Why Experience is Overrated in the Workplace

When hiring new employees it’s easy to overlook candidates who are short of experience in the workplace, but are you making a huge mistake? All you need to do is look to entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg and Richard Branson. Even with a lack of experience these individuals created business empires at a young age. So, why do people overestimate the importance of experience on business or career success?

Not all experience is good experience.

Trying to measure the level of an individual’s experience is more difficult than it sounds. Imagine you are hiring a new member of staff. The time in a position or knowledge and skills learned on the job does not mean that an individual has suitable experience. Their working experience could be outdated, irrelevant or specific to their previous role.

Make sure you can distinguish individuals with negative experience from those with positive experience – this is key to hiring the right person. Be wary of hiring someone just because they have spent a lot of time within a company. You do not know whether this time was productive or beneficial. As well as this, ensure that any previous experience is relevant. An employee doesn’t necessarily have to have similar experience; more importantly is the transferable skills they have learned that they can carry into their new position.

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.

In recent years, the idea of ‘intrapreneurship’ has really taken off. This is the notion of possessing strong entrepreneurial qualities and utilising these skills within a large company. Employers are increasingly seeking innovative and natural leaders in a bid to modernise their business. According to Forbes, over 40% of millennial employees are very interested in working in an environment where this behaviour is encouraged and not constrained.

The younger, less experienced ‘millennial employee’ is more likely to possess these attributes. According to the Huffington Post young employees have a different set of challenges and fewer boundaries in today’s workplace. Individuals with little experience have no expectations and can therefore adapt to big changes. They can also offer a completely fresh perspective and be shaped to fit their precise role. In some cases, a lack of direct experience is actually a hug asset.

Working does not make success.

Just because an individual has got many years of working experience under their belt does not mean they are successful. A great example of this is by thinking of some of history’s greatest entrepreneurs. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates both started up while they were still at University. We don’t even need to say how successful they became. On the other hand, some white collar workers work for years and years in the same role without progressing.

Experience is not a key indicator of success or performance in the workplace. If you are conducting interviews, you may want to consider interviewing individuals of a range of work experience and skill level.

Ripley Training

If you would like to develop your leadership skills we have a range of courses to suit your needs. Our Navigating Through Change course will help you if you want to apply changes within your own organisation.

We can create 121 Coaching sessions or In-House Training courses to suit your needs. If you would like to enquire about a specific course then please call us today on 01423 861 222.

5 Ways to Deal with Difficult Clients

“The day you sign a client is the day you start losing them”

Everyone has come across difficult clients at some point in their career. Knowing how to deal with this person can be tough. Whether you aren’t delivering to their expectations or they’re anxious about what you are doing, by following these five ideas you can be sure to have a smooth relationship. The day you sign a client could actually become the start of a wonderful and prosperous relationship!

1. Trust

It is up to you to convey to the client that you know exactly what you are doing. It’s your job to complete the task or job agreed and let the client know they are in good hands whilst doing so. A client will become very uncomfortable and anxious if they don’t understand exactly what you are doing and why. This could make them seem overbearing and picky when they are actually just passionate about the project and take their work seriously.

If you have a client like this, try taking a couple of hours to educate and inform them of the work you are doing for them. It could make all the difference.

2. Only Solutions, Not Problems

If you feel that a client is being difficult, take a step back and think. Maybe the client is not being difficult, maybe they are just raising a genuine problem with the work you are doing with them. Even if you don’t see the problem, you have to find a solution to put their mind at ease. It is your job to do so.

Counter any problems, and even those that you may think of as non-problems, with solutions. However simple or complex, the way you deal with it should be the same; efficiently and politely. Most importantly never let them think it was any trouble.

3. Pre-empt any issues

In a similar vein to the above, when dealing with any client you should always be aware. You should be able to recognize when and what a client may have an issue with. For example, if you are sending a monthly report and it isn’t as good as expected, offer an explanation of why this could be. Don’t wait for them to ask. You will seem on the ball and confident and they will be satisfied with the work. Everyone’s a winner.

Trust your instincts with this one. If you can see a potential problem they could raise then they probably will. Find a solution to this problem before it becomes one.

4. Keep in Contact

It’s important that you are in regular contact with your client. Regular updates about the work you’re doing and keeping them in the loop will go a long way into how comfortable the client feels. A client who is not informed about a key change or update in your company or work will become dissatisfied. As well as the usual contact regarding work, make extra time for face to face meetings if necessary. The first way to improve client relationships is to nurture them.

Remember, when dealing with any client it is vital to remain professional and polite at all times. They are paying for your service and you therefore have a duty to keep them satisfied.

5. Personality Clash

Sometimes the source of a bad client relationship could be as simple as a personality clash. It happens. There are too many people in the world for everyone to get on great. In the short term when dealing with this client, it is best to be polite, civil and professional. The longer term resolution would be to assign another member of staff to the client. This needn’t be obvious and awkward. You can simply say the change was due to internal adjustments.

Ripley Training

At Ripley Training we offer a wide variety of courses to help you improve your customer service and personal skills. Learn more about dealing with difficult clients on our Communicating with Confidence and Personal Impact Course. If you need help dealing with unsatisfied customers our Handling Difficult Callers and People on Reception Desks Course will help you gain confidence and offer a better service.

We also offer bespoke training to suit any training needs you may have.

Why You Should Invest In Business Networking

Most of us have had to engage in business networking at some point in our careers and will probably need to do so again. Perhaps you attend an early morning breakfast networking, are a delegate at an industry conference or you simply network with your colleagues and co-workers. Whatever type of networking you do, it’s an essential professional and personal skill for your career and business development.

While a few people enjoy networking, you’re not alone if the thought of it makes you feel really uncomfortable. It’s not easy to walk into a room full of strangers, strike up a conversation and turn that conversation into a long-term relationship. Even the guy who bounds in full of confidence is likely feeling a little hot under the collar.

Fortunately we have some really practical business networking courses which are designed to help you prepare properly and perfect your networking skills in a safe environment. We also have some great content on our blog about effective communication skills, all of which will make you a better networker.

Why should you invest in networking?

So, we have you covered when you’re in a networking situation, but the question we hear lots is ‘why should I invest in networking?’ Networking does cost money and time, so it’s easy to see why you may question the usefulness of networking and whether or not it’s a worthy business investment. There are so many great reasons to invest in networking and we’ve listed three below:

1 – Make Connections

Richard Branson said that, ‘Succeeding in business is about making connections’. Branson is talking here about connections between people, but also connections between ideas and inspiration. There’s no better way to connect with great like-minded people and generate new ideas than networking. You’re able to meet regularly with the shared goal of building relationships and helping each other grow, which pays huge dividends in the long term.

2 – Become a Better Listener

Of course it’s not just about making connections, it’s also what you do with those connections that matters. As an effective networker you should know how to ask great questions and listen actively so that you really hear what the person is saying and where they’re coming from. In doing so, you can spot opportunities and get really valuable feedback on your business. Effective questioning and listening is an incredibly valuable sales skill and something we also cover in our Principles of effective selling course.

3 – Perfect Your Pitch

Effective networking also requires you to present yourself and your brand really well. The simple act of introducing yourself over and over at different networking events is a brilliant way to get your elevator pitch just right. Practice makes perfect when it comes to crafting a great introduction, and networking is a brilliant practice ground. Use every new encounter to test different introductions, see how people respond and make a note of the questions they ask. Before long you’ll be pitch perfect!

ROI of Networking

When considering the actual Return on Investment (ROI) of networking, you simply need to keep in mind the old saying that ‘People Buy People’. The very fact that you have widened your network provides greater opportunities for new leads. Go into a networking situation with the intention of meeting great people and building lasting relationships (rather than just selling). In doing this you will find that it brings the reward of referrals long after the initial meeting takes place.

According to Robert Davis form the University of San Francisco, ‘people who participated in networking groups appeared to be above-average networkers, which resulted in more referrals and more clients’. Ivan Misner who is the Chairman of the much renowned networking organisation BNI, talks about this and more in his post on Forbes.com about the ROI of Networking.

Never Stop Networking

Although most networking events take place at a specific location and point in time, the addition of social media tools such as LinkedIn and Twitter ensure that you stay top of mind with your new found connections. Support them by commenting on their blog posts or retweeting them on Twitter. Make sure you drop an email to catch up once in a while. Many networking experts will tell you that the one-to-one follow up is crucial in converting those connections into customers. Social media, email and even the good old phone are brilliant ways of bridging the gap between exchanging business cards and ‘shaking hands’ on a deal.

Become a Better Networker with Ripley Training

As mentioned in the post we have two networking courses aimed at both internal and external networking. These courses will help you to master the art of networking now that you’ve decided it’s a great business investment. We also have a great range of sales courses which can help you question and listen effectively, pitch to perfection and negotiate a great deal when the time comes.

How to write an effective press release

Writing press releases is a common form of media relations activity, as a means of generating positive goodwill about your company or brand. Many small businesses may not have the budget to outsource their public relations activity to a PR agency, and so they may decide to do it in-house. So, if you need to write a press release, we’ve put together some useful tips on how to write an effective press release to get your news featured in the media.

Where do press releases generally go wrong?

A press release should contain newsworthy content. By newsworthy, this means: why should anyone care about your news? The problem with many press releases is when the company is trying to overtly sell or promote something about their organisation; or the news simply isn’t interesting – such as your office has just upgraded its water cooler!

What can you do to make your press release better?

A great press release attracts the attention of a journalist or editor, in order to get your news featured in their publication. Try following these steps to get your press release from good – to great:

1. Make sure your news is newsworthy.

Make sure your announcement has some news values such as timeliness, uniqueness or something truly unusual. Be clear in your mind why this information is of interest to this particular journalist/editor, and the publication’s audience. Look at the publication’s features listing/calendar, and if they’re focusing on a particular topic in a particular month that is relevant to your business, tailor your news to fit in with this.

2. Use the headline and first paragraph to tell the story

You have just a matter of seconds to grab your readers’ attention. Don’t blow it with a weak opening!

o Summarise the whole story in the first paragraph (as journalists edit a press release from the bottom up)
o Don’t try and be clever with the headline (as this will usually be written by the publication)

3. The rest of your press release should provide the detail

o Use the second and third paragraph to expand the theme of the first paragraph
o Add interesting background information and evidence to back up the claims you’re making
o Include quotations and endorsements (make sure whoever you have quoted has approved these in advance)

4. Convey the essence of the story within the first few lines (‘Five Ws’)

o Who is it about?
o What is it about?
o Where did it happen?
o When did it happen?
o Why is this beneficial/useful/unique etc?

5. Include a photo

A photograph is often the first thing a journalist will look at before your press release, so a photo truly does say a thousand words! If you’re including a photograph, add brief details at the bottom of the release so the journalist can check the details and/or request another copy.

6. Write as you’d like the copy to be used

In today’s digital world many online media outlets may pick up your press release and run it in their publications with little or no modification, however, on occasion, journalists will use your press release as a springboard for a larger feature story.

In either case, try to develop a story as you’d like to have it told. Editors often delete whole sections/paragraphs when they publish, so make sure each paragraph is able to stand alone, and still make sense without the surrounding copy. Even if your news is not reprinted verbatim, it may provide an acceptable amount of exposure.

7. Illustrate the story

Use real life examples about how your company has solved a problem, and do so by demonstrating why your company/brand is the right solution for a particular audience. Use real life examples to powerfully communicate the benefits of using your product or service – for example: if you’re reporting on a corporate milestone, make sure that you attribute your success or failures to one or more events. Or, if your company has experienced significant growth, tell the world what you did right. Show the cause and effect!

8. Stick to the facts and be concise

Remember to tell the truth. Avoid fluff and exaggerations because journalists are naturally skeptical and will avoid using anything they think has been embellished. Avoid using unnecessary adjectives, clichés, flowery language, bad grammar, or redundant expressions such as “added bonus”.

9. Don’t scream BUY ME!

A press release isn’t an advertisement. A good press release’s primary role is to inform, not sell.

10. Include a summary paragraph

Some distribution points only receive your headline, summary and a link to your press release; therefore if you fail to include a summary paragraph, you may reduce the effectiveness of your press release. Your press release should end with a short paragraph (often referred to as a ‘company boilerplate’ as part of a ‘Notes to Editors’ section) that describes your company, products, services and a short company history.

Ripley Training

We provide high quality accessible training to help businesses like yours develop effective Public Relations and Media Skills.

Get in touch with us today to see how we can help your business and boost your brand’s exposure with effective PR.