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  1. Tired, Fatigued, Exhausted?

    The past year has been challenging and draining and has left many people feeling less energised and motivated than they might under ‘normal’ conditions. We often tend to use words such as tired, fatigued and exhausted interchangeably but actually each one has very different implications. Could you recognise these conditions in yourself if one was happening to you? What would you need to look out for in colleagues or those working for you if it looked like they were heading into these waters?

    Tiredness

    If you’re experiencing tiredness then this is usually the result of something physical. It could be poor sleep, not eating enough or overdoing the exercise. Being tired is probably the simplest of the three to recover effectively from – you can start by identifying what’s causing the tiredness and then take steps to tackle it. If you’re not sleeping then try changing your routine and going to bed earlier. Maybe you need a more varied diet, more water, or less sugar. Or it may simply be that you need to take some time out to physically rest. A lack of energy, physical aches and soreness are all symptoms where tiredness is concerned.

    Fatigue

    The origin of fatigue is often partly physical but predominantly a mentally and emotionally driven condition. It may not be something that a good sleep and a change in diet can correct. Fatigue often manifests itself as being unable to make decisions, feeling like your emotions are up and down, feeling drained, listless and unmotivated. Fatigue is frequently the result of being in a situation where you are under a lot of pressure over a sustained period of time and this pressure just becomes too much to bear. You can help to relieve fatigue by creating moments where the pressure is off – time when you’re doing activities that are just for you and which you know will help to restore you. It’s important that you don’t think about whatever is causing the fatigue during that time so that you get a proper break from it. Fatigue is often the result of feeling like a situation is out of your control and that you don’t have the resources to change things. So, it can be worth using tools such as coaching, therapy, upskilling and stress management techniques to help strengthen self confidence and resolve.

    Exhaustion

    If you don’t deal with fatigue then exhaustion is often where this will end up. Exhaustion is predominantly a feeling that you just don’t have the energy – not for the issue that you’re dealing with, the situation you’re in or even to just carry on. It can be very alarming to experience and if you – or someone you work with – is going through it then it’s important to seek help. Sometimes exhaustion requires a complete break from whatever has put you into that state in the first place. This can provide the opportunity to rethink things and perhaps start making plans for a new approach.

    Tiredness, fatigue and exhaustion are all signs that something needs to change – taking any action, however small, is sometimes all you need to do as a first step. Find out more by booking onto our Mindfullness: How to Handle the Pressure with Ease training course…

  2. Working at Home 1

    Flexible working has increasingly become a part of life in recent years but not to the extent that we have seen in the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, remote working may not be a choice for everyone but it is, nevertheless, a lifestyle that we need to adapt to – and to be able to continue to thrive within. These tips are designed to help make working from home a positive and proactive way of life for all of those currently trying to adapt to it.

    Check your habits

    When you are entirely in charge of your own day you can create your own routines. This presents a real opportunity for some positive habits to develop but can also be a challenge. We are often not aware of the daily habits that we’ve fallen into in the workplace – the commuting route we take, the time we start and finish work, when we eat lunch, who we spend time with – and when this structure is removed it can make the day feel quite unwieldy. So, the first step to establishing yourself in a positive work from home structure is to think about the habits that you’ve always had, those that you want to have now and any bad habits you’ve already fallen into that you don’t really want to sustain.

    Create your new daily routine

    New circumstances are a prime opportunity for a new routine and creating this proactively can be powerful in terms of day-to-day experience. Some key questions to answer include:

    • When are you going to get up and what time do you need to start work?
    • When does the day officially finish? Make sure you switch off completely at this point as there is a temptation when you’re working from home just to keep going.
    • What do you want your new pre-work routine to look like – just a shower and breakfast or a run around the block and some meditation time too?
    • How can you make the most of a lunch break? If you don’t have work colleagues to socialise with could you have a call with friends or go outside and get some fresh air?
    • What routines would bring comfort? E.g. walking the dog twice a day or doing a bit of gardening.

    Allow yourself some leeway

    You may find that you have a lot of excess energy if you’re being more sedentary than usual and this could lead to feeling grumpy and out of sorts. Allow that this is just a normal part of processing this change in circumstances and try to find ways to deal with it, such as a short burst of cardio or even singing to the radio. If you feel unsettled and anxious then channel your energy into something positive – such as reading or creating – rather than resorting to watching Netflix or going down an Instagram hole.

    Exercise, diet and sleep

    These are the three factors most likely to be thrown off by a change in working circumstances – and probably the most important when it comes to getting yourself back on track.

    • You might find that you’re eating more while working from home – or comfort eating because of all the current uncertainty. Switching to healthier food and reducing snacks can help you to better manage your energy levels and also help you focus.
    • Introducing more exercise into your day can help with motivation, weight management and energy levels. Opt for something that feels do-able – such as a walk or a short jog, a gentle yoga session or a HIIT workout. Avoid an overly-ambitious new exercise regime that you give up on within a week.
    • Especially if you’re anxious, getting a good night’s sleep can be hard to do. A positive evening routine can help with sleep – give yourself at least an hour before bed where you’re not looking at a screen and try to turn your light out a few minutes earlier.

    Adjusting to working at home may take time but many people grow to love it. Find out more by booking onto our Well-Being While Working Fully or Partly from Home training course…

  3. Motivating Others – Did Einstein have the answers?

    The question of how to motivate others is one that every manager comes to at some point. Often it’s when many ‘tried and tested’ techniques, such as money, incentives, praise, resources etc just haven’t worked. In terms of what might actually be effective it’s always worth exploring new ideas and one of those potentially comes from celebrated big brain Albert Einstein. He is quoted as once saying that if he had one hour to save the world, he would spend 55 minutes defining the problem and only 5 minutes finding the solution. So does this idea hold the answer to motivating other people?

    Exploring Einstein’s idea

    Einstein’s approach would shift the focus when it comes to motivating people. Instead of looking at how to do this you would ideally spend the bulk of your time on any problems that might be preventing motivation instead. First, define what motivation means to you – if you’re thinking about your own this could be the energy to take action but when it comes to other people’s is it more like a willingness to work to the criteria of others? It’s also worth looking at the impetus in an individual situation, as motivation can drive people to move away from an uncomfortable situation or towards a better one. When the goal is achieved in either of these the motivation will often disappear.

    Away or towards?

    When you’re motivating people it’s important to work out whether you’re intending to use the ‘away’ method or the ‘towards’ method. If you’re using the wrong one that could be the problem you need to spend time on. Many managers opt for ‘away’ when it comes to getting staff to do what they want. However, because we often use KPIs and SMART goals to generate more motivation many managers believe that they are in the ‘towards’ mode. There is no one single answer for this – whether a goal has the impact of being ‘away’ or ‘towards’ will depend on the individual and their circumstances, as well as how it is phrased. That’s why motivating people requires individual attention if you really want to get it right.

    It’s not about you

    In some management situations any movement at all – whether away or towards – will be welcomed. However, you’re going to be at your most effective if you’re delivering motivation in a way that moves the person you’re working with in the way that you want them to move. So, it’s not about you – not what would motivate you to achieve the goal that you’re setting with that person – but taking the time to understand them. Are they more likely to be motivated by the idea of missing out on opportunities, ideas, promotions, inclusion in projects (the ‘away’ motivators) or language that is framed in the reverse e.g. gaining a promotion, reward or being included on a team (the ‘towards’ language).

    If you’ve been struggling to motivate effectively then Einstein’s idea of focusing more on the problem could provide a way forward. The issue might be something as simple as the wrong type of motivator being used. Swap that and you could change everything.

  4. How to effectively manage your time

    Time is the one thing that most of us feel that we never have enough of. Why is it that some people manage to get so much more out of the time available than others? The answer to this is time management. If you’re not currently doing this effectively then you’re likely to feel that you never have enough time and your To Do list just seems to roll over from one day to the next. So, how can you improve?

    How do you spend your time?

    Carry out a quick audit of how you already spend your time so that you can get an idea of whether or not this is productive. Do you waste hours on social media? Are you spending your lunch hour online shopping when you could be exercising? It can be eye opening to look back over your day and see where your time has actually gone.

    Invest in technology

    There is a lot of great technology out there to help you effectively manage your time, from monitoring your daily processes to organising and planning. Pick the one with the interface that feels the most user friendly so that you won’t have to waste time getting to grips with it.

    Limit the time you spend on tasks

    An actual time limit can be motivational and ensure that you don’t waste time – allocate time limits for key tasks and then make sure you stay within them.

    Organise your tasks in order of difficulty

    Schedule the tasks that you’re least looking forward to first so that you know they’re going to get done. Otherwise it’s very simple to push everything you don’t really want to tackle to the end of the day and then leave it until the morning.

    Look ahead

    It’s very easy to waste time if you’re not really focused on what’s coming next so plan ahead if you really want to become more effective. Planning ahead by a week – or even a day – can mean that you’re better prepared and ready to tackle what comes next.

    Learn how to delegate

    This is an essential skill because it ensures that you’re spending your time on the most valuable tasks and not wasting it doing anything that should be handled by someone more junior.

    Don’t multi-task

    Although there are lots of different theories out there on whether humans really are capable of multi-tasking there is evidence to suggest that we actually do better when we just focus on one job at a time. When you start something make sure you see it through and don’t stop half way to completion to start working on something else.

    Get to know you

    We are all different and we are more productive at some moments in the day than others. When do you usually feel the most energised? Make sure you’re optimising this moment to get the most done.

    Being able to effectively manage your time is the key to a successful – and satisfying – professional life.

    Find out more by booking onto our Time Management training course…

  5. How to speed read

    Speed reading can be a really effective way to quickly absorb high level information when you don’t have the luxury of time. It’s a skill that is easy to develop and can give you many more options if you’re looking for new ways to deal with data under time pressure. When you’re speed reading, rather than looking at each individual word you are instead focusing on phrases or sentences on a page. Most of us read at a pace of about 250 words per minute but if you’re able to develop speed reading skills then you could double this.

    When is speed reading a good idea?

    It’s a very effective tool if you need to absorb information from a document, such as the conclusions presented or the basic arguments. When we speed read we tend to take in less information so this may not always be an appropriate technique. For example, if you have a technically complex document that you need to absorb and understand then this may simply be something that you need to take more time over. If you’re looking to memorise something then speed reading won’t work for this either as studies have found that you would need to be reading at 100 words per minute or less in order to achieve this. However, for a swift understanding of the essentials speed reading is ideal.

    How do you speed read?

    Speed reading is switching from essentially pronouncing every single word in your head to skimming the lines on the page. You focus on blocks of words instead of individual words and expand your gaze so that you’re looking at paragraphs as a whole as opposed to each individual word or sentence. There are three methods that can come in useful when you’re looking to improve speed reading skills:

    1. The Pointer Method. Use your finger and sweep it quickly along the page as you read. You can also use a bookmark or card and move it down line by line.
    2. The Tracker-and-Pacer Method. Take a pen with the lid still on and underline each line on the page, allowing your eyes to sweep across the paragraph with the pen. Spend no more than a second on each line.
    3. This approach involves moving your eyes down the centre of the page and simply focusing on key words and phrases, names and numbers as you go.

    It’s a good idea to start practicing your speed reading with something easy, such as a novel, so that you can improve your skills without getting frustrated. Make sure there are no distractions and give yourself time and space to improve. Especially if you’re using the skimming method it can be key to make sure you know what you want from the text you’re going to read before you start reading it.

    Speed reading is a great skill that can make it much easier to identify information and reduce the amount of time that you spend on individual documents. It’s simple to learn and very effective too.

    Find out more by booking onto our Speed Reading & Information Management Training Course…

  6. How to learn anything quickly

    Learning is the key to growth and development. From acquiring new language skills to picking up coding, being able to drive or embracing new thoughts, ideas and programmes that could help advance a career, having the capacity to learn quickly is essential. If you don’t feel like you’re a particularly effective learner right now these tips could help to improve the speed at which you’re able to do this.

    Time your learning sessions.

    We all learn differently but the one thing we have in common is the length of time that tends to be effective for learning. A 30-minute burst is often too short to really get to grips with a subject but anything after 50 minutes and our brains tend to switch off.

    Take on a teaching role.

    Research has found that we engage with subject matter in a different way when we’re preparing to teach it than if we’re just learning to pass a test. If you have to teach content to someone else then you’re likely to engage with it much more fully, create your own cohesive structure for it and be quick to identify the key points.<

    Use a pen and paper

    If you’re taking notes then it can be tempting to do it with a phone or laptop or even just to record the session. However, a study by researchers at Princeton University and UCLA identified that taking notes by hand encouraged more active listening and meant more engagement with the topic. Devices not only mean that you can switch off but also provide more potential for distraction, such as emails or games.

    Space out your learning – and repeat it.

    Rather than learning for 120 minutes once a week, schedule your learning for three sessions of 40 minutes. It’s also been found to be beneficial to go back over what you’ve learned so that it really embeds in your brain. Review the information one or two days after studying it, as repeating information like this sends a strong signal to the brain that this is information that should be retained.

    Use different techniques in your learning

    For example, if your goal is to learn a new motor skill then practising that skill in different ways can give you an advantage when it comes to learning it more quickly. Studies have found that those who used an original learning technique followed by a modified learning technique picked skills up faster than those who just stuck with the same technique throughout.

    Get enough rest.

    We need to be in good physical condition to be able to learn effectively, especially when it comes to rest and sleep. In fact, one study established that slotting in sleep in between learning sessions (e.g. learning one morning, sleeping that night and then continuing learning the next day) created a twofold advantage in terms of relearning and long term retention.

     

    Being able to learn quickly is a skill that can benefit all of us and these are some of the simplest ways to enhance your current approach.

     

    Find out more by booking onto our How to Learn Anything Quicker Training Course…

  7. How to be a successful pa

    A PA plays a crucial role within a business and provides the opportunity for an incredibly satisfying career with the potential for plenty of advancement. Great PAs are highly valued within organisations and often prioritised where recruitment strategy is concerned. If you’re keen to get ahead as a PA then there are some simple ways to ensure that you make a success of this as your chosen career.

    Effective communication is essential

    Almost every task that is involved in being a PA will require strong communication skills. You may be dealing with people right across the organisation and need to be confident in communicating with others outside of the business at all levels. Clear communication is essential to help ensure that you’re able to do your job well, to avoid misunderstandings or anything getting lost in translation and to facilitate effectively. That could be face-to-face communication or it might be written, via email or messaging.

    Organisation is key

    While every business does things differently internally, having strong and adaptable organisational skills is essential for a successful PA. You must be able to effectively organise the work and life of your executive and that means managing your own time efficiently and being able to stay on top of scheduling, changes and the demands that others may be putting on their time, as well as your own.

    Embrace the variety

    Being a PA requires plenty of adaptability and this is one of the reasons why many people value someone who can do this role well so highly. For example, you may need to act as a travel organiser one day or event planner the next. The variety of the PA role can shift at any moment and the most effective PAs are those who are flexible enough to be able to move with this. Organisations value flexible PAs who are agile and adaptable enough to go with the flow, whether that means accommodating different hours or the changing needs of the job.

    Be proactive

    If you’re able to see what needs to be done in advance and anticipate potential requirements then you’ll always be a step ahead and viewed as a highly effective PA. It’s essential to make sure you’re proactive if you want to get ahead in this career – not only will this make your executive’s life easier but it will also ensure that you’re prepared for most eventualities too.

    A positive attitude goes a long way

    Businesses want PAs who say yes and are able to find solutions and opportunities, rather than those who are hesitant or resistant. A positive outlook and ‘can do’ attitude are highly valued in PAs today, especially if this is supported by genuine enthusiasm for the job and the business that you’re working for.

    Becoming a PA offers a wealth of opportunities, whether you’re looking to travel, learn or just get ahead in your career. Being proactive and adaptable, organised and a great communicator are all essential to ensuring that you make a success of the role.

    Find out more by booking onto our Developing Your PA Potential to Ensure Success training course…

  8. Tips for making a persuasive presentation

    Effective presentation skills can help you to achieve a lot. Whether you’re looking for a promotion, to win new work or obtain financing for a business, being able to deliver a persuasive presentation can get you a long way towards where you’re looking to go. These are our top tips for ensuring that you can deliver consistently and effectively when you really need to.

    • Start strong. It’s important to get the audience’s attention from the start – one of the simplest ways to do this is often to begin with a compelling story.
    • Make sure you know who you’re speaking to. Spending some time researching your audience can ensure that your presentation is pitched just right. Do you know what the values of those in your audience are, what they care about and where their objectives sit? This kind of insight will enable you to tailor a presentation in a way that makes your audience feel like you’re speaking directly to them.
    • Keep it simple. Identify one or two objectives for your presentation and build it around that. Any more and your message might get lost and your audience simply end up feeling confused.
    • Practice and ask for feedback. Every time you practice a presentation you’ll notice something else that could be tightened up or improved. Ask others to listen to you practice and their feedback could help you to make what you say even more effective.
    • Where are the mental blocks likely to be? If you’ve researched your audience then you’ll have an idea of where there is most likely to be resistance to the content of your presentation. This is an opportunity to deal with those potential obstacles in your presentation – do this proactively and knowledgeably as opposed to being aggressive or making fun.
    • Don’t read your presentation. You’ll find it difficult to engage with your audience if you’re reading, whether that’s off cards or a screen. It’s much more effective to make sure that you can keep eye contact, whether that means memorising what you want to say or just working with short, simple prompts.
    • Avoid rushing. Especially if you’re nervous you might find yourself dashing through your presentation just keen to get to the end of it. You will ruin the impact of what you have to say in doing this – it’s much more effective to be slow and measured, to make time for pauses and to allow yourself to repeat the most important points so everyone is clear on your objectives.
    • Be ready for feedback. You might get questions after your presentation so be prepared to answer these and to be gracious if there is criticism or challenge to deal with.
    • Finish well. It’s important to go out with a bang and not a whimper so make sure you’ve prepared a strong closing statement.

    A persuasive presentation is a powerful tool that can be used for any number of different goals. Whether you’re keen to get ahead in an office or looking to kick off your own enterprise, developing these skills is essential.

    Find out more by booking onto our Masterclass in Preparing and Delivering Persuasive Presentations training course…

  9. Our top 10 tips for effective telephone prospecting

    If you’d like to be more effective when it comes to telephone prospecting then there are some simple ways to do it. These are our top 10 tips for getting more from the effort that you put in.

    • Prepare a range of responses. Each call will either go to voicemail, be answered by the prospect or someone who handles the prospect’s calls. You need to have the right response prepared for each one of these scenarios so that you don’t waste time or opportunities.
    • Find the right time of day. The more you experiment with call times the more likely you are to see patterns. The reality is that you may have a higher chance of success with some prospects before 9am and with others after 5pm. Experiment as you gain experience so that you have more of an idea of what is likely to work with each one.
    • If you don’t believe in yourself why should they? Self-belief is essential if you want to get better at telephone prospecting. If you sound positive, energised and like you’re backing your own words then it’s likely your prospect will too.
    • Focus on who you’re speaking to. If all you’re doing on the call is talking about yourself or the product you’ll struggle. Instead, focus on the prospect, what their needs are and what information they will find valuable.
    • If you’re leaving a voicemail, be brief. Make sure you know what to say on a voicemail in advance of the call so that you don’t waffle. Keep it to 15 seconds and be succinct.
    • Vary your approach. If you don’t get through on one day make sure that the next call is a different time on a different day otherwise you’re effectively just duplicating effort. It’s also important to make sure that you don’t leave the same voicemail twice so keep a record of what you’ve said, and when.
    • Free up your hands. We are usually much more effective at being convincing if we’re able to use our hands expressively while talking. Even if the prospect can’t see you, being hands free can make you more compelling. That may require you to wear a headset.
    • You may not get through straight away. It can take multiple attempts to break through to a prospect so if this doesn’t happen immediately that’s no reason to just give up. Plan for 4-6 contacts and if nothing is achieved after that then back off for a month or so and try again.
    • Think about the other person’s schedule. For example, most meetings start on the hour so if you call five minutes before you might just be able to catch them.
    • Stay the course. Telephone prospecting is very effective but persistence is essential – be ready to keep trying to achieve those exciting breakthroughs.

    These are just some of the ways that you can be more effective when it comes to what you can achieve with telephone prospecting.

    Find out more by booking onto our Advanced Telephone Prospecting Training Course…

  10. How to become a better project manager

    Becoming a great project manager is possible for anyone. No one starts out with exactly the right skill set and there are always opportunities to improve and do better. If you’re keen to evolve as a project manager then these are some of the simplest ways to do it.

    • Be a consistent and effective communicator. This means ensuring that communication is maintained for all parties, from stakeholders to managers, and keeping lines of communication open. Use all the tools at your disposal to do this, from video conferencing platforms to email and face-to-face meetings where practical.
    • Learn how to listen. Many of us listen to others while thinking or doing something else and, as a result, we can miss subtle emotional signs or behavioural cues. Being able to listen actively means being fully present with the speaker and learning how to empathise with their perspective and see what they’re saying from their point of view.
    • Be clear about next steps. Every time a meeting takes place make sure that everyone walking away from it knows what they need to do next and when that needs to happen by.
    • Be transparent and authentic. If you’re using access to information as a means of control then you’re likely to end up in a sticky situation because other people talk. Instead, be transparent if you want to build trust and work on your own authenticity – aligning who you present yourself to be with what you say and do.
    • Deal with issues quickly. Establish a simple, routine project control cycle so that any issues that arise are being tackled as soon as they are identified and are not left to escalate.
    • Work on self awareness. It’s easy to get set in your ways as a project manager. However, the best opportunities for improvement often arise from working on self awareness and through the constructive criticism of others.
    • Always look for the problem you’re trying to solve. If you’re struggling to identify the end objective for a project then look at it from the perspective of the issue that it exists to solve. If you take the time to define this clearly then everyone involved will understand the goal.
    • Use technology and templates. Both can save on time and standardise processes across the project.
    • Stay on top of the process. It’s essential that parts of the project don’t end up without observation. Setting soft and hard deadlines can be a simple way to ensure that progress is measurable and everyone remains motivated. Regularly looking for project ‘gaps’ by checking in with time, cost, objectives etc will ensure that these don’t have the opportunity to become voids.
    • Review and learn. Take the time, either within the project cycle or when it’s finished, to review recent progress and work out whether anything could have been done better.

    Becoming a better project manager requires a series of small shifts in the way that you approach and steer people and project cycles.

    Find out more by booking onto our Project Management training course…

In-House Training with PTP

PTP stands for Practical Training for Professionals and our aim is to make our training as practical as possible so delegates can return to the workplace with skills they can implement immediately. PTP now delivers training to over 40% of the FTSE 100.

What you get for your money

What is 1-to-1 training?

1-to-1 training can be based on any of the 100 plus courses that PTP provides, it includes an initial telephone conference of up to 1 hour, a 1/2 day (3.5 hours) on-site one to one training session at your premises with one of PTP's expert trainers and then a further telephone conference call of up to an hour within 2 weeks of the on-site visit.

You have the option of a line manager being involved in both telephone conferences, the second telephone conference which can be for feedback and action planning is generally scheduled during the on-site visit.

Who does 1-to-1 training suit?

Individuals taking on a new challenge or responsibilities. Professionals who want a trusted "sounding board" and thinking partner. Executives or managers who want to enhance their leadership effectiveness to achieve organizational and career success. Executives and professionals wanting to compete successfully but still retain balance in their life. Individuals who want to understand their blind spots so that they don't stand in their own way on their path to success. Executives and Professionals who want to improve their interpersonal skills so as to be more effective with bosses, peers, subordinates, or people in general. How much does 1-to-1 training cost?

A 1-to-1 training session costs from as little as £400 + VAT and will include an initial telephone conference of up to 1 hour, a 1/2 day (3.5 hours) on-site training at your premises and then a further telephone conference call of up to an hour within 2 weeks of the on-site visit.

What is U-Choose?

Choose from any of the 150 plus courses that PTP provides, and choose from 1 of our 50 plus UK wide training venues. You must book for 2 or more delegates and at least 4 weeks in advance, but that’s it, the course you want where you want it. The reason we ask for a minimum of 4 weeks notice is to enable us to market the course you have scheduled to other companies and organisations. However, if we fail to sell any additional places we guarantee to run the course just for you.

How much does U-Choose Training cost?

U-choose costs the same as our normal open courses i.e. the normal delegate rate. This includes lunch and refreshments throughout the day, framed certification and comprehensive training notes. A U-Choose booking can only be confirmed once we receive payment which can be made via credit/debit card, BACS or cheque. Payment is due at least 4 weeks before the date you request. Please note to be eligible for U-Choose you must book a minimum of 2 delegates on the same course & date.