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Articles | Communication

Top 7 Communication Skills That Can Make or Break Your Career

No one can deny that effective communication skills hold the key to a frictionless life. Whether you are bargaining for vegetables or negotiating your next big deal – regardless of the situation, dealing with people is a critical part of our lives.

In this article, we will concentrate on communication skills that matter in the work environment. No matter which industry you are in or what your designation is, communicating effectively with your colleagues, subordinates, and superiors is critical to keeping your career graph pointed upwards.

So, without further ado, here are the top 7 communication skills that you NEED to have to conquer your workplace –

1. Active Listening

Good communication starts with listening AND understanding what the other person is saying. But listening doesn’t mean just presenting the optics of hearing; to understand what the other person is saying you need really pay attention and listen actively.

Soaring Eagles Pro Tip: Active listening means listening closely, asking follow-up questions and sometimes clarifying the point by repeating some points.

2. Be precise and concise

In a work situation, where everyone has a job that they are rushing to get done, its best to be clear and concise. No matter what, you need to make sure that your point/message is put across clearly and understood correctly.

Soaring Eagles Pro Tip: It pays to formulate what you want to say in advance and to use clear, jargon-free language to put your point across.

3. Body Language

Non-verbal communication is as essential as the words you say. Eye contact, gestures, body stance, and your tone all communicate as much as the actual content of your conversation. You need to cultivate a relaxed and friendly body language and maintain eye contact to make the person feel comfortable.

Soaring Eagles Pro Tip: Always notice the body language of the other person – it is sure to give you a deeper understanding of what they want to put across and also what they want to hide.

4. Be friendly and respectful

A smile goes a long way in making communication smoother! Be sure always to approach people in a friendly manner – this includes the tone, facial gestures, and a personal greeting.

Also, in a work environment, it pays to err on the side of formality and maintain respectful mannerisms. Language should be clean, and you should refrain from activities that show disrespect – such as texting while talking to someone or interrupting conversations.

Soaring Eagles Pro Tip: Whether you are having a face-to-face conversation, a phone call or an email exchange, make it a habit to start conversations with a greeting and a personal question. It just takes a minute but sets a friendly tone for the rest of the relationship.

5. Choose the medium carefully and communicate smartly

Different situations demand different types of messaging and mediums of communication. For example – arranging a team meeting doesn’t require an individual phone call to the entire team members, short text or email invite with the theme of the meeting is enough. However, if you are trying to negotiate a deal with a client then phone calls followed by a detailed email might be more useful.

Soaring Eagles Pro Tip: Regardless of what medium you choose, never write a message or an email in a hurry or send without double checking.

6. Be positive

There will always be stressful times at work – in fact; the modern, fast-paced workplace is prone to extra stress. In these situations, losing your cool will only make matters worse, and in the long run, it might even give you a negative reputation.

Soaring Eagles Pro Tip:  Practice positivity and embrace some basic forms of stress relief which you can use to your advantage during difficult times.

7. Think before you talk

And lastly, always plan and edit what you want to say or write. This might seem obvious, but we decided to include it as most people get into trouble because they have a habit of saying the first thing that comes in their mind. While this might be construed as being genuine and straightforward in most situations, in a work scenario, it is important to think things through before you put them out in the world.

Soaring Eagles Pro Tip: Try to formulate and write down some points before important conversations.  Also, always re-read messages and emails before you hit send.

Are you constantly facing off with colleagues? Is your boss cutting you out of important work assignments? Do you feel that you frequently say the wrong things or are misunderstood?

Yes? Then you might need some help polishing your communication skills.

If you want to RESET your professional life, click on the Request Consultation button above.

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Articles | Training

Smart Study Skills

Is your child having trouble managing time, assignments, and/or an increasing workload? Is your child feeling overwhelmed, shutting down and/or having fights at home? Is your child struggling to organize work, forgetting work, or lacking longer-term planning skills? Is your child not meeting their academic potential? Studying more hours or studying harder may not be the answer – they need to learn to study smart.

This Smart Study Skills program builds greater self-awareness of how they learn most effectively and provides exposure to the tools to be more efficient and effective in their work. Gaining mastery of study skills is critical for every student and once mastered, transforms them into independent learners who have the skills to be fully responsible for their own academic success. On completion of this program, you will not just find that their grades more accurately represent their intellectual potential, you will also see a growth in overall self-esteem, confidence, and the willingness to try new things.

Program Outline

Day 1 – Know how you learn
The focus will be on learning how our brain works and how everyone has different attitudes towards learning; understand growth vs. fixed mindsets and learn how to do an accurate self-assessment

Day 2 – The right way of learning
The focus will be on understanding how information needs to be processed for effective learning. Students will learn steps for learning in the right way for better understanding and recall.

Day 3 – Techniques to learn better in class
The focus will be on learning specific skills for being more effective in the class in terms of listening, taking notes and asking questions.

Day 4 – Best techniques for better recall
The focus will be on learning very effective techniques for enhancing memory and recalling information as required for exams and other evaluation methods.

Day 5 – Managing studies better and goal setting
The focus will be on figuring out how to plan our study and manage time better. Students will also learn how to manage their anxiety so as to remain positive and do well in exams. Students will set their goals and action plan for better academic performance.

For any queries, you can WhatsApp us by clicking the button above.

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Articles | Behaviours

A Quick Guide to Some Corporate Do’s And Don’ts That Every Fresher Must Know

You might feel that the word etiquette is a tad old-fashioned or it might conjure up the dining room scene from pretty woman; but in the business world, etiquette is more to do with presenting yourself in an acceptable, professional manner and, believe us, it is mighty important to keep things running smoothly – think of it as a social lubricant that is essential in an office filled with all types of people.

Some of it is basic common sense, but nevertheless, we have put together a handy list of the essential etiquettes that will stand you in good stead no matter where you work.

1. Present a professional image

Most corporate environments have dress codes for a specific reason; to ensure you represent the company in a certain manner. The same extends to your personal image within the company too.

So, do ensure that you wear well fitted and fresh clothes and keep your entire look updated and simple - this includes everything from your hair to your accessories.

2. Introductions

First meetings matter a lot – they can set the tone for the rest of your working relationship with the other person! Be sure to introduce your self in a clear and concise manner, preferably with your visiting card.

Depending on the situation, do take out the time to get to know some personal details about the person – it might get you started on a positive note or at the very least help the other person remember you better the next time around.

3. Be Punctual

Punctuality can never go out of style. As a fresher (or for that matter even as a CEO) you need to respect people’s time.

In case you feel, that a delay is unavoidable then do call ahead and apologise and reschedule – don’t make the other person wait!

4. Don’t Gossip

Yes, we know gossip is inevitable when people come together. However, it's best to stay away from internal office politics for as long as you can.

Over time you will, of course, make friends and fall into cliques, but make it a policy to discourage gossip and negative conversations about your colleagues. You never know whom you might have to work with next!

5. Recheck your emails

We deal with hundreds – if not thousands - of emails every month. One tends to just type quickly and hit send – especially when time is short. A minute extra spent rereading your mail will save you potential embarrassment down the line! Also, never put down controversial statements on mail. I am sure you have heard enough news stories about embarrassing email leaks which cost people their jobs and reputations.

Don’t send emails without checking them first – especially when you are sending them to large groups.

6. Be mindful of people around you

Until you get your own cabin, chances are you will be sharing an open space with lots of people. To get along with every one do keep some things in mind –

Never eat at your desk

Don’t hold conversations on the speakerphone

Don’t interrupt colleagues with conversation when they are working

Keep your workstation/desk tidy

7. A bit of politeness goes a long way

Even if you are among friends, an office environment demands clean language. Overtly informal behaviour and abusive language can land you in hot water. Stick to safe, formal language and tone when you are not sure of your audience.

Sprinkle your day with lots of smiles, thank you and please and you will be sure to get along with everyone just fine.

Changing times and norms are making work environments faster and more hectic. But even in all this modern chaos, professional behaviour has an important place. Basic etiquettes ensure that you become a valued colleague – after all don’t we all want to work with people we like and get along with?

Are you 100% ready for your first job? If you want to polish up your soft skills and start your corporate career on the right note, then one of our structured programmes will be perfect for you!

To know more click on the Request Consultation button above.

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Articles | Insight

5 Things To Give Up Immediately To Be Successful

People often read up about happiness, try all the happiness hacks and yet make very little progress in feeling happy.

We often forget that happiness is an inside job and no one else can make us happy other than us. Happiness begins with taking care of our thoughts and feelings.

The society has a very broken formula for happiness. We often attribute our happiness to things outside of us. Our relationships, our career, our bank balance. Often forgetting that happiness is an inside job and no one else can make us happy other than us.

Top five things to give up immediately if you want to be successful are:

1. Negative self-talk

Listen closely to what you say to yourself when things don’t go the way you had expected them. Do you blame, criticize yourself? Do you label yourself as a failure?

The one person who needs your love and compassion the most is you, yourself! Use positive affirmations. Affirmations are short positive sentences about ourselves and our future to help you get through challenges.

Speak kindly to yourself. How would you support if one of your closest friends was struggling? Would you blame the person, ridicule them, be unkind to them? The answer is mostly No. Yet, we end up treating ourselves harshly.

Be your own best friend and your own cheerleader first. Learn to love yourself unconditionally. Only when we fill our hearts with self-love, will the love spill into all our relationships with other people. Your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship you will ever have.

2. Procrastination 

Are you a procrastinator? It’s imperative to use our time well. We mostly procrastinate when we find the task overwhelming, unpleasant or when we aren’t self-disciplined.

The best way to stop procrastinating is to start with the most difficult task first. once we get done with the most challenging task, the rest seems relatively easy.

If you have difficulty managing your time, divide your time into smaller blocks to get work done. For example, you may have four blocks of thirty minutes each to get the most important and urgent tasks completed first when you start your day.

3. Social Media 

Do not compare someone’s social media life to your real life. Take a social media detox occasionally. Ditch your mobile apps and go for a walk instead. Today instead of texting your friend on Whatsapp, call the person instead. Ask someone, how they are and genuinely listen to what they have to say.

4. Gossip 

Do not indulge in gossip. Instead, use that time to educate yourself. Watch documentaries, read books. Decide to spend your time wisely. After all, we are the books we read, the movies we watch, the conversations we have.

Excuse yourself from the negativity and drama that surrounds you. Spend your time expressing gratitude for the abundances in your life, Practice meditation, exercise, engage in activities that make you lose track of time and bring you pleasure.

Stay away from people who drain your energy or bring you down. Do not judge others too. We judge others because we want to feel good about ourselves. Things we judge in others are things we haven’t accepted in us. Ask yourself, Why is this person triggering me? What does it remind me of that I haven't accepted in myself?

5. Stress 

One of the major cause of unhappiness, dissatisfaction, and diseases is stress. Release the need to be perfect. Release the need to be in control. There are going to be situations and problems in our lives over which we will have no control or very little control.

Stressing over situations or problems over which we have no direct control is a waste of time and no matter how much we try, we will only end feeling frustrated and exhausted. We must realize that no matter what the problem is, we always have a choice.

Sometimes, the only choice we have is to control our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. Learning to be decisive can reduce stress significantly.

Happiness and stress are both choices we make every day. We must learn to choose wisely. Life is ten per cent of what happens to us and 90 per cent of how we respond to it.

Lastly, I would like to end up with a quote:

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking." - Marcus Aurelius

If you need help with any of the above or other things that are holding you back, reach out to us. Click on the Request Consultation button above.

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Articles | Resilience

Why do organizations need to invest in making their employees emotionally resilient

Bouncing back from bad times is one of the most underestimated emotional qualities, especially in the workplace. We invariably associate it with trauma or illness or adversity, but the truth is that the stresses of daily life can sometimes wear down a person as well.

When you look around the office, you will clearly see two types of people –

  • ones who shrug off work stress easily and move on to the next task and
  • ones who are constantly stressed and flustered.

The difference between the two is their emotional resilience!

While research says that our genes as well as our life experiences (particularly social bonds) play a role in making us more or less resilient, we can top up our resilience later in life too.

This is what the Centre for Confidence and Well-Being, laid out in their report way back in 2006, “The good news is that although some people seem to be born with more resilience than others, those whose resilience is lower can learn how to boost their ability to cope, thrive and flourish when the going gets tough.”

Now if you are a manager you might be wondering, “sure I would like a more dependable and calmer team, but is it worth investing in? This is a personal matter not professional; is it something I need to care about?”

THE ANSWER IS A RESOUNDING YES! Let us tell you why.

We all agree that an employee’s state of mind has a direct correlation to his/her productivity and creativity. A happy person will approach work in a relaxed frame of mind, will do a better job and create a positive work environment for the rest of the team and colleagues.

But the modern workplace can throw up several challenging situations for all of us, and we are not just talking about deadlines and less-than-sympathetic bosses here. Some of these everyday situations, like -

Negative work culture; sometimes an unsympathetic boss,

Continuously heavy workloads and tight deadlines,

Lack of job security – layoffs and cost cutting,

Discrimination and more.

These can become major bottlenecks for employees if they are not emotionally resilient by nature. Here it makes sense for the organization to offer additional support to ensure that people at work can deal effectively with stressful situations.

There is no way to judge/ measure emotional resilience during the recruitment process, after all, you hire candidates according to their expertise. So, what happens if some of your most valuable team members can’t manage the stress?

Investing in their emotional well-being ensures that they are productive – it’s great for business to be able to bank on a dependable workforce. Especially in the current economic climate - digitization has quickened the pace of everything – newer technologies pop up every couple of years, everyone is talking of disruption, no one knows which small startup will be the next Uber or Netflix of their industry and every other article talks of job cuts and reskilling.

Chaos and speed are the new normal, and you need to ensure that your workforce has the mental agility and adaptability to handle this lifestyle.

If you want to take immediate steps to help your employees, then we would recommend resilience coaching with experts.

Emotional resilience and mental agility can be inculcated through a whole range of activities. These need to be deeply researched and customized to your needs.

An experienced team, working in partnership with your HR managers, would be able to deliver real change. If you want to know more about our resilience coaching do get in touch by clicking the Request Consultation button above.

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Articles | Leadership

A Look At Some New Trends In Leadership Development

Never before has the corporate world been more receptive and interested in Leadership Development – in fact, this enhanced interest mirrors (and is largely due to) the increasing difficulty companies have in filling leadership roles.

As baby boomers retire and millennials take over, the long-haul mindset has taken a back seat – according to Brandon Hall by 2020, 48% of the US workforce will be made up of millennials and 91% of these plan to stay at their current job less than 3 years! The story is no different in India.

Succession planning is becoming more and more complicated as you not only have to find someone capable but also ensure they stick around long enough to lead!

This massive cultural change is reflected beyond just retention rates – with digital technology the workplace has become flatter and more collaborative - the old ways of siloed working are over! But digital transformation has also made the workplace more hectic and fast-paced – as things change quickly, employees are expected to react faster and think on their feet independently.

These scenarios have thrown up new and different challenges for the leadership.

We look at some new trends in Leadership Development that have kept abreast of these fresh challenges:

1. Flatter organisations require leaders who empower rather than control

Across industries, digital technologies and accelerating globalisation is pushing companies to reorganise themselves into flatter structures where decision making is more decentralised and flexible.

Leaders with ironclad control of their departments are being replaced with smaller, agile teams. In this scenario, it is important to develop a leadership style that inspires and motivates employees to take charge.

The new leaders are not required to do it all; rather they must help and encourage their employees to do it on their own. Leadership programmes are also now moving their focus to make leaders more comfortable with change and with working with decentralised teams.

2. Push for empathetic and engaging leadership styles

As millennials rise beyond entry-level positions, the need for a more value-driven leadership style to keep them engaged is felt across organisations.

The new generation values innovation and their individual growth and to keep them motivated and connected with the organisation’s values. There is a real need to create environments that encourage their personal growth and for team leaders to genuinely listen and relate to their employees.

Gone are the days of passing out commands and expecting people to follow blindly. Leadership development programmes are now increasingly offering conflict management and leadership empathy exercises to help leaders keep their teams happy and productive.

The focus has shifted from being a leader who is an expert to a leader who gathers experts and motivates them to deliver their best.

3. Providing flexible and easy-to-access learning for leaders

Leadership development sessions have been traditionally classroom based. As technology settles even more deeply in our daily lives, the new crop of millennial leaders is looking for more!

A blended approach to learning is now being explored for leadership sessions as well -making sure that there is flexibility in terms of locations and time which can make it easier for participants across geographies and time zones to get the full benefit of the training.

Going ahead L&D, on the whole, is moving towards experiential learning where self-directed learning resources give some of the responsibility of pulling the benefits of the training to the participants themselves.

Conclusion

According to a study by Deloitte, 56% of organizations are not ready to meet their leadership needs, and only 7% of the companies surveyed have accelerated leadership programs for millennials.

Seeing how millennials will take the reins in a decade, there is an urgent need to ensure that leadership development is offered at all levels of the organisations AND that this training caters to the upcoming challenges the next generation of leaders will face.

Is your organisation looking to engage millennial employees more effectively? If yes, then let us tell you that the first step is to ensure that your leadership understands what motivates them and knows how to engage them.

To know more click on the Request Consultation button above.