Presentation Skills and Professor Lupin – What Harry Potter can teach us about Public Speaking

Mary Donné public speaking
Does Fear of Public Speaking make you feel like this?

Professor Lupin taught Hogwarts students to banish the terrifying boggarts by chanting the spell, “Ridikulous!” accompanied by a loud crack of their wands.  This caused the boggart to assume a funny, no-longer-terrifying appearance, and thus lose its power to scare.  

Now if you don’t know Harry Potter, this probably won’t mean a lot so, in summary, the principle is that you cannot be scared of something that appears silly or daft.  Things are only terrifying when we give them the power to be.  Or in the famous words of, President Roosevelt, ‘the only thing to fear, is fear itself.’

Andy McNab, talking to Dr Kevin Dutton, in the marvellously named “Good Psychopath’s Guide to Success” discusses someone being scared of heights. He points out that such a person would easily stand on a piece of board on the ground, six feet long and two feet wide.  But take the same board and turn it into, for example, a diving board above a swimming pool, and they would be terrified. The board remains the same size – it is their mind which has created the fear and given the (diving) board the power to terrify.   Continue reading “Presentation Skills and Professor Lupin – What Harry Potter can teach us about Public Speaking”

What’s the Problem? 5 Questions to ask an Underperforming Employee

cloudvisual-208962-unsplash.jpg
We all have days like this at work!

One of the most challenging tasks for any manager is how to handle employee underperformance.  This could be a general team issue where the whole group seems to be demotivated and underperforming.  More likely, however, the issue will relate to one or maybe two particular individuals.

Difficult Conversations at Work

Most managers would prefer not to have to sit down and have what can potentially be a difficult and even emotional conversation.  In this vein, the usual starting point is to try and rationalise the individual’s behaviour, and work out why they are underperforming.   Continue reading “What’s the Problem? 5 Questions to ask an Underperforming Employee”

Acting on Disability, Equality, and Autism – how does the law help?

A quick look at both the Equality Act and the Autism Act and how they support people with autism.

Most of us who work with people in any capacity will be familiar on some level with the Equality Act 2010 or the earlier Disability Discrimination Act 1995 which the Equality Act replaced.  But did you also know that there is a full piece of legislation devoted specifically to autism?  It’s the Autism Act 2009.

I am going to take a quick look at both the Equality Act and the Autism Acts to see how they help support people with autism. Continue reading “Acting on Disability, Equality, and Autism – how does the law help?”

Group Work – Great or Gruesome?

Some of love it, some of us loathe it, very few of us are ambivalent.

I must admit that, when I attend training sessions as a delegate, I’m not a massive fan of group work.  Generally I find it quite stressful and prefer to just listen to the training and learn what I’m there to learn.

https://mymjdworks.com/
Does Teamwork always make the Dream Work?

But we’re all different and some people really enjoy it.  They find it a good way of getting to know new people and picking up useful first hand information in in relation to specific shared interests.  

From a professional trainer’s point of view, I’m undecided about the merits of group work.  I completely see the value of asking delegates to practise, in groups, a specific skill I might be showing them.  I can also see that group practise and pair-sharing is very useful if we’re working towards a test or exam.   But for general information gaining or knowledge building type talks or training sessions, I’m less convinced of its value – other than to allow the trainer a short break, obviously. Continue reading “Group Work – Great or Gruesome?”

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.

https://mymjdworks.com/learning-training-blog/

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?””

Plus ça Change, Plus ça Doncaster

robot
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

spooky_pumpkin
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”