South West Training Blog

Articles, tips, guides and blogs around business skills, training, professional courses and development in addition to South West relevant news.

Which Communication Skills are Most Important in the Workplace?

Which Communication Skills are Most Important in the Workplace?
We know that effective communicators get more done, more effectively, with less stress and better outcomes We've listed some of the most important communication skills in the workplace, in bite-size chunks!. These skills will go a long way to helping you build successful relationships with your colleagues, gain trust and to perform above and beyond your work objectives: Friendliness: We are more likely to do things for people that we like and respect. Being friendly with people will naturally gain colleague trust and respect and ensure more positive relationships. Effective communicators take the time to show an interest in their colleagues and to...
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5 Stress Busting Tips

5 Stress Busting Tips
The workplace can be a stressful environment for some staff. While a degree of ‘healthy’ stress is expected, for some people, stressful encounters and situations can be part and parcel of the working day. How we manage stress in the workplace clearly affects how we react to it and the subsequent impact that it has on us personally. Chronic stress can have a damaging physiological and mental impact, leading to long term sickness, substandard role performance, poor decision making and even role attrition. Fortunately, an increased focus on mental health and the recognition of the impact of stress on the financial...
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Great Tips to Help Close your Sales

Great Tips to Help Close your Sales
Sales is a constantly evolving process. To keep up to speed, it’s important that you spend time trying to refine your approach. We've collected some great tips to help those, without the time to take part in sales training courses, close their sales:   The only important person in the conversation is the prospect Always remember that the most important person in the conversation is the prospect. Many sales persons feel the need to talk about their company and services or product. Although there’s a need for this, ensure this request is prospect driven. Instead, focus on asking your prospect questions,...
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Top Tips to warm up your Cold Calls!

Top Tips to warm up your Cold Calls!
Cold calling is, without doubt, one of the most challenging area of sales for any salesperson. When the task is approached without appropriate cold call selling skills, the deluge of negative responses from prospects can be soul destroying for even the most hardened salesperson. If cold calls are to work, then it’s essential that the salesperson takes note of best practice and considers whether their approach is likely to convert business at the end of the day, or, leave them feeling drained, disengaged and fed up! Let’s look at some top tips for maximising cold calling success:    Be clear about...
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Management or Leadership? What's the Difference?

Management or Leadership? What's the Difference?
A common question asked by newly appointed managers attending our Management and Leadership training courses is, ‘What’s the difference between management and leadership?’. It’s an important question as the difference is not a mere case of pedantics. Although the two concepts work hand in hand, there are important differences between the two terms, which managers need to understand, if they are to appreciate when they should be leading and when they should be managing. Essentially, the difference between leadership and management is that leaders inspire people to follow them, whilst managers have people working for them.  To help describe this further,...
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Essential Cross-Cultural Skills for the Dorset Tourism Industry

Essential Cross-Cultural Skills for the Dorset Tourism Industry
Dorset is beautiful – in fact, it is so beautiful that the tourism industry attracts almost half a million foreign tourists a year and contributes just under £230 million a year to the Dorset economy. The growing attraction of Dorset as a holiday destination is clearly evident in the increasing numbers of cruise ships docking at Portland Port, with Dorset bound tourists doubling from 30,000 to 60,000 from the previous year. With 80% of cruise ships’ passengers choosing to stay in Dorset (and hence contribute to the economy), the Dorset tourist industry has every reason to be excited. To capitalise upon...
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4 Biggest Sales Mistakes that Salespeople Make

4 Biggest Sales Mistakes that Salespeople Make
If you work in a sales environment, then the likelihood is that you have experienced the frustrations of feeling you’ve closed a deal, only to find out that you haven’t. Most salespeople can empathise with the disappointment of investing heart and soul into trying to sell a product or service that is clearly a great fit for the prospect, only to find out that their approach has failed.  So, if you’ve got a great service or product but you’re not selling it as well as you should, then where might you be going wrong? Below, we’ve listed the four sales mistakes that...
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Five Traits of a Successful Sales Person

Five Traits of a Successful Sales Person
Excellent salespeople are like gold dust. Businesses with a detailed understanding of what it takes to do well in sales, use this understanding to build high performing sales teams that consistently win business and drive company success. So what does it take to be a winning salesperson? Below, we have outlined the most important traits: Trait Number 1: Passion From prospecting to closure, passion is an essential driver across all elements of the sales cycle. Passion is emotionally contagious and a salesperson, passionate about the product or service, will, no doubt, pique the interest of their prospect. Likewise, a passionate approach...
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Five Super Time Management Tips!

Five Super Time Management Tips!
Time management skills are an essential attribute for successful employees across all business roles. It’s a fact, that savvy time managers are more productive, climb the career ladder more quickly, demonstrate greater professionalism and competence, have more spare time within their role to participate in training programmes and sufficient time to invest in building and maintaining strategic professional relationships.  As such, if there’s one training course that should be at the top of your list this year, then make it time management! In the meantime, the Training South West team have prepared six fundamental time management tips to get you on the...
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It’s not just a beautiful place, Dorset has some of the best companies to work for in the UK!

It’s not just a beautiful place, Dorset has some of the best companies to work for in the UK!
There’s a good reason why our training company is headquartered in Dorset – and that is, that along with other parts of the South West, we believe that Dorset is one of the most beautiful places in the UK. A vibrant county with entrepreneurs, multinationals and small family businesses bustling together against the backdrop of a stunning landscape, it’s fair to say that Dorset is the place to be! Adding to the many reasons to celebrate Dorset, is research carried out the by the Indeed Job Search website, which has ranked a number of Dorset companies in the top ten list of...
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Top Tips to Help you Become an Effective Presenter

Top Tips to Help you Become an Effective Presenter
With increased export portfolios, relocations of large businesses to the South West region and entrepreneurs choosing the South West over other parts of the UK, business is thriving. In fact, it’s estimated that businesses in Devon and Cornwall alone, turnover in excess of £14 billion per annum. It’s a fact that strong businesses need strong presenters to ensure growth and promotion. If you work for a South West business, then the ability to present successfully is a fantastic skill to have. The guidelines below will go a long way to helping you develop the skills you need. We look at the...
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Tips to secure employee buy-in to company training programmes

Tips to secure employee buy-in to company training programmes
Working with businesses across the South West, it’s fair to say that securing employee buy-in to company training programmes is a common challenge for many learning and development staff. The attitudes of reluctant trainees are typically rooted in past experiences, such as previous enrolment on poorly scoped training programmes, working within a company culture that devalues training, or enrolment on courses that were a bad fit for their role. As most learning and development staff realise, these attitudes can be incredibly damaging due to their ‘contagious’ nature. Not only do these attitudes serve as self-fulfilling for the negative learner when attending...
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It's Essential that South West Companies Protect their Expats

It's Essential that South West Companies Protect their Expats
HMRC Regional Trade Statistics show that exports from companies based in the South West of England are continuing to rise. Devon, Dorset, Somerset and Cornwall may not be obvious locations for international business activities, but the region is performing outstandingly when it comes to their exporting efforts.  When exporting, it's naturally important that companies send members of staff to target countries to manage business processes and relationships on the ground.  While some businesses are adept at preparing and training international staff in advance of their moves, unfortunately, many other companies fail dismally in this duty of care. The lack of training given to outbound staff...
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Mindfullness and Training

Mindfullness and Training
Janet Street-Porter gave her views on ‘Mindfulness’ meditation in the Daily Mail this week. At the risk of ‘outing’ my love of a good trashy read when I’m drinking my coffee first thing in the morning, I was caught by the title: ‘Can Mindfulness really make you Live longer’? It caught my eye as ‘mindfulness’ is a term which is increasingly quoted on public forums. As a concept, it’s taken on a life of its own and it’s bandied about by psychologist, therapists, government bodies, NHS and celebrities alike. From a training perspective, mindfulness as a subject has started to dominate the training...
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Make your Training Company Tender Questions Relevant

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?

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?

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...
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Are your Presentations Presentable?

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: 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

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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