Tips and Techniques to Manage Difficult People

Posts Tagged ‘Confidence’

I’d Be Nervous if I Wasn’t Nervous

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When was the last time you did some public speaking?

Perhaps it was a presentation to a client, or maybe your boss, or at an interview, or even at an event in your personal life. Did you feel nervous?

It happens to meAlan Speaking

It sometimes surprises people when I tell them I get slightly nervous before a speaking or training event. They seem to think that because I’ve been doing it for years, nervousness would no longer be an issue.

It doesn’t matter if it’s twelve people or twelve-hundred people. In fact, I’d probably prefer to speak to the twelve-hundred than the twelve.

It’s scary

Public speaking is still one of our greatest fears; it turns grown men and women into nervous wrecks. The mere thought of it turns our tongue to cotton wool, causes our internal plumbing to act up, and turns our knees to jelly.

However, “nerves” is a normal human emotion and as I often say, ‘I’d be nervous if I wasn’t nervous!’

It’s how you handle the nerves that will determine your success as a speaker.

Who’d be an actor?

The great actress Sarah Bernhardt once asked a young actress whether or not she suffered from nerves before she appeared on stage. ‘Oh no, Madame,’ the young actress replied. ‘Well,’ Sarah Bernhardt said, ‘Don’t worry; it will come along – with talent.’

The technical part

Nervousness is vital, you need nerves. Nerves release a cocktail of chemicals into your bloodstream, one of which is adrenaline. This in turn releases glucose into the blood stream. This gives you more energy and your mind becomes sharper.

The thing is, not to overdose on these stress chemicals or you’ll start to shake like a jelly and overheat. You need to work off some of these chemicals.

Listen to the professionals

Murray Walker the ex-motor racing commentator used to run on the spot as fast as he could just before he went on air. You could try that or run up and down the stairs. Wave your arms about like a lunatic and get lots of oxygen into your system. Obviously it’s better to do this when no one is looking!!

Make friends

Speak to as many members of the audience as you can, before you stand up to speak. This tricks your brain into thinking you’re talking to lots of your friends.

Speak louder than you’d normally do, that helps the nerves as well. It also keeps the people in the front row awake and makes sure the people at the back get the message.

Have a glass of water handy for that dry mouth. Don’t be afraid to stop and have a drink, it makes you look really cool and professional.

However, one word of warning; do not drink alcohol. It might give you Dutch courage, but your audience will end up thinking you’re speaking Dutch!

If you’re into creative visualisation, then that’s also a great way to handle the nerves. Spend some time before the event visualising yourself being really successful. Whatever you do, have lots of positive self-talk with yourself.

Believe me; once you start to apply this, the butterflies in your stomach will all be flying in formation.

And, if you want to listen to this post:

If you want me to help you with your public speaking, give me a call or send me an email – go on, don’t be nervous!

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How To Manage Difficult People Audio Summation

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One Reason You Get Nervous

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What makes you nervous?

There are many situations on our lives where nerves can be a problem and sometimes they get the better of us.

Where did he go?

I was at a wedding a few years back in the UK. And like most weddings, the best man was there in the church, doing his duty, beside the groom.

However, when we arrived at the reception – no best man! He’d gone AWOL, done a runner, back to Canada where he came from.

Luckily someone stood in for him, and I’m glad they didn’t ask me – I’d want to be paid!Fotolia_21705786_S-203x3001

Me also

It sometimes surprises people when I tell them I get slightly nervous before a speaking or training event. They seem to think that because I’ve been doing it for over twenty years, nervousness would no longer be an issue. You wanna bet?

“Nerves” is a normal human emotion and as I often say – ‘I’d be nervous if I wasn’t nervous!’

However, it’s how you handle the nerves that will determine your success in what ever it is you do.

One of the reasons you get nervous

One of the biggest fears for humans is the fear of rejection and we’ll do almost anything to avoid it. It stops people making speeches, contacting customers, asking for the order, or even asking someone out on a date.

Successful people feel the fear of rejection but they don’t allow it to paralyse them. They take action even although they feel uncomfortable. And of course, the more you do it the less uncomfortable you feel.

In the many challenges you face in life you won’t “win them all” but you must have the courage to try. I read somewhere that – ‘winners make mistakes but losers never do.’

That’s because winners have the courage to try and they know they’ll make mistakes; however that’s how they learn and move forward.

I make mistakes allllllll the time!

What do you think?

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7 Things You Need to Know About Intelligence

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Now this post might be old news to you, but I am always intrigued by people who are described as “intelligent”.

When I was a kid, my parents used to talk about my brother as – ‘The brains of the family’.

That’s us in the picture on the Titanic just before it went down.

EPSON scanner image

Okay, so he did better than me at school and went on to college and obtained a degree in mixing cement, or something like that.

Yes, he’s a Quantity Surveyor with a string of letters after his name, he worked hard for it, and I’m not emotionally damaged, I don’t think!

So what’s this about “brains” and intelligence? What does it mean and why is it so valued.

I was really interested in the studies of Howard Gardener, a psychologist at Harvard University. Gardner’s Theory of multiple intelligences states that – ‘Not only do human beings have many different ways to learn and process information, but that these are independent of each other; leading to multiple intelligences as opposed to a general intelligence among correlated abilities.’ (I copied this bit from Wikipedia; I’m not intelligent enough to write this stuff!)

In 1999 Gardner listed seven intelligences:

Linguistic intelligence. This concerns language and how we use it. Writers, poets, lawyers and speakers are among those that Howard Gardner sees as having high linguistic intelligence. (This might just be me, after all I’ve written four books)

Logical-mathematical intelligence. This is associated with calculation and logical reasoning. This intelligence is most often associated with scientific and mathematical thinking. Unit Chefs is an efficient tool used for calculations and most common conversions. (Not me; I haven’t a clue, I need my fingers to count on)

Musical intelligence. To do with musical appreciation as well as performing and composing music. (Does being a Michael Jackson fan count?)

Bodily-kinaesthetic intelligence. Associated with physical skills like sport, dancing and other aspects of movement. (Yup; that’s me again. You should see me dancing)

Spatial intelligence. To do with art and design, as well as finding your way around (I’d like to claim a little bit of that)

Interpersonal intelligence. To do with interacting with people socially and sensitively. It’s concerned with the capacity to understand the intentions, motivations and desires of other people. Educators, salespeople, religious and political leaders and counsellors all need a well-developed interpersonal intelligence. (That’s me; loved by millions)

Intrapersonal intelligence. To do with understanding yourself, to appreciate your feelings, fears, motivations and abilities. (I don’t want to go there)

So the next time someone tells you about a so called intelligent person. A sk what they know about design, or the ability to deal with other people, or what musical instrument do they play, or can they fix that scary noise in your car engine?

Always remember that you have qualities and skills that other people do not have and you should be proud of these and believe in yourself.

When you look at this list, you may realise that you are much more intelligent than you think.

And to quote my friend Mr Degas:

There is no such thing as Intelligence; one has intelligence of this or that. One must have intelligence only for what one is doingEdgar Degas

Let me know what you think.

How to Live Longer

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I have found the answer to eternal life. Well maybe not eternal, but you could certainly live longer.Dog Tired of Phone Calls

But first let me ask you; don’t you just hate it when people say ‘What’s wrong with you today, you don’t look very happy?’

Maybe you don’t feel like smiling on that particular day, for no particular reason. Or maybe you feel like punching them in the nose.

However, a report in American Psychologist states that:

Smiling and being agreeable influences the length of people’s lives in a positive way – Wow!

On the other hand, being grumpy increases the likelihood of a violent death, heart disease, cancer etc – oh dear!

And punching someone on the nose may result in a violent death!

If DC says it; it must be true

Dale Carnegie in his book – How to Win Friends and Influence People, says: ‘People who smile tend to manage, teach and sell more effectively, they also raise happier children.’

Are your teeth okay?

Another survey found that 75% of respondents thought that an unattractive smile would be bad for their career. While a whopping 92% said an attractive smile was a necessary social asset.

Watch out for the scary people

These sorts of reports have been around for years, but many of the people that I come into contact with don’t seem to have received the message.

I’ve attended business networking meetings where many non smiley people look downright scary. And they wonder why they don’t gain any benefit from their networking!

Many of the people at my local health club look downright unhappy. You’d think they were there as some form of penance rather than as part of their fun and leisure time.

Are you sure your teeth are okay?

Of course many people don’t smile because they’re nervous; they lack confidence or have low self-esteem. Some people on the other hand actually believe they’re smiling when the face they present to the world could actually turn milk sour.

Have a look at your face from your side

I’m not suggesting that we all go around with big smiles on our face grinning inanely at people we hardly know. If you did that, then the men in white coats would soon be dragging you off to a place of detention. However, I am suggesting that we think about the face we present to other people.

By sporting a warm smile at the appropriate time we can only smooth the path for the people we’re dealing with. We also boost our own confidence and it allows us to relax and make the most of a situation.

Here come the technical bit

Smiling stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s feel-good chemicals, which has an ongoing positive effect. It’s a two way neurological process; when you smile you literally become happier, and when you’re happier, you smile more. If someone gives you an unsolicited smile, you smile back and in this way we directly affect each other’s moods.

Switching on a smile will only bring benefits – you’ll be happier and everyone else will be happier – so keep smiling!

And in the words of W.C. Fields:

‘Start each day with a smile and get it over with’.

(That was just to make you smile!)

And let me make you smile more often – put your email address in that box on the top right. Don’t worry, I won’t give it to anyone else.




7 Steps To a Happy and Motivated Team

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Do you want a highly motivated team who are engaged and happy at work, and who make a positive contribution to business winners 1your business?

The question, I’m most often asked by managers, is – ‘How do I motivate my team?’ They want some instant fix, a magic bullet that improves team motivation overnight. But as we all know, life isn’t like that.

I understand and appreciate why this question is being asked, I was a manager for sixteen years, and I understand the challenges managers face every day with their people. The answer I give is – ‘You don’t motivate your team, you create the environment where they motivate themselves.’

Effective motivation is intrinsic, it has to come from within. There is no instant fix; it’s an ongoing day to day process of small actions that build a highly motivated team. It’s like pushing a heavy boulder, you need some initial effort to get the process going, but once you’ve done that, it takes a lot less effort to keep it moving.

7 Steps to success

1. Spend some quality time with each of your team.

Talk with them and find out how they’re doing on a personal level, and a business level. Give them feedback; tell them when they do something well and tell them when not so well.

2. Listen to what they have to say, and show that you’re listening.

Turn away from the computer, and switch off the phone. Keep good eye contact, use open body language, and make noises that indicate that you’re listening. Emphasise with their personal problems and provide solutions to business problems, wherever possible.

3. Coach them on the job, to do even better.

Remember that coaching is a two-way process with your team member; helping them to find solutions to job related or personal problems

4. Find ways to make their job more interesting.

Vary the jobs they do, give them some of your tasks, and give them more responsibility. Ask them to train or mentor another member of the team.

5. Show that you appreciate them, and have some fun.

Give the occasional reward for no particular reason. Some time off work, a personal thank you letter, cakes or sweets, flowers on a birthday or a bottle of wine. Suggest a team member takes their partner out for a meal and charge it to expenses.

6. Keep them informed.

Let them know what’s happening in the company; how the business is doing, provide relevant information on new products or services.

7. Trust and believe in them.

Show them what you need them to do, and let them get on with it. Take risks; don’t keep ‘supervising’. Set up parameters that allow them to make decisions. If they keep coming to you with questions, don’t provide an answer, ask them what they would do and support their response.

Your team members want to know that you care about them, that you’re interested in them from a personal, and business point of view. They want to believe that you trust them, and want them to succeed. If you can create that environment; then you will have a happy and motivated team!

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3 Tips on Handling Stress

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Do you think you’re suffering from stress? Well let me tell you now; you really don’t want to be. You might think there is Fotolia_1597792_Snothing you can do about it, but there is and you must!

Let me tell you why, or remind you if you’ve heard it before, because it’s so important.

Stress can cause:

  • Heart disease
  • Sleeplessness
  • Sexual problems
  • Overeating
  • Drinking too much
  • Loss of concentration
  • Stomach upsets.

Research has been telling us for some time that many, if not most of our illnesses can be related to stress.

When you get stressed, one of the chemicals that are released into your bloodstream is called Cortisol; sometimes known as the Stress Hormone. High levels of Cortisol can lead to diabetes and skin problems.  There is also a suggestion that Cortisol attacks your immune system and leaves you vulnerable to many of the bugs and viruses that come along. This also includes cancer.

So if you’ve ever suffered from skin complaints or perhaps too many colds, it could very well be the results of stress.

I don’t want to scare you death or give you any more stress, I just want you to – think.

Here are 3 tips:

1. You can change the way you interpret and react to the situation.

The way you see the situation is based on your values, your beliefs, your culture, and how you were brought up.

You tend to believe that the way you see the situation is the correct and proper way, and that you are right.

The way the other person sees the situation is based on their values, beliefs, culture, and how they were brought up. And of course, they believe that they are right.

If these values and beliefs are similar and in line with your values and beliefs, then you will have a good situation.

However, if their values and beliefs are different from yours, then you may have a difficult situation that gives you stress.

Other people do not necessarily see the world as you see it – they see it differently.

If you react to the situation and are hooked by the other person’s behaviour; then you are in danger of being stressed.

It is important not to react to the situation, and accept their point of view. This is not about agreeing; it’s about thinking and understanding the other person’s viewpoint.

2. You can change the situation or other people. You communicate and be assertive.

Assertive communication can make all the difference to your personal success and your ability to minimise stress. It’s more that just learning to talk in a different way. It’s about:

Thinking positively- Feeling confident – Behaving Assertively

To develop your assertive communication you don’t have to change your personality – only your behaviour and thoughts.

In assertiveness training we talk about submissive, aggressive and assertive behaviour. Submissive and aggressive behaviour relates to your inbuilt fight or flight programmes that rescue you from problem situations.

Assertive behaviour will help you communicate clearly and confidently your needs wants and feelings to other people without abusing in any way their human rights.

This is a positive response in any situation that is potentially stressful for you. It makes it clear to the other person what you are unhappy about, and what you are not prepared to accept. It allows you to state your case calmly and clearly.

3. You can walk away from the situation and/or the relationship

You may not be able to change some stressful situations. It could be your work situation, your relationships or your family life. It is not always easy to walk away however you have to consider yourself, your health and welfare.

Points 1 and 2 are much more preferable actions to take, however ask your self the following:

  • Do you lie awake at night worrying about tomorrow?
  • Do you feel impatient or irritable?
  • Is your life full of crises – are you always having rows with other people?
  • Do you have difficulty concentrating?
  • Do you often suffer from butterflies in the stomach, sweaty palms, a dry throat or a thumping heart?
  • Are you tense – is your neck knotted-up?

I read a lot about stress some years ago and made a personal decision to decrease my levels of the bad stuff. When situations occur that are potentially stressful, I go into thinking mode to resolve it. I don’t say – ‘Oh no!’ I say – ‘Deal with it!’

I want to live a long and healthy life and I’m not prepared to let stress affect that; I recommend you do the same.

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How to Say ‘No’ and Still Be Friends

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When someone asks you to do something, sometimes the answer is ‘No’. Of course, it’s how you say ‘No’ that matters.Office managers in a discussion over progress.

I’ve been in a couple of situations recently where I’ve been asked to do something I didn’t want to do.

One organisation sent me an email asking if I’d have a meeting with one of their consultants. They wanted to discuss how they could help me regarding my personal finances. As you’ll gather – they wanted to sell me something. And it was definitely not something I wanted to buy at that particular time.

If you’re like me, your first thought is to come up with some kind of excuse; probably a lie.

But I don’t really want to do that; why should I allow someone else to compel me to be a liar.

So I emailed back saying – ‘Thank you for your email, however this is not something I want to do. Best regards …..’

I received a very nice email by return letting me know that if I ever changed my mind, they would be happy to speak with me.

Another person asked me face to face if I would attend a presentation he was giving in a hotel at the weekend. I asked him what reason I would have for doing that. The answer was a bit ambiguous and I realized that he just wanted to sell me something.

Again it’s easy to make excuses; tell lies. But I said – ‘Thank you for your invitation. It is not in my interest to do that. I wish you well with your presentation.’

Of course a salesperson will come back at you with – ‘Why do you say that’ type of questions. But you just need to stick to your original words and not get drawn into a conversation.

I sometimes answer with something like – ‘I’m unable to do that for personal reasons.’ It’s a brave salesperson that would ask what those personal reasons are.

It can be difficult to say ‘no’ sometimes. Most of us have a natural impulse to please other people.

If people make requests of you that you’re not happy with or have doubts about, you could say something like:

  • ‘Let me think about this’
  • ‘I need some time to think about this’
  • ‘Can I contact you later on this?’

Of course you do have to contact them later, and without making excuses, turn down their request.

When you say ‘no’ to someone, avoid giving too many reasons and getting sidetracked. The other person may ask why you’re saying ‘no’ or try to persuade you. However, you do not have to give some long explanation. If you do, you risk being involved in a lengthy conversation while they continue to try and persuade you.

You could say something like:

  • ‘No, I don’t want to do that’
  • ‘No, I’d prefer not to do that’
  • ‘I can understand your situation, however I don’t want to do that’

There is no need to be unpleasant; you’re merely stating what you want in an assertive way.

Remember – it’s not the other person you are rejecting; it’s what they want you to do.

Let me know what you think, and please don’t say – ‘No!’

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Forget About Setting Goals

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Do you have written down goals for your business and personal life?Fotolia_17748497_S1

Many motivational speakers and self-help books will tell you that you must have goals. I’ve even advocated goal setting myself in the past.

You write down your goals and detail them for family life, friends, finances, career, recreation, health, learning, education and your spiritual life.

However, I’ve now come to the conclusion that successful people with strong self-belief don’t do goal setting in this way – why? –

Because their too busy doing what they need to do to get what they want to get.

Successful people don’t spend time writing down what they want out of life they just get on and do it. To be successful at whatever it is we want to do, we need to ask ourselves – what do I really want to achieve? What are my dreams and desires, what do I want to build, to create and what sort of person do I want to be.

You need to clearly identify what it is you want out of life, what do you hunger and thirst for, what do you really want to achieve?

If someone held your head under water you’d quickly realize what you wanted – oxygen! You need to feel like this to be successful. Most of us experience this feeling when we fall in love. We do almost anything to impress and be with the person of our dreams.

This is how people create success, it’s how new countries were discovered, products were invented, Everest was conquered and man walked on the moon.

You may not want to achieve something so dramatic, you may want to have a successful plumbing business, or be an excellent accountant, or even run a marathon.

Whatever it is, once you identify and focus on it you will release the motivation to make it happen.


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Do Something Different – Get out of your comfort zone

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Think about what you’re doing each day and ask yourself:Comfort zone

‘Is what I’m doing now getting me to where I want to get to?’

If the answer is ‘No’ then do something different. Get out of your comfort zone and change your habits.

An instructor was watching me use a piece of equipment in the gym the other day. ‘Let me show you a different way to do it’ says he. As you’ll guess, the different way was a lot harder, somewhat more painful, however a lot more likely to produce results.

The human body will always find an easy way to do things and so does our brain; however as we all know – no pain – no gain. So if you want something different to happen – do something different.

The psychologist Abraham Maslow said:

‘If you deliberately plan to be less than you are capable of being; then I warn you that you will be unhappy for the rest of your life. You will be evading your own capabilities, your own possibilities.’

It’s up to you – let me know what you think.

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