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Articles | Leadership

We Think Leadership Training Should Be For Everyone. Here’s Why.

Often leadership training is seen as a select program offered to a few, bright members of the team. There is a tendency to turn it into a reward for good performance or a filter for future leaders – maybe it’s the cost of the training session or perhaps over the years it has become an instrument for facilitating promotions.

Whatever be the case, we are here to put forth the idea that EVERYONE in the organization can benefit from leadership training and that it should be open to all – even to employees not on a managerial level.

To understand this idea, let us first look at what leadership training teaches. 

  • It helps you understand your motivational drivers, emotional intelligence so that you can use this knowledge to control and guide your thoughts, actions, and behaviours. 
  • It teaches you advanced communication skills so that you can influence and work well with your peers or team members.
  • Leadership training teaches you to apply or adapt your leadership style to meet specific challenges. You will be taught how to manage stressful and demanding situations to drive team performance.
  • You will also help people who work under you to learn and grow by coaching them or by sharing positive feedback.
  • You will learn how to think logically, analyze information quickly, and come up with solutions on-the-fly. 
  • And finally, you will learn to take charge of your own professional development to keep growing. 

If you take the word leadership out of the equation, it becomes evident that EVERYONE would benefit from having these skills. So, why just limit it to a select few? 

Here are some ways in which you will see the business benefit of this training

1. Enhance Productivity 

According to Gallup polls – employee investment leads to 10-19 % increase in sales and 9-15 % more self-reported engagement from employees. Giving new skills such as independent thinking, communication, and teamwork can have long term benefits across teams. When everyone in the company is communicating well and is self-driven, it will automatically drive productivity through the roof.  

2. Show employees that they are worth investing in

In a recent survey, companies with engaged employees outperformed those without by up to 202%. When you invest in training employees, they see career growth and opportunity within the organisation; this translates into making them work harder and be more engaged with the company.

3. Expanded leadership pool

Opening up leadership training develops hidden talent early on. Ultimately this will give you a larger crop of talented professionals who can step into leadership roles quickly and effectively. 

4. High retention rates and low HR costs

It’s no surprise that engaged and loyal employees tend to stay longer with their organisations – not only is this great for productivity it also makes the work of HR managers much easier and saves the cost of onboarding and training new employees.

Offering advanced leadership training also positions your organisation as an employee-centric company making it an attractive place for future employees – this naturally makes it easier to attract top talent during recruitment drives.  

Conclusion

You want your C-suite managers and team leaders to have a certain set of skills and maturity; when employees from all levels of the organisation are offered the SAME skills, it will grow the benefits exponentially and have a cascading effect on the company culture. Imagine an organisation full of self-motivated, forward-thinking individuals – how can anything stop that company from growing?

What are your thoughts on the subject? Do you think widening leadership training to include more employees will have observable benefits? Do leave your point of view in the comment section below. We would love to know your opinion.

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Articles | Training

Why Sales Training is Essential and What It Will Teach You?

The economic ecosystem is getting more and more competitive – gone are the days when one advertisement or a sales call could convince people to open their wallets. Digital marketplaces and the Internet have made things super tough for traditional sales teams; giving rise to a new type of customer who is extremely knowledgeable and well-researched – they already know what they want and turn to friends and people they know and trust (like influencers) to pick their products or services. 

While the B2C market must emphasise customer engagement as a sales methodology, the B2B sales processes still work largely on the traditional sales model of prospecting, convincing, and closing a deal. In this scenario, a strong sales team can greatly influence people’s decision-making. Hence, enhancing your team’s sales skills can have a direct result in your business’s profitability. 

Why Do You Need To Offer Sales Training To Your Employees?

Naturally, when you hire someone for a sales job, you consider their past experience and personality during the interview. But this doesn’t mean they will be able to sell to YOUR TARGET COMPANY or will get a deep understanding of YOUR INDUSTRY overnight. Their past experience might not translate to your job profile on day one. 

To make sure your sales team has the product/service or brand knowledge to represent your company convincingly to prospective clients, it is best to equip them with in-house training. This could be product knowledge, pricing, or a presentation as well as information on current clients, sales scenarios, and questions that generally come up during the sales process.  

A sales team is made up of people with different levels of skills – while one person might be great at negotiating and closing, another might be better at making presentations and pitching to new clients. Sales training is a good way to ensure everyone gets the chance to enhance their skills and learn new ones. 

What Does Sales Training Teach?

Here are some selling skills and tools that can help salespersons reinforce customer interactions and surpass their sales goals.

Communication

By far, the biggest and most important skill needed to succeed in the sales ecosystem is communication. A sales training programme concentrates on providing holistic communication skill enhancement, this includes –

Conversation – whether you are talking on the phone or speaking to a client face-to-face, communication skills can make or break your deal. From the introduction to sentence formation to listening actively to nonverbal communication – a conversation has many parts that must come together at the speed of thought to be convincing. 

Sales training tackles many of the Dos and Don’ts of usual sales scenarios and offers tips on how to improve verbal and nonverbal communication.

Business writing – apart from conversation, a salesperson also engages a lot through email and sometimes through phone text messages. Sales training usually covers the writing communication style, as well.

Presentations and pitching – no business meeting is complete without a presentation! In fact, they are usually the initial, go-to document for all sales pitching sessions and are widely circulated via email as well. Sales training also teaches the art of building a logical and good-looking presentation AND teaches salespersons how to present it confidently and clearly.  

Negotiation – not every sales situation requires a negotiation, but there are many that require some sort of compromise to close the deal. Most sales training programmes spend a fair bit of time on teaching participants how to communicate in a way that avoids conflict and ensure both parties feel they have got a fair deal.

Understanding and Managing the Sales Process 

Like everything else in the business world, sales also follows a process. It might seem like a lot of is based on personal rapport, but in reality, salespersons must adhere to a template or process to keep their sales effort moving in the right direction. 

Sales training acquaints participants with the various stages of a sales process in relation to their organisational product, target, or goal. 

For example – the usual 7 stage sales process includes research, prospecting, needs assessment, pitching, objection handling, closing the deal, and follow-up. A salesperson can learn best practices, new technology, and methodology from tailored sales training that might not be a part of his/her previous experience.

Developing the Sales Mindset

Salespersons hear NO a lot! They also regularly live in high-pressure work situations where meeting targets are put on a pedestal. Not everyone can function effectively in such an intense environment. 

A vital part of sales training is also helping participants develop a mindset that gives them stability in the long run. 

Conclusion

Your sales team is the final step of the entire sales process – they not only close the deal but also represent your company to potential clients. As competition heats up, their role becomes even more critical; for an organization, apart from hiring the best talent, the only way to meet growing sales targets is to enhance the skills of the existing team. Because no matter how evolved a person’s communication skills are; there is always room for improvement.

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Articles | Insight

Boost Your Networking Skills To Shape Your Personal Brand

People often talk about wanting to improve their personal brand. For quick understanding - your personal brand is how other experience you when they interact with you. David McNally and Karl Speak, authors of ‘Be Your Own Brand’ explain it further, “Your brand is a perception or emotion, maintained by somebody other than you, that describes the total experience of having a relationship with you.” 

It is the unique combination of skills, experience, and personality that we want the world to see. It is the telling of our story. It reflects in our conduct, behaviour, spoken and unspoken words, and attitudes. And when it’s done well, it can enhance our profile in ways that go far beyond just our professional expertise. 

I am sure you must be have seen some successful examples of Personal Branding within your peer group. You might have even seriously considered starting with a branding exercise yourself; or you might already be putting a thoughtfully constructed branding strategy into action as I write this. Regardless of which stage of personal branding journey you are currently passing through, networking is a crucial aspect that deserves some deep thought and strategizing. 

Naturally, you must already be networking and meeting people as part of your operational activities, but is that useful for your personal brand? Most people tend to think that an organizational meet and greet will automatically feed into their personal brand! 

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work like that. As you are representing your organization at networking events, you naturally end up talking more about your work or your company’s reputation. This does not equate to networking for your own personal brand. 

So how should you use networking to build your brand? 

The more connections we make—and the more value we can provide in our interactions—the more likely it is that our personal brand will be recognized. The best networking opportunities for our personal brand are cultivated over time and consist of a combination of integrity and quality that we can offer to people. Michael Goldberg puts it succinctly, “Networking is simply a proactive approach to meeting people to learn with the hope of helping them.” 

Even for an experienced hand-shaker like you, there is always a way to add to your business bonding skills. Here are some ways to up your game: 

Personal vs. Professional

You are the sum of many different things – your work is just one of them. You have to bring the elements of your personal branding message into your official interactions. In case you haven’t yet crafted a personal branding strategy and elevator pitch or a message, then now is the time to decide how you want to present yourself. A very simple example of this would be - If you want to present your down-to-earth, straight-talking credentials to the world, then you can eschew jargon-heavy, indirect talk and stand out as the person who says-it-like-it-is. 

Build in helpfulness

Be a giver, and you will be remembered! You don’t have to be a giver in the material sense; even being generous with your time and attention is sometimes enough. While interacting with peers at an event or even online, try to maintain an overall aspect of helpfulness. Advice, encouragement, a compliment, referrals, and sharing connections – all don’t require much effort, but when done consistently, these small acts of kindness will undoubtedly add to your personal brand.  

Doing your homework before networking

It’s important to know who’s going to be at an event, which we can often do by checking social media – conference hashtags on Twitter are a good place to start. Then make a shortlist of people you want to meet. Google them and view LinkedIn profiles, so that when you do meet someone new, you will know something about them.  

Quality over Quantity

People often think that networking means meeting as many people as possible. But that's not the case. Making a few meaningful connections is far better than working an entire room. If you can have three or four deeper conversations, then both you and the people you meet will be more likely to remember the interaction. 

Social Media matters

You don’t have to keep your online and offline networking efforts siloed. Use them as an extension of each other. Follow up meetings and interactions by connecting with people on LinkedIn or engage with your LinkedIn community to organise physical meetups at events. 

Engaging with people online is important for people of all ages, but particularly if we want to make contacts with younger prospects or companies working in a digital space. Remember, though, nothing solidifies a business relationship like meeting face-to-face. 

By making networking a priority and regularly reaching out to people from different fields, you can broaden your network even outside your industry. You never know where your next opportunity is going to come from. 

Yes, it can sometimes be a challenge to network for your personal brand. Many of you may feel a bit uncomfortable with the concept of personal marketing; after all, being self-effacing or not bragging are ingrained in our collective psyche as admirable qualities – and personal marketing does require some amount of blowing your own trumpet which might put you off! 

I am here to tell you it doesn’t have to be like this! Sure, you can share your photos or videos of receiving awards and giving talks, but that is just one part of it. The rest is all about respect and trust; it is about being truly helpful and kind to people in your circle; it is about valuing your contacts and not taking your friends and business connections for granted.

Networking is a long-term investment. You don’t have to bombard your social media feed today! But do keep the tips I shared above in mind and practice them gently. With time, you will feel at ease, and nurturing your personal brand will slowly become second nature. 

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Articles | Insight

Understanding Gen Z – Who Are They And What Do They Want

The copious amount written on Gen Z is only rivalled by the number of discussions the Millenials have faced! And they aren’t even out of college yet! So, here we are adding our bit – but not with a condescending tone of 'How to deal with them' but focusing it on their thoughts and needs to make it more easyfor us oldies to understand them.

What is Generation Z?

Simply put, Generation Z or Gen Z comprises people born after 1997. It is our youngest generation, and the oldest amongst them are just joining the workforce and colleges.

Like every generation, Gen Z too has many characteristics that are uniquely their own. Here’s a look at some of the main features that are associated with them -

Technology defines a lot of what they do

Gen-Zers are the true digital natives. Even the oldest of them have never been without the Internet - and we are not talking about dial-up modems and giant cell phones! This generation has not seen the evolution of mobile or Internet technologies or ever done without them – for them, these technologies are not luxuries they are necessities.

Addicted to Social Media

With technology comes social media, and as comfortable denizens of the virtual world – Gen-Zers are living a vast amount of their lives online. Unlike older generations, they came into social media really early and have used this as a benchmark for relationships and socializing.

Informed on a global scale

Naturally, all this exposure to the Internet and social platforms, ensures extremely wide access to information – not just about what’s happening in their towns or countries, but also on the other sides of the world. 

Highly Independent

Along with access to information comes the ability to form opinions and to voice them. This translates into youngsters that are mature beyond their years and dabble in activities that their older counterparts reached much later in life. This need for independence and autonomy is reflected in the strong entrepreneurial abilities demonstrated by the Gen-Zers.

What matters most to Gen Z?

Deloitte conducted a survey called the Global Millennial Survey 2019, which surveyed 13,416 millennials across 42 countries and territories, and 3,009 members of Gen Z from 10 countries, including India, the US, the UK, China, and Japan. According to the survey the top three priorities or ambitions of Gen-Zers are -

In India, Gen-Zers put earning a high salary as one of their top ambitions with 68% of participants opting for it (globally this falls to 58%).

57% of both age groups surveyed put travel and seeing the world on top when asked about their priorities – in India this percentage was even higher as 60% of the Gen-Zers prioritised traveling.

The priority that came a close third was making a positive impact on society or community, and here again Indian Gen-Zers (with 58% positive reactions) felt more strongly about helping others – globally 47% of Gen Zers prioritised helping their community.

What does Gen-Z want from educational institutions and their workplace?

From Educational Institutions

Born in the age of the matured Internet and digital technology, Gen Z students expect their classrooms to keep up. As a generation that lives with an information overload they want learning to be visual and engaging – textbooks are being shunned in favour of video tutorials, and they are demanding that old educational systems change to keep pace with their technological needs.

Students are also looking for more personalised learning experiences. Online learning has made that possible, and they desire more control over what they learn, how they learn, and when they learn.

They lead busy, multitasking lives and want education to be useful and to the point. With access to information, they are impatient with an education that is slow and narrow in scope and wants teachers who can go beyond the basic and teach life skills and guide them through the confusing array of the information available online.

From Work

Yes, money, security, and stability are essential, but Gen-Zers want more. They are willing to get paid less if the work is more meaningful.  The focus is on changing the world and doing good, and they are most satisfied if they get work that allows them to make an impact.

Gen-Zers are also highly entrepreneurial. They see professional careers becoming less stable and are open to taking risks and following their passions. Job opportunities where they learn and grow are perceived as highly desirable to most students emerging into the workplace.

Most Gen-Zers also value technology and want to work around it. A research conducted by Dell Technologies in 2018 polled 12,000 members of Gen Z from countries including Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, and New Zealand and found that 97% believe technological literacy matters, and 80% want to work with cutting-edge technologies.

Conclusion

Till now, everyone was focused on the millennials, but as they grow older, the attention has shifted to the next generation. Millennials, to some extent, got bogged down with stereotypes – the general feeling was that they had to be 'handled' or that they were 'difficult' or 'spoilt.'  This approach wasn't constructive for anyone – the millennials, the educators, or the companies.

Lets us not go down that road again – we need to move beyond superficial stereotypes to understand that every generation is a product of its circumstances and upbringing, but ultimately what they want is not such different people before them – the opportunity to live a decent life!

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Articles | Time Management

Work Smarter – Not Harder, Not Longer – Sounds Great! BUT HOW?

Productivity is a RED HOT topic in every single organisation!

And it should be – surveys and reports state that an average worker admits to wasting at least 3 hours EVERY DAY – not including lunch!

Of course, all this is costing organizations billions (yes, that’s right - BILLIONS) every year. But let us step away from the cost to the company for a bit and talk about the cost to our lives and our relationships. Because no matter how much fun you are having at work – the wasted time comes back to bite us sooner or later, either as extra-long office hours, wasted weekends, missed family events, stressful vacations or reduced salaries.

So how do you make sure you Work Smart, Not Hard, and Finish On Time?

Well, there are many tips and tricks to make your day more productive. Here are some of our favourites –

Start the day with a plan

The first 30-45 minutes at work is usually a waste! No matter how conscientious you are, you WILL end up wasting the first half-hour greeting colleagues, settling in, checking your mail and generally thinking of what to do first. 

There are two ways to fix this

  • Start your day early: get in before everyone else and get some alone time to plan your day and catch up on important tasks.
  • Spend 10 minutes at the end of each day to plan what you have to do next.

(This has to be a written down to-do list, not something in your head)

Eat the frog

The frog here is the most tedious or the hardest job of the day. The idea is to do it first and get it out of the way. Why? Because we all tend to delay complicated tasks, and as the day progresses, they just become bigger and bigger in our minds.

Get rid of ALL distractions

We wrote ALL in capitals because there are many distractions at work! On average, we switch activities every 3 minutes, and it takes us at least 25 minutes to refocus.

Several studies have pointed out 5 main time-wasters at work – emails, meetings, browsing online, socializing with co-workers, and procrastination.

Here are our tips to fix these

 Break up your tasks into small ones

This might seem counterproductive, but it actually works. If you get uninterrupted 8 hours, you won't be able to focus continuously – that's not how the human brain works. We look for distractions, and we are very good at finding them. Giving yourself small goals or shorter deadlines stops you from getting overwhelmed and gives you the carrot of a break to look forward to.

The Pomodoro timer app is a great way to stay focused on small chunks of time.             

And finally… give it time.

Even if you take every trick in this article seriously and start tomorrow – you will NOT see any change. For a while.

Productivity is like a muscle; you need to keep working at it to strengthen it. The first day you might only be able to stay away from your phone or WhatsApp for 10 minutes, but I promise you it WILL get better. You just have to keep doing it. It takes time and constant effort to make a dent.

In the long run, you will not just be able to see changes at work, but the positive impact will also spill over to your personal and emotional side. Believe us; you will sleep so much better with a to-do list that's all crossed out and a calendar that is planned.

A large part of becoming more productive is about changing your mindset and habits. At Soaring Eagles, we offer coaching and training programs for individuals and corporates that can help people achieve peak productivity at work. Call us or email us to find out more.

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Articles | Training

Job Placement Training Programmes – What They Teach And How They Help You Land Better Jobs

Placement season can be a stressful AND a very confusing time for youngsters. On one hand, you have to deal with the pressure of starting your career on the right note and on the other, you are bombarded with a lot of pretty conflicting advice. 

Be confident, but don’t be cocky. 

Give detailed answers, but don’t talk too much. 

Dress appropriately!  

And my favourite – BE YOURSELF!! 

It’s no wonder then youngsters on the less-confident, more-introvert spectrum sometimes gets left behind in the placement race. Many of them are brilliant and would likely prove to be valuable employees, but a hiring manager never gets to see their value in a chaotic group discussion or a short interview. 

But placement season can trip up the confident and smart ones too. Sometimes, in order to stand out, they tend to overplay their hands. The desire to make an impression could make them talk too much or say the wrong things. 

So, how do first-time job seekers find a balance? Well, clearly, practising for interviews in front of the mirror is not going to work – what youngsters need is professional guidance – from someone wiser and experienced in the art of cracking the job placement process.

This is where training for placements becomes a valuable tool for students preparing to start their professional journeys. At SoaringEagles, we conduct a group-based, weekend program called Acing Placements. This is an experiential learning program, which uses a combination of self-assessments, role-plays, and a host of mock sessions to prepare students for group discussions and personal interviews.

Let’s take a deeper look at what our placement training program offers and how it can benefit the students. 

Understanding Yourself

How can you present your best side or manage your weaknesses if you don’t know what they are?  

At Soaring Eagles, we believe that we all have strengths and weak spots; but when we understand our personality, motivations, and triggers, only then can we control them or turn them to our advantage – not only in an interview but also in other situations that might arise in the years to come.

We use a variety of tests and self-assessment exercises to help students understand themselves better. Along with this knowledge, we also help them maximize their assets and work towards covering their weak spots.

Participants can –

  • Uncover their personality traits
  • Recognise their skill sets and motivation drivers
  • Perform a Personal SWOT analysis

Researching The Companies & Job Profiles

Every organisation has unique job requirements, culture, and approach. Do your skills fit into this? 

An important part of our training is to help participants understand how to research companies and analyze the offered job profile. Students can use this information to tailor their resume and approach for each organization. They can highlight their skills and abilities to align with what the organization might be looking for. 

Participants learn

  • Company analysis
  • Understanding job requirements
  • How to align themselves with the company and the role

Preparing for group discussions 

Group discussions are no one’s favourite! It is a strained conversation, where it’s hard to find the right balance between being too aggressive or too shy. But it is the first big filter of the placement process; to get a chance for one-on-one interview students NEED to get through this part. 

Training can be really helpful to help students pass this stage with confidence. With practical mock discussions and lots of tips, we help students prepare well for these sessions. 

Students learn – 

  • In-depth knowledge on how to present ideas 
  • Extensive body language tips
  • Strategies to excel in group discussions
  • Practice opportunities to hone their skills

Getting Ready For Personal Interviews 

If the skills on the resume match the job profile, then the student is halfway to the finish line already. Now all the youngster has to do is to back up what’s on paper with his/her personality.

For this confidence and clarity is key. From communication skills to stress management, our training sessions are geared toward ensuring that students enter the room at their best. 

The session focuses on –

  • Taking them through a variety of interview styles
  • Teaching them to handle challenging questions
  • Helping them create a strong elevator pitch
  • Explaining some strategies to excel in interviews
  • Giving tips on what questions to ask
  • Teaching them how to handle stress during the interview

There is little doubt that approaching a placement situation with professional preparation and guidance can increase the chances of landing the job, but the benefits extend far beyond that. 

The skills learned here are not just limited to the upcoming interview – abilities like communication or body language can be used for the rest of a participant’s professional career. 

At Soaring Eagles, we conduct group-based placement training sessions. So if you are an educational institution looking to give your students an extra boost for the next placement season then do get in touch. We will be happy to help!