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Jayne Constantinis

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Naughty dogs, new tricks, and how marathon training is like public speaking

If you’re reading this with your ‘lockdown puppy’ on your lap, you may be one of thousands of owners whose pooches are proving problematic. Recent research by the Royal Veterinary College reveals that many dogs which were acquired in lockdown now have a range of behavioural issues such as jumping at strangers, tugging on the lead and separation anxiety. Apparently, it’s because they missed out on socialisation and puppy training in their early weeks and months. The pleasing news, according to experts, is that it’s never too late to teach them good habits. So it’s off to puppy finishing school…

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TWO MINUTES OF LIGHT – how will you use yours?

I’ve just ‘phoned an old family friend who’s been ill. She was thrilled to hear from me. The call lasted no more than a couple of minutes. Yesterday, I posted a positive review on Tripadvisor for a hotel I stayed in over the holidays. It took around 90 seconds. Since 21 December last year, I’ve been rather obsessed with the concept of two minutes because that’s how much extra daylight we get each day. In these troubled times, when there’s so much pain and negativity in the world, this has been making me happy. But then I thought – what…

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Flying by the seat of your pants – ad libbing with confidence and skill

In my last post I discussed the issue of speaking off the cuff, the fear many people have of losing control, and the fact that technology hasn’t helped us grow our confidence muscle. It’s the topic most often raised in my training room, by people of all levels of seniority, in all sectors. There are tips on preparation and rehearsal; banishing perfectionism and desensitising ourselves to ad libbing. Here’s another nugget – a magical word. Several. When used in response to a challenge or a tricky, unexpected question, it creates the illusion of ordered thinking, structure and control. You’ll look…

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Stacking the dishwasher can make us better at ad libbing…

I spent some of the bank holiday (quite a lot of it actually) sorting my kitchen cupboards. There was a lot of rationalisation to be done. For example, I discovered three half-empty jars of garam masala (BTW what even is that????). Now there’s one full jar. The contents of several bags of self-raising flour are now gloriously combined, and a random collection of water bottles has been transformed into a shelf of beauty, as you see in the ‘photo above. You may have deduced that I am slightly controlling or, with a more positive spin, I have good attention to…

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Careful not to mistake an innocent for a traitor – the challenge of online communication

One of the most interesting aspects of the excellent BBC TV series Traitors, apart from Claudia Winkleman’s eye liner, was the inability of the contestants to read each other. Time and again we witnessed them analysing their fellow ‘guests’ and getting it wrong. They repeatedly misinterpreted body language, comments and behaviour. They were in a state of high alert, they were being hyper sensitive and observant and still they came to the wrong conclusions. On numerous occasions. It reminded me of Malcolm Gladwell’s book Talking to Strangers in which he also explores how human beings are so often so bad…

PURPLE SNOW DROP
Why the Victoria Line might not be the best place to display your dirty undies……

Last Saturday, in the space of five hours, I witnessed three unusual events. Three deeply private conversations conducted in public. The first was in a packed tube carriage. A young couple were engrossed in a heated argument about his (alleged) lack of empathy in the relationship. The girl was upset and angry. He remained mostly silent, and was clearly in a state of excruciating embarrassment. Later that afternoon I cycled past a middle-aged man and his son who were having a forthright discussion while walking across Clapham common. As I pedalled by, the dad was saying “And why is it…

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The most precious Christmas gift of all – no wrapping required (it’s not a scented candle)

I’m going Christmas shopping today.  On my list are a variety of gifts including Ferrero Rochers, a suitcase, a kettle, posh pants and a onesie. Obvs also a brace of scented candles. I can’t wait to see the faces of the recipients when they open them. These are things I know they want because I’ve been listening out all year for small references to coveted items (admittedly nobody ever mentioned the candles but who can resist the subtle aromas of pomegranate and cardamom????). But there’s one gift I want to give everyone this year, even people I won’t ever play…

Inclusive and effective communication – we need to learn to ‘read the air’

I’ve just finished reading Erin Meyer’s fabulous book, The Culture Map (https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-culture-map/erin-meyer/9781610392761) and I wanted to share some of its content with you because she’s opened my eyes to some surprising and immensely useful tools which can help us all communicate more effectively and more inclusively. Meyer is an INSEAD professor. Her ideas on cross cultural communication draw on three decades living and working around the globe. She’s identified the differences which exist between cultures in 8 areas – general communication, giving feedback, persuading, leading, decision making, trust, disagreeing and scheduling. And her premise is that if we understand these…

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Two ears, one mouth – a formula for dealing with challenge

July 18 was World Listening Day. A brilliant reminder of one of our most important communication skills (we do have two ears and one mouth, after all). And a prompt to heed Buddha’s excellent observation: “If your mouth is open, you’re not learning”. The concept of listening to an opposing viewpoint rather than shouting it down or silencing it is one of my passions, and it’s part of my RATIO technique. The idea for RATIO struck me in the middle of a conversation with a dear friend who happens to hold very different political views to me. She expressed an…

PURPLE SNOW DROP
Authenticity and humility – the keys to an audience’s attention (and wallet)

I recently had the terrifying pleasure of MC-ing a charity fundraising ball for Home Start (Wandsworth) – a brilliant organisation which gives families a helping hand when they’re going through a rough patch. https://www.home-start.org.uk/about-us I’ve worked on corporate events for two decades so I’m ok in front of a crowd. In fact, it’s a role I relish because you can genuinely contribute to the success of a conference by making the audience feel included; by facilitating interesting conversations; by setting an appropriate tone for the occasion. At the average corporate gig, the objective of the host is to extract, solicit…

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