Motivational Speaker Carole Spiers says … Effective Communication Skills: Active Listening

Experienced negotiators often make use of a subtle form of questioning that does not make people feel they are being questioned at all  –  Active Listening.

This is the technique of guiding a conversation by making minimal gestures and utterances that suggest empathy, while not actually indicating agreement. Attention is diverted away from the questioner and on to the speaker, so it feels to them more like an interview than an interrogation.

I once had to counsel a teenage immigrant girl in a chemicals factory, who was being bullied about her poor English. This was obviously a very difficult brief, and at first she could only keep breaking down in despair. But by accepting what she was saying to me, giving her my full attention, and giving her the chance to speak at her own pace, I eventually encouraged  her to open up, and we were able to take the issue forward.

You can see the value of effective communication skills  in particular Active Listening and its power to stimulate dialogue in many other contexts throughout all professions.
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Motivational Speaker Carole Spiers says … Redundancy Fears: Presenteeism and Working whilst ill

The old problem of absenteeism has a curious mirror-effect we call Presenteeism  –  the psychological need to over-attend. Redundancy fears focuses the mind on attendance and often translates into presenteeism.

One of my clients was living in perpetual fear of redundancy, and believed that it would safeguard his job if he was seen to work all hours. When he caught a bad cold, he still insisted on coming to the office, and it turned to pneumonia, which eventually forced him to go off sick for a fortnight. You can see how unwise it is to attend when ill. Unwell employees are not going to perform efficiently anyway. At worst, it could lead to some catastrophic error or spread infectious diseases around the office.

You should note that long hours do not always translate into more effective output, and that they may stem from inefficient time management anyway. Managers should also check that they are not setting an example of working over-long hours, which their employees are trying to emulate.

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Motivational Speaker Carole Spiers says … The Outsider as Mediator

As well as credibility, trustworthiness and communication skills, a mediator must enjoy outsider status  –  the sheer fact of being a neutral observer brings a new dimension to workplace conflicts.

I once had to perform some shuttle-diplomacy in a big electronics factory, where there was a dreadful atmosphere that hit you the moment you walked in. All I had to do was repeat word-for-word the terms of one particular deal that had been rejected outright when spoken by the original negotiator.

When spoken by a total stranger  –  me  –  it was listened-to properly for the first time, and promptly accepted, subject to a tiny face-saving condition.

This reminds you of the irrational nature of workplace dialogue, and the value of mediation as a lubricant which can bring the perception of a grievance back into proportion.

You really do need the non-judgmental outsider who is not going to apportion blame and who will remain neurtal and objective.

Want to book Motivational Speaker Carole in person … ?

Phone: +44 (0) 20 8954 1593
or email