Mirror, mirror in the brain

Mirror neurons, first reported in 1996, respond comparably whether an individual performs a particular action or watches someone else carry it out. Studies since then have suggested that these neurons, which coordinate imitation, participate in a network in the brain’s outer layer, or cortex. Collaboration between this network and emotion-regulating parts of the brain fosters empathy which can be defined as “the discernment of others’ thoughts and feelings”. Smile – and the world smiles with you Phew! Now that’s the science out of the way, what does it mean for us as communicators? Perhaps an example might help. Spend a few minutes talking to someone who complains a lot and is mightily miserable, then you will come away feeling equally miserable. On the other hand, someone who is upbeat and positive – in both their verbal and non-verbal communication – is much more likely to send you on your way feeling cheerful too. Smile – and the world really does smile with you. So don’t be a Scrooge this Christmas. Enjoy the festive season and let your enjoyment be reflected in your words as well as your body-language. Don’t be surprised if you end up being surrounded by happy people! Principles of influence and how to apply them form part of our Focus Area “Interpersonal...

How inspirational are your PowerPoint slides?

Used well, PowerPoint slides should be simple, clear and effective. They should support the presenter as well as reinforce the message for the audience. At their best, they can turn an ordinary, everyday presentation into something much more memorable.  How do your PowerPoint slides measure up against these criteria? Free PowerPoint coaching (offer expired) The Training Box has a unique Christmas offer for you – a free 30 minute PowerPoint telephone coaching session absolutely FREE! Here’s how it works: The first 10 readers to respond to this offer by clicking the link below qualify – you will receive a return e-mail with confirmation. Once you have received confirmation, send us your own PowerPoint presentation (preferably less than 5MB please) to the e-mail address shown in the confirmation mail. Our offer includes returning to you an optimised version of your original PowerPoint slides. You will then be contacted and asked to select a time for a 30 minute phone call with one of our expert Associates.   You can expect the feedback on your slides to cover such things as: layout and design, font style and height, choice of colours, headlines, use of bullet points, impact of graphics etc. During the coaching session, you will have the opportunity to ask questions and learn new ways of making your slides really work for you. Don’t delay if you want to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity to make your presentations sparkle. To be one of the first 10 readers to respond, send an email with the subject “Powerpoint Coaching” to info@thetrainingbox.eu.com, including your contact telephone number.   Communicating well with PowerPoint...

The power of “Yes”

In her book Training to Imagine, the author, Kat Koppet, recounts the following tale: “John Lennon met Yoko Ono at a showing of her artwork in New York. He browsed and eventually came upon a magnifying glass, which was hanging from the ceiling. Below it, Ono had placed a painter’s ladder, and Lennon climbed the ladder, took up the glass and held it to a tiny message written on the ceiling. The single word was “Yes.” Lennon said that it was that piece, with that specific word, that kindled his interest in Ono.” Koppet’s book draw’s on practical improvisational theatre techniques that can be used to enhance creativity, teamwork and leadership. One of the rules of Improv is to say “Yes, and…”, accepting offers your partner makes and building on them. Otherwise, the scene will quickly be going down a one-way street towards a dead-end. Relate this to your own experience as a communicator. How often do you respond with “Yes, but…” when those you know or work with come to you with suggestions and ideas? How quickly do you become discouraged when you propose a bright idea yourself, only to met with “Yes, but…” followed by a series of reasons why something will not work? The simple fact is that those who prefer to say ‘Yes, and…’ will be rewarded by the adventures they have whilst those who say ‘No’ are rewarded for the safety they attain. Give peace, harmony and fun a helping hand during this year’s festive season (and in the months that follow too) by swapping “Yes, but…” for “Yes, and…” The Training Box recommends...