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What voice does this conversation need now? (& other forms of Challenge)

Challenge and challenging are two of the most over-used words in the occupational vocabulary.

I’m looking for a more challenging role.‘He doesn’t challenge himself enough.’ ‘We’re operating in a very challenging environment.’ ‘She can be quite challenging to work with.’ ‘I want a coach who will challenge me.’ When a word becomes so commonplace, it becomes dulled and fuzzy. We lose touch touch with its meaning. And that compromises its value.

vp-adminWhat voice does this conversation need now? (& other forms of Challenge)
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How to say No

Saying No is something that many of us find difficult.

We may be worried about putting a relationship at risk, or being a poor team player, or speaking up about our own needs and priorities. Or maybe we just like to be helpful and demonstrate a positive can-do attitude. But sometimes it’s necessary to say No. Otherwise we can end up over-stretched, resentful towards others and irritated with ourselves, neglecting our own responsibilities or simply doing the wrong thing.

vp-adminHow to say No
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Take Your People’s Agenda Items Before Your Own

Our ‘No More UMs’ series of posts is committed to providing short, practical tips on how to ensure that the time we spend in meetings is well-spent and productive. This latest blog focuses specifically on the one-to-one meetings that good managers have with their direct reports.

Claire KnightsTake Your People’s Agenda Items Before Your Own
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What a difference a Voice makes

I was talking to a new coaching client just the other day. When we came to the end of the conversation she said “I want to say that you’re really simple Liz – but that’s not what I mean!”. I suspect my family would have something to say about that.

She went onto say “what I mean is that you bring clarity to the conversation” – I think that’s the bit I’ll share with my family.

Given my work with VoicePrint, I take that as an enormous compliment.

Clarity is what VoicePrint is aiming to bring to all conversations – clarity of both intention and of how we articulate that so that conversations can be as productive as possible.

vp-adminWhat a difference a Voice makes
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Only meet if the purpose is clear

Meetings. That key component of the working day, week, life. I don’t know about you, but I very often find myself in a meeting. Quite often, I find myself in that meeting, wondering what I am doing there.

So, I asked my team some questions.

Do you feel like you spend a lot of time in meetings? Yes. They really do.

Is it usually clear what the meeting is for? Well, no, only sometimes.

vp-adminOnly meet if the purpose is clear
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How can I have more influence?

How can I have more influence? It’s an important question in a crowded, noisy, competitive world.

In theory there are many sources of power and influence: position, expertise, association, reputation, and of course wealth, if you’re lucky enough to have it. But most of these are difficult to acquire and highly dependent on the support or goodwill of others. Yet there is one source of influence that is uniquely within our own control: the power of the spoken word.

vp-adminHow can I have more influence?
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When is a question not a question?

We all do it…
We ask a question when, in our heads, we have something else we want to say.

“What do you think about that new restaurant down the road?” I ask my husband.

In VoicePrint terms, a simple, open-ended inquiry you might think.

My husband, wise to the ways of the world (and, in particular, those of his wife) knows better than to fall for it.

“That’s not a question” he states using the voice of Challenge “what you really want to say is ‘I’d like to go to that new restaurant down the road’”.

And he’s right. Add mind reading to his already long list of accomplishments…

vp-adminWhen is a question not a question?
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How To Set Better Agendas

A common recommendation on how to improve meetings is to ensure that they have a clear agenda. Other bits of good advice then include sticking to that agenda and making sure that you deal with the most important items first. But here’s a further suggestion that can make a huge difference when it comes to making meetings more productive.

vp-adminHow To Set Better Agendas
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How coaches can make Chemistry Meetings useful

As a coach I’m often asked to have a ‘chemistry meeting’ with a prospective coachee.

Chemistry Meeting is a phrase that has come into fashion in recent years, but it’s never been very clear what it actually means. This piece offers some clarification and some advice.

Personally, I find the notion that you can ‘have’ any sort of meeting rather strange. It suggests that meetings are something you can possess, rather than what they really are, which are somewhat unpredictable interactions created as they go along by the people taking part. Meetings are essentially dynamic, their qualities emerge from the process; we should not expect their outcomes to be fully within our control. So when someone says, ‘It’s my meeting,’ that doesn’t give them control; it only gives them the primary responsibility for facilitating the interaction to make it productive.

vp-adminHow coaches can make Chemistry Meetings useful
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