Motivational Speaker Carole Spiers says … Report-writing – the classic stressor duty

I’d been counselling his whole department about the stress of the recent office move. But now it was his turn for one-to-one stress counselling.

First, he’d just had to break the news to one of his oldest friends that he was to be redundant  –  which is known to be one of the most stressful and emotionally draining tasks that a manager ever has to do in their career  With a little help from me (mostly minimal interventions, encouraging him to talk this through), he was actually coping better than expected. Then came a relatively minor impact, which just managed to push him over the edge. The Annual Report was wanted in ten days.

Through gritted teeth, he kept repeating “I can’t get it put back. And there’s no-one else I can give it to.”

We’d been through the various time management routines, like limiting your availability and ‘walking the talk’. But there was also the psychological attitude to report-writing  –  generally regarded as a tedious chore, demanding but unrewarding, a form of drudgery.

I tried to get him to view it differently.

The Annual Report is a big opportunity to influence the image of the company and to amplify key points. And the better-planned and better-written it is, the more people are going to read the whole of it, and absorb the various messages.

It is in fact your corporate dialogue with the world at large  –  worth polishing-up into a small masterpiece. You make friends with the reader by achieving accuracy and style. And the reader responds by forming a better image of your organization.

And don’t forget  –  within the company, the quality of the report also impacts on the image of the writer!

Learn how pressure hardens into stress  –  with ‘Show Stress Who’s Boss’  –  just one of the Carole Spiers presentations that have decisively changed attitudes and mindsets.

Book Motivational Speaker, BBC Broadcaster and best-selling Author, Carole Spiers in person for your next conference for a high impact, charismatic, rich content presentation on  +44 (0) 20 8954 1593 or email

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Motivational Speaker Carole Spiers says … Grief Therapy

No, it wasn’t the Al Ghantoot tragedy (though he’d also been driving within sight of that one). It was early evening along the Creek, and he’d been following fairly closely behind a dark green estate car, when a little girl of about three rushed out into the road to greet someone on the other side  –  quite oblivious to the traffic.

The green car braked hard, and he did the same, almost ramming it. But it was too late. The little girl was lying at an awkward, unnatural angle against the kerb, and he would never forget that sight as long as he lived.

 “Was I following too close?” he kept asking me, as I tried to counsel him in the days following the accident. “Was I tailgating? Did I push him over the speed limit?”

“No” I reassured him. “No-one claimed that either of you was over the limit. And you weren’t tailgating either. Think about it. He jammed on the brakes, and you were able to stop in time. You were perfectly in order.”

But it would take more than that to close the chapter. It was as though he almost wanted to held responsible, a strange quasi-masochistic reaction. But grief therapy operates on a highly irrational plane, with much denial of both innocence and guilt. All we can do is try to escort the sufferer back down the strange route by which they arrived, and usher them gently towards the rational.

He’s not there yet.

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Motivational Speaker Carole Spiers says … That elusive vacancy

Farzana was the small, shy, thirtyish HR lady in one of Dubai’s biggest bakeries, and she was helping me to dismantle the AV equipment after a seminar on Organisational Change.

Over coffee in the canteen, she confided that she had been wanting to move jobs for some time.

“I check all the vacancies every week in the paper and in the trade magazines. I sometimes get shortlisted, but I never get selected.”

I told her that she was following the traditional route, without realising its limitations.
“Farzana, most good jobs don’t get advertised. They are either located or created by good job-seekers taking the initiative.”

I told her some of the job-finding stories from my own clientele, in Dubai and elsewhere. The air-conditioning engineer who simply approached the management of every company moving into a new office building, knowing that they would be needing someone of his qualifications. The group of temporary secretaries and PA’s who would exchange lists of key contacts at each of their many jobs. The advertising agency chief who found out that a top client was playing in a certain tennis tournament, entered for it himself, and managed to get on court with him.

In other words, networking is today’s way to jobhunt. And I gave her my three rules of networking.

 First, make sure people remember your name, and explain your role and job-function with particular clarity.

Second, be a good guest at functions  –  a good listener, and pleasant to the less interesting or charismatic people. You’ll get asked back.

Third, always return favours, as this will mark you out as someone to do business with. Which is, after all, the whole point.

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Motivational Speaker Carole Spiers says … The Expat trap

He was an electronics engineer, who’d spent years in London working on telephone systems that were dogged by miles and miles of antiquated wiring, ducting and cabling.

From time to time, he would hear about the Gulf  –  whole new towns being built on bare desert, with the telecoms engineers free to install their systems from scratch.

So, armed with a good CV, he went out for a visit to the ‘fastest-growing city on earth’, confident that he would be offered a good job before long. He thought it would be like stepping into the magic kingdom of Eldorado, where the streets are paved with gold.

In brief, they saw him coming.  He soon got trapped in what seemed like a well-paid job, under a contract that he hadn’t  even read properly, which committed him to work more-or-less round the clock.  And he couldn’t get out of it for months.  (That’s how we met  –  when he needed stress-counselling.)

I’m glad to say he didn’t give up. Belatedly, he saw the need for local knowledge, local contacts, and absorption in the local culture. Second time round, he got it right, and now he’s in a much more suitable job that’s fulfilling all his hopes.
It just shows that you don’t get something for nothing in this world. Dubai can be a wonderful opportunity for expats, all right.  But Eldorado it isn’t.

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