Category: Soft Skills

Body Language

Good communication forms the basis of any successful relationship both in the personal as well as professional domains. But it would be wrong to say that this communication is only done using words. In fact humans have a very strong non verbalcommunication pattern, and many experts believe that we majorly use our body as means to convey some message or to communicate. Such communications include body language, gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, posture and even voice modulation. Soft skill trainings usually emphasize on the ability to understand and utilize this aspect of human behavior to convey messages and express thoughts. Not only this, but it also helps in navigating difficult situations and develop healthier relationships.

More often than not the body language of a person and other non verbal messages help understand the persona and differentiate between what is true and what is not because such communication seldom lies. So if any time one happens to witness a person whose body language does not endorse what he verbally says then the other person is forced to choose between believing one of the two communications and usually people end up believing the non verbal one. This is a universal truth. Soft skill trainings try to drill home this point and encourage the trainees to be more receptive towards such interaction and understand it.

Apart from body language, facial expressions, posture and gestures form an integral part of these non verbal interactions. A careful understanding of these is also required because such behaviors change from culture to culture as well. Often what is considered to be a welcome gesture in one culture is taken as an offence in the other. For e.g. standing or talking at close distances is a practice very fondly followed in some countries like that of Latin America, whereas in countries of the north America or Europe people will not be comfortable with this at all, they prefer to keep a distance. So it is always advisable to have some knowledge of non verbal behavior in other cultures as well especially for those who are in constant interaction with people of those cultures.

Usually body movements or posture gives an idea about the state of the mind of the person whether he or she is relaxed or tensed or impatient or irritated or thoughtful etc. Similarly the eyes convey a lot of messages regarding attraction or affection or animosity, hostility or love or hatred etc. The touch can also be a great indicator of the other person’s feelings. For e.g. consider a hand shake, a firm handshake shows interest whereas a slack one signifies laziness or that the person is disinterested. A warm hug or patronizing pats on the head all have their own significance in their realm of communication. The voice is also a great non verbal indicator although it is related to words but in a totally different way. Part from listening to what we speak people also read our voices, i.e. they reassure the meaning of the words with the tone. A voice can be sarcastic, angry, affectionate or confident. All these are various ways in which a person communicates.

So understanding the non-verbal communication pattern helps in making a person a better communicator and a better manager all at the same time. When we say better manager, we mean a manager of people, time, resources and everything else that matters. It is also interesting to study and learn, quite unlike anything boring.

Filed under: Communication SkillsTagged with: ,

Dealing With Low Self-esteem

You walk into a colleague’s office to discuss an upcoming executive coaching program and five minutes later, he walks out to talk to someone, leaving you stranded for a good 15 minutes. In this situation, some people think, “How dare he do that!”; a few use the time to just relax or get some other jobs done and many people think the boss is trying to put them down, or that he does not give them respect. If you think like the last category mentioned here, chances are you have a low self-esteem and before long, it will affect your professional and personal relationships.

About Self-esteem

The term self-esteem refers to how you view yourself, your capabilities and your weaknesses. People with good self-esteem believe that they are good enough for others to respect. Those with low self-esteem believe they are lacking in some way. Self-esteem is shaped by the constant feedback you receive from the family, neighbors, friends and peers right from childhood. Besides, your experiences and interactions with others at school, home, in social situations and at the workplace also color your thinking. Executive coaching programs are an effective tool to learn how to control your negative thoughts and improve your self-esteem.

Dealing with Low Self-esteem

Low self-esteem can keep you away from professional success as well as enriching, healthy relationships. During executive coaching training sessions, you will learn about

1. How to identify the situations that make you feel low – a meeting with the boss, a social interaction, a family get together or dealing            with change.

2. The way to keep a watch over what you think and say to yourself in different situations.

3. How to analyze each of your negative thoughts.

4. Finding ways to speak to yourself positively and accept that it is okay to make mistakes sometimes.

5. How to find something to appreciate in yourself and hold on to that positivity to make the necessary change.

In order to build your self-esteem, it is important to minimize your interactions with people who speak in a manner that erodes your self-esteem. Participating in our executive coaching sessions can help you learn how to concentrate on living life on your own terms focusing on the goals you seek to achieve.

The Strengthscape offers executive coaching, leadership development and outbound training programs in India. 

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Communication

Communication has always played an important role in building relationships in personal as well as on the professional level.  Emotionally intelligent conversations helps to build relationship based on the foundation of trust and mutual respect.

A harmonious environment is often regarded as very fertile ground for constructive ideas to flourish .It helps individuals to build interpersonal bonds, which strengths their mutual relationship in the long run.

Exercising patience in hearing a person out, without being judgmental is one of the basic steps, of engaging in a emotionally intelligent conversation. Emotionally intelligence conversation is all about creating a cordial work atmosphere by helping others to realize their true potential. Modern workplaces are filled with office politics, which often results in stress and frustration which decreases the creative potential of an individual. Under such circumstances it is important to have a emotionally intelligent leader, who can guide and motivate his subordinates and create a congeal workplace environment for everyone. Emotional intelligence is instrumental in enhancing the creative side of a person’s character. It helps him to stay motivated and develop positive goals, without hampering the interest of any employee or the company in general.
  • Soft skill training programs lay a great deal of importance in developing emotional intelligence. Effective communication can help a person to modify many tensed situations, without losing temper. Effective communication helps a person to learn the skills of anger management, which is often regarded as the corner stone of leadership training courses.  
  • Communicating in a emotionally intelligent way is a skill, which can be taught with the help of proper soft skill training. These kinds of training and development programs help to make an individual more dynamic in his approach towards life. It teaches him the basics of survival, overcoming the walls created by frustration and despair.  Emotionally intelligent communication skills increase the worth of an individual both inside as well as outside the boardroom.
  •  The soft skills industry in our country is in its nascent stage, however with the entry of many global multinationals , it is expected that by imparting proper soft skill training, we will have many emotionally intelligent professionals who will design the future of India.
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Communicating With Empathy

Empathy is one of the most complex emotions that you can feel. In fact, in a lot of cases, empathy exists just in the manner of speaking. Although it is a highly talked about feeling, how many can actually put themselves in another person’s shoe and imagine what the other person is going through? Often, in an attempt to be empathetic, people end up being sympathetic. However, if you genuinely want to make a difference to a person’s life, especially when he undergoes emotional trauma, you need to show empathy.

Soft skill training can be very helpful in giving you that extra push towards understanding others more deeply.

What exactly is empathy?

Empathy is defined differently by different people. The most concise definition is to go through, albeit virtually, the same pain, trauma or emotion that the other person is going through. So, in essence, it means sharing a person’s sorrow and letting them let out steam about a tragedy instead of offering lame condolences or meaningless pep talks. Sometimes, all that a person requires is an ear to share things that weigh heavily on his mind. Be supportive. Give him an ear and that is empathy. However, you need to put yourself through soft skill training in order to learn how to communicate with empathy because it usually does not come naturally.

How to communicate with empathy?

Here are some aspects of communicating with empathy that a soft skill training program will teach you.

  • Encourage the person to speak out his mind and listen to him without being judgmental.
  • Do not draw conclusions, offer false consolations or interrupt the person while he opens up to speak.
  • Do not let your mind or attention wander. Be genuinely concerned about what the person is saying.
  • Assure your friend that you can comprehend what he is going through. Assert, clarify and repeat certain things to strengthen his conviction that you are in tune with what he is trying to say
  • Understand the fact that your friend wants to be understood. So, as he speaks, imagine the scenario from his perspective to understand what he is exactly undergoing.
  • Hold your friend’s hand or give him a hug. It communicates your empathy without the need of words and shows that you understand his state of mind.
  • Avoid clichéd phrases such as “I know what you are going through,” “You do not have to feel bad about it” and “Things are going to get better.”

With soft skill training, you can learn to empathize with people and this helps you communicate better not just at the workplace, but in all your interactions.

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Self-awareness For CEOs

The recent examples of leaders and CEOs involved in the failures and crises of several businesses and banking majors have opened the business world’s eyes to an important fact: people at the topmost echelons are not exempt from falling prey to corruption – both financial and moral. These instances drive home the need for value-based leadership in which the leader constantly maintains a high level of self-awareness. Indeed, this is often the thrust area that coaches need to concentrate on when they provide life coaching to their clients who are positioned high up in the organizational hierarchy.

Importance of Self-awareness

William George, Henry B. Arthur Fellow of Ethics and Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School explains this quality of self-awareness with the term “mindfulness.” In his own words, “Mindfulness is a state of being fully present, aware of oneself and other people, and sensitive to one’s reactions to stressful situations. Leaders who are mindful tend to be more effective in understanding and relating to others, and motivating them toward shared goals. Hence, they become more effective in leadership roles.”

As people progress higher up the ladder of success, they find themselves exposed to a lot more money, fame and power. These can combine together to form a heady mix that seduce and numb the sense of self-awareness. Over time, it becomes increasingly difficult to look within, introspect and reflect on one’s own way of functioning.

Self-awareness is vital to be able to accept mistakes and begin to make amends. This mindfulness is the foundation from which a leader develops emotional intelligence to handle his employees with sensitivity and empathy. Without such communication, there cannot be any trust and respect – factors that are crucial for true depth of relationships and also for the leader to serve as a motivational force for the team he leads.

Steps to Self-awareness

One of the primary steps to becoming self-aware is to set aside time to introspect and reflect on the things that happen around you. Learning how to do this is an important area covered in life coaching programs. We need to draw our senses inward and look to our own mind and conscience for an answer to the befuddling questions we face. The next step is to listen in a selfless way – listen with a desire to really learn and understand, with an open mind and not selectively filter in only that which boosts our ego.

Developing a sense of mindfulness is definitely a difficult task, but not an impossible one. It is a journey that is easier when you have a guide helping you through the rough patches and pointing out your blind spots. This, precisely, is the reason why top level executives and CEOs require a life coaching expert: to make them aware of their weaknesses and work towards getting rid of them.

Leadership Coaching, CEO Coaching, Life Coaching, Executive Coaching – In India, Pune, Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai and Chennai. To hire a life coach / mentor / executive coach – write to [email protected]

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How To Appreciate Employees

Motivating people on your workforce is important if you want to keep them enthusiastic about the work they do. It is a well-known fact that different people are motivated by different things – money, power, fame, increased responsibility and perks. But if there is one thing that is a universal motivator, it has to be genuine appreciation.

Appreciation as Motivator

If you think that money is the prime motivator for employees, consider this. The results of a recent study found that people put in more hard work and feel more passionate about their work when they receive feedback that their employer values the work they do. What this clearly indicates is that all of us have a need to feel appreciated for the meaning we give to the jobs we do – not just the occasional scintillating piece of good work, but even for the nitty-gritty of daily routine work.

How to Appreciate Employees? 

Sam Walton – founder of Walmart – got it perfectly right when he said:

“Appreciate everything your associates do for the business. Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free and worth a fortune.”

For something that is so simple, inexpensive, and easy to deliver, it is certainly surprising to see how less and how few people use this motivational tool.

Here are a few tips to use when appreciating an employee

1. Time it right – let the person receive the appreciation as soon as you notice it. Wait for opportunities to find people doing things right, then immediately congratulate them on the good job. If you commend someone for an exhaustive and intelligent report he prepared after one month of it being submitted, it is not going to have much of an impact.

2. Give specific praise – words such as “good job,” “smart work,” and “brilliant job” are just that – empty words that make you sound like you are mouthing clichés rather than genuinely appreciating the work done. Tell the employee exactly what you are commending him for; hearing “Good job on having xyz problem fixed so quickly – I notice you stayed back late yesterday to get it done on time. Thank you for the commitment,” is so much more of a morale booster than just saying “Good job fixing that up in time.”

3. Show appreciation through action – gift your employees something that makes them happy. An afternoon off, gift vouchers for a movie with a spouse, paid-day off for birthdays, sponsoring a short-term hobby class, group lunch at a well-known restaurant on a working day – the possibilities are endless.

4. If there is one thing that increases the self-worth of a person more than appreciation, it is receiving this appreciation in public. Therefore, it is not enough to merely give positive feedback, it is also important to do this in a visible manner.

 

 

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Employee Engagement Ideas

Engaged employees imply a broad spectrum of benefits – they are more productive, they provide better customer service, they stay with their companies longer and perhaps most importantly, they contribute to the company’s financial inflow. In fact, according to a report by Watson Wyatt, organizations with high levels of employee engagement saw a revenue jump of $95 million.

When such are the benefits of employee engagement, it is vital that organizations focus on this aspect. Although wining over actively disengaged employees may be very difficult, converting passive, not-engaged employees into engaged employees is relatively simper. Here are a few ideas to help employees make this transition.

Provide advancement opportunities

A study by the US-based National Business Research Institute found that more than half of employees believe that they will definitely leave the organization for which they currently work. The reason most commonly quoted: lack of space for career advancement.

An employee who is given opportunities to grow his knowledge and skills reciprocates by using these to serve the organization that helped him acquire them. Along with job training, it is also important to create roles where the employee is allowed to handle greater responsibilities with increasing independence. This implies that the organization trusts this individual and in turn, he or she begins to work to live up to that image.

Remove Stressors in the Work Environment

Several factors at the workplace cause stress for employees – lack of clarity regarding job responsibilities, insufficient tools and means to deal with on-the-job situations, perceived favoritism, being passed up for promotions, colleagues with whom it is difficult to communicate, managers who are too “bossy,” the list is endless. One of the ways to improve employee engagement is to identify what is a stressor for your employees and then work towards doing away with it.

Treat Employees with Respect

Show employees you respect them and value their contribution to the running of your company. Catch employees doing the right thing, and be vocal and sincere in expressing your appreciation. Show your respect through other ways too – communicate openly, keep employees in the loop about important matters that are relevant to them and provide equal opportunities for all employees, treating them with fairness. Make sure you always “walk the talk” when it comes to honoring your organization’s ethical standards.

When you adopt these principles into the way your organization functions, you will find you need not worry as much about employee attrition. Providing your employees with the right working environment that empowers rather than frustrates is indeed the key to engaged employees.

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Ways To Greater Focus

The Pandava prince Arjuna was hailed as the greatest of archers – what was the secret of his ability? Was it merely the result of his knowledge and memory? Not really – it was this, combined with his fantastic ability to concentrate attention selectively on the task on hand.

Recent research in psychology is only confirming the wisdom of what Arjuna knew: that the human brain is made for concentration, not multitasking. When you learn to harness the power of your mind, the resulting concentration is what takes you to the peaks of achievement. Here are a few ideas on how to train your mind to achieve concentration.

how To Train Your Mind To Achieve Concentration ?

Do one thing at a time

Set a list of priorities for all the tasks you have to be done. Then do them one at a time, concentrating on each one by turn. If you strike up a conversation as you compose an email, chances are that either you will miss out on some important point your colleague makes, or forget an important point you had to include in the email. Tackle jobs that are important at the earliest and move on to the other tasks only after you have finished these.

Cut out the distractions

The greater the inputs your brain receives, the more difficulty it is going to have concentrating on any one task. If you are working on reading and assimilating information, do not have music playing in the background or try to carry on an online chat. If you are writing out a report, do it at the time of the day when you are least likely to have people dropping into your cabin for a quick word. The greater the number of distractions you encounter, the more difficult it is going to be complete the task and even more worrying, you may find your interest in completing it ebbing.

Break up jobs into smaller tasks

Although you may keep distractions to a minimum, this alone is not going to be enough to concentrate. The brain has a limit on how much it can handle at a time and if you try to keep going beyond this point, you are bound to lose interest or get bored, reducing your efficiency. Therefore, if the task on hand is a big one, it makes sense to break it up into two or three smaller tasks and tackle each of these in turn. Sometimes, it may even be essential to schedule a small break in between to allow the mind to recharge.

Recognize that multitasking causes your mind to wander. What this means is that although it may not be obvious, by concentrating on one job at a time, you will actually manage to achieve more in less time.

Focus brings success. More articles on how to focus better, keep visiting www.executivecoachingindia.com

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Autograph Sheets – Use This Game as an Icebreaker Activity

Filed under: Soft Skills

Self-Control Game

Learning/Application: Self Control

  • No. Of Participants: Two and more (always an even number)
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Location: Indoor
  • Checklist of Items Required: None

Procedure:

  1. Pair up the members in groups of two.
  2. Make the two people in a group to stand facing away from each other.
  3. Explain that both people should do their best not to talk, smile or laugh.
  4. On the count of three, have both people turn and face each other.
  5. Get the first one to talk, smile or laugh to sit down.
  6. Do this with all the groups and then, form new pairs with the people left standing, and do the same again.
  7. If at the end of the game, a group of two partners remain with a straight face, have the rest of the participants try to make them laugh.

Debriefing Notes:

Explore how some people managed to control their emotion for long and others didn’t.

The Strengthscape designs and deliver customized team building games across India and other SAARC countries. Our team building events are highly innovative, full of fun, safe and provide a great way to break ice and build a high performance team. Unlike the usual team building events, we bring the best of facilitation techniques, and event delivery to provide a memorable, safe and insightful event. To know more, write to us at [email protected]

Filed under: Soft Skills