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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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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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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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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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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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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Are Written Skills really so Important?

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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Calling on South West Businesses to Accommodate Remote Working during the Winter Months

Calling on South West Businesses to Accommodate Remote Working during the Winter Months
I am fortunate enough to be abroad and working at the moment and I am not looking forward to coming back to Dorset, which my family have written to say is already becoming rather cold. I wrote an article recently on behalf of Training South West which urges businesses in the region to allow more people to avoid the nightmare of commuting during winter months and accommodate remote working arrangements.  For some people it's essential that they attend the work place but for many others it's not critical to their role at all.  They can probably get a far better job...
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Our Dedicated Somerset Training Venue

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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How well do you Performance Manage your Team?

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?

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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Our Emotional Intelligence Training Course

Our Emotional Intelligence Training Course
Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is a trendy concept and no wonder why - it can help anyone in achieving success both in their personal and professional lives. Employers are increasingly looking for candidates with interpersonal skills as they could be key to better adaptation and performance in the workplace. Emotional Intelligence is being able to adapt to every social interaction using the right approach and also embracing a positive mindset, which helps to achieve success. This ability is crucial in order to have constructive conversations, (even difficult ones) and to lessen any negative outcomes that could come out of them. It also...
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Accounting & Finance Skills

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 the benefits of understanding 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.” A basic understanding of some of the following concepts...
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Join Us for Our Open Day

Join Us for Our Open Day
You're invited to our Open Day May 6th! Come and join us to officially open our new training centre and meet with other local businesses for a bit of networking and nibbles. We welcome you to come either between 12:00-14:00 or 18:00-20:00 on Tuesday May 6th 2014. Networking Scavenger Hunt! To make this time valuable for you, we are going to hold a Scavenger Hunt! You'll find out information about other local businesses as well as spread the word about your own. The winner will win a prize, but shhhh, it's secret…come and find out what it is ;) We would...
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Managing Multicultural Teams: A Participant's Feedback

Managing Multicultural Teams: A Participant's Feedback
We ran a Managing Multicultural Teams open course on January 30th. We asked one of the participants to tell us about her experience of the open course – what was covered, what her key take-aways were, and how this experience will be applicable back into her role at a Bournemouth based, international NGO. 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 with looking at how culture affects business and leadership. ...
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