical thinking is not just thinking about thinking, but it is also about how we take action.

Reason

Reasoning is considered one of the characteristics of being human. The ability to reason well is a critical thinking skill. Reasoning occurs when we use our knowledge to determine if a statement is true, but human reasoning is often affected by emotion.

Open Mindedness

Open-mindedness takes into account relevant arguments or evidence to adjust current understandings. It means being open to alternatives, and willing to think about other possibilities after having formed an opinion. It is about not allowing pre-conceived notions to constrain on new information.

Analysis

Analysis helps us to distinguish and access information. It helps us gain a better understanding by breaking down the complexity of an idea.

Logic

Logic is almost the same as reasoning; it gives us the rules for deriving legitimate conclusions. When reasoning does not follow these rules, it is illogical.

Critical Thinkers

The characteristics of good critical thinkers.

  • Self-discipline
  • Active Listening
  • Seeing the big picture
  • Using your emotions
  • Curiosity
  • Objectivity
  • Being self-aware
  • Humility

Benefits of Critical Thinking

  • Better communication
  • Being more persuasive
  • Better problem solving
  • Increased emotional intelligence

critical-thinking-training-course

The Importance of Interpersonal Skills

The Importance of Interpersonal Skills

Some people are naturally magnetic and energetic and just have a way with others. You may not see yourself as charismatic or having interpersonal skills, but being that memorable individual can be achieved through acquiring communication skills, negotiation techniques and learning how to network.

Words are the tools of communication and your choice of words can influence the attitudes, thoughts, and actions of others. Responding effectively and appropriately can be done by paying attention to the language of other people and listening to what they are really saying.

Questions are excellent means of obtaining information and a good question can make for an appealing dialogue. It can break new grounds, spark interest, and display your own honesty to finding out what others have to say.

These are some keys to communicating effectively:

  • Do not be casual – The use of bad grammar, or slang can be a detraction especially when communicating with employers or potential clients.
  • Remain on point – Stick to what is relevant to the discussion, and getting your message across in the shortest way possible.
  • Know your audience – Keep in mind the attention, readiness, educational level and age of the listeners. This will prevent them from being underwhelmed or overwhelmed.
  • Emphasize key ideas – Accent in communication can include examples, repetition or simply saying that “this is really a point I want to highlight.”
  • Connection – The more others see you as one of them, the better their response will be.

It is not only about verbal communication. Voice intonation and body language also send a message to other people. Practicing your verbal and non-verbal communication skills are equally as important. A change in your tone may change the meaning of statements. It is important to be aware of the way we talk for effective communication to take placeSmall talk is part of conversation and an effective wayto break the ice. An effective and engaging conversation is one that flows. There are techniques available to move a conversation along such as using repetition, asking for examples, asking for clarity and using summary questions.

Influencing others can assist in selling products and ideas and gaining help. We don’t have the power to control other people, but we can try to persuade them. One tool in doing this is by entering their world and looking at the position from another’s viewpoint.  Another tool is bridge building which is the process of enforcing similarity between people. Make the other person feel at ease by recognizing common interests and gaining their trust.

Although emotions can be powerful tools, people are not just made up of emotions. Some circumstances necessitate an application of the mind by using facts.

Some people fade into the background while others stand out. You have to be able to leave a lingering positive impression on the people that you meet. You want to make sure that you create a positive impact on other people.

interpersonal-skills-training-course

How to Effectively Manage Workplace Anxiety

How to Effectively Manage Workplace Anxiety

Everyone at some time feels out of place at work or anxious, it is only when these feelings control you and prevent you from functioning in your usual actions that it becomes a severe problem. When someone is suffering from workplace anxiety, productivity declines and they cannot contribute efficiently, which only adds to the fear and anxiety. It is important to identify the problem and managing it before it manages you.

Workplace anxiety has many faces such as general anxiety disorder, phobias, social anxiety and panic disorder. Symptoms can include the following:

  • Trouble in accepting negative feedback
  • Avoiding social situations
  • Irrational fears
  • Difficulty in focusing on responsibilities

Workplace anxiety affects everyone in a different way; therefore, it cannot be handled in precisely the same way. But there are many ways to improve your ability to deal with anxiety. Some examples are:

  • Positive thinking
  • Keeping a journal
  • Set up achievable goals
  • Have a “Me” place you can go
  • Make sure to get enough sleep
  • Talk with family and friends
  • Start small and build on to bigger challenges
  • Exercise and eating healthy

Anxiety will not just go away by merely disregarding the problem. It can only be ignored for so long. Even if the whole problem cannot be faced immediately, we can start accepting them as something we need to deal with today.

Everyone gets nervous now and then, such as finishing a project, taking a test, making a speech or teaching a class.  Nerves cause mild symptoms, but they do not encumber your performance. Anxiety goes beyond that, because the symptoms interfere with your capability to perform. It is important to be able to differentiate the two and is a significant step to managing anxiety symptoms successfully.

Anxiety is not just a feeling, but can be a physical disorder. The most frequent physical indications are queasiness, headaches, muscle spasms and an increased heart rate.

Anxiety can have positive characteristics linked with it as well. While the mental and physical symptoms can be debilitating at times, it can also alert us to something that is wrong and prepares our body for the fight or flight response.

Many triggers to anxiety can come on unexpectedly while others are expected and familiar. Knowing your own anxiety triggers can avoid them from occurring. If the trigger is not known, you may have to find ways to just find your feet around it. Some common triggers for people are:

  • Keeping feelings bottled up
  • The fear of the unknown
  • Trying to be perfect at all times
  • Public speaking

Unfortunately, there are times when anxiety can be too overpowering to resolve alone. Learn what your limits are and how to handle it on your own. There are self-help techniques and methods that will help you manage your anxiety, but sometimes you just have to realize that you need assistance and guidance from others in order to help yourself.

Managing Workplace Anxiety Training Course in Sandton

How To Be a Strong Leader

How To Be a Strong Leader

The old saying goes that leaders are born, not made. But some leaders are made through adversity. Sometimes people who have never taken on a leadership role will lead when a situation necessitates it. Parenting is one example. The potential to be a leader exists in each and every one of us.

Once you have learned the methods of being a leader, you will find the self-belief it takes to be one. Experience also contributes to taking on a leadership role with ease. Taking the lead is not an easy task, but it becomes second nature and can be very satisfying.

Leadership is not about dictating to others, it is about is inspiring others into action. The world today is filled with people who are in leadership positions, but are not good leaders. Real leaders inspire others to stand up for a noble cause.

Influence is extremely powerful, yet very subtle. Someone can be ordered to do a specific task, but that does not mean that they will do their best. Inspiring others to do their best requires positive reinforcement as well as motivation by being an example. Leadership only speaks to the tasks at hand, while influence speaks to responsiveness and attitudes. Influence is the true essence of successful leadership.

Leadership Characteristics

Position and title does not make a good leader. These are only some of the characteristics that make a good leader.

  • Proficient
  • Truthful
  • Inspirational
  • Forward-looking
  • Open-minded
  • Intelligence
  • Courage
  • Broad-minded
  • Creative
  • Undemanding

When complications arise, a great leader does not blame his supporters even if they in fact have failed. A true leader addresses how to correct the problems.

Leadership is neither for the egotistical nor the hesitant. Self-confidence can often be misconstrued for arrogance. This should not hold you back though. Being honest and having integrity will be seen by others. Listen to criticism, whilst considering the source. If you personalize what others say about you, or ignore criticism through arrogance, you will lose respect, and thus their support.

Inspiring a collective vision is the true essence of leadership. But before conveying the vision, it has to be developed. You must be clear about your vision and live it so that others can model it. You must facilitate others to be responsible. But at the same time, do not criticize anyone for trying, but making a sincere mistake.

Leadership and Influence Training Course in Sandton

 

Managing Change in Your Business

Managing Change in Your Business

Change is an unavoidable in most of our lives. Processes, technologies, ideas, methods and people frequently change; affecting the method we execute everyday responsibilities.

Change management has become an industry discipline, motivating results through modifications in behaviors and processes. Managing change is an important ability, both for employees and management.

It is essential to create and implement a plan consistent with the distinctive requirements of your business. The plan serves as the guiding outline, shaping decision and providing direction during the change process.

Change will always take place, and identifying its components on an individual level can help to transmit it to an organizational level. Organizational change can create uncertainty and apprehension, it is essential to understand these influences; preparing for when they occur and what is required when they do take place.

Reactions to Change

  • Resistance: There are constantly people resisting change. It is general and originates from an apprehension of the unfamiliar.
  • Denial: People may become unwilling to listen or reject any information presented to support the change.
  • Indifference: People may not care, or the change may not have an impact on their work or routines. Be cautious of this, as the change may be anticipated to have an impact.
  • Anger: When change happens, people may experience resentment. People might grow to be uncooperative at this time.

Assisting the Change Procedure

Being prepared for the change is crucial and provides a better opportunity of success. These strategies will assist in easing the change process.

  • Instruction: Educate everyone on the reasons for the change, and what the anticipated outcomes are. People want to know why a change is taking place
  • Communication: Communicate with everyone prior to, throughout and following the change. This will assist with any unexpected events that occur during change. It also helps learning which makes future changes smoother.
  • Flexibility: Not all events can be anticipated. Be prepared to update or adjust the existing plan.
  • Education: Be sure everyone is educated and up to speed with all material necessary for the change.
  • Acceptance: Changes normally have a constructive influence on those concerned, but acceptance may not occur straight away.
  • Affected Parties: It is particularly essential that the individuals involved in the change contribute to the change progression. They could provide feedback into the issue from a practiced point of view.

Change Management Training Course in Sandton

Understanding Effective Communication Strategies

Understanding Effective Communication Strategies

Every day we communicate with and to others. It does not matter if you are giving a speech in the boardroom, communicating with your partner, or the look that you give to your pet, it all means something. Understanding the various ways of communicating, will help you to make the most of each of them.

Communication affects these aspects of your life:

  • Relationships
  • Stress levels
  • Productivity
  • Satisfaction level of your life
  • Problem solving ability
  • Capability of achieving your goals

Common Communication Problems

  • Cultural Barriers
  • Language Barriers
  • Difference in Place and Time

Hearing and Listening

Hearing is easy, but listening is far more complex. Listening is the method of looking at the words and the other factors used around those words, such as body language and non-verbal communication. The skill is to interpret the entire message.

Appreciative Inquiry

Communication traditionally focuses on what is wrong and how we can fix it. Think about your last visit to the doctor, performance review, or your last disagreement with someone. Appreciative inquiry is the opposite of that. It focuses on the positive and on ways to improve. Many businesses have found it to be a refreshing and uplifting approach to problems, and revitalizing their employees.

Establishing Common Ground

Another powerful communication tool is finding common links that draw us together.  A stranger may turn out not to be a stranger to you. Someone that might have grown up in the same town that you did, or someone who enjoys a hobby as much as you do.  Whether it is a problem-solving session, a team meeting or a basic conversation, try to find a common ground whenever you are communicating. Positive connections will assist you in communicating better and building stronger relationships.

Communication Strategies Training Course in Sandton

How to Manage Your Anger

How to Manage Your Anger

Anger can be an extremely destructive energy, costing people their personal relationships, jobs and even their lives if it is not dealt with correctly. Everybody experiences anger, so it is vital to have positive approaches to managing it successfully.  Everyone is common with this emotion, but not everybody is alert of its fundamental dynamics, the fight or flight response, cycle of anger, and frequent myths about anger.

The Cycle of Anger

Anger is a normal feeling that typically originates from perceived loss or threat. It is an invasive emotion and it affects our thoughts, body, behavior and feelings. Anger is frequently described in terms of its regularity, intensity, threshold, expression and extent. Anger usually follows a predictable cycle. Accepting the cycle of anger will help you comprehend your anger reactions and others’. It will assist you in finding the best suitable reaction.

Fight or Flight

This impulse appears in physical behavior. When facing a threat, our bodies release the hormones, cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline. These chemicals are intended to take us to a state of vigilance. The result being increased heart rate, slowed digestion, strength and energy. Understanding the fight or flight response will help recognize the dynamics of our anger reaction.

Myths about Anger

  1. Ignoring anger will make it go away.
  2. Anger is a bad emotion.
  3. People will think I am a pushover if I don’t get angry.
  4. You can’t manage anger.
  5. Anger must be unleashed for it to go away.

Anger Management

  1. DON’T get passive-aggressive.
  2. DON’T disregard the anger.
  3. DON’T keep the anger bottled up inside.
  4. DON’T get aggressive.
  5. DON’T use communication methods that are non-constructive.
  6. DO calm yourself prior to you saying something.
  7. DO accept that you are angry.
  8. DO clarify how you are feeling in a way that shows ownership.
  9. DO speak up, when something is important to you

Emotional signs of anger:

  • Irritability
  • Bitterness
  • Unhappiness
  • Isolation
  • Remorse
  • Lack of feeling
  • Feelings of wanting to harm somebody


Physical signs of anger:

  • Perspiration
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Trembling
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Feeling hot in the neck and face
  • Headache
  • Stomach aches


Behavioral signs of anger:

  • Raised tone of voice
  • Beating of fists on a wall or surface
  • Clenching of fists
  • Pacing


Mental signs of anger:

  • Cynicism
  • Breaks in concentration
  • Resentful thoughts
  • Obsessing on the circumstance

You are not a victim of your circumstances. You have the alternative of making a considered and conscious reaction to stressful situations. Your options in general fall into three categories: avoid, accept or modify. De-escalation skills are intended to manage the situation, cool down and decrease the possibility of being physically or verbally hurt.

Anger Management Training Course

The Importance of Assertiveness and Self-Confidence

The Importance of Assertiveness and Self Confidence

Assertiveness and self-confidence are comprised of vital interpersonal communication behavior and skills that can be practiced and learned.

What is Assertiveness?

  • An assertive person is direct and confident in communicating with other individuals. Assertiveness promotes impartiality and equality in human interactions, based on a positive sense of regard for others and self. It is the direct communication of a person’s wants, feelings and needs, without intimidating, punishing, or placing another person down.

What is Self-Confidence?

  • Self-confidence is a conviction in yourself, ability and judgment. It is liberty from uncertainty and when you think you can alter things or make a difference in a situation, you are a lot more likely to succeed.

Good communication skills are important for confident interaction with others. Communication is a significant component of our everyday life. Every interaction we have with others, including, over the phone, chatting online, face to face, or texting  is forms of communication, and having solid communication skills will promote every type of interaction we meet.

Identifying your worth

Worth is set as sufficiently good, interesting or significant to justify a certain action. Individuals with a sense of self worth display confidence in themselves. They are happy  and feel in charge of their own destiny.

Use positive self talk

Positive self talk allows you to validate, recognize, and employ your full potential in regards to all that you are, and do. This is also called an affirmation, and serves as your own private success degree.

The use of body language

Eye contact: The impact of your communication is affected by the amount of eye contact you maintain with the person with whom you are talking

Posture: Find comfortable standing and sitting postures that work for you, avoiding any slouching or rigid position.

Excessive body movement: Too much movement can deflect attention from the vocal communication.

Make first impressions count

  • Watch your body language. Remember that body language makes up to 55% of a communication.
  • Dress and groom appropriately. It’s less about your budget, and more about clean and event-appropriate clothing with great grooming.
  • Handshake. Use a firm or medium handshake grip, avoiding an overly firm or weak handshake.
  • Body movement. Use a mirror, or enlist the aid of a friend to make sure that your movements are not overly active and that they underpin the nature of your message.

Self-confidence plays a significant part in our lives. Being confident allows us to identify and achieve our goals. It offers constancy when we are faced with a challenge and helps us triumph over problems. Self trust is necessary in our professional and personal lives. It gives us the capability to stand up to face our challenges and to stand back up when we fall.

assertiveness-training-course

The Basics of Body Language

The Basics of Body Language

The power to read body language is a skill that will enhance anyone’s career. Body language is a kind of communication, and it has to be exercised like any other kind of communication. Whether in management or sales, it is essential to understand the body language of others and exactly what your own body is conveying.

Communicating with Body Language

We are always communicating, even when we are not speaking. Unspoken communication makes up over half of what we tell others. It bears on our work and personal relationships. Improves management, negotiating and interpersonal skills by correctly interpreting important signals  and body language.

The Power of Body Language:

  • It is honest: Body language conveys truth, even when words do not.
  • Creates self-awareness: Understanding body language helps you distinguish your own activities that impede success.
  • Understand feelings: Body language shows feelings and motivations such as aggression and submission.
  • Enhance listening and communication skills: Paying attention to body language makes someone a better listener. Hear between what is being said and the words spoken.
  • Proximity: The space between people
  • Positioning: Position of a body
  • Facial expression: The eyes are especially noted.
  • Touching: This includes objects, people, and themselves.
  • Breathing: The rate of respiration is telling.

We are constantly reading the body language of other people, even when we are not aware of it. Actively reading body language, however, will improve communication and offer valuable insight. Pay attention to the motions and positions of people around you. Specifically, their head positions, physical gestures, and eyes.

The signs you send to others

You are always sending signals to other people. These signals come through voice, body language, personal space and appearance.

  • Body language: Body language includes motions, facial expressions and posture.
  • Appearance: A person’s dress and hygiene send signals to others. People get to negative assumptions based on an unkempt appearance.
  • Personal distance: Too much personal distance makes people appear cold. On the other hand, not valuing the personal distance of others will suffer negative effects.
  • Voice: Tone is important to the way we communicate. Emotions are expressed through tone.

Cultural Differences

International business means working with different cultural backgrounds. While certain expressions are generally known, many gestures are cultural. It is essential to research the communication style and etiquette of whatever culture you do business with ahead of time.

Body Language Basics training course in  Sandton