Developing Communication Skills

Communication is something we do every day- however it is fair to say some people are more natural at it than others. Then again even the most confident of people may not always be aware of the messages they send out so it is worth knowing or refreshing your memory when it comes to learning communication skills to ensure you get your message across in the right way.
Body language
The gestures we make while we are speaking can be just as important as what you are saying- if you ask someone how they are and they say “fine” but they look away from you then this would indicate opposite but meeting eye contact and smiling would suggest you really are. Likewise gestures like pointing a figure at someone or having your arms folded can seem aggressive.

While this may sound obvious it is something people can forget- if you want to come across in the right way think about how you are presenting what you say in order to get the right message across.

Relax before you speak
One thing that can trip people up is going “Err”, “Umm” or “Aah”. This is often because you are trying to find what you want to say or are trying to make a point. A better approach is to take a breath and think about it before you say it because then you will be less likely to stumble as you say what you want to say.

The FORD method
Some people are more accomplished at small talk than others- it helps because at a networking event, meeting or even a typical office day people will want to talk and it helps to have an idea what you want to discuss.

FORD stands for Family, Occupation, Recreation and Dreams- Asking someone about where they are from, what they do, their interests and ambitions will make it easier when you want to move on to other topics as they will feel more relaxed.

Be flexible
Remember that different circumstances will require different messages- you wouldn’t talk to your boss in the same way that you would talk to a class of schoolchildren.

Clear and concise
People often talk of “elevator pitches” the idea that if you were to meet an influential exec, movie producer etc you could pitch to them in 30 seconds. While you don’t want to do this for all ideas it helps to keep anything you want to present as clear and simple as possible so that anyone can follow what you want to say.

Listen and be empathetic
Empathy is where you are able to imagine what someone else is going through. This tied in with listening to what they have to say and reflecting it can be crucial.

For example if someone has a complaint it is often beneficial to be able to listen to what they have to say as this will make it easier to address the issues they have and help keep them on side.

How we can help
If you would like to know more about the services we offer contact Right International today and we will be happy to discuss how we can help you in more detail! 

4 Questions That Will Change Your Life

What are you doing to invest in yourself?

Nothing stands still. Things either get better or they get worse. You are either gettingbetter-or-worse better or worse.

It’s a universal principle starting with the universe itself: That which doesn’t expand, contracts. You are either going forward or backward.

Stephen Covey referred to this kind of thinking as sharpening the saw. Just coasting along creates backward momentum and we end up using more effort to accomplish less.

How can you develop a life that will give you a great return on investment? What are you doing to invest in yourself?

Here are four questions to position you for great returns. Good questions lead to information. Great questions lead to transformation.

1. Who are you and what do you want?

We all experience imagination gridlock. That’s the place of stuckness that keeps us from going after our most meaningful aspirations. It’s easy to simply drift in safety mode, living out the scripts we’ve picked up along the way. This question helps you start with the end in mind. What do you want? What are your strengths? What are your passions? How are these two integrated into what you are doing? Are they reflected in your schedule?

2. Where are you and why are you there? 

“We can forgive a child for being afraid of the dark. The real tragedy is when grown adults are afraid of the light.” —Plato 

If you try to download driving directions for a trip, the guiding system won’t begin until you enter a starting point. As you create a life map, you’ll better understand how you arrived at your current place. You can build on the good choices and clearly see why some weren’t as productive—identifying faulty thought systems and behaviors. First discover the facts, then face them. We can’t manage what we don’t know.

3. What will you do and how will you do it?

“We are repeatedly what we do. Excellence, then, is not an act,
but a habit.” —Aristotle

Purpose and passion are essential for creating your best possible life. Yet purpose and passion without a plan are fantasy. When our dreams collide with reality, reality wins. A dream becomes more than an illusion when goals are set and supporting habits are formed. There is a chasm between knowing where you are and where you want to be. Your plan is the bridge that links the two.

What would you like to do that you aren’t doing right now? What’s hindering your progress? What steps today will help you get to where you want to be tomorrow? Are your daily actions adding up?

4. Who are your allies and how can they help?

“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their work: if one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the one who falls down and has no one to help him up.” —King Solomon (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

Our journey sometimes appears to be a solitary one, but that’s not the case. We can leverage the strengths, insights and wisdom of those around us. Our tendency is to beat ourselves up for struggling or not having all the answers. Our natural reaction during tough times is to pull back and isolate ourselves.

But that’s when we need our mutual supporters the most. If you were struggling in the ocean and in danger of drowning, would you call out to a lifeguard for help or start berating yourself for all the swimming classes you didn’t take? It’s not only nice but also essential to have mutual supporters who are insightful, useful and helpful.

Greatness begins with a profound understanding of yourself. It’s referred to as positive self-regard. Self-understanding allows you to manage your strengths and not get sidetracked by your weaknesses.

These four questions never grow old. They just grow deeper. They keep you on track for the best of your life. They help turn information into transformation.

How are you investing in yourself? What are you doing today that will bring great returns tomorrow?

Mick Ukleja

Eliminate Distractions

Take these steps to slash cognitive and emotional distractions, increase focus and thrive:

1. Stop digital pressures.
Carve out blocks of time—whether for work, exercise or people you care about—and turn off your phone and computer. Download the free app SelfControl, which shuts off especially distracting websites such as social media or news pages for a set period of time.

2. Give yourself frequent breaks.
Just because you can work 24/7 doesn’t mean your mind or body are designed to do so.

3. Mind your physical health.
Exercise, plenty of sleep, healthy eating and all of those things you know you’re supposed to do promote mental health and focus.

4. Turn off smartphone notifications. smartphone-notifications
Limit the number of times per day you check and respond to email, texts and social media. Remove the temptation to constantly keep an eye on these pests.

5. Knock out the most dreaded duties first thing in the morning.
Have a difficult email you must send? Bills to manage? Need to initiate a difficult conversation? Get it off your to-do list and out of your mind, freeing you to be productive.

6. Eliminate or minimize negative people in your life.
These are people who play the victim, are stuck in unhealthy habits, or generally make you feel drained or bad about yourself. Surround yourself with those who are positive, focused, productive and ambitious. Remember the late iconic speaker Jim Rohn’s rule: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

This Could be Your Best Decision

The number one problem that most UK businesses face is finding and recruiting the very top candidates that they need to rapidly grow their organisations.

Here are a short selection of such candidates that have confidentially asked us to help them in their next career move.

Candidates we are confidentially representing include:

Head of Motor Claims Operations – Leading Insurer
Managing Director – Leading Niche Personal Lines Insurer
Head of Motor Underwriting – Leading Personal Lines Insurer
Senior A&H Underwriter – Insurance Intermediary
Operations Director – Leading Insurer & Broker
Commercial Director – Leading MGA
COO/Head of Operations – Lloyd’s/London Market
Programme Manager – Leading Insurance Company
Financial Controller (Interim) – Lloyd’s/MGA

For more details on these candidates please contact me.

Alternatively please tell me what you’re looking for and I’ll guarantee a shortlist of the best candidates in the market within 20 working days.

Part 2: What you want and how to achieve it!

“What if you aim low and you don’t achieve it, then what?” Ricky Gervais

In order to achieve a goal, it is important to look at what you want and why you want it. Outside one of the Aviva buildings in Norwich a stencil graffiti posed the question “Why do you do this every single day?”

If the answer to that is “to pay the bills” and that makes you happy then there is nothing wrong with that. But if there is something more you want to achieve then you need to look at what you can do.

write-it-downWrite it down
A lot of people say what they want to do. However, there is something about getting it down in writing that can get you thinking about it.

For example, let’s say you want to write a novel. Once you have written “I want to write a novel” you can then start thinking about what it will be about, who the characters are, how it will end.

You can then start writing goals for each aspect- some people have specific word targets but equally you could make it a chapter by the end of the day or to get a few pages done before lunchtime.

Stay positive
It is important to remember what you have achieved as much as what you are going to. Using the example of novel writing have a little celebration at the end- watch your favourite film, have a cup of tea or a nap (whatever works for you!)

Also, if you don’t hit a target don’t be tempted to give up- you can always adjust it so that if you stumble a bit you can carry on (remember the bigger picture).

Share updates
Whether it’s through social media, chatting on the phone to a friend or even your own personal diary/journal it helps to process what you’ve done and build on it.

Set targets but don’t be ruled by them

Having goals and targets is important and help you focus. But this should not mean you put excessive pressure on yourself- if you are a sales assistant in a store then you shouldn’t beat yourself up for not being a regional sales manager in a month!

Support others
While being positive for yourself is good remember to return the favour- go to your friend’s art exhibition, back the crowd funder that your favourite video producer is doing, help raise money for charity.

Be inspired
Remember there are many stories about people who have achieved against the odds- Harrison Ford was working as a carpenter when he was cast in Star Wars, Richard Branson started out selling records from the back of a van and any successful comedian you’ve ever seen had to do their fair share of gigs in the back of a pub!

What is important is to remember that what you want to achieve can be done- whether it is getting a job, a promotion, writing a novel, losing weight or anything you have it within yourself to do, a little bit each day to get that bit closer to achieving your ambition.

To find out more information on how we can help your career goals in 2017 contact me.

New Year, New Career!

calendarWhat’s your career ambitions for 2017?

As specialist Headhunters to the Insurance market we exclusively work with leading organisations looking to hire the TOP TALENT in the market.

Here are some of our LATEST VACANCIES:

Sales Director – Leading Insurance Technology Provider – £100k plus
Development Underwriter – niche divisions (charity, social welfare, care etc.) – Leading Insurance Intermediary – £60k
Head of Operations – Personal Lines Insurance Intermediary – £80k
Commercial Director (Professional Indemnity) – MGA – £90k
Head of Marketing/Branding – Leading Insurance Company – £80k
Med Mal Senior Underwriter – Lloyd’s Syndicate – £120k+equity
MGA – Various niche underwriting opportunities.

If you would be interested in one of these positions, please contact me in the strictest of confidence.

For other vacancies click here

If the positions are not right for you at the moment but you would still like to take advantage of our confidential proactive approach to help you in your next career move click here to find out more.

Alternatively if your company has a vacancy I’ll guarantee to deliver a shortlist (of the top talent in the market) in 20 working days, please contact me to discuss.

Gary Pike, MD

Part 1: Pressing the Reset Button

reset-button“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

The New Year is usually the time when people bring out the “New Year, New Me” memes. Everyone is fired up and motivated- we’re going to quit smoking, lose weight or learn how to speak fluent Mandarin. But then as the months go on people can get frustrated- one stressful day leads to a trip to the newsagent for a packet of cigarettes, the discount chocolate looks tempting and by the end of the day you’re too tired beyond scanning a Mandarin dictionary for funny/rude words.

The same is true of business- people may have big ideas for their business (or in some cases want to start their own) but find things getting in their way. This is why we want to help people learn how to forget the past and to find the ways to achieve your goals in 2017!

Set small goals and build up

Fitness is a personal passion of mine and my fathers (click here to learn more about Executive Warrior Fitness and how it can help you). After the excesses of Christmas and the New Year party season it’s natural to want to lose weight and be fitter. However, the problem is people try too much too soon- inevitably this results in people getting overly tired, not warming up properly and generally being frustrated. A good example of how to do this is with running- this can be done on a treadmill or outside. At first start off walk for about ten minutes and then include a minute of running. Do this for a couple of weeks and then increase the running to two minutes.

Over time this will mean more running and less walking but without the impact of trying to do too much too soon. Of course, it’s not hard to see how this can equally apply to business related goals- it could mean setting aside time to develop skills, working on an idea or finding ways to gradually implement more productive practises.

Get a buddy

A difficulty people often have is that they try to take on too much themselves- this can happen a lot when trying to lose weight. People can mean well saying “You’re not fat” or offer you food when you come around because they want to be hospitable. This is why you need to (tactfully) tell people what you want to do and how you want to achieve it. If you go to the gym you may want to consider using the services of a personal trainer or go to a class (these are often included in the cost). Exercising with a friend often helps!

These are just two examples of ways to set goals and achieve them- in the next part we are going to look at what your goals are and looking at what you need to do.

For more information on how we can help you achieve your ambition contact me or visit our website.

Overcoming Distractions

As I walked on the beach a few weeks ago I noticed that certain areas were closed off by fences and signs that said “Sea Turtle Eggs.”

I remembered reading that female sea turtles swim to shore between May and August to dig nests in the sand and lay their eggs. Months later, the eggs hatch and the baby turtles follow the pure light of the moon back to the surf.

In a perfect world, the pure light of the moon guides every turtle back safely to the ocean. However, as we know, we don’t live in a perfect world.

Sea Turtle hatchlings instinctively crawl toward the brightest light. On an undeveloped beach, the brightest light is the moon. On a developed beach, the brightest light can be an artificial light source emanating from restaurants, homes and condominiums along the coast.

Unfortunately, these powerful artificial sources of light often attract the hatchlings and cause them to move in the wrong direction when they are born.

Rather than follow the pure light of the moon to the ocean the sea turtles follow the wrong light to a disastrous outcome.

It occurred to me that we humans face a similar challenge.

Rather than follow the path we were meant to follow, unfortunately we too often are distracted by things that move us in the wrong direction.
Technology, online games, too much time on social media, bad habits, addictions, stress, busyness and meaningless distractions lead us astray.

Instead of following the pure light of perfection we allow bright and shiny artificial things to sabotage our journey.

So, what about you?

Are you following your priorities and pure light to the right destination or are you allowing artificial distractions to lead you in the wrong direction?

Are you following the path you were meant to follow or are you letting meaningless things keep you from being your best?

The great news is that unlike sea turtles we have the ability to think, adapt and change direction when we realize we are following the wrong path.

We can tune out the distractions and focus on our priorities and let the pure light lead us to an ocean of possibilities and a great future!

Reproduced with kind permission form – Jon Gordon

4 Ways to Say No to Negativity

no-negitivityHere’s the truth: Human beings are naturally negative. When you’re driving down the motorway and there’s a wreck, people will sit in a long line complaining about the people up ahead who are rubbernecking to get a look. But when those complainers get up there, they’re the ones doing the rubbernecking. This is why when you turn on the TV, you see negative news. It’s what people want to watch.

1. Take control of what goes on in your brain.
When you wake up in the middle of the night worried about something, you’ve got to wrestle the control back and turn your thoughts around. Read something positive. Speak well about yourself and your circumstances. Fertilise the positive and weed out the negative self-talk.

2. Harness the power of association and disassociation.

You’ve got to surround yourself with uplifting, positive people. You are going to think just like the people you’re around the most. If you’re spending your whole life around negative, sour, cynical people, guess what? You’re going to become negative, sour and cynical. Spend time with people who build you up.

3. Start right now being happy.
Life is short. If you’re waiting on circumstances to make you happy, you’ll never be happy. If you’re waiting to have plenty of money, get married or get the kids out of the house, you’re fooling yourself. The same circumstance you were all balled up and worried about five or 10 years ago, you can’t even remember now.

I’m not saying there aren’t tragedies in life that take us out for a while. But that’s not what most of us are dealing with. When I think about the happiest time in my adult life, it was when we were in our 30s. Our kids were 2 1/2 and 4 years old. They were so sweet at that age. My mom and dad were both healthy and with us. We lived in a nice little house with a garden in the backyard. It was just an incredibly happy time in my life.

I didn’t have much money. I couldn’t have imagined being where I am now, financially. It was tough living on one salary, and I’m sure I was worried about all kinds of things. But as I look back, I just remember being so happy. Life was great. It had nothing to do with whether we could afford a nice car or jet off to Paris. You’ve got to work on the realisation that 90 percent of the stuff you’re worried about right now would be insignificant if you found out tomorrow was your last day. As long as I’m working to make a positive difference in the world, I’m happy. And you can be, too.

4. Act the way you want to feel.
You might be thinking, I’m just not that happy-go-lucky kind of a person. Fine. Then just act like it for a while. I once had a pastor who said, “Act the way you want to feel and soon you’ll feel the way you act.”1 This means you can reprogram yourself. Smile. Say nice things to other people. Even if you’re dealing with a horrible situation, you’ll be more successful in that battle if you’re positive. So get some objectivity about how big your problems really is in relation to the big picture. Then smile until you actually feel like smiling.

The most important thing to recognise is when you’re giving in to negativity and when you’re being positive. If you pay attention, you can work on yourself, change your self-talk, surround yourself with supportive people and let situations go rather than dwelling on them. Over time, your health, your work and your relationships will grow more positive.

By John Addison, author of Real Leadership: 9 Simple Practices for Leading and Living with Purpose