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Critical Thinking



Logical Thinking

Logical thinking is a process which involves steps. In general logical thinking involves checking the components of the argument and making connections between them, which is what we call reasoning. The four major steps of logical thinking are 1) asking the right questions, 2) organising data, 3) evaluating the information, and 4) drawing conclusions.  In our Critical Thinking course, we will analyse these basic steps (link below).


Ask the Right Questions

The first step in logical thinking should begin with asking the right questions. Based on the components of critical thinking, the logical thinker should begin reasoning by asking many questions. An important question to ask is “What are the premises?” If we are confused about the premises, we may make mistakes further down the line in the logic process. We should distinguish between whether the statement is a fact or a value, what should or ought to be the case, and be alert to not confuse the two. Finally, we should check to see if any premises or vital information is missing. A key point to remember is that no conclusions can be made without premises.


For more on our Critical Thinking course, please visit:

Top 10 Sales Secrets

Effective Traits

We usually end up avoiding the pushy salesperson. The one that follows you around the store, asking a million questions. There are many traits in a sales representative that we all avoid. Being that salesperson that a customer wants to see and to talk to takes a little bit of practice. But with these traits, you will become that salesperson, it will eventually lead to the customer making a purchase, and beginning a positive, long lasting relationship with you.



There is a fine line between being assertive and being aggressive. Being pushy and overly aggressive can not only offend but also scare away perspective customers. On the other hand, being assertive, and in tune with the customer’s needs, you can draw in customers.

Before you begin the sale, know the objections/concerns the customer may have and be prepared to respond. Give all of the supporting data when delivering the sales pitch. Always be calm, positive, and honest about the product/service. This will convey the message that you are an authority in the field.

Assertive behavior:

  • Calmness
  • Positivity
  • Enthusiasm
  • Honesty

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to identify and control one’s emotions, and to recognize and manage others’ emotions. In short, being aware of one’s emotions and being able to control them, along with having empathy for others, are both signs of emotional intelligence. People with high emotional intelligence are usually better team players, better problem solvers, and overall better “people” persons.

Those with high emotional intelligence are very aware of their own emotions. They know their triggers and are capable of controlling their emotions, even in stressful situations. High emotional intelligence also involves a motivation to understand other’s situations and empathize with them. Improving all of these traits is important to developing a high emotional intelligence.

Traits of a high emotional intelligence:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-regulation
  • Empathy


Solve Problems

Sales = problem solving. If you want to be valued by your customers, you have to solve their problems. Customers that need solutions to high priority issues are willing to pay for those solutions. But first, you must identify the customer’s problem. What are they missing or needing? Then you must analyze that problem. What causes the problem? What could solve the problem? You then need to formulate several options to remedy the situation for the customer. Which products/services will solve this problem? And lastly, assist the customer in choosing the option that best suits their needs.




The hardest thing to learn as a sales person is to close the deal, make the sale; no matter how you word it, there are many techniques to getting your customer to put their name on the dotted line. After you have presented all of the facts, and the customer wants the product, you may still need to gently push your customer to actually committing to the sale.

One of the techniques used is the assumptive technique. You assume the sale is completed and you say something like, “So you would like your delivery date to be next week?” Another technique is the bonus. Hold back a low cost, high value bonus to purchasing. Use this bonus to sway your customer into the purchase. Another way to close the deal painlessly is to put a deadline on the deal. This works well when offering sale prices. “This sale is about to expire, so I assume you want to take advantage of this pricing now?” would be a good example of this technique.



For more on our Top 10 Sales Secrets course, please visit:


Cyber Security

Cybersecurity Fundamentals


Before developing and implementing security measures to prevent cyberattacks, you must understand basic concepts associated with cybersecurity and what cyberattacks are. The method(s) of cybersecurity that a company uses should be tailored to fit the needs of the organization.


What is Cyberspace?

Cyberspace is the environment where computer transactions take place. This specifically refers to computer-to-computer activity. Although there is no “physical” space that makes up cyberspace, with the stroke of a few keys on a keyboard, one can connect with others around the world.

Examples of items included in cyberspace are:

  • Networks
  • Devices
  • Software
  • Processes
  • Information storage
  • Applications




What is Cybersecurity?

As previously mentioned, cybersecurity is the implementation of methods to prevent attacks on a company’s information systems. This is done to avoid disruption of the company’s productivity. Not only does cybersecurity include controlling physical access to the system’s hardware, it protects from danger that may come via network access or the injection of code.


Why is Cybersecurity Important?

Cybersecurity is crucial to a business for a myriad of reasons. The two this section will focus on are data security breaches and sabotage. Both can have dire effects on a company and/or its clients.

Data security breaches can compromise secure information such as:

  • Names and social security numbers
  • Credit card and bank details
  • Trade secrets
  • Intellectual property

Computer sabotage serves to disable a company’s computers or network to impede the company’s ability to conduct business.




What is a Hacker?

In simple terms, a hacker is an individual or group of individuals who use their knowledge of technology to break into computer systems and networks, using a variety of tools to gain access to and utilize other people’s data for devious reasons.

There are 3 main types of hackers. They are:

Grey hats: These hackers do so “for the fun of it”.

Black hats: These hackers have malevolent reasons for doing so, such as stealing and/or selling data for monetary gain.

White hats: These hackers are employed by companies to hack into systems to find where the company is vulnerable, with the intention of ensuring the safety of the data from hackers with ill intentions.


For more on our Cyber Security course, please visit:

Managing Personal Finances

The Benefits of Budgeting


When going on a road trip, most people have a map which tells them how to get from point A to point B.  The map is important, because it tells you how to get to your desired destination.  A well developed budget is just like a map to help you reach your financial goals.  You start at point A, and the budget helps you go the distance get to point B.


Getting Rid of Debt

Having a budget can be very beneficial to get the hardship of debt off of your plate.  Debt is money that is owed by one person to another person, or company.  Many people these days struggle with the burden of debt.   The Pew Charitable Trusts reported in 2015 that 80% of Americans were in debt.  The median is almost $68,000 for Americans, talk about stressful!  Debt can take many different forms, here are just a few:

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Card
  • Medical Bills
  • Personal Loans
  • Car Loan
  • Bank Overdraft Charges
  • Student Loan



Generating Savings

A well-crafted budget could help you create a savings.  In this context savings means money that a person has saved, usually through a financial institution, but not always.  Having a savings is critical, and often overlooked.  You never know when lightning is going to strike, the car is going to break down, or you suddenly need to have an emergency appendectomy.  The boy scouts have a motto, always be prepared.  We don’t always know what is coming our way in life, but a little foresight and preparedness can help.  Saving a small emergency fund could mean the difference between saving the day, or total disaster.   Here are a few different types of events you could save for:

  • Car Repairs
  • Housing Repairs
  • Medical Costs
  • Retirement
  • Unexpected Unemployment



Reducing Stress and Anxiety

When a person is weighed down by their financial situation, it can cause a lot of stress and anxiety.  Stress and anxiety can make it hard to function in life.  Feeling the overwhelming pressure can be debilitating for some people.  Stress and anxiety can also manifest in the following ways:

  • Heart attack
  • High Blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Gastric Conditions, such as stomach ulcers
  • Substance abuse
  • Eating disorders, weight loss/ or weight gain
  • Insomnia

Financial stress and anxiety can be curbed by having a properly developed budget in place.  A budget can help you manage your monthly spending.  Your budget can even help you get out of debt, if that is one of your goals.



Lessening Family Conflicts

Financial strain can affect more than just your physical health; it can affect your relationships also.  When you’re stressed out, that always has a way of leaking into your relationships with your spouse, family, and friends.   A major cause of divorce in America is related to financial issues.  When financial stress is at the forefront of your mind, it can cause you to be distant, and irritable towards your loved ones.  Sometimes we have to borrow money from a loved one, which can add even more tension to an already strained relationship. Not only are you trying to get yourself back to level, financially, but having to figure out how to pay your loved one back.



For more on our Managing Personal Finances Course, please visit:

Servant Leadership

What is Servant Leadership?

Servant leadership is a business philosophy that emphasizes the act of the leader, such as a manager or supervisor, focusing on the growth and development of their employees and ensuring their success.  In doing so, the leader succeeds when their employees do.  In a business team, servant leadership cannot only help employees achieve and grow, but it can also benefit their leaders and the company as a whole.


A Desire to Serve

It is a leader’s responsibility to guide their followers on the right path.  But to become a better leader, it’s not enough just to take the wheel and steer – you must also be willing to serve your followers and assist them in their own journey.  A servant leader should have a desire to serve their employees, which includes taking the time to identify your employees and how they perform or being beside them as they face challenges.  Take the time to assist in their growth and help them work toward achieving their goals.  Don’t be afraid to give yourself into their processes and become part of their evolvement.



Knowing to Share the Power

As a leader, it is a common feeling to absorb the ‘power’ of the position and a have a sense of superiority. A servant leader does not save this power only for themselves because they learn to share it with their team of employees.  Employees under a servant leader should feel some of the servant leader’s power and pull, which can make them feel more empowered in their place on the team and in their own abilities.  Sharing the power allows employees to feel like their contributions matter and that their input is valued.

Share the power by:

  • Delegating
  • Asking employee opinions
  • Working together on challenges or projects
  • Taking a census, when possible


Putting Others First

One of the main principles of servant leadership is the act of putting other’s needs ahead of your own.  As a leader, we can sometimes think in the ‘ME’ mentality and want to focus on our own agenda and needs.  But in servant leadership, the leader must focus on his team of employees first before focusing on themselves.  The leader should focus on what the employee needs or wants, how they can achieve this and how it will make them successful in the long run.  A leader should strive to develop relationships and even friendships with their employees and deliver feedback when possible.  They must be able to set their own ego aside and realize that without their team of employees, no one can be successful.



Helping Employees Grow

Once again, as a leader, we can focus on our own goals, responsibilities and even our own challenges.  But as a servant leader, the needs of the employee should come first and the main goal should be to help them succeed and grow in the company.  A good leader knows that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so everyone benefits when every employee is encouraged, mentored and motivated.  Sometimes this may mean you’ll have to share in successes as well as failures, but every goal set and worked together is another stepping stone for the employee and helps them work toward their ultimate target.

Help employees grow by:

  • Encourage goals
  • Give feedback when possible
  • Listen to their questions and requests
  • Offer help but don’t complete things for them



For more on our Servant Leadership course, please visit:

Contract Management

Every business relationship relies on contracts. Contracts are made with vendors, employees, customers, partnerships, etc. These agreements must be managed carefully, which is where contract management comes into the picture. In order to effectively implement contract management, however, it is necessary to understand what it entails.


What is Contract Management?

Contract management is not just contract administration. Rather than simply drawing up the contracts, the manager works to ensure that the entire process runs smoothly. The contract manager is involved in not just the planning and development but also the execution of the contract, and beyond to the point of renewal. Typical contract management activities include:

  • Contract creation
  • Negotiation
  • Assessment
  • Relationship management
  • Contract amendment
  • Audits
  • Renewal

Contract Types

All contracts are legal documents that establish the right and responsibilities of the parties involved. Contracts can be created for almost any situation, and will ideally involve legal. There are four basic contract types, and they are chosen based on the factors and data available. While the list is not exhaustive, it is a good starting point. These common contracts are:

  • Fixed Price Contracts: The price of the item or service is usually fixed and will not change, which benefits the buyer. Variations of this contract include firm fixed price, fixed price with adjustment, fixed price with incentive, fixed price with downward price protection, and fixed price with redetermination.
  • Cost Reimbursement Contracts: These contracts benefit the seller. The buyer agrees to pay a price, free, or partial fee. Common types of these contracts include cost-sharing and cost without fee.
  • Letter Contracts: These contracts allow the suppliers or vendors to take action before the details of the agreement are finalized. The buyer is at risk if liability limits are not clear.
  • Partially Defined Contracts: Created when one or more aspects, such as goods, services, and deliveries, are not known ahead of time. These include value contracts, quantity contracts, and time and material contracts.


For more on our Contract Management course, please visit:

Life Coaching

Life coaching can be a great tool to help someone learn to feel more confident, more empowered and capable of handling various decisions and situations. When employees take these skills they learned and apply them to their workplace, they find they perform better, work better with others, and feel more confident to branch out and create more business goals.


Have a Game Plan

One of the most important tools anyone can have when preparing to make a change is to create some form of a game plan. After all, a well thought out plan can be the difference between success and failure. The game plan serves as a blueprint for how the employee wants to create, progress toward and achieve their goals. By planning out goals and targets ahead of time, the employee is better able to create a ‘vision’ to focus on, foresee any problems that may get in the way, and be more overall prepared when putting their game plan into action.

Parts of a game plan:

  • Setting goals
  • Outlining actions and processes
  • Setting timelines and deadlines
  • Include important people


For more on our Life Coaching course, please visit:


Tackling Tough Topics

Some elements of training are difficult, but you’ll get through them because you are a professional. You may be asked to facilitate a subject that is very sensitive, or could find yourself part way through a presentation and learn that you have struck a nerve and will need to adjust your material.


Tough Stuff to Watch Out For

Imagine that you have just been asked to provide health and safety training for your organization. You have never given this kind of training before, and in reality know little about it. However, there was a serious injury at the workplace two weeks ago that left one worker dead and another seriously injured. The difficulty is not just that someone died on the worksite, but also that you, as the in-house trainer, know all of these people very well.

What can you do to identify these difficult situations before training and be prepared for them?


Adjusting Your Material for a Sensitive Issue

Sometimes the unexpected can arise in an otherwise harmless training sessions. People can often be pre-occupied with unfinished tasks at work, family pressures, and many other things. If you are treading close to emotional issues, it is possible that you will strike a nerve with someone. In addition, sometimes we are addressing sensitive issues in training that people may react emotionally to.

The greatest tools for you in adjusting your materials come to light before your actual training takes place. If you have been able to do some pre-training survey work, or even just interviewed a supervisor, then you will uncover the issues before entering the training room, and be able to prepare yourself for what will follow.

If you do not have the luxury of pre-training interviews, then your flexibility at managing a classroom, dealing with change, offering support, and creating a safe learning environment will all contribute to the success of this training endeavor.


Dealing With Sensitive Issues in the Workshop

One way to deal with sensitive issues is to provide an attitude survey before a tough topic is discussed. This allows participants to put their thoughts and reactions on paper, and provides them with some thinking and adjusting time before the topic is discussed aloud among the group, or before other activities get underway.

Here are some tips for using an attitude survey in your training:

  • It does not have to be called an attitude survey. Title it as something that makes sense and fits with your training plan. The term “attitude survey” is here for you to see, but might seem intimidating for participants depending on the subject.
  • Participants may not want to reveal their answers to one another. Watch closely to ensure that people are not intruding on one another by forcing someone to reveal their thoughts.
  • The attitude survey can be a good pre- and post-training activity. Participants can use the tool to monitor their own thinking or shift in perception throughout the training process.

It may seem straightforward to offer an attitude survey, but you need to watch your language. Make sure that statements are not open to interpretation or bias, by using clear and simple language. It also helps in our program design stage to have a colleague review the questions or statements with you so that you can prepare an effective survey.

Measuring Results From Training

In order to effectively evaluate each level of training, you will need a variety of tools. In this post, we will learn about some different types of measurement tools that can help you effectively evaluate results.

Goal Setting

Individual goal setting is an excellent way to measure behavior and results. Trainees should set goals during the workshop and then evaluate their progress at pre-determined intervals afterwards.

In order for goals to be effective, make sure they follow the SMART acronym:

  • Specific: Success coach Jack Canfield states in his book The Success Principles that, “Vague goals produce vague results.” In order for you to achieve a goal, you must be very clear about what exactly you want. Often creating a list of benefits that the accomplishment of your goal will bring to your life, it will give your mind a compelling reason to pursue that goal.
  • Measurable: It’s crucial for goal achievement that you are able to track your progress towards your goal. That’s why all goals need some form of objective measuring system so you can stay on track and become motivated when you enjoy the sweet taste of quantifiable progress.
  • Achievable: Setting big goals is great, but setting unrealistic goals will just de-motivate you. A good goal is one that challenges, but is not so unrealistic that you have virtually no chance of accomplishing it.
  • Relevant: Before you even set goals, it’s a good idea to sit down and define your core values and your life purpose because it’s these tools which ultimately decide how and what goals you choose for your life. Goals, in and of themselves, do not provide any happiness. Goals that are in harmony with your life purpose do have the power to make you happy.
  • Timed: Without setting deadlines for your goals, you have no real compelling reason or motivation to start working on them. By setting a deadline, your subconscious mind begins to work on that goal, night and day, to bring you closer to achievement.




Self-evaluations are effective at the first three levels of evaluation, and can be effective at the fourth level depending on the topic. Common types of self-evaluations include:

  • Pre-workshop and post-workshop tests to assess learning
  • Reactionary questionnaires
  • Personal assessment quizzes
  • Self-reporting metric systems

When measuring reactionary feedback, open-ended questions such as, “How did you feel about the training?” are fine. However, you should also include scale-based questions so that you can evaluate the group as a whole and evaluate the individual on an objective basis. When measuring learning, behavior, and results, questions that are objective and closed or scale-based are necessary for accurate assessment.


Peer Evaluations

Peer reviews are an excellent tool for measuring behavioral changes. However, you must ensure that the assessment system is well designed to prevent bias.

One excellent tool is 360 degree feedback. This system is designed to gather feedback from all of the people around an employee – their co-workers, subordinates, superiors, clients, etc. There are many resources available that can help you design a good 360 degree feedback system. If the topic that you are training on has high value, it can be worthwhile to take the time to develop a peer review system to accurately measure behavioral changes.


Supervisor Evaluations

Supervisor evaluations are an important part of evaluating behavior changes and assessing results. Like peer reviews, a behavioral evaluation system should be set up before the training. It should be ratings-based and include closed questions to help the supervisor stay objective. When asking supervisors to measure results, those results should tie in with the employee’s regular metrics whenever possible. This achieves two things: it ensures that the measurements are relevant to the employee’s day-to-day duties, and it minimizes the amount of extra work that the supervisor has to do. (Often, if measuring training causes more work for supervisors, they will often avoid completing the evaluation, or spend minimal time doing so.)


Two notes of caution about supervisor evaluations:

  • The employee must know which metrics will be evaluated after the training.
  • Like peer evaluation, supervisor evaluation can be biased. Develop your metrics accordingly.


High-Level Evaluations

Depending on the scenario, you may want to ask high-level executives in the organisation to complete an evaluation. This will typically reflect behavioural changes and or measurable results. They will be particularly effective at helping you determine if your training was effective for the entire group. Make sure that these types of evaluations are necessary, focused, and short.

As well, although company executives are typically not involved in the nuts and bolts of training, they may want to see a high level evaluation report, particularly if the training was expensive, required by law, or was expected to have a high impact.

When you are planning the training, make sure to gather expectations from these key stakeholders, including timelines for results and the level of detail desired. Then, use this framework to build a results report tailored to their needs. The report will typically reflect behavioural changes and or measurable results.

Interpersonal Skills

Making Small Talk and Moving Beyond

Small talk is the “ice-breaking” part of a conversation; it is the way strangers can ease into comfortable rapport with one another.  Mastering the art of small talk —- and how to build from this stage— can open many personal and professional doors.  In this chapter, we will discuss how to start a conversation, as well as how to skillfully ease our conversation starters into deeper levels of talk.

Starting a Conversation

Many people are interested in initiating friendships and productive business networks, but they don’t know how to start. Indeed, going up to a stranger and making an introduction can be incredibly anxiety-provoking for some people. The same goes with finding something to talk about with someone you already know, but are not familiar with.

The following are some tips in starting a conversation:

  • Understand what holds you back. The first step in developing conversation skills is to understand what factors — attitudes, feelings, and assumptions — interfere in your ability to skillfully handle a conversation. Is it shyness? Fear of rejection? Difficulty in dealing with people in authority? Awareness of what holds you back can help you manage your anxieties better, and give you more control over how you handle yourself during social situations.
  • Know what you have to offer. In the same way that you have to make an inventory of your weaknesses during social situations, you also have to take stock of your strengths. Confidence in initiating conversations does not begin with knowing what tried-and-tested lines are out there. It starts with a sincere belief that you have something to contribute to a discussion, and that people would find it a pleasant experience to get to know you. If you have this self-assurance, you can be more at ease and more natural around other people.
  • Be interested about people. Genuine curiosity and openness makes starting a conversation less threatening; it grants incentive to approach people.

Cultivate the attitude that meeting people is an enriching experience. It shouldn’t be that hard; this mantra goes beyond self-talk. Many find that you can actually learn a lot about yourself, about life and about various subject matters, just by simply engaging in constant conversation. And remember: being interested in a people doesn’t end after you’ve spent time with them. Even those you’ve spent years with can still tell you something you don’t know!

  • Create an arsenal of conversation starters. For people not used to skillfully handling conversations, the first few tries can feel awkward. While you’re still finding your footing, you can rely on some recommended conversation starters. Among them are:
  • Introduce yourself. The most straightforward way to start a conversation is to offer your name and your hand. By making the first move in breaking silence, you’re sending the other person an invitation into conversation. If you can make the introduction with a smile, better.
  • Comment on something in your immediate surroundings, maybe the location, or the event you both are attending. Things that you both can relate with are good conversation starters, as it does not alienate anyone. Example: “It’s really crowded tonight, isn’t it?”
  • Comment on something the other person or people would find interesting. For example, if you’re talking with someone known for his or her art collection, you may call attention to an art piece within your vicinity, or inform him about an exhibit you heard about. Example: “Hey Bob, I just heard that the National Museum is hosting a Renaissance week.”

And if you have no prior knowledge about the person you want to strike a conversation with, you can take a guess at their interests by subtly checking what they are looking at, or studying their appearance. Example:  “That’s a lovely brooch. It looks like an antique.”

  • “Be yourself” is generally good advice for handling social situations. Conversations are more comfortable and engaging if you simply relax, and let your personality do the talking. Don’t pressure yourself coming up with something funny, clever, or new. Scripts are okay while you’re still developing your social skills, but make sure you also give conversations your personal touch!

The Four Levels of Conversation


The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place, but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at tempting moment. It requires sensitivity to the stage of a relationship, the context of the conversation and the comfort level of the person you are talking to.

There are 4 levels of conversation based on the degree and amount of personal disclosure. They are:

  1. Small Talk: This is commonly referred to as the ‘exchange of pleasantries’ stage. In this level, you talk only about generic topics, subjects that almost everyone is comfortable discussing. These subjects include the weather, the location you’re both in and current events.

The small talk stage establishes rapport; it makes a person feel at ease with you. It’s also a safe and neutral avenue for people to subtly ‘size up’ one another, and explore if it’s a conversation or relationship that they’d want to invest in.

If the small talk goes well, you can proceed into the next level: fact disclosure.

  1. Fact Disclosure: In this stage, you tell the other person some facts about you such as your job, your area of residence, and your interests. This is a ‘getting-to-know’ stage, and it aims to see if you have something in common with the other person. It’s also a signal that you are opening up a little bit to the other person while still staying on neutral topics. If the fact disclosure stage goes well, you can proceed to sharing viewpoints and opinions.
  2. Viewpoints and Opinions: In this stage of the conversation, you can offer what you think about various topics like politics, the new business model —or even the latest blockbuster. It helps then to read and be curious about many things, from politics to entertainment to current events.

Sharing viewpoints and opinions require the ‘buffering effect’ of the first two stages for two reasons:

  • First, a person needs rapport with another before they can discuss potentially contentious statements, even if they’re having a healthy debate.
  • Second, sharing viewpoints and opinions opens a person to the scrutiny of another, and this requires that there is some level of safety and trust in a relationship.

The controversial, and therefore potentially offensive, nature of an opinion exists in a range; make sure that you remain within the ‘safe’ zone in the early stages of your relationship.

  1. Personal Feelings: The fourth stage is disclosure and acknowledgment of personal feelings. For instance you can share about your excitement for the new project, or your worry about your son’s upcoming piano recital. Depending on the context and the level of the friendship, you can disclose more personal subjects. This stage requires trust, rapport, and even a genuine friendship, because of the intimate nature of the subject.

Different people have different comfort levels when it comes to disclosing feelings, and there are cases when you’d need several conversations before they would trust enough to open themselves. In some cases, you never get to this stage. Just make sure to be sensitive and test the other person’s readiness before opening an intimate topic.

Listening is vital in all stages of the conversation but especially so in this fourth stage. Listen with empathy and understanding to acknowledge that you heard the feeling that they have shared.