How NOT To Deal With Stress

We’ve all gone through it some time or the other in our lives – Stress. It creeps up on us everywhere from work to home and in some odd cases, even in our sleep. Stress can also manifest itself in different ways depending on the person – while some may experience headaches; others may suffer more extreme symptoms like panic attacks, shortness of breath, etc. And the solution to all these stress related symptoms are as numerous as the sources of stress themselves. There are numerous tips, home remedies and self help books that address stress management .   In this article however, we are going to look at some things that one must NOT do to deal with stress:

Stress Management Training   is a core program  in our soft skills training and corporate training that is gaining new found respect amongst corporations as they understand the cost of playing at high stakes in a competitive industry and the need to equip their employees with the nerves to handle it.

  •  Smoking – This is quite self-explanatory and hardly needs expounding upon. Smoking is bad for one’s health even if they have zero stress in their lives. Smoking is unhealthy, period!
  •  Pills or Drugs – While there are legitimate medications that one can take to relieve themselves of a head ache or so, frequent use of such medications cause the body to adjust chemical levels within itself to make it dependent on the medication while simultaneously lowering the body’s own immune system.
  • Alcohol – While some alcohol in moderation might help to calm the nerves and steady oneself, ‘drowning’ oneself in it to block out the stress is dangerous to the liver. Besides it seems counter-intuitive to cause the body physical stress in order to deal with mental stress.  ‘Managing Stress Can Improve Company Performance’  is an article on effective stress management techniques.
  •  Withdrawing from people – Sometimes stress causes us to go into a shell. Occasionally some personal space and time might be helpful. But talking to someone also helps in coping with stress better. Otherwise internalizing our stress with no external vent or outlet is not healthy for us.
  • Excessive media – Some people immerse themselves into exorbitant hours of TV or video gaming in order to be able to deal with all the stress. These media devices actually cause more stimulation to the brain preventing it from slowing down and allowing oneself to process and reflect over the stress.

For more interesting articles/blogs on stress management, please follow these links:

Can Tough Feedback make you Tougher  

Stress – A Leadership Non-Essential  

 

3 Steps to Efficient Negotiation

Most people have it within themselves to try to get a good deal. And almost every such person call on their negotiation skills to get what they want. While negotiating is not possible in most retail situations, certain types of businesses do allow the flexibility to haggle over the price. Effective negotiations can be highly useful in situations like this. But is there a trick to negotiating? Is it a science or an art? Or does it completely have to do with force of personality and/or charisma? The truth of the matter is it is ALL of the above. There is a science to negotiations but it is also an art that requires careful wielding. And a certain amount of personality certainly helps. In this article we will look at some simple aspects of effective negotiation skills

Negotiation Skills Training   is an important program for companies to invest in, especially toward those employees whose jobs require them to negotiate deals and transactions with other corporate parties

  • Depending on the personality of the parties involved, one must determine what kind of negotiating style needs to be adopted. Sometimes rational reasons can be debated for the sake of getting the right deal but other times negotiations can be over nothing but the mere transaction.
  • In most negotiations it is important to evaluate one’s interests for negotiating the deal. What are the contributing factors? What is the one aspect that is the most important in securing this deal? How can we find a middle ground that is advantageous without being a compromise? This is crucial to the negotiation process. If your business strategies often require you to negotiate ,  ‘Six Surprising Negotiation Tactics that get you the best deal’  is an excellent article to help you get ahead on negotiation tactics.
  •  Its important to move the tone of the negotiations from compromise mode to a unified problem solving mode. It takes focus to not go into that kind of troubleshooting mode and instead try to keep the conversation geared toward a win-win situation for both sides involved in the negotiations.

For more information on various Soft Skills Training topics, please refer to these articles/blog:

 The Art of Tactful Business Communication

The Presentation Skills of Apple Inc

Shifting Limiting Mindsets – A Leadership Essential

 

 

 

Leaders – How Clean is Your Window?

It was raining very heavily and the little restaurant where I was having dinner was very crowded. All the tables were occupied and some hungry customers were waiting for their turn. Some children were crying as they had to wait and the harassed waiters were hurrying to serve the diners.

Amidst all this confusion there was one waiter called Chandran who was serving everyone with a smile. His communication skills were fairly advanced. He was serving each customer according to their need, carefully listening to each order, checking his understanding and then executing the order. But Chandran’s smile was short lived as very soon there was a huge commotion at one end of the restaurant. One angry diner had flung his plate across the room and was screaming at him.

All eyes turned to that part of the room. It was surprising to see that Chandran was involved in this situation. As a regular diner I had always admired Chandran for his skill at customer service. Always polite and quick to serve the customers, he was indeed very popular with everyone. In fact he had also very recently received the “Employee of the Month” award from his employers. So what was going wrong?

The customer was actually accusing Chandran of physically assaulting his little son. The manager rushed to the spot and, after pacifying the customer, got to the bottom of the issue. Most of the people around also had seen Chandran drag the little boy across the room but what was Chandran’s version?

Then we came to the final truth. Unnoticed by the parents the little boy was playing with a fan that was kept nearby. As Chandran was passing by he noticed that the child was pushing his fingers dangerously close to the fan. Chandran quickly dragged him away from danger. A moment’s delay would have had dire consequences. Instead of thanking him these parents were shouting at him!

The attitude displayed in this situation reminded me of something that I had recently read:

“And so it is with life. What we see when watching others depends on the purity of the window through which we look.” – Author Unknown

When we look through a dirty window the world outside looks dirty and when we clean the window and look through it, the world outside is a beautiful world. The window we look through is really the perception we have of people and situations.

If only those parents could clean their window and look at the situation. Instead of shouting at him they would be thanking him for saving their little boy!

“We see the world not as is but as we are. By improving, refining, and defining who we are, we see the world from the highest, most enlightened perspective”.

– Robin Sharma in Leadership Wisdom

Integrity – The Stronghold of Successful Living

As a Soft Skills Trainer and Executive Coach, I believe that training would be starkly incomplete without touching upon the importance of Integrity in one’s life. It is the foremost value essential to success in all that we undertake. The essence of integrity is beautifully summed up in the quote by Don Galer, “Integrity is what we do, what we say, and what we say we do.” All of us at some point in life would have come across individuals with unswerving integrity, from whom we feel inspired to act according to the code of ethics and conduct. Peter Scotese once said, and I quote, “Integrity is not a 90% thing, not a 95% thing; either you have it or you don’t.” It is better to be known doing right, rather than be known for having done something wrong. Always remember that you judge and rate yourselves by what you are capable of doing and achieving; but the world judges you by what you have already done. So it is a lot better to live an honest life with integrity. For starters, it would be useful to follow a thumb rule: the test of real character lies in what you would do if you would never be found out. Success comes more easily to the person who treads upon the path of righteousness and goodness. It gives a sense of peace and spreads good-will all around. It needs to be inculcated very consciously into one’s life. Whenever you are at crossroads and in doubt about how to proceed in a particular situation, think about the following 3 questions: 1. What do you say? 2. What do you do? 3. What do you say you do? If the answer to these 3 questions are all the same, then you are one giant step closer to the success you are aspiring to achieve.

The 3 Essentials Of Assertiveness

Assertiveness is the inclination to boldly or confidently assert oneself and be self-assured.This is the desired outcome of our Assertiveness Training Program.

This blog is written keeping in mind all those who find their heart racing whenever they have to stand up for what they believe is right. It is for those who experience butterflies in the stomach when they come face-to-face with an instance that required them to say NO.

In this blog, I give you 3 basic pointers that will show how you can be assertive in a diplomatic manner and gain the respect of those you interact with on a daily basis.

1. Know When:

Knowing when to be assertive takes you a step closer towards where you want to be. This means that there are various instances when you would be able to accommodate the demands or requests of others when they ask for your time, effort or other vital resources. Ask yourself, “Will the extra amount of effort I put in affect me adversely or dampen my productivity?” If the answer is yes, you will need to think about whether you can prioritize your own tasks. If your answer to this is a no, you just have to prepare yourself to assert yourself and gently turn down the request.

2. Know How:

Knowing how to assert can be brought to near-perfection with practise. Take a deep breath and give the request a second thought. While speaking, ensure that your voice is calm and that your tone is not aggressive. Keep your body language stiff. Cut to the chase – once you say no, appear empathetic if you must. But do not wriggle out of the uncomfortable situation with a meek “maybe” as a final answer. This sends confused signals to the receiver, and the whole exercise of assertiveness proves to be futile.

This maybe difficult at first, but with practise you will get better. The best method is to practise in front of the mirror for about a minute or two before you start the day. You can even practise with the help of a close friend. In this way, you would be able to be assertive even if taken by surprise, which normally is the case.

3. Know Why:

Last, but definitely not the least, knowing why you are being assertive is an important confidence booster and image enhancer. By being assertive the right way, you are only asking for fair and equal treatment. On the other side, you should understand that it is appropriate for you to be assertive ONLY if you believe that the request would unfairly consume your resources.

Now that you have read the above 3 points, internalize the ideas and apply them. Being more assertive helps increase your circle of influence, and if done correctly, can take you to heights that you had only dreamt of till now.

Enhancing assertiveness is a key component of our Communication Skills Training program.

For more ideas on assertiveness, visit our free power point presentation on Conflict Resolution.

Here is a list of some of our blogs on Communication:

  1. Communication Skills Of A Good Manager
  2. Three Simple Tips to Better Business Writing
  3. The Art of Giving Knock-Out Sales Presentations