Credibility Part 1 – What Your Credibility Quotient – CQ – Can Do For You

If you don’t have credibility, will anybody be listening?

When you walk into a room or open your mouth to speak, you are not on zero. The work you have put in before entering and speaking will either amplify or diminish the impact and gravitas of what you say and who “they” think you are. We call this pre-suasional phenomenon, CREDIBILITY

The Crowd.

Your audience are not automatically predisposed to listen to you or take you seriously when you issue a call to action. First, you have to seed the ground, build the tension, and, programme your audience to respond. Ask any successful public performer and they will confirm this – If you just show up and start, everyone will be disappointed.

What is Credibility?

There are many components (when articulating your talent in the form of a story). It exists in the hearts and minds of the listener as a promise, thought, emotion or belief. It is the faith people give themselves in backing you. It is the quotient of trust, loyalty and leverage that you inspire.

What can Credibility do for me?

I am glad you asked.

It gives your words weight. Let’s start with a negative example that too many people have suffered. You will recognize this (and if you don’t, you may be part of the problem.) In a meeting a woman speaks up and makes a valid, salient and actionable suggestion. What happens next? Silence and the train moves on. 15 minutes later, a higher status man makes the SAME suggestion and, this time, the room erupts – Praise, excitement and buy-in follow. HE has saved the day. She does not have leverage in that room. This is not right and it needs to change.

The Answer

Your credibility quotient CQ will lend authority to the words used and suggestions made. It will be listened to, followed, reacted to with respect, and, taken on board as a serious contribution.

Portrait of confident, happy female nurse in hospital hallway

Trust – As an executive, trainer, coach or mediator, you will need to have established a high enough level of trust already if you wish to make your point with impact. The audience must know you have the skills and competence to deliver. They need to feel that you are a positive force amongst them, and, they should hold you in high esteem for keeping your word and performing well in the past. All this will have been established BEFORE you speak.

Credo – When you diligently define your values, essence and purpose, this enables you to articulate them to others and will add depth, width and richness to your reputation. Think about that for a moment. Can it be said of you now? That you stand for something? If so, this means that an audience will listen to you having preselected trust and respect as their default setting. Powerful stuff.

Visible – The whole you, the complex and sophisticated individual that is you is made up of intersectional parts, multiple experiences and emergent values. If you have followed the formula, you and your credibility will come as a package that is accessible to others. (The pragmatic benefit will be the time you save.)

Respect – Everyone has lived a life worthy of note. We have all had to overcome obstacles and carry on. But, the mental shortcuts of unconscious bias or the propaganda of polarising media may have diminished the love you are due. This goes double if you inhabit a marginal or oppressed group. Credibility is the ladder that will get us out of the hole, make us feel whole and let the light shine upon the fully visible version of us – Complete, included, and, represented.

Become a Player – No longer will we sit in the shadows watching the main show acted out by others that possess confidence and privilege, (sometimes masking their lack of depth and competence, and getting away with it.) We will have our time in the sun, and, at the microphone. And, we will be heard.

Inclusion – There exists an overused metaphor – Of being the last one picked for the football team as you stand against the wall with fear churning in your guts. It is an oft-used image because it represents a truth. It does not take much to be overlooked, ignored or side lined. Credibility is the membership pass allowing us to join and belong to key in-groups. It is the door code to influence.

In demand – Dare we go further? Do we want to be listened to and that is it? Have we been standing around outside for too long, excluded; looking in? Is it now time for us to take the lead, make a stand and broadcast our valid, ethical and necessary agenda?

Today, we are surrounded by so many dubious voices that appear to have the herd enthralled and the crowd mesmerized.

It is vital that quiet, marginal voices now speak up. With some investment in building Credibility, important messages and your story will be heard for the first time.

In Credibility Part 2 – We look at the components of credibility

About the Author – Matthew Hill is a Presentation Skills Trainer, Coach and Author, working with a  range of corporate executives and soft skills trainers and coaches.

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Intercultural Training Channel Webinar -Marketing to Get More Training Days – with Less Hassle and No Hustle – With Matthew Hill

Or, “I am now a Good Independent Trainer – So, What Do I Do To Get More Days, And, At A Better Rate?”

Shocked girl eavesdropping.

“I want to hear more Matthew”

You are passionate about helping people resolve their issues and learn to help themselves building new intercultural skills you will teach them. You have accumulated hard won experience and realised your dream of becoming an effective independent trainer. So –

– How will you now build your independent trainer or coaching business?

– How will you network effectively to grow your list of useful and high value contacts?

And,

– How will you get your name and message out there using Social Media to generate qualified and appropriate interest in your independent training and coaching services?

Escape

Trapped in a world of cheap subcontract days!

Fear – You dread the idea of becoming an isolated star trainer with next to no clients – unwittingly keeping all your much needed talent away from individuals in need you and who could easily benefit from your experience.

Wish – You know what you dream of;

– To receive warm enquiries from people who ALREADY know who you are, respect what you stand for and are willing to pay a premium to use your independent training and coaching services…because they work.

– You wish to spend less time hustling for business and more time in the flow – conducting successful group and individual training and coaching sessions.

Action – Join Our Webinar – Marketing to Get More Training Days with Less Hassle and No Hustle;

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5002826678569069827

In this 90 minute high energy, content rich and interactive web based seminar, we will cover the 3 areas you need to invest in if your Independent Training / Coaching Service is to grow;

Webinar

Activity, Organisation and Dynamism

1) Activity – Remember – No effort –> No outcome. We will show you where many new independent trainers and coaches go wrong (and reveal the worst crime of all), and, list the strategies, tactics and moves you must make in order to succeed.

2) Organisation – Building your identity and passion-based professional BRAND, marketing like a pro, and, learning the structures and processes required.

Most people fail with their own attempts or give up before they have built a complete Brand. We will show you where NOT to waste your time and where you need laser focus to generate engagement (its all about getting to the higher levels of engagement.) And, you will learn to build IP assets / informational products using your knowledge, qualifications and experience. Informational products that stand out from the crowd; gain you a reputation as an expert and command attention on Social Media, even as you sleep.

3) Dynamism – We will shake you from your current state of cultural modesty (“I couldn’t possibly do that”) to having you OWN your personal experiences and articulating your deal sheet of past victories in a media friendly way that generates results – incoming warm enquiries. We will make high-octane networking a reality for you and gift you solid marketing ideas. They will work for you and you will have the chance to access the step-by-step process that takes you from “I don’t know how to do that” to, “I have just completed my amazing product, pitch and plan.”

Take Away – By the end of this informative webinar, you will be given at least 3 effective marketing tactics to work on. When you implement them you will benefit from their proven power. And, we will give you the chance to acquire our Independent Trainer Going for Growth Bundle to guide you along the sure and enjoyable path to informational products, a professional identity, an effective brand, positive networking and the generation of valid incoming mediation enquiries.

It’s not for everybody.

We want to speak with the people who will get the most benefit from the webinar so, please do NOT join if you;

– Don’t have a sense of fun and adventure

– Have zero intention of investing in yourself to grow your independent trainer / coaching service

– Possess a closed mind when it comes copywriting and social media. Or,

– Think that clients will find you by magic and telepathy, so none of this is necessary

Still reading? Good.

Vector speedometer scale

Take your days to the MAX

No Cost – There is no fee for attending the webinar and there are limited places. If you wish to expand your independent trainer practice and are ready for the challenge. If you believe in yourself, and want to follow our proven step-by-step guide, then there is only one place to be at 6PM UK time on, 16th October 2018 – 7PM Paris time – 1PM New York – Register now to attend the Marketing to Get More Training Days with Less Hassle and No Hustle Webinar. Click here and follow the instructions;

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5002826678569069827

We look forward to speaking with you on 16th October 2018. It’s a date.

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7 Ways To Support Your Super Premium Offer Price with Matthew Hill

Going for Growth in 2019 – Let’s go back to school with a bang

The main point of being an independent trainer, coach or mediator is to take more control of your life. And, charging enough to allow you some free time is a critical part of this. Whether you want to be a super high earner, blend free time with work in a more healthy way, or, set up a pro bono surgery, getting to a place where you can comfortably charge more is important.

In this post we explore 7 ways to support you charging a premium price or, even, a SUPER premium price.

And, at the end we talk about an opportunity to meet up at an event in Malaga too.

  1. Identity – This may sound simple but, every year, I meet many who have not completed their identity build with clarity or sufficient power to confidently charge more. Essentially you must project yourself as just one thing – An expert – deeply experienced and knowledgeable on one subject. Quite frankly, you need to be perceived as the leader in your field. Here lies the secret to charging a super premium price. Do you have a model, a special technique? Do you have unique content, a better methodology? Does your way work best? Take some time to work on these elements and your invoices will grow to a freeing level before next summer.

    Quickening of Inner Palette

    Paint yourself as THE expert!

  2. Brand – What is a brand? There are 1000 answers. For the here and now, it is an increase in heart rate for the viewer, accessing your marketing material and content. They must get excited watching you in your YouTube video. They must connect their dreams to the outcomes you describe. It is necessary to eliminate the gaps in your brand story and present a joined up journey for your chosen tribe. BTW – Not everybody can do this for themselves.
  3. Super Copy Writing. Killer Text Is Key. When you write well for others, they will think well of you. When you structure your communications using the Super Copy Formula, they will come knocking on your door.
WORDS ARE POWER hand-lettered quotation

The 14-Point Super Copy Formula

Price is a function of supply and demand.

If your offer is oversubscribed, your offering can support a super premium price. Of course – getting from regular work volumes to positive busy-ness (50 days at a 100 cash units rather than 100 days at 50 cash units) requires a specific and proscribed process, much of which relies not on what you write but how and in what order you present it. When you follow the Super Copy Formula for your written texts, the extra cash will become available to you.

  1. Great Content. You need to rearrange your content to be telepathic, sympatico and aligned with your perfect customer, what they want, when they want it. And, deliver it in the way that works for them. Too quick, too soon or too simple / complex and they will give up on you and start moaning. Leading your best students through to completion and success – that is only possible with great content and great process. The best content is pitched right, transfers knowledge effectively and is fully absorbed to be available and applicable by the student.
  2. Products Product Products. Regular readers will know, I am obsessed with turning your experiences into assets to earn you attention, brand brownie points, engagement, sales, income and advocacy. When you have a film, audio or text product, you take your level and your charge rate UP. It really is that elegant. And, creating products comfortably, cheaply and quickly is, today, a piece of cake.

    Analog microphone with recording equipment in the control room.

    Products Product Products

  3. Building Your Tribe – I spoke to a young coach of coaches recently and she spoke about going wide to make sure you have something for everybody and can thus earn money. WRONG. To start with at least, it is all about the one thing, delivered with care, to the one audience. Finding your avatar, ideal market segment and small customer niche is essential if you desire to charge a premium price. If you are all things to all men, you will be COMMODITISED and that means your customers will expect you to be near, convenient, quick and CHEAP. Yuk. When you cater solely for your niche, you take back control, become a healthy equal partner with your client, and, you will be allowed to negotiate for a convenient time, a better rate and a greater level of respect and engagement. Super premium rates are not about greed. They are about getting you the respect your experience deserves.
  4. Give More – When you crank up your prices, unsurprisingly, your customers will expect more. Give it to them. Guarantee all your work. Add extra value to your offering. Listen to them and adapt. Tailor your service so that it works for them. Go the extra mile / kilometre. Value is a function of Benefit over Cost. V= B/C. When you understand that you will be keen to double the customer benefit and therefore double your price – Pragmatism.

Conclusion

As we think with some dread about “going back to school”, and, before we become swallowed up with low quality urgency, there exists, now, a brief moment to reflect on your next year and ask, “Am I providing the best service I can, to the most interesting people out there?” “Am I being paid what I am worth for my experience, charisma and ability?” And, if not, “What am I going to change?”

If you are currently being paid a super premium price for doing what you love, I need to ask you a favour. Please share your wisdom and experience with someone younger, so that they can reach your level with a little less experimentation.

If you are contemplating the end of summer with horror, and, are still swapping time for average money (most people are), then do read our other ITC posts for Independent trainers, coaches and mediators. They will help you build your business, charge what you are worth, work in a way that suits you and connect the best of you to the best people out there.

And one more thing – Malaga,

If you are going to the SIETAR Spain Congress in Malaga in September 2018 and wish to join one of our Intercultural Training Channel, Going for Growth Bootcamp Days, do get in touch with me directly. Do E Mail, Matthew Hill at matthew.hill@hillnetworks.com and we can set up a short telephone conversation in a week or so.

Thanks. Finally. Please like and share if you have taken value from this post.

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Putting Together The Shortest Business Winning Marketing Sequence Possible with Matthew Hill

Will you take up the €10 Challenge?

We sometimes set a simple exercise in the Going for Growth Bootcamp. The task is to design a marketing sequence that generates a profit of €10.

It sounds a bit silly but the point is this. If you can get your products, voice and marketing together for this simple exercise – THEN – €10, €1000 or €10,000 will become a possibility for you very soon!

Vorderseite neuer Zehn Euro Geldschein aus der Europa-Serie

Will you take up the €10 Challenge?

Where to start?

If you have a friendly, warm and GDPR compliant database start here. You are putting out feelers to them to sound out their interest or invite them to some form of interaction / demonstration that will take them from “know you” to, “like you, trust you and understand your offer.” That is quite a leap in one contact so it had better be a warm and fruitful encounter…

Invitation

There is a 14-Point invitation formula that works. Elements include connection, hopes and fears, 3 points of education, scarcity and a Call To Action – CTA. The formula works. And, when I say works, I mean it will be 10 times as affective as a nice and polite letter that a non-marketer would send out.

WAFE Warm And Fruitful Encounter

  1. Interactive speech – Here you gather them in a space and, with a special presentation formulation and sequence, help them to deepen their sense of need and lack and therefore create a gap in their lives that can ONLY be filled by your product or service.

    Microphone over the Abstract blurred photo of conference hall or seminar room with attendee background, Business meeting concept

    Speaking is the number one converter of colds to customers

  2. Selling Webinar – Again with the right content and sequence, you can easily sell to your warm crowd that you have developed and captured in your database. (Filling up your database with warm contacts is dealt with elsewhere.)
  3. Demonstration – My day job is leadership and talent training – The obvious demonstration of my work will be a short training course – If the prospect is less that 2 hours away, I offer a live half-day and we all play nicely. And, if they are further afield, I provide an educational demonstration session via webinar. What will you demonstrate?

Call To Action

With these WAFEs I am aiming to shorten the warming process, accelerate the trust building path and get the client qualified in (or out) at lightning speed.

Take it Off-Line

The aim is to have a warm and qualified prospect talking to you about your offer. It can be a tiny one – A book, or, it can be a large one – A transformation and change programme. It does not matter. The key is to get into a one-to-one interaction where you can match your selling communication with their buying process and reach a mutually beneficial outcome.

Matthew Hill culture trainer 07540659995

Take it off-line

Conclusion

In less than 500 words you have read an overview of a minimalist marketing sequence that WORKS. I hope that is efficient enough for you. I know you are busy. If you wish to talk about the 14-Point invitation structure and how you could adapt it for your business, do feel free to give me a call. +44 7540 65 9995.

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Thanks, Matthew

About the Author – Matthew Hill is a trainer, coach and public speaker helping trainers, coaches and mediators to build their business, reach profitable independence and give back to society.

 

 

Classroom Training for Companies is NOT Dead! And, here is the business case.

10 reasons why classrooms beat screens – An opinion piece by Matthew Hill

At the moment I am battling with a large client to “save” classroom face-to-face training against the passionate arguments from a few of their senior directors who wish to take ALL content on-line and deliver educational content via virtual E learning packages.

Their logic for this centres on time, money and travel.

Time Management Course

The way they state it, in the long run, if the company builds, say, 100 units of virtual training, the job is done – There will be relatively little further expense. In their utopian vision of the future for education, the company will not have to move people around, book flights and hotels, repeat live training or pay for group suppers and trips to the local town amusements etc. From a purely financial perspective this is both understandable and correct.

But, What is missing here, and what is going to be lost?

Save the Classroom – 10 Things to Consider…

  1. Realism

The classroom affords a much more realistic representation of a corporate meeting, a heated discussion or a simple live pair dialogue. It is this realism that will adds educational value later when the participants are locked in conflict and combat for real.

Studies in learning impact mostly conclude that the closer a learning simulation is to reality, the greater the transfer is, making the new competence ready for use in an actual live and important work scenario.

So, the 3D simulation of realistic soft skills, leadership and change exercises found in classroom encounters is going to almost always be more fresh, alive and more nuance that its virtual equivalent.

You don’t learn to ride a bicycle by reading a book.

  1. Stimulation

A half decent facilitator will bring the room to life, the group to life and the material to life. They will add energy, manage the group dynamic, warm up the participants and use humour, drama and stories to illustrate many key points and, at just the right moment. This makes a difference in driving home the learning and makes any training session, special and memorable. Let us contrast this with many conversations I have had with corporate executives bored and frustrated with long, repetitive and “averaged out” on-line training materials. Just the delivery channel alone represents an unwelcome addition time tying the stressed executive to their laptop.

We are suffering from a plague of screen fatigue.

Change management course

  1. Tailored

A live training does not have to average out the talent in the room and cater for the median delegate. There will be the strugglers, the walkers and the sprinters too. They have different needs, separate learning style preferences and each has an ideal individual tempo. In a live encounter these subtleties can be serviced in many ways to help everybody to get to progress, satisfaction and a fuller understanding of the learning on offer.

One size does not fit all.

  1. Concentration

A great trainer will sense the corporate commercial context they are walking into and feel the energy in the room. Have some awful financial figures just been released? A round of redundancies announced? Has a product or service just failed? Or, is there a tension due to an on-going external threat such as Brexit or US trade protectionism?

The trainer is there on the ground and can shape the day and absorb concerns whilst leading the group to the commercial and educational objective via adapted strategies and behaviours that respect the bigger picture and the current perceived reality.

And, they can respond to the energy levels in the room by scheduling a break or putting in an extra exercise to manage the concentration or mood of the group live, as opposed to guessing the concentration span of the average participant months in advance and having to ignore any real time distractions.

Live energy management adds to great transfer outcomes.

Diverse group of people at a community center. Meet and greet.Group exercises

  1. Exercises

Spending live time with people gives more possibilities – Role play, team building initiatives, group discussion, feedback – giving and receiving, physical breakout groups and the live reconciliation of differing opinions, learning styles and behavioural preferences as experienced when any two or more people get down to business.

Dynamic simulation exercises leads to excitement leads to retention.

  1. Questions

The effectiveness of the classroom is realised when dealing with magic learning moments that are thrown up by a group interacting around critical topics in the intimate and personal space of the classroom.

With on-line delivery, exceptional cases beyond the obvious ones cannot be catered for, as the learning piece must, by definition target a lowest common denominator of material and methods.

When an average person gets stuck, they represent more than themselves. Live, the teaching can be paused as the facilitator illuminates the troubling topic from a new perspective to ensure understanding. It can be in these simple moments that the “aha” breakthrough occurs for many. Or, when the genius delegate spots something that even the experienced facilitator has not come across before. These incidents can be special and make the live event stand out in the memory of the participants and lead to the company attaining a level of awareness or breakthrough.

More,

Those break-time chats or questions can save lives and careers, starting when a quieter member seeks out help. They can do this because the facilitator has established a safe space with sufficient levels of trust and confidentiality for the confession or enquiry to occur. Early intervention can make a significant difference to outcome.

Cater for the exceptional, the quiet and the cautious to help the whole corporation.

  1. Networking

The opportunity in the classroom to meet new people, experience the philosophy of other departments and gain knowledge of alternative points of view from a variety of counterparts can be a major contributor in gluing together a disparate multi-site organisation of virtual workers so creating an esprit de corp that will produce a lasting benefit experienced in elevated levels of cooperation and exchange during a project or around the creation of a new product in the future.

Inspiration can be all around us.

  1. Retention

When pre-reading is assigned, this can be tested for comprehension in the room. During the session, simple memory techniques can be applied to help the learning stick. When a trainer asks what have you learnt to each participant, something powerful and effective occurs. There is a richer processing of the materials, a personal commitment to owning content and a chance to challenge any part of the material just covered.

Profound and intense exercises are the way to max the stickiness of material, and, a post training conf. call can further aid retention with 3 questions; What do you remember from the day? What have you applied and it is working? And, what have you attempted to apply and it is not working?

Deeper interaction leads to greater retention and better application.

  1. Collective Mistake

The best argument for the live classroom comes in the training moment when a collective company-wide misapprehension is revealed. If everybody at Company X believes something to be true and the trainer can show that an alternative explanation or method is valid, there can be a step evolution in outcome. The magic of modern time management or leaving the comfort zone during change are two excellent examples of this, where the majority view does not always represent the “truth” of the matter.

Live training can challenge group-think in a unique and powerful way.

  1. Cost

The number one reason for the shift to on-line learning platforms is cost. But, classrooms do not have to be so expensive and a more dynamic version, blended in with any pure on-line can really make a difference.

When training days are attached to regular conferences or regional meetings, the travel costs have already been apportioned. When the benefit of constructive networking, trust building in reducing escalations or the forming of profitable collaborative partnerships is added back in, the cost per head becomes more than attractive again.

And, in the spirit of constructive compromise, when a summary film is made, pre-reading materials are edited to boost charisma and energy, and, follow up training is delivered by live webinar, the live and virtual costs can be averaged out. When we otimize the cost of classroom and virtual live exchanges and create better non-live materials, we help the finance department to approve investment in training. This then helps generate exceptional knowledge retention to please the L&D department and stimulates and helps create competent and connected workers who now enjoy training sessions put on by the company.

A networked, trusting and collaborative team will beat a siloed one, every time.

Action

Please like and share if you agree with the arguments we have put forward, if you enjoy classroom training, or if, you feel that the classroom is a relevant space for learning, development and business improvement. Thanks.

Have I missed anything?

Can you add to the business case?

Please add any constructive comments that will add value to this piece. Thanks.

About the Author – Matthew Hill is a soft skills trainer working in Europe delivering dynamic group training live in the classroom.

 

Building your Independent Business – Q. What do I do first? A. You need to build 4 products. by Matthew Hill

Strategic Approach vs. Quick and Dirty?

Having just returned from the SIETAR Switzerland congress in Lugarno where I was surrounded by enthusiastic independents, many of who were busily growing their own businesses, one question struck me as most important – What do I do first?

Building tool repair equipments

To build up a complete marketing funnel with experienced based assets takes time. It can be a multi-year project that will require dedication, thought and plenty of external energy and opportunity.

As I have said many times – This build centres on 4 products – 1) The Professional Interrupter – an attention grabbing and valuable asset that is strong enough to stop a busy and successful decision maker for long enough for them to take notice of you. 2) The Product 4 Prospect Asset – An exchangeable item that promises the delivery of value to a cold contact in return for their Opt In – you give them some knowledge and value and they give you their first name, last name, E Mail and permission to contact them. Simple. 3) The Trip Wire – Another small and valuable package that represents a bargain for the price. What could you build and sell for €20? It must represent more value than the perceived cost would indicate, so that you can convert cynical and critical outsiders to become insider tribe members who can warm to your intelligence and experience. 4) Your Core Deliverable Product – The thing you are most passionate about, sold to the insider tribe member, who is ready to appreciate what you have crafted. They KNOW it represents value and, so, will happily pay a premium to receive it.

Building a Crowd.

There are many contact points required and much interaction to build a warm and loyal crowd who will come to know you, like you and trust you to a level where they will confess their flaws, weakness or gaps and ALLOW you to help them. The key here is your reputation – Something that is built in THEIR hearts, stomachs, minds and memories. Remember – they own your Brand. That is where it lives – with your audience, your list, your database, and, in your new family of followers.

Quick and Dirty

Having said all of that (in 350 words) there will be irresistible opportunities that pop up and come your way, out of the blue, and that can generate great commercial returns.

Here it is about scrambling all of your resources together quickly to construct a credible offer and take advantage of this one time gift.

80% is good enough.

Is it time to fight the perfectionist in you and get that outline out quickly? Are you prepared to fill in the gaps later? And. Will your expedience pay off?

What should I do first?

So, we come to a hybrid approach – Keep on track with your long strategic game of building high quality and long lasting assets AND go for it when the sun shines just for a moment. Ironically, it can be those one-time deals that help build your credibility in the longer term and, reacting quickly to lightning chances can really help you to build your resilience, agility and intelligence when it comes to marketing and closing deals later on, when your company is fully formed and ready to take on all comers.

About the Author Matthew Hill is a trainer, author and coach helping new independent trainers and coaches to get more business in through the door. He is running a Going for Growth bootcamp for independent trainers in The Hague, 17th to 19th August 2018. Details at culture99.wordpress.com.

The Hague, the Netherlands

The Hague – Where the next Intercultural Training Channel Bootcamp will take place in August 2018.

Notes From A Big Country. FRANCE. An Experiential Action Research Story By Interculturalist & Observer Daphne Laing

How did this wild adventure start?

The context

Having talked about a more authentic, shared life together during holidays walking the grand randonnees, in September 2017 we finally realised our dream, upped sticks and moved to Brittany, Western France to start a new adventure. The first thing to say is obvious: when dreams become reality they are no longer dreams; and this is where our story begins.

Watermill of Huelgoat, Brittany

 

The project: to set up and launch a residential centre for training courses, workshops and retreats in the peaceful and inspiring surroundings of rural France.

Daphne 1

Part 1 of the Story – Months 1 – 4

Starting as we meant to go on, and in my case with 30 years’ experience of giving intercultural integration advice, we were determined not to fall into the trap of relying on a support network offered by other Britanniques….no! We were going to integrate right from the beginning!!!! We set about asking for advice where the French go: at the mairie, the CCI (Chamber of Commerce) and of course in the bakery and tabac.

Observation 1: the advice and insights given by others who have done the same thing is invaluable, but especially in the form of person-to-person contact. There is very useful objective advice online, but internet forums are generally to be avoided!

Step 1: moving in….

Early indications: deliveries have to be guided in by phone. Mostly they have satnav but this is not to be trusted. We found that about 3 conversations were necessary for every delivery. Where does that figure on Hofstede?? Problem: I thought I spoke French, mais non! The phone was impossible. Every response was met with what seemed like a whole life story while I was still deconstructing the first greeting. I was also frankly out of the habit of answering the phone and talking to a person rather than a robot…

Daphne 2

“Please, what is the context??” I plead, trying to figure out yet again who this was and, even more challenging, where they were – since we didn’t know the geography any better than them!! In our area houses do not have names, so nobody knows where to direct a delivery if you have just moved here, because they don’t know you… Oh and dont’ worry about why that package arrives and leaves not from the post office but the coin fumeur (…..smokers’ corner) tabac in the next village….

Observation 2: so we need to be known!!!! …Start with the “weak ties”…neighbours, baker, newsagent…..

Step 2 Get registeredGrappling with bureaucracy, processes and “the system.” As we intend to be fully integrated into the community, working and living for the majority of the year in our little village, we need to set up our official support network. The problem is that when we ask the locals, they give us the answer but they don’t realise that we are the equivalent of David Bowie in the Man Who Fell to Earth…We don’t know the background, we haven’t grown up with the way the system is organised; so each meeting is positive, friendly and helpful, but we still come away with a feeling of mild panic that we still don’t really understand what is going on because we can’t put the “whys” with the “whats”. We feel as if we are getting almost nowhere fairly slowly, but I still have total faith that suddenly, like climbing a mountain, we will reach the top, having matriculated and received notification of our taxable status.

The result is that we go to all the offices we are directed to but often in the wrong order. After every meeting with another very helpful civil servant we come out encouraged and optimistic, but still not quite sure if anything has moved on. Problem: if you don’t know the system you can’t tell if we are progressing. Observation: wow it cannot be exaggerated how disorientating it feels to arrive in the new system. After 4 months we’re not yet registered with health and social care but we think we have managed to register the business and we have definitely managed to register the car…born in Italy, raised in UK and naturalised in Franc.

Daphne 3

We meet the mayor and get to know the staff at the mairie, which has lists and records of everything and everyone in the commune and is the go-to place for everything: getting planning permission; inviting international visitors who need visas; forming a club; contributing to the newsletter; picking up bin bags. Here you can’t be invisible and you are instantly accountable. Next, off to the bank to open an account – armed for the second meeting (the first meeting appeared to be relationship building) with proofs of address/ residence/birth/ proof of income. The application process is personal: “Madam has travelled a lot” and is all done with the utmost courtesy and friendliness despite the fact that our financial investment is minimal to tiny.

What a huge learning curve – fascinating, mentally tiring and baffling… but soooo interesting, frustrating – and sometimes bizarre. As an intercultural professional I am genuinely interested in the underlying, the abstract, the philosophy… how come everything is so different?….

What do I love about France so far?…the focus on people; the fact that you can be neither unaccountable nor invisible – the close relationship with the commune . our mayor sees to that – you are acknowledged (“weak ties”) everywhere you go, and after around 4 months we are starting to get more than a “bonjour”……petit a petit…… I love the fact that everything is discussed before anything is done – then it is done with absolutely no nonsense, and the person who has done whatever it is, is automatically accountable for their actions… and there is a kindness and a sensitivity both to the human condition and to beauty and art.  Oh yes and although we are STILL finding the 2 hour lunch break annoying because for 30 years we have been programmed that that is when you pop out to get things…… I really appreciate that all working people have 2 hours a day where they mostly eat together, talk together and bond…….. And the space around us, and the lack of M6 motorway (or any) traffic.

What I don’t like? Probably all of the above on a bad day!!!!

Until the next time,

Daphne

About the Author – Daphne Laing is a language and intercultural training specialist now based in France with a long career in training and academia. During the 1990s she worked in Executive training at Regent Executive and Lydbury English Centre before joining Higher Education where she headed up the Centre for Language and Communication Training during the halcyon years of Internationalisation in UK. During that time she was involved in several EC funded projects to that end as well as partnership development activity in places as diverse as Sri Lanka, Kurdistan, Burma and China. Her practice is deeply rooted in observation and discovery and on encouraging personal reflection and growth. She is now working as an independent consultant and trainer and is setting up an inspirational residential centre for education and personal development events and courses in Pen Ar Bed (top/head/centre of the world in Breton) in Western France.

 

Energetic Volunteer Wanted, 28th – 30th June 2018, Lisbon Portugal – €150 Cash.

The Intercultural Training Channel is running a marketing event for Intercultural trainers and coaches in lovely Lisbon in Portugal.

We are actively seeking a volunteer “runner” – Probably an enthusiastic student, to help set up the room in the Vintage Hotel and Spa at the start of each training session, marshal the participants back from their breaks (special persuasion skills required), hand out papers, workbooks etc., operate recording equipment, fetch lunch & drinks, take notes, etc.

Lisbon Historical City Panorama, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal

The venue is the new Vintage Hotel and Spa, Lisbon

The runner role is not paid, however we will give you €150 toward your time & expenses. You will be welcome to learn as much as you can in the room with the interculturalists. Probably someone with a marketing, intercultural or social media interest would benefit most from this experience.

The training is IN ENGLISH.

Interested?

Please feel free to contact me and we can talk about the role in more detail.

Thanks,

Matthew

Matthew Hill

The Intercultural Training Channel

Web; culture99

hillmatthew100@mac.com

+44 7540659995

 

TTT Train the trainer – The 3 S’s of TTT – State, Style and Structure – An overview by Matthew Hill

When junior trainers are about to start their day shadowing me in the corporate classroom, they will often ask, “What is required to deliver a good training day?”

Great question.

My answer is to highlight the 3 S’s

Classroom.

Small Classroom

  1. State – The energy and focus in the room and what you wish to do with it.
  2. Style – What is the preferred learning style of the overall group and each individual? And,
  3. Structure – How are you going to set out the day to land your material, take the participants on a constructive learning journey in such a way that the lessons from your content are going to stick?

Let’s develop this and see what’s important…

**1. State – A 1,000 external factors affect the state of the room at the beginning of any facilitated session – weather, the economy, day of the week, company performance, the politics of the company – redundancies / rapid growth / merger or acquisition etc.

And, if you have a room full of introverted people or workers that do not see your topic as vital, interesting or even relevant, then you can assume that the room will feel cold and distant. So, what can you do about it?

The simplest method and one that has yet to fail is the solo – pair – group formation. It starts with you asking something simple such as, “Working on your own, remember back to your worst customer experience from last year. What were they like and what was difficult about them?” If they are an extremely withdrawn group you don’t even have to debrief the exercise with shout outs.

This will engage the participants whilst maintaining their sense of security as the work is private and kept in their heads.

Next phase, “In pairs, share your stories and compare them to see if there are any common themes.” Here you have overcome most of the reluctance to speak as everyone has generated some content that they can talk about. Facilitating a share or two in the debrief can start to get the crowd moving.

Then, the big one. Arranging the delegates into groups of 3 (for the quietest of groups) up to 5 or 7 people, ask them to discuss actions, brainstorm suggestions or analyse what is going on – either using one of their generated scenarios or a case that you have prepared that has some obvious treasures in and some hidden gems as well.

**2. Style – When it comes to how we take in information, process it, use it or remember it, people react differently. There are 4 main styles emerging from the research of Kolb, Honey and Mumford. The main types can be responded to in your training to make sure you catch everybody and create a successful day.

            Activist – Doer – An inductive and practical person that learns as they do. They will be best engaged with a brainstorming, divergent exercise, solving a problem, discussing in a group, attempting a puzzle, or being given a competition or role-play to perform.

            Reflector – Watcher – An observer, chewing over that has happened – Their favourite activities in the classroom include a self-analysis audit or questionnaire, taking on the official observer role in a game, being the feedback giver to others in a group, or, using the interview format.

            Theorist – Thinker – Probably a deductive thinker. Theorists are best engaged when the facilitator provides a model, facts or statistics to crunch. They appreciate plenty of context and background information and then being given the chance to apply a newly learnt theory to a particular scenario.

            Pragmatist – Feeler – The opposite of Theorists and Reflectors, these inductive thinkers like to get stuck in and do something, experiencing the world and coming up with theories as they go. For them a practical application such as a simulation will work well, or a case study that they find relevant. They appreciate the opportunity of getting down and dirty with a problem and figuring things out for themselves. Get them building a tower with multiple iterations and you will hit the spot.

An intake form sent our before the training can help you assess the largest style present in the group allowing you to adapt your material and exercises accordingly.

**3. Structure – Whilst the design of a classroom day will be tailored to the mission, the company and the group in the room, there are common elements that will help you get your group to a great learning outcome.

            Introduction – Meeting the audience where they are NOW, promising a specific benefit to them as an outcome and, vitally, agreeing the rules of engagement for the day, especially with a more volatile or testing group.

            Warm up – Something to get the brain going and for you, the facilitator, the chance to assess their styles in real time. How many activists, reflectors, theorists and pragmatists are showing up in the room?

            Win – You do need to make an impact as “the teacher” fairly early on – Saying something profound, uncovering the cause of some strange behaviour within the group, or introducing a life changing model, shortcut or a new way of tackling an old problem.

            Model – Framing your main input within a robust structure that the delegates can relate to, understand and remember.

            Feedback – This is a confident move. After about an hour of class, ask the group, “What should I change? Do you want me to start something, stop something or do more of something?” Best to find out if you are missing the mark as a facilitator with plenty of day left.

When you do this and get some stinking feedback – not to worry. In the worst case, say thank you and take a 10-minute time out to restructure your approach and get back on side with the group before they mutiny.

Best case – they appreciate the chance to give input on their needs and will rate you more highly as a confident and flexible trainer.

            Practical – Activity is the key for all types to connect the theory with their particular situation. I do favour gaining real company cases to work on here, wherever possible. Made up cases never ring totally true and will not gain 100% engagement from your cohort.

            Investigation – Handing over control to the group is an important stage in any training. Letting them explore, self organise, access materials in the own way and even storm a little will make them feel they have had a deeper and more significant experience.

            Reflection – The oldest teaching trick in the book is to ask (just after a break or lunch), “So, what have you learnt in the last session that you will apply in your day jobs?”

            Application – An entertaining training day with no impact on work will be remembered as just being a shallow jolly and may prove harmful to your professional reputation. Transfer from the classroom to the shop floor is what is required. Flipping the classroom and asking the participants to come up with great behaviours that everybody agrees to and wishes to encourage and reinforce and a list of undesirable and destructive behaviours that are to be extinguished from the company’s workplace can be profound.

            Summary – Telling them what you are going to tell them, telling them it and then telling them what you have just told them is sound advice (from the Army.)

And

            Follow up – I like to get a conference call going to debrief the participants a couple of days or weeks after we training day. I ask 3 simple but important questions, “What do you remember?” “What did you learn, try out, and, it’s working?” And, “What did you learn, try out, and, it is NOT working?”

So, what have we talked about today?

To summarise, you will inherit a state when you walk in to the training room and it is your job to decide what to do to build their energy level and engagement dynamic to get the job of teaching done.

People have individual preference for experiencing activities, taking in knowledge and applying themselves to tasks. You will also find a predominant style in one department that will colour your choice of task and exercise selection.

Finally, Structure – these are the elements that must be included in your training day, if you wish to get good feedback, achieve a learning outcome and transfer the key behavioural change elements to the delegate’s workplace.

Good luck with your next training day.

Matthew Hill has 10,000 hours of training, coaching and speaking experience and has worked in 30 countries with some of the best corporations in the world. He has had the pleasure of working with more than 80 nationalities and for 3 Governments.