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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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Don’t make a drama out of small talk….

The Importance of Small Talk – Act one, scene one EXT. CLAPHAM JUNCTION TRAIN STATION, PLATFORM 9, EARLY MORNING Jayne notices a poster about loneliness. It’s a cartoon image of two people sitting on a bench. In front of them, on the ground, there’s a cute bird. In a speech bubble, one person says to the other, “did you see that?”. The caption suggests that people are missing out on moments of human connection because we’re on our ‘phones all the time and therefore not noticing what’s in front of us. Jayne smiles knowingly. Act one, scene two EXT. A…

Stranger Danger! Misreading someone’s demeanour can be disastrous

Light bulb moments in the training room are things of joy. I had one the other day during a session of interview practice. I asked my client (let’s call her Esmerelda) a question but just as I thought she was getting going with the answer, she suddenly stopped. I was slightly thrown but gathered myself and moved on to another question. The same thing happened again and then a third time, each answer getting progressively shorter. At the end of the mock interview we analysed how it had gone, and I referred to these abrupt endings. I revealed how uneasy…

IS ONLINE COMMUNICATION GETTING HARDER?

Last month I wrote about online communication and the skills we need to be able to hold an audience’s attention. Here it is again – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/respect-connect-key-excellent-online-communication-jayne-constantinis/ Four weeks on, dozens of Zoom/Skype/Teams calls later, why does it seem that this form of communication is getting harder and more tiring? Surely we should be getting better at it. I think it’s down to two issues: Problem one – sound quality According to Trevor Cox, an acoustics expert at the University of Salford, the quality of sound coming through our computers is inferior to broadcast audio. It’s been compressed which gives it…

Coping and communicating through the Corona months

Joy, sadness, fear, hope, despondency, hilarity – that’s been the morning’s gamut of emotions. No doubt you’re experiencing similar mood swings on what’s now called the Coronacoaster. Five weeks into lockdown and I’m getting used to the ‘new normal’ but I’ve struggled along the way. I’m usually annoyingly upbeat and positive but this knocked me sideways, as demonstrated by a recurring dream in which the brakes fail on a car I’m driving fast downhill!!!! Then I came across an article by David Kessler (a world expert on grief) suggesting that….. “we are collectively in mourning for the loss of our…

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Singing, lipstick and your favourite pants – managing our outer and inner persona at this testing time

In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Polonius tells his son Laertes to dress well because “apparel oft proclaims the man“. No doubt that’s what drove Boris Johnson to don a jacket and tie for his ‘I’ve got Corona’ isolation broadcast a few days ago. Margaret Thatcher’s newly released private papers reveal how aware she was of the power of clothes. She kept a ‘clothing diary’ in which she detailed outfits called ‘Wogan Burgundy’, ‘Pink Chanel Gorbachev’. Apparently, glamour was part of her approach to ending the cold war. Who knew! Last Friday, I wore a ‘Virtual Blue’ outfit for my first online training session. It was…