Course Category
Course Location

PTP News

Archive: Nov 2019

7 basic skills for personal effectiveness

Posted: November 28, 2019 11:21 am
Personal effectiveness depends on a range of different factors, from the experiences you’ve had so far to the talents that you have developed and the knowledge that you have acquired. Being more effective can help you to get closer to your goals in life and may help you to identify ways to achieve those goals that are smarter and more efficient. You can develop personal effectiveness by nurturing 7 basic skills.  
  1. Focus

  Being able to focus single-mindedly on your goals can be crucial to ensuring that you don’t get distracted from achieving them. This may require a combination of developing more self-discipline and also learning when you need to take a break and start afresh tomorrow.  
  1. Resilience

  Knock backs and rejections are something that happen to everyone but if they throw you off course every time then you will find it hard to be effective. Resilience means developing a kinder mindset that allows you to keep moving forward even if you make a mistake or something doesn’t go your way. Combined with persistence, developing resilience will ensure that you’re able to overcome obstacles and keep getting closer to your goals, no matter what happens.  
  1. Self-confidence

  Being confident in who you are starts with understanding what you’re capable of and what you want in life and recognising where your strengths lie. You can demonstrate self-confidence in the way that you walk, speak, stand and present yourself to others in terms of your appearance. It’s important that this comes from a genuine sense of being comfortable and happy with who you are and what you can do, so do the internal work first.  
  1. Coping skills3

  Particularly if you’re ambitious, stress is going to be a part of every day life. Stress can be created by anything, from deadlines to the attitudes of those around you. Developing the skills to cope with stress may require a combination of improving communication skills, learning how to find alternative solutions and using tools such as meditation or yoga to help you wind down and relax when you need to. The more you’re able to switch off from stress the less it will slow you down.  
  1. Thinking outside the box

  Problem solving is an essential skill to have for anyone who aspires to be more effective. It can help you to identify solutions to obstacles and challenging problems, as well as more efficient and effective routes to your ultimate goals.  
  1. Being able to generate original ideas

  If you know how to find your way to an original idea you will be able to reach your goals more easily and also establish yourself as a valuable resource to partners or employers. There are lots of tools to use to develop this, such as mind maps that help you to visualise, analyse and develop ideas to help generate new ones.  
  1. Nurturing creativity

  Creativity is something we all have but some are better at using than others. It’s this skill that will give you access to big ideas as well as shorter pathways to end goals – and innovative approaches that can make more impact. Nurturing creativity is an essential skill if you want to be more effective.   There are lots of different ways to improve personal effectiveness - these 7 key skills are a good place to start.   Find out more by booking onto our Personal Effectiveness

How to improve negotiation skills for buyers

Posted: November 21, 2019 10:47 am
When it comes to negotiation advice this often seems to be aimed at the salesperson. But what if you’re the one looking to acquire as opposed to sell? Whether you’re a manager or an entrepreneur running your own business you are likely to have a whole range of pressures that make it important to get a great deal. So, how do you improve your negotiation skills as a buyer to ensure that you achieve a positive result?

Go in well prepared

That means finding out as much as you can about the product or service and the company or person who is selling it to you. In particular, do what you can to establish the actual value of what you’re purchasing – research online, look at competitor pricing and read information and reviews from other customers. This type of knowledge will be useful when working out where you might have leverage in negotiations – and avoiding an inflated starting price – as well as demonstrating that you’ve done your research.

Avoid timing issues

It’s well known that salespeople will often try to inject a sense of urgency into a situation with deadlines and schedules. The idea of this is to put pressure on a buyer to agree to purchase at a specific price and without further negotiation. If you want to avoid feeling this pressure don’t let yourself be rushed through the sales process, take your time. It’s also a good idea to look out for other common sales tricks, such as ‘this discount is only available today’ or the suggestion that your business might start losing money if you don’t buy within a specific time limit.

Be aware of your physical cues

It’s very easy to accidentally give things away in negotiations, for example by the facial expressions you use when certain figures are suggested. Try to keep your expressions and reactions mute during a negotiation and adopt a confident posture and gestures.

Know your limits

Before you go into the negotiation decide what your upper spending limit is going to be and then don’t move from it. Start from a lower price and, if necessary, gradually move towards that top limit but don’t allow yourself to be pushed over it.

Ask for what you want

If there’s something missing from what’s on the table that you feel should be there then ask for it. If you’ve been pushed higher and higher on the price then don’t be afraid to look for value add ons that will justify paying more for the product or service. If you don’t ask for what you want then there is no way for the salesperson to know what that is.

Walk away if you need to

The ultimate fallback for any buyer is having the ability to walk away from the deal. If you’re really just not getting what you want and the seller isn’t going to change their position then cut your losses and start researching other vendors to deal with. Negotiating as a buyer takes a lot of skill and the ability to stand firm when necessary. It’s something that anyone can learn with the right training. Find out more by booking onto our Negotiation Skills course

Top 10 business writing skills you need to learn

Posted: November 14, 2019 10:44 am
Business writing is an essential ability to have if you want to be able to communicate professionally and get your ideas across. Doing it effectively requires mastering a number of key skills.
  1. Be clear and to the point. Particularly in business writing, the ability to be concise is incredibly important. Say what you mean with as few words as possible and you will be much more effective as a result.
  2. Who are you writing for? It’s essential to bear in mind your audience when you’re business writing. This will affect everything from the tone and detail to the language you use. You can also personalise what you’re creating by tailoring it to the individuals or demographic you’re aiming at.
  3. Learn how to structure your writing. If the document you’re producing is unstructured and unwieldy you may find that people struggle to get to the end. Bear in mind that a good structure will help a reader to absorb the information in the piece – and also that many people will make a judgment about whether to read on based solely on the first paragraph.
  4. Set yourself a goal. Crucially, before you start writing whatever it is you’re producing, make sure you know why you’re doing it. What’s the reason for the writing you’re about to begin and what are you hoping to achieve with it?
  5. Steer clear of an overly formal tone. Business writing needs to be professional but also accessible. It’s very easy to slip into formal writing that can be dull and mean that people switch off. A conversational tone ensures that a reader can engage with, and enjoy, what you’re writing and won’t be put off by too formal an approach.
  6. Use the right language. Most important is to use accessible vocabulary that is easy to understand – jargon and trending terms don’t usually add much.
  7. Switch from the passive voice to the active voice. Your writing will be more powerful if it’s framed in active terms e.g. switch from “if you want to know more we can be reached at” to “if you want to know more call me on this number.”
  8. Write for the appropriate channel or platform. Business writing for a blog is very different to writing web content or producing a report or white paper. Take the time to appreciate what the differences are between each and to tailor what you produce accordingly.
  9. Stick to the facts. The more facts, statistics and hard data your writing contains the more credible it will be. If you want to integrate opinions use facts to support them and avoid including those that don’t have a factual basis.
  10. Check everything you write – twice. Bad grammar, spelling mistakes and missing punctuation can detract from the point that you’re trying to make.
Great business writing takes a combination of focus, detail and understanding who you’re writing for. Nurturing these key skills will help you to considerably improve what you produce. Find out more by booking your place on our Professional Writing Skills course

How to manage budgets

Posted: November 7, 2019 10:42 am
Managing a departmental budget is often a skill that goes untaught. If you’ve recently been promoted into a managerial position then you may have the people skills and industry knowledge to excel in the role – but perhaps not the budget know how. A corporate budget is similar to a personal budget except that there are different stakeholders involved. There are some simple ways to approach the process to ensure that you get it right.

Review the existing budget

For most managers there will already be a budget to work from and refer back to. This is a good starting point, as it will reveal how spend has been allocated in the past and what elements you may have to include in your own calculations. Even if you choose to take a slightly different approach further down the line, using an existing budget as a benchmark is a smart place to start.

Get a good understanding of how resources are used

Managing a budget will often take you outside your own area of expertise and experience and into allocating finances for teams that you may have little or no experience of. It’s essential to communicate with key people whose work is covered by your budget to ensure you understand how resources are allocated. For example, there may be software or hardware that you’re not aware of that needs to be part of the calculations, equipment maintenance costs to include and the potential to make changes to the way existing spend is managed to make savings.

Make sure you understand corporate expectations

While individual departments are responsible for their budgets it’s usually at the corporate level where increases and decreases are determined. That’s why it’s crucial to understand corporate expectations as far in advance as possible. For example, it may be that the message is that budgets this year need to be within 7% of what they were last year. The earlier you have this information, the easier it will be to accommodate it.

Identify operational and discretionary items

If there comes a point where the budget needs to be reduced the simplest way to do this will be via operational items (paid monthly with no long-term contract) or discretionary items (expense allocations for a certain activity or project). This will give you some flexibility if budgets need to be adjusted because corporate targets have not been met.

Be resourceful – but ask for help if required

There are lots of different ways to ensure that your budget works, from finding interns to cover certain roles to switching to a better value supplier. It’s key to ensure that you know who to turn to if you need help with the budget or if there is a particular budget related expense that you need to evaluate This is often the finance team – and, if not, they are usually well positioned to help you find someone else who can provide support. Managing budgets may be a new experience but it’s a skill that can be quickly acquired with the right direction. Find out more by booking your place on our Managing Budgets course