How to build excellent working relationships

I recently gave a training course on managing relationships at work and thought it would be nice to adapt the section on the actions we can take to build relationships for this blog post.

It seems so obvious that having good working relationships leads to higher productivity yet many people don’t make this direct link. Good relationships lead to more innovation and creativity at work as people feel confident enough to express themselves, time consuming, energy draining obstacles such as office politics and back stabbing are removed and of course, if you want to progress in your career, a good relationship with your boss is fundamental.

So what can we do to build better relationships at work? Here are some ideas.

How to influence people in 5 simple stages

I’m busy preparing a course this week on persuasive speaking and influencing  skills. Despite framing up the course as we always do, that we’re concentrating totally on skills rather than teaching English, I suspect some of the participants expect me to wave a magic wand and present them with some set phrases in English that will make the difference between winning a contract and losing it.

Essential negotiation phrases

It’s a mistake to believe that if you learn specific phrases in English for either negotiations, presentations or meetings you will be proficient and successful when participating in these activities.  There’s no escaping the fact that you have to work hard on increasing your level of English in general to allow you to be flexible and deal with whatever comes at you when faced with other English Speakers. Learning fundamental techniques and principles for negotiating and presenting coupled with solid English classes comes before learning specific negotiating and presenting phrases.

Having said that, there are some phrases which are good to practice and “have up your sleeve” to bring out at the appropriate moment.

I’m busy preparing a negotiations course for this week. The focus of the course is to learn and practice “principled negotiation” rather than “positional negotiation”, meaning we take a collaborative approach to reaching agreement (win-win) rather than a competitive approach (win-lose).

As part of the course, I’ve included some specific language practice for those more sensitive stages of negotiation, where the other side is reluctant to engage in principled negotiation.

How to finish a meeting on time

Now the title of this post may appear rather obvious to many, but here in Spain it is a challenge to start a meeting on time so actually FINISHING a meeting on time can seem like a “mission impossible”.

However, as I reiterate in our meetings training courses to Spanish participants, if they are doing business with anglo saxons which requires leading meetings, an adherence to timings is essential.

Presenting in English: how to handle questions

For many people who have to give presentations in English, the most nerve-wracking part is when they have to answer questions. The nervousness doesn’t come from the fear that they won’t  know the answer, it comes from thinking that they won’t understand the question in English and will also have problems answering it in a grammatically correct way. At the end of the day, you can control the content of your presentation in terms of what YOU say, but you can’t control the questions the audience will ask you.

To face “question time” as confidently as possible, follow these tips:

Eight tips on how to deliver a presentation in English

In the previous post we talked about how to prepare a presentation in English to give you maximum confidence; the more effectively you prepare, the more confident you will feel.

Here we’re going to consider what you must think about when you are actually in front of your audience – how to effectively deliver your presenation in English

  1. Outline to your audience how your presentation will be structured:  e.g. I will first explain…/Then I will…/After that…/Finally… Clear structuring is fundamental and really makes the difference between a professional and a weak presentation. You must keep your audience with you all the way through your talk and you do this by effective structuring. They need to know where you are in the presentation at any one time and they need to know what is coming next
  2. Speak slowly and with pauses: It may not seem natural to you, but it will seem very natural to your audience. To sound professional in anypresentation, we must speak 20% slower than we do in normal conversations.
  3. Use longer pauses to give you and your audience time to assimilate the message: the use of pauses with a facial expression of confidence is very powerful and professional.  Practise this tip and USE IT

Tips on giving a presentation in English

For many people giving a presentation is an extremely nerve wracking experience especially if they have to give it in a foreign language.

In this post I’m going to give you some tips on preparing the presentation and working on the content. In the next post, I’ll continue with delivery and how to deal with questions.

If you have to give presentations in English and are looking for ways to become more confident, following the tips below will definitely help you.

Preparing the Presentation

  1.  Reconnect with English: At least 20 days before your presentation immerse yourself in English for at least 30 minutes per day. This allows the brain’s neurotransmitters to reconnect with the language. Watch a film, read English out loud or listen to a radio station in English.
  2. Structure the presentation with specific phrases: Learn the phrases you will use to open, move through and conclude your presentation.

The 5 essentials for leading a team

Most of us are required to exercise a leadership function at some time in our lives even though this may be in adhoc and informal situations.

However, regardless of whether you officially lead a team at work or only find yourself in leadership situations from time to time, there are certain elements that have to be present for you to lead a team effectively.

Be positive: one of the most important characteristics that a leader must possess is positivity. As a leader you must have a fundamental belief that you can change and improve things. Being positive means you see opportunities rather than problems, that you focus on what can be done to resolve an issue rather than dwelling on what can’t be done. The way you speak is also important, nobody will feel inspired by a leader who uses negative language to make judgements or expresses doubt before examining possible solutions.