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What Iceland can Teach us about the Value of Language

A short visit to Iceland and some observations about the fascinating language and culture.

Last week I celebrated my birthday in the beautiful city of Reykjavik.  It was my first visit and it won’t be my last. Iceland is unique in so many ways: it is the most peaceful country in the world; the Icelandic phone book lists every person by their first name; and it boasts one of the most difficult to learn languages.  As a bit a of language obsessive and aspiring polyglot this seriously interested me.  

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The Icelandic Language is hard!

Icelandic is one of a group of Nordic languages which includes Swedish and Danish but, interestingly, not Finnish, which is way out there on its own and apparently completely incomprehensible to the Swedes, Danes, and Icelanders.   Continue reading “What Iceland can Teach us about the Value of Language”

Help! What do I do with Unpaid Workers?

8 Strategies for Successfully Managing Volunteers

Whatever you choose to call them – volunteers, interns, work experience students, or helpers – at some point most organisations will have unpaid workers on the premises and need to think about volunteer management. For example:

  • Schools – parent helpers on trips out or special events such as school discos.
  • Religious organisations – the ladies and gentlemen who help out at the refectory after service and tidy the place of worship.
  • Youth organisations – your child’s Saturday morning football or coach or match referee, or their Sunday School leaders.
  • And most businesses these days will provide work experience and internships for people interested in a new career, with some choosing to utilise their services more than others.

Continue reading “Help! What do I do with Unpaid Workers?”

5 Top Tips for Terrific Employee Training Plans!

5 ways to get the best out of your employee training programmes and staff development plans.

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This is probably the single area I get asked about more than any other.  Most employers know that an employee training plan is  important. As well as being a given expectation for Millennial employees, it is an effective way of creating employee engagement.  But what exactly is a proper employee training plan (ETP)? And how do we make one? Here are some ideas to get you started: Continue reading “5 Top Tips for Terrific Employee Training Plans!”

Banter, Banana Peel, and Snowflakes

The Shifting Sands of Employee Expectation

If you saw the news this weekend you will know about the incident involving football player, Raheem Sterling, at Saturday’s Chelsea v Manchester City game.   The monstrous footage shows a group of middle aged men, faces contorted in anger and hate, screaming alleged racial abuse at the young player.  Sterling, 24 (Saturday was his birthday), has been widely praised for his calm and professional conduct during it all.  He has said, “I just had to laugh at the abuse – I didn’t expect any better.” 
Continue reading “Banter, Banana Peel, and Snowflakes”

“So What Exactly is E-learning, then?”

Despite e-learning having been around for approximately two decades, this a question which I still get asked.  People know that it is ‘something to do with your PC and …’ well, what … ?

L&D practitioners commonly understand e-learning (the ‘e’ = ‘electronic’, though I’m sure you knew that!) as any type of self-directed learning away from the traditional classroom setting.  So, on this basis, making some notes from Wiki about the stock market is a piece of perfectly valid business focussed e-learning.   You could also have looked at a website and online discussion such as Money Saving Expert, or even joined a themed Facebook or Linkedin group.  It all amounts to the same thing, which is learning from computer based sources. Continue reading ““So What Exactly is E-learning, then?””

The Thief of Time: Dealing with the Dithering Devil

aron-322314-unsplash.jpgTomorrow is always the busiest day of the week.  I know this because I heard it so many times when I was teaching, (“I’ll do it tomorrow, Miss, I promise!”).

And it’s not just kids.  Most of us have a fantastic reserves stock when we don’t want to do something. Continue reading “The Thief of Time: Dealing with the Dithering Devil”

Plus ça Change, Plus ça Doncaster

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If only all AI were this cute!

The Guardian published an article a few weeks ago about how Doncaster, once a coal mining heartland, then a waste-ground, has now reinvented itself as a hub for distribution centres.  Fittingly, it has three of the beauties just for Amazon – the website which has been accused of destroying high street retail. Continue reading “Plus ça Change, Plus ça Doncaster”

Does Public Speaking Spook You? Six Strategies to Exorcise your Fears

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No.2 Fear: Public Speaking!

As it’s Halloween week, when everyone’s thoughts turn to things that scare them, it seems topical to think about the fear that is number two on the list of common phobias – glossophobia, or fear of speaking in public.

I was reminded of this recently when I spoke to a delegate who shared that the thought of standing up and speaking in front of people was his absolute nightmare.  This gentleman was a senior manager and openly admitted that while he enjoyed his job, liked and trusted his colleagues, he would mentally freak at the thought of having to give a presentation or a speech in front of them.  An acquaintance who dreads public speaking described the fear as, “paralysing” or “petrifying”.  He didn’t necessarily mind explaining a point in front of a meeting group, but he froze the second he thought he had to stand up on stage in front of people.  Continue reading “Does Public Speaking Spook You? Six Strategies to Exorcise your Fears”

Why is Disappointment so … Disappointing?

Out of these two examples, which do you think would be the more disappointing for most of us to hear?

  • After a tough training session, there is a test.  The trainer then comes over and quietly tells you that you have missed the passmark.
  • You go for a job interview.  There is a pre-employability test or assessment (‘PET’) which you do not pass.  HR take you to one side and inform you that your application is not going to be progressed.  

Based on my experience, if you said the second one then you were right.     Continue reading “Why is Disappointment so … Disappointing?”

Why the World Loves the Irish Accent (and specifically the Cork accent!)

As anyone who follows me on Instagram will know, I have just returned from a weekend in Cork.  Accordingly, I have been listening to a lot of Irish accents.

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‘Cork’ is the name of both the city and the surrounding county.  The moniker itself is an anglicised version of Corcaigh (phonetically pronounced ‘kar-kee’).  The so-called ‘capital of the south’ is known for its stunning scenery, its colourful history – its nickname is ‘The Rebel County’ – and of course its distinctive and unusual accent. Continue reading “Why the World Loves the Irish Accent (and specifically the Cork accent!)”