Are you a champion?

Carole Spiers, Motivational Speaker

Carole Spiers, Gulf News Columnist, Motivational Speaker

At London’s Wimbledon, Scotland’s No 1 tennis player, Andy Murray, ended Britain’s 77-year wait for a men’s champion with a hard-fought victory over world’s top-ranked player, Novak Kjokovic, from Serbia.

Murray, 26, converted his fourth championship point in a dramatic game to win 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 to claim his second major title. Supported by a home crowd of 15,000 spectators, Murray, was watched on TV by a peak of 17.3 million viewers, making it the most watched TV moment of 2013. Continue reading

Listen

Be stress free and start your own business or not?

Last week’s blog on retirement brought in many comments with people writing to tell me that they were thinking of starting their own small business.

In 1987, I established my stress management and counselling consultancy – and for me it was the right decision.   However, being one’s own boss requires a specific mindset plus a commitment that is different from working for someone else within a corporate environment.

What it takes to start

Before embarking on a self-employed career, you need to give consideration as to whether you are really suited to what will initially be a 24 hour job.  A majority of people would rather work alongside others rather than being an entrepreneur, working all hours and having to make all the decisions.  Going ‘solo’ is not right for everyone and it is important that you find out at the early stage before you put time, effort and finance into your new career. Continue reading

Listen

Stress Reduction: Summer Activity

When my children were small, I would always look forward to the summer holidays although my friends would often laugh at me.  How could I stand ‘the kids’ being at home all the time and have to entertain them, 24/7?  Fortunately, I had a spacious garden, in which they could play, and we would go to museums, parks, have play-dates with other children and sometimes go away for a week or two. However, during term time one of the biggest stressors to me was the continual looking at my watch to make sure I was on time to do the never-ending ‘school run’.  And so, when the summer arrived, it was a relief not to have to nag the children to do their homework, practice the piano, cello or violin, or rehearse their ‘times-tables’.  So for me, summer was bliss. Continue reading

Listen

The Key to Success: Make That Job Interview Count

As we all know, there is no such thing these days as a ‘job for life’ and people tend to move their skills to the highest bidder  – which means that at an interview your performance needs to be near perfect to ensure that you make an impact.    

Obviously, you need the required qualifications to meet the job specification but you also need to stand out above the crowd.  You need to make an impact that will be remembered after the interview is over.  As a professional speaker, I talk about the importance of making an impact from the platform to the audience, but this particular presentation can affect your entire future – so you need to appreciate that your performance when being interviewed, must be 110% to get the job you want.

Effective Communications

That means demonstrating that you are knowledgeable about with their business: that you are a team player who will promote the company or organisation with enthusiasm and commitment and that its focus will be your focus. And finally, that you will offer loyalty and bring integrity to all your responsibilities and duties.

Almost certainly, you will be in competition with many others and you will need to ensure that you can offer that ‘added value’ to their business together with your vision and values matching those of the prospective employer.  Therefore, before you go to any interview, you need to become conversant about all aspects of the company; who they are, what they do, what products or services they offer, where they operate, who they employ, what plans they have for expansion, or retraction; and where they are positioned in their field of industry, commerce or public service. The interviewer needs to be able to see immediately that you know not only who you are, but also who they are.

But prior to the interview, it is important to know what you want.  Do you want a job where you are going to make a difference to mankind, a job that is satisfying, a job where you can grow, that is near to your home – or is your interest purely a financial one?

Know your strengths and what you can bring to a prospective employer.  There is no-one  better able to sell you, than you, yourself! And selling is exactly what you need to do. But also be aware of your weaknesses!  Of course, we all have these and it is important to be open and honest about them.  The fact that you are aware of them is important and how they are presented is everything. 

Ask yourself – is this job, going to progress your career?  If you see it as integral to your career path, then it is important to know how it is going to take you along that road and you need to keep your vision in mind to see if it is in line with theirs.

First impressions are very important, so choose your clothes wisely.  Make sure your footwear is clean and polished, as this says a good deal about you, before you even open your mouth.

Stories Pack a Punch

Arrive at the interview early so that you are not stressed and have time to regain composure after your journey.  During the interview, be ready to tell crafted anecdotes that demonstrate your skills and achievements.  Facts are fine but stories are evocative and people remember them far longer than a stream of facts and figures. Always have questions ready for that moment at the end, for if you have no questions, that will indicate a certain lack of confidence, and enthusiasm.

So now you are ready for your interview. Walk into the room, confidently, with your head held high and don’t forget to be friendly and to keep good eye-to-eye contact.  Remember interviews are a two-way conversation in which each one learns about the other. 

So finally, prepare what you are going to say in advance and practice, practice and practice. These points will hopefully hold you in good stead for you to get that job. Good luck and enjoy the secrets of success.

Key points

  1. Do your homework to research the organisation
  2. Interviews are two-way conversations, not an interrogation
  3. Be confident,  knowledgeable and friendly

[Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News]

Book Keynote Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur, BBC guest-broadcaster and best-selling Author, Carole Spiers in person for your next conference for charismatic, high-impact work related stress and effective communications presentations.

Stressed?  See Carole live http://bit.ly/TUWbX  or check-out our latest ideas about workplace stress, stress management training, instant access to stress reduction products http://bit.ly/FjL5L  and stress management training aimed to reduce stress and delivered to blue-chip clients from IBM to Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company in UK, Dubai, UAE and worldwide at www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk

Connect with Carole on LinkedIn: http://linkd.in/f2onIA 

 A Date for Your Diary

1st Global Woman Summit Conference, Washington DC, 8 – 11th October 2011.

Michelle Obama will be opening this prestigious, 3-day educational programme that will unite and honour leading women in international fields.    Meet and listen to world leaders, diplomats and experts plus your opportunity to network with eminent women from diverse occupations.  Leave having gained greater insight and increased knowledge of women who regularly break the glass ceiling.  Don’t miss this unique event.  Book your place in our audience now!  www.globalwomansummit.org   

Listen

Motivating Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow

It was a pleasure to be back in Dubai last week, and the positive mood from the commercial sector was perceptible. Company outgoings have been streamlined and I now hear the word ‘consolidation’ increasingly being replaced by ’growth’.

The presentation I delivered entitled ‘Release the Hidden Entrepreneur in You’ at the Big Idea event was a resounding success. Aspiring Entrepreneurs presented their business ideas to a panel of judges, of which I was one. The creativity and innovation delivered from the platform certainly demonstrated to me that entrepreneurship is the keyword, not only for the winner who deserved his award but for all the finalists.

Entrepreneurship is the prime factor that will bring about a quicker economic recovery in the region as a whole, and in the case of Dubai, will bring about a turnaround in commercial and industrial activity.

Entrepreneurs bring innovation and life to the workplace with new ideas and an energy and enthusiasm that is communicated to the entire workforce. In all countries and all societies there are those who lead and those who follow, and commercial activity needs both to attain sustainable success.

Dubai, in particular, has been a good example of this over the past fifteen years as a sleepy fishing port has been dramatically transformed into one of the world’s busiest tourist destinations and a commercial hub for the entire Gulf region and beyond.

A case study

I talked to Khalid Al Kamali, an 18 year old student – who is also a UAE National Snooker and Billiard Team player – and his thinking was refreshing and insightful. Here was a young man studying for law but with a passion and drive for the chosen recreational sport in which he excels. Khalid maintains that you cannot be successful if you don’t have the right attitude and mindset.

To be so young and yet have such a clear vision and focus will certainly take him to where he wants to go in life. The future for Dubai, and the UAE, is certainly bright if we use Khalid as our example. A young man with a strong belief system who lives and breathes his personal goals.

‘Motivating Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow’ is my mantra, and after my visit here last week, it has been strongly reinforced by the optimism I encountered for the future, in so many business people with whom I talked.

I will be returning to Dubai during Global Entrepreneurship week, from 15 – 21st November, when it is estimated that 7.5 million participants will take part in 32,000 events in over 100 countries around the world, exposing people of all ages to quality entrepreneurial experience. Now, isn’t that a perfect example of the world pulling together?

Key Learning Points

■  Entrepreneurs bring innovation and life to the workplace

■  Entrepreneurial attitudes and mindsets will bring about sustainable growth

■  Global Entrepreneurship week takes place from 15 – 21st November. Do you have an innovative idea for tomorrow’s business world? Leave your comment in the column.

[Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News]

Book Keynote Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur, BBC guest-broadcaster and best-selling Author, Carole Spiers in person for your next conference for charismatic, high-impact workplace stress management presentations and organisational change strategies.

See Carole live http://bit.ly/TUWbX Or check-out our latest ideas about stress help, instant acces to stress reduction products http://bit.ly/FjL5L and stress management training aimed to reduce stress and delivered to blue-chip clients from IBM to Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company in UK, Dubai, UAE and worldwide at www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk

Listen

We may listen but do we actually hear? asks Entrepreneur, Carole Spiers

Sitting on the plane coming back from Vienna, after delivering a keynote speech to an audience of European realtors from Spain, Austria, Czech Republic and elsewhere,  I reflected on how it had been to speak  from the platform, in English, and then having to wait for my words to be simultaneously translated to the audience in Spanish, German and Czech.

The three teams of two translators each, sat in closed glass-windowed booths at the side of the auditorium. This group of people could either make or break a conference.  It didn’t matter how much effort I put into a presentation, if it was not translated correctly, then the communication with my audience would not succeed.

Before the presentation, I went over to them to introduce myself.  ‘You are very important in my life for the next two hours’, I told them ‘So I will try and speak slowly to make your job easier’.  We all smiled.

And now sitting here on the plane, I think about how many times our communication skills actually fail in delivering the message that we want.  We may speak too quickly, or we do not listen attentively.  The result is that although we may speak – many times we are not heard.

Mis-communication

In our everyday lives, we may assume that what we have said has been actually absorbed and understood, and we take it for granted that this is the case.  Unfortunately, many times it is not.  Either because the other person was not concentrating – they were looking at their computer screen, their Blackberry or just distracted elsewhere.  So we make the assumption,   ‘I speak – you listen – you retain – you have heard me’. 

Not so!  I speak – you ostensibly listen but you don’t necessarily concentrate and you certainly do not retain the conversation because you didn’t really hear what I said.  Think how many misunderstandings have taken place over the years due entirely to an unintentional disconnect between speaker and listener.

Sometimes, we go down the route of actually paying others to listen to us, secure in the knowledge that if we pay to be heard, our words will be remembered.  

When I used to work at the Samaritans [a 24-hour crisis helpline], so many callers would say these very simple words at the end of a conversation: ‘thank you for listening’.  We were trained never to reply ‘it’s nothing’.  Of course, it is not ‘nothing’, it is very much ‘something’!  It takes our full attention to really listen to others, and to understand their message correctly.

The net result can be immeasurable.  In my opinion, there is nothing more powerful than giving of one’s time to someone else: making the time to listen to the other person – without always interrupting them to give them our own opinion.

Perhaps tonight, maybe make the time to sit and talk with your wife, your husband, your child or your friend.  Turn off the computer and the television.  Listen carefully and with full attention to what they are saying.  Finally, when it is your turn to speak, make sure you recount back to them what they have said to you –   and then see how that makes both of you feel!

… and so, after that presentation in Vienna, I went over to the translators, again, to thank them.  They and their listening skills had indeed been so very important for those two hours of my life.

Key Learning Points About Attentive Listening

  • You have to make the effort to listen attentively
  • We are not always heard when we speak
  • If you have really listened to what someone has said, you will be able to repeat the conversation back to them.

Can you think of time when you were told to ‘stop interrupting’?  Ring any bells?   Do leave us your comment here.

[Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News]

Book Keynote Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur, BBC guest-broadcaster and best-selling Author, Carole Spiers in person for your next conference for charismatic, high-impact workplace stress management presentations and organisational change strategies. See Carole live http://bit.ly/TUWbX  

Or check-out our latest ideas about stress help, instant acces to stress reduction products http://bit.ly/FjL5L and stress management training aimed to reduce stress and delivered to blue-chip clients from IBM to Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company in UK, Dubai, UAE and worldwide at www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk

Listen

Entrepreneur, Carole Spiers asks ‘Would you be magnanimous in defeat?

So, Britain’s latest political drama has finally ended!  Two brothers, David and Ed Milliband, fought a tight contest for the role of leadership of the Labour party and who would have thought that Ed, the younger brother, would have come from behind to gain the top job – but he did.

David had been favourite to win this hard fought contest but his political dreams were shattered by the unexpected result, and he has now decided to leave front-line politics.  At the age of 41, he became the youngest British foreign secretary in 30 years when, in June 2007 former Prime Minister Gordon Brown appointed him to the role. He appeared on the face of it to be destined to occupy the coveted top post of leader of the labour party but a cruel twist has denied him the labour crown.

Relinquishing a dream

So what is now in the mind of a man who has worked all his life for the leadership  prize that in the end, he so dramatically lost?

First and foremost David will certainly have to ‘let-go’ of his dream to be party leader – at least in the foreseeable future and maybe forever.  He will need to enter a place in his mind where visions are modified to match reality and new horizons have to be drawn to take account of facts and essentially he will be looking at recreating his personal dream. 

In the immediacy of his failure, he will be bitterly disappointed and will, no doubt, blame either himself, or possibly others.  That would be all too easy.  But as the days go by, he will recognise that the abilities he has can take him to more than one place where he can excel because just as oil rises to the top of water, so will he continue to be a leader of men although he may well need some help to change direction.  

So what dreams or ambitions have you had that have been left unfulfilled because you failed to pursue them?  

You may have dreamt of being an entrepreneur and starting your own business but haven’t had the courage to try, or you may always have wanted to be a professional photographer, but just didn’t get around to joining a photography class.

Tenacity, commitment, self-belief and vision are essential for to day’s entrepreneurs.  If you have these and the right strategy to implement your plan, then you can make your dreams become your reality.

As for David Milliband.  There is little doubt that after the first few difficult weeks his horizons will change. It is likely that he may need professional coaching support to help him on his journey.  But no doubt his confidence and self-belief will come to the surface to propel him forwards and upwards in whichever direction he chooses. Because people like David Milliband don’t just grow on trees – they grow through their experiences and through the support and love of their families and the strengths of their upbringing.

There is no question that David has the qualities of a true leader and he will doubtless use these elsewhere to the benefit of those he wishes to lead, perhaps in a context even more satisfying than being Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons.

And so David, I wish you all the luck in the future and I look forward to hearing your voice again with your head held high and your voice strong!

David Milliband may be down but he is far from out!

What would you have done in these circumstances? 

Would you have stood against your brother?  Do leave your comment here – we would love to hear from you.

Key Learning Points  

  • Writing down your vision is the first step to it becoming a reality
  • When you fall down, it is vital to know how to pick yourself up
  • Coaching can be helpful to see us though challenging times

[Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News]

Book Keynote Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur, BBC guest-broadcaster and best-selling Author, Carole Spiers in person for your next conference for charismatic, high-impact workplace stress management presentations and organisational change strategies. See Carole live http://bit.ly/TUWbX  

Or check-out our latest ideas about stress help, instant acces to stress reduction products http://bit.ly/FjL5L and stress management training aimed to reduce stress and delivered to blue-chip clients from IBM to Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company in UK, Dubai, UAE and worldwide at www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk

Listen

‘Think creatively in difficult times’ says Entrepreneur Carole Spiers

With Ramadan now behind us and businesses ‘back to normal’, it is a good time to think about using the right hand side of our brain and to start being creative.

In times of a recession, we need to utilise our latent abilities. Now, it is of even greater importance to fully utilise the skills that we have.   You might have decided to cut back on staff benefits that may be seen as not being directly related to sales – but that would be a mistake.  This is the time to motivate and inspire everyone within the organisation to ensure that all are working as a team.

Many feel disillusioned when there are staff cuts backs and fewer contracts. As a manager, you may experience pressure, yourself, and may also be feeling demoralised.  If so, this is the moment to summon up all of your reserves and dip into your individual ‘creativity box.’

So where can this be found?  The answer is that we all have reserves of mental strength that are often unused although some will have to work harder than others in order to counteract feelings of stress and anxiety. 

For some, every day is a new opportunity.  For others, it is just another 24 hours of trying to resolve our personal problems. We are all different.  However, it is usually not that our inner reserves are finished but because for a short time, they become inaccessible and it is then that we may need an external coach or counsellor to help us regain our confidence; to think clearly and to be able to focus on the challenges that face us. Like a digital camera, when we are able to focus correctly, the picture suddenly becomes clear.

 Achieving Success in a Recession

So what can industry do at this challenging time when recessionary pressures need to be managed effectively?  We need imaginative strategies to create a ‘creative culture’, although  I fully appreciate that HR budgets are under pressure and the supply of resources is limited.

But, in times of adversity, those who can access and use their hidden strengths will survive whilst those who fail will fall at the first hurdle.  That means that YOU need to be a survivor!

Here are my 3 Top Tips for Personal Creativity

1.         Look at situations with a fresh perspective   

Don’t accept the old way of doing things.  Sometimes you have to ‘let go’ of the past in order to bring in the future.  But ‘letting-go’ of the past is not necessarily easy and you may need some help along the way to recognise and agree to new ideas.

2.         Question assumptions 

We are often too lazy when it comes to challenging assumptions.  We need to challenge them and not to accept them without query.    Ask the question!  At one time, it was thought that no-one would pay more than AED5 for a cup of coffee.  However, thanks to Howard Schutz and his Starbucks chain, customers will pay over AED15 for a latte.  Always query that which is held out to be fact!

3.         Nurture new ideas

Ask your team to be creative and make sure they are integral to the process.  A new idea needs to be nurtured and supported if it is going to survive and we need to invite and encourage new ways that can improve productivity and/or morale.

So what ideas are you putting into practice, post Ramadan?  Why not share them here?  Do leave your comment in the blog – we would love to hear from you.

[Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News]

Book Keynote Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur, BBC guest-broadcaster and best-selling Author, Carole Spiers in person for your next conference for charismatic, high-impact workplace stress management presentations and organisational change strategies. See Carole live http://bit.ly/TUWbX  

Or check-out our latest ideas about stress help, instant acces to stress reduction products http://bit.ly/FjL5L and stress management training aimed to reduce stress and delivered to blue-chip clients from IBM to Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company in UK, Dubai, UAE and worldwide at www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk

Listen