Posted in Bite size learning, Decision Making, Problem solving, Relationships

What is behind a sale…?

Recently found a fantastic mnemonic for sales:-

S – solve problems

A – ask lots of questions

L – listen more than you talk

E – empathise

S – share knowledge

Sadly a poor selling technique is to go straight to sharing the knowledge, particularly when talking about a service.  Telling your client what it says on their website is the classic “Value snoozer”, why do I want to know something I know already.

The stage that is above the mnemonic and the most important is the rapport building.  How do you make somebody feel really comfortable that they want to buy from you, as they have made you feel valued.

You initially find out the service or requirement they are looking for which is the problem and then when you reach the asking lots of questions, split them into two categories.

There are hard facts that anyone and everyone can give you but the soft facts go into identifying the personal requirement.

Working with property managers you can see the divide easily:-

Hard facts

  • Where do you live currently?
  • Where have you viewed already?

Soft facts

  • What attracted you to the area you are currently living in?
  • What did you dislike about the properties you have viewed already?

If you only collated the hard facts you would be providing them with the same properties they have already seen or rejected.

The balance of questions and listening should always be on the buyers side, remember the 80:20 principle.  Ask an open question and listen empathetically for the detailed response.

Empathy is always understanding that person’s position at that moment in time, please don’t sympathise with them or make it about you.

Finally when you have collated enough data you can give a knowledgeable response about what service or product you have available.

Please do contact nuggets to explore behaviours around service



Posted in coaching, Goals, Leadership, motivation, Problem solving

Highlights and Lowlights…

Screen Shot 2018-07-23 at 08.08.51

We often use review tools when we are facilitating a team or strategy day and one of our favourites is Highlights and Lowlights.

Delivering a course that has been effective for a long period of time and gives a good return is a Highlight but might not necessarily be a surprise.

However a module within a workshop on email led to writing a book “Making email work for you” this was a Highlight and a huge surprise.

We can all identify with the time that Brexit is taking and that comes as a Lowlight but really no surprise.

The Lowlights that are surprise are those ideas that are brilliant in your head, however when they get executed they are not quite as effective as you thought.  Famous examples might be the Dyson washing machine.

Reviewing anything and everything is a leadership quality.  We can use the four boxes to review:-

  • Life
  • Work
  • Health
  • Diet

You will be surprised with the data you get from a review and importantly what you go onto do with the knowledge.

Please do get in touch

Posted in coaching, Emotional Intelligence, mindfulness, Problem solving, Stress management

Writing your way to calm…

On Saturday I went on a two-hour writing for well-being workshop.  I had no expectation and went with an open mind.

The facilitator a former English teacher set the scene by explaining the bulk of her work was with children who had been excluded from school.  She told a story which led to the work she does.

A mother and boy arrived for a session and were asked to tell their story.  The mother somewhat overpowering led the conversation.  When the child was left alone he was asked to tell his story and he proclaimed “Mum just told you”.  The facilitator said you tell it again and we will write it down.  As the process began the boy spotted many embellishments and facts that over time his mother had added to the story.  The process of writing made the story become his and his words.  After several alterations he had his story and his physicality and social interaction totally changed.

Writing is all about telling stories and we all have a story.

This concept of writing for well-being is well researched at the University of Texas and there are several books around the power of journalling.

The first exercise we did as a group was to write non-stop for 6 minutes.  Initially I went into work mode thinking about what subject and how to structure it.  However when you know that there are no boundaries your other senses become very apparent and I found that I was able to write about what I could see and hear.  It is very important to go back to basics and have a pen and paper and even that exercise in your hands felt strangely familiar and alien all at the same time.

As a group we reviewed what we had just done and similar experiences to my own occurred:-

  • Tuned into your surroundings
  • Aware of other senses
  • Mindfulness – in the present

The 6 minutes is crucial as it is the tipping point before your sub conscious kicks in, so the writing does not go to deep.

The second exercise we had a choice, there was the “12 Stepping Stones” or “Two characteristics”.

The stepping stones was to identify 12 times in your life that were pivotal and then just choose one to write about.

Lot of the group struggled to know what to put in and leave out with the 12 stones.  However the most impactful story was one lady chose a stone that was about a visit to Thailand to see her cousin and she said writing about it made her remember that person who she was at that moment.  She was confident and brave and she was excited to have found her again.

The two characteristics exercise was writing in the third person and creating actual characters but the two characteristics belong to you.  By giving the two characters names it meant the removal of you, even though it’s about you.  It was a subtle way of getting to know yourself and the relationship was just between you and the paper.

The facilitator never asked us to share our work as it was all about the process of writing not the content.  This helped enormously, that you had no fear of “show and tell”.

We rounded up the two hours with a final exercise only 10 minutes of writing and I was delighted how calm and happy I felt at the end of the two hours.

I always advocate “What gets written gets done” however now with my coaching sessions, I will encourage my clients to journal their thoughts.

Please do let me know if you are interested in the Writing for Well-Being and we will pass on your details.





Posted in Bite size learning, Leadership, Management, Problem solving

Redefine failure…

“If we wish to fulfil our potential as individuals and organisations, we must redefine failure” – Matthew Syed author of Black Box Thinking.

At school they used to say mistakes were learning opportunities and all too often you would raise your eyes incredulous at the platitude.

However now we can see that effective cultures are the companies that have an environment that is open to mistakes.  Organisations that provide an open forum to talk about challenges and errors, means they are open to new ways of working.

In the book “Black Box Thinking” the culture of the aviation industry is compared to the NHS.  The safety record of aviation is phenomenal with every incident being thoroughly investigated with the help of the Black Box.  The NHS culture is still incredibly hierarchical with a fear of admitting mistakes.  We are now in a world far more litigious where there is a threat of liability hanging over people’s heads.

To implement Black Box Thinking into your organisation here are some tips:-

  1. Create a progressive attitude to failure – confront mistakes
  2. Team meetings and team briefings where everyone has a voice
  3. Empower everyone to speak – create linear management structure
  4. Break down a big problem into small parts and rigorously establish what works and what doesn’t
  5. Ensure that blame language is not used or individuals targeted – group responsibility
  6. Create systems like the Black Box investigations where you review success and failure in the same way every time
  7. Apply creative thinking to resolve problems
  8. Be open to change when analysing and during problem solving – do not focus on just one part or one error
  9. Explain the benefits of learning from failure – reduce costs, advocating practising, as it is better to fail within the company than to the Client
  10. Wash up meetings and reviews should be common place and enjoyable leading to effectiveness and ultimately success

Please do get in touch if you would like a 90 minute workshop on Black Box Thinking.

Posted in Emotional Intelligence, mindfulness, Problem solving, Relationships

Fundamentals of caring…


The film the “Fundamentals of Caring” begins with a character completing his training as a carer with a list of fundamentals to underpin the role of the carer.  The do’s and don’ts before they begin working with clients.

In business how often do we take time to explain a role from the perspective of fundamentals.  As the definition below state, you could define the central importance of the job and attach principles and behaviours that are central to effectiveness and to your organisation.

Defining the word fundamental

  • adjective:- forming a necessary base or core; of central importance.
  • noun:- a central or primary rule or principle on which something is based.

I have been working a lot on organisational culture and a lot of teams could do with the “fundamentals of caring”:-

  • How are we going to demonstrate respect to each other?
  • How are we going to value each others work?
  • How will we connect with each other each day/week/month?
  • How will we show that we care about the companies success?

At the very core of culture are values and in essences the fundamentals of how you want your team to behave.

Outlining why they matter means they don’t come across as a do and don’t list.

  • Looking smart and professional when you are being paid to look after some-ones  money it demonstrates you care.
  • Being on time for meetings when you sell software for project planning.
  • No eating at your desk when you work for a property management business as you would never eat in their property, it shows respect and care.

It is not just our jobs that need fundamentals to provide a compass or a steer.  There are many areas of life where we need structure and fundamentals to underpin what we are about.

Fundamentals of being a Mother

  • To nurture and care for her off spring
  • To be a Cheerleader at all times – triumph and disaster
  • To listen at any moment and time however awkward
  • To provide guidance on every area of life
  • To be the best taxi driver

List the roles that you have in life and what do you have to lay as foundation to those  hats that you wear.

Underpin the whole week with the “Fundamentals of caring”

Please do stay in touch and comment on the blog 


Posted in coaching, Decision Making, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Problem solving

How to solve problems…?


Knowing where to start with a problem and focusing on the right things.  Whilst studying for Myers Briggs accreditation I came across the Zig Zag model.  It maps the problem on a journey.

  • What do you know already?
  • What ideas and solutions do you have?
  • How do you make a decision based on the ideas you have?
  • What is the impact on people?

zig zag

We begin with just the facts, what is the situation – exactly? What has gone before?  Who is involved? Collect the data, keeping an open mind. Then use your intuition to speculate on patterns and connections formed by the facts. What are the possibilities?

Once you have the facts and ideas use objective analysis, weighing facts against speculations. Use logic to determine cause and effect. End the zig zag model by using judgment to incorporate the human consequences: the impact on people and values.

Studies show that we have a favoured route and if we don’t consider all the points of the zig zag we might shortcut it and this could have implications.  My own route would be to get excited about possibilities think who I could sell it to and then completely miss the consequences of costs.

The model works really well as a team exercise using post-it notes and also individually you can map it out for  yourself.  We can deliver 90 minute workshop on Problem Solving, please do get in touch



Posted in Decision Making, Emotional Intelligence, mindfulness, Problem solving, Relationships, Stress management

How to take responsibility…?


Take full responsibility for everything that happens to you in life is the difference between being the “driver or the passenger”.

In the book “Monday Morning Leadership” by David Cottrell – Jeff  the main character arrives for his first mentor session with Tony.  He is late and blames the weather and traffic etc… Tony explains that in life there will always be rain or traffic, you make adjustments, you leave earlier or you find another route.

“What happens when you place blame is that you focus on the past, when you accept responsibility, you focus on this time forward on the future.  You accept total responsibility”

If you eliminate blame from your vocabulary then you will start to make positive changes.

Knowing and implementing are two different things.  I have my own business so I am the driver, however I know taking full responsibility for where we go and what we do can be exhausting.  Responsibility comes with choices and ultimately decisions.  Stephen Covey explains that the word responsibility is split in two – it is always are ability to choose a response and put together equals responsibility.

I cannot blame budgets in organisations or economic downturns I have to take responsibility for creating products and services that are more accessible to the market.  I change the destination, not the driver.

Until you accept total responsibility – no matter what – you will not be able to put plans in place to accomplish your goals.

For a 90 minute workshop on “Responsibility – Be the driver not the passenger” please contact

Photo this week is courtesy of Sophie Wilkinson (homemade cake with nugget branding)

sophs cake

Posted in mindfulness, personal impact, Problem solving, Relationships, Stress management

How to manage your own pressure points…?


The first step is to identify the pressures you are under. Is there any pattern is it environmental, people or organisational demands.

What happens to you before the pressure mounts?

Identify your personal signs and symptoms:-

Mental signs

  • Indecisive
  • Over analysing
  • Worrying
  • Loss of concentration

Emotional signs

  • Nervous
  • Anxious
  • Hopelessness
  • Tearful

Behaviour (habits that become exaggerated)

  • Twitching
  • Slamming around
  • Eating too much
  • Fiddling with hair

Physical symptoms

  • Back ache
  • Head aches
  • Skin rashes
  • Indigestion

It is very personal and is different for every individual, and taking the time to identify your own personal signs and symptoms could prevent pressure leading to stress.

Pressure is managed by ourselves we decide whether to fight or flight, do we stay or run away from a situation.

The process we use is the same every time we have to think about something which leads to how we feel about it and then ultimately what we do.


The human software for managing pressure.

Knowing that you cannot think and feel at the same time is life changing. It is also good to know that you have to pass through thinking, feeling and doing, there is no shortcut.


  • I return to my desk after a meeting, someone has left a folder there
  • I THINK how annoying who does the folder belong to
  • This leads me to FEEL irritated
  • At the point of my being in feelings someone asks if I have called Mary
  • What I DO is reply sarcastically

If the software on your computer is not working you would switch the machine off and on again.

We can do exactly the same as humans. It will take 90 seconds, which is long enough to walk to the kitchen, get some fresh air and most importantly just concentrate on breathing. We can then try again:-

  • If I THINK about the folder, logically it could be Brian’s
  • I FEEL less anxious now I know the owner
  • What I will DO is walk over to his desk and confirm it is his

Your signs and symptoms are made up of think/feel/do:-

  • Mental – the way we think
  • Emotional – how we feel
  • Behaviour – is what we are doing

If you know any of the three are not operating as they should, you need never reach your physical symptoms. The 90 second reboot gives you time to create another perspective.

Please contact for practical learning

See the website for more details

Posted in Decision Making, Leadership, Management, personal impact, Problem solving, Relationships

10 Top tips of negotiating …


“Let us never negotiate out of fear.  But let us never fear to negotiate”

John F Kennedy

How many times do you think afterwards you could have got a better price or could just simply have said more when the deal was being discussed.

Please find some top tips to think about when you are next negotiating:-

  1. Focus on interests not positions – interests are your underlying motivators and a position can be limiting especially if you attach your ego to it.
  2. Expand the pie – have lots of options and ideas do not limit yourself entering the discussion
  3. Treat negotiation as a puzzle which needs to be solved rather than a battle to be won.  Separate people from problem.
  4. Always know your BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement).  Consider the other person’s BATNA as well.
  5. Be respectful and empathetic to the person you are negotiating with.
  6. Make negotiations win/win
  7. Think of the level you are negotiating at:-
    1. Strategic – long term
    2. Tactical – immediate
    3. Political – other agenda
    4. Individual – personal
  8. Be careful not too steer the negotiation in the wrong direction:-
    1. Value Slayer – talk about price too quickly
    2. Value Snoozer – telling them something they know already
    3. Value Star – telling them something amazing that they don’t know
  9. Think about characteristics of great leaders, patience, fairness, resilience, respect and many more…
  10. Finally look for a wise agreement for both parties

Please do contact for a negotiating workshop.


Posted in Bite size learning, Decision Making, Emotional Intelligence, Problem solving, Stress management

Ask the brain a question…?


If some-one were to ask you to summarise a book from one of many on your book shelves how would you get on?  It might well be like the vast majority of us a struggle.

There are two memory processes recognition and recall.

Recognition is what happens when you see a bird and know it’s a robin. It’s what happens when someone says your name and you know they’re talking to you. It’s also what happens when you are reading.

Recall, on the other hand, is somewhat different. It’s the ability to pull up the answer to a question, without looking at it. If I ask you the capital of France, and you know the answer, Paris, it’s because you recalled it from memory.

Recall, unsurprisingly, is almost always harder than recognition. Asking you what is the capital of France, and you replying correctly, “Paris,” is much harder than me asking you “Is Paris the capital of France?” and you replying, “Yes.”  You have recognised Paris in the question so your recall becomes so much easier.

As recall is so much harder than recognition we need a technique to support it.  The brain responds to asking questions and will trigger the recall approach.  For example if you want to remember this blog you would need to write a question:-

  • What are the two memory techniques?
  • (answer:- recall and recognition)

Recall and recognition in harmony is utopia.  So whilst reviewing or summarising use recognition as well as recall.  We remember more if it relates to us on a personal level.

  • What are the two memory techniques?
  • Where were you this morning when you read this blog?

Index cards for revision have always been effective, however ensure they are labelled with key questions.  This technique does not just apply to reading thinking about summarising a meeting:-

  • What did the meeting achieve?
  • What is my role in the actions?
  • Who are the key players to move this forward?
  • Where was the meeting held?

The brain always has to answer a question and the more you ask the more lively it becomes.  Start it up this morning and this week, ask lots of questions…!!!

This blog was inspired by Scott H Young who runs learn on steroids –

Please contact Bev for 90 minute workshop on learning –