Training South West Blog

Articles, tips, guides and all sorts of goodnes around the topics of business skills, training, professional courses and development in addition to South West relevant news. Mainly by Bob the Blogging Badger. Sometimes a human.

Make your Training Company Tender Questions Relevant

Part of my role as a Training Coordinator at Training South West is to tender for training contracts within the Dorset, Cornwall, Devon and Somerset areas. Although the initial documentation phase can be rather painful at times, a number of businesses use this phase as a basis to select companies who perform well against criteria to take part in a subsequent face to face process. I really enjoy this part of the process as it provides a fantastic opportunity to increase my exposure to the diverse range of South West businesses and I’ve met some really interesting people because of it....

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Is Financial Illiteracy Costing you Dearly?

According to research by the think tank ‘IPPR’, British people love going it alone. They estimate that over 14% of us now work for ourselves.  There’s clearly a huge attraction to working independently (not least being able to manage your own holidays and working times) but the realities of being a sole worker without the backing of all the functions that typically support a larger business can be tough. Not only does the individual need to excel professionally within their chosen specialism but they also need to be adept at marketing, sales, administration systems and processes, website management, IT, HR and finance....

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Hero or Villain? How would you be Portrayed in an Online Customer Care Story?

The Somerset County Gazette featured an article on 24th September outlining a family's disgust at the accommodation they were placed in when visiting a holiday site in Burnham on Sea (a seaside resort in Somerset). The family report what can only be described as a nightmare for any family who has spent money in the anticipation of a relaxing holiday.  Stomach-turning photographs and the family's account of cigarette ends under the bed, an ants' nest, filthy hob, insect-clad skylight, and a lack of safety equipment all add to the horror of the story. To add further damage, the report outlines the...

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Are your Presentations Presentable?

Did you know surveys have shown that people fear delivering a presentation more than dying or divorce?  The good news for those of you who are not seasoned presenters however is that good preparation and confidence in your materials can go a long way to reducing potential presentation anxiety. Follow these simple tips and ensure that not only are your presentations of value to your audience but that you also enjoy delivering them: •    When preparing your presentation try to use a variety of different media; come equipped for example with a tangible product if possible to pass around, maybe incorporate...

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Lidl: Good Prices and Great Training!

Lidl is planning to add an additional store to its current South West portfolio by creating a second store in Yeovil. Its portfolio has grown rapidly in this part of the world with stores across Somerset in key locations such as Bristol, Bath and Dorchester, Dorset. This latest expansion has been met positively by the local community who can not only expect the prospect of additional jobs working for a market leading company, but also a full ‘living wage’ – putting Lidl’s shop floor workers at a distinct wage advantage when compared to other local supermarket competitors.  Good pay and additional...

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Youth Theatre - Helping Kids to Perform Better

The Octagon Theatre in Yeovil, Somerset will soon be entertaining families from across the South West with their festive production of Sleeping Beauty. I can't wait!! I love the pantomime and take the children every year without fail.  The cast are always fantastic and the kids always leave having had a great time.I love the theatre.  Not only does it bond and entertain the local community but it also contributes to the economy and provides local dancing / acting schools with opportunities to include talented youngsters in productions. No doubt local children will be included in the Octagon Theatre production of...

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Are Written Skills really so Important?

Growing up as a child in the 70’s, grammar and punctuation were instilled in lessons and, along with my classmates, errors were not acceptable and we would be penalised for making them. We were repeatedly told that our written work represented us as individuals and that it should be as well presented as our physical selves. When I became responsible for recruiting teams however, it quickly became apparent that these standards no longer hold the same weight that they did when I was a child.  Following my recruitment of my first few employees, one of whom was degree qualified, it became...

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Our Dedicated Somerset Training Venue

Training South West has traditionally delivered its training from a dedicated training venue in Crewkerne, Somerset with beautiful, light airy training suites and great facilities. Delegates have always commented on the rooms as allowing a pleasurable space in which to learn. Due to the way in which we work with our clients and the broad area covered across the South West, we have decided that dedicated training venues have value but that they are not always the right solution for our clients.  Why?Our clients do not necessarily have the luxury of time to enable them to travel to a training destination...

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Quirky Facts about the South West, UK!

To make sure we get our business offering right, it’s essential that we truly understand our South West neighbours and their potential training needs. One of the best ways to map training needs is to ensure that we stay on top of reports released from entities such as the Office for National Statistics or UK Trade and Investment. We came across some fantastically quirky facts when when reading ‘Portrait of the South West’ and thought we'd share them with you! •    Did you know over five million inhabitants reside in South West England; making the population bigger than Northern Ireland and...

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How well do you Performance Manage your Team?

For those of us, fortunate enough to have worked under great managers early in our career, we rarely forget them and aspire towards their management attributes as we progress within our careers. I recall a conversation not too long ago with members of the team in which we discussed the ‘best managers’ for whom we’d worked and one colleague in particular was adamant that all her management skills were learnt from the manager that she held in such high esteem. She remained connected with him and would often approach him if in need of management advice or mentoring. As such, he...

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Do Blanket Training Policies Work?

Training approaches differ greatly across companies and with experience working across large corporates through to small privately owned companies, I’ve found that the value and nature of the respective policies vary greatly in tandem. Within the corporate world, my experience has been that there is a tendency to ‘pin everything down’ – if it can’t be measured, quantified and reported on, then the attitude is that efficiencies are lacking.  With the luxury of ample training budgets, the corporate world has the ability to arrange regular training courses which are delivered by fantastic trainers.  One would assume that the courses would be...

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How Reciprocity is Effectively used in International Business

Reciprocity is a word many people have heard of before however few can define the mechanisms of this concept in business even though they may experience it all the time and as it happens right in front of their eyes. Let's look at what we mean by 'reciprocity' and how businesses can take advantage of the phenomenon.  In our world today, reciprocity means responding to an action made by another individual/company. The principle is quite simple - it is the experienced obligation to give back the form of behaviour that was received in the first place. Most of the time it...

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8 Essential Lessons the German Mannschaft Can Teach Every Business

Last month we witnessed a breathtaking World Cup final which saw the Mannschaft (‘team’) win after a 24-year drought. As well as appearing in the World Cup finals eight times and having won the tournament four times, Germany is now the first European team to have won the cup on Latin American soil.  Clearly, the German Mannschaft is a fantastic team. After all, we can’t neglect the fact that they played against Argentina, a country which is - unlike Germany - not known for its team but for its star player, Messi, a.k.a “the best player in the world”.However, do you...

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Our Emotional Intelligence Training Course

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is, quite simply, the ability to manage one's emotions to achieve successful outcomes. It covers all types of areas, from mundane social interactions to complex corporate negotiations. Emotionally intelligent people can use their skills to drive constructive conversations, (even difficult ones) and to lessen any negative outcomes that might otherwise arise. Since this skill also promotes our ability to communicate effectively and respectfully, it's fair to say that emotionally intelligent people really do get the best of themselves! It should come as no surprise that employers are increasingly looking for emotionally intelligent candidates to boost workplace productivity, communication, and performance.  Our Open...

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Accounting & Finance Skills

Did you know that the word 'accountability' derives from accounting? Although finance and accounting may (for some) be quite daunting concepts to approach, it is important to understand basic financial management skills for business purposes.   A recent opinion article beautifully explains the origins and deemed importance of accounting in capitalist society from a historical point of view. For example, “In Renaissance Italy, merchants and property owners used accounting not only for their businesses but to make a moral reckoning with God, their cities, their countries, and their families.”If your role requires you to oversee a budget, manage resource productivity, or create...

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Managing Multicultural Teams: A Participant's Feedback

Following the recent delivery of a 'Managing Multicultural Teams' open course, one of our participants from a Bournemouth-based international NGO offered to share her experience of the training.  Below, she outlines key topics included in the training course, her key takeaways, and how the learning will be transferred back to the workplace.  What did the training cover? The training was nicely structured but also informal at the same time allowing us (attendees) to ask as many questions and share our own experiences as we went along throughout the day. The training started by looking at the impact of culture on business and leadership.  We explored the importance of...

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Contagious Leadership – Emotional Intelligence and its impact on Team Performance

In today’s business world, hard skills are no longer seen as the sole key to success. While in the past there was no room for emotions in the workplace and the importance of soft skills was largely underestimated, they have come to be considered as indispensable and well worth striving for – and rightly so, I believe. Just think about your own experiences. Wouldn’t you agree that your emotional state greatly influences your thoughts, attitude and behaviour and consequently, your personal wellbeing, your relationships and your performance both at work and in your private life? This is why Emotional Intelligence (EI),...

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Developing Soft Skills as a Manager Today

Management and leadership, as we know it, has undergone a significant shift in recent years due to globalisation and the increasing need to work virtually and across time zone and cultures. Previously, a manager was seen as someone with largely specific technical/hard skills, today that perception of the role has largely developed. In the last decade, and as the world is becoming an increasing ‘global marketplace’ (Lane 1997), human resource development has also taken on a more international outlook which means that the global talent search has focused increasingly on finding, developing, and retaining those individuals with a specific skill set:...

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What is the Meaning behind our Body Language?

In the workplace, it is often challenging to communicate effectively and to avoid misunderstandings. Unconsciously, we interpret each other’s ‘social signals’ whilst speaking in order to interpret what somebody is saying. As a matter of fact, these non-verbal ways of communicating, influence our communication to a greater extent than anything we say.In fact, more than half of our communication depends on how we say things, rather than what we say.Did you know that we process body language cues faster than we process language?  Our body language shapes our relationships with colleagues, managers, subordinates, and clients.  It doesn't stop at the workplace however as...

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08 July 2021
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