Insight and advice


3 personal business lessons

3rd September

At the weekend, I bumped into an ex-colleague. We used to work together nearly 20 years ago. Since then, a lot has changed – including me quitting work to set up my own business. For a change then, I thought I would share some of my own personal lessons.

Most of the time I try to recommend techniques that have been proven by science. So do bear in mind that … Read more


3 toxic thinking traps that make you anxious and unhappy

13th August

Humans are not rational beings. We all have feelings. When we’re positive, we feel excitement, joy and hope. When we’re negative, we feel sadness, disappointment and anxiety.

And it’s entirely natural to feel negative emotions at least some of the time. But people often fall into thinking traps that make them even more anxious than they need to be. In my experience, here are three of the most common patterns … Read more


3 proven tactics for giving more confident presentations

23rd July

I run a lot of workshops on how to give better presentations – for people ranging from junior employees who want some basic guidance to experienced executives who need to come across as more charismatic and leaderlike. But whatever the seniority and experience level of presenters, I typically find that most people can improve or polish their presentations by focusing on four main areas.

Broadly speaking, the four parts of … Read more


4 habits of people who appear to lack confidence

2nd July

A lot of clients come to me for coaching because they want more confidence. Some want to be more confident and assertive at work. Quite a few want to be more confident in job interviews so that they can get a new job. Some want more confidence so that they can go on dates and find someone special. A few want to work out a plan so that they can … Read more


4 adjectives that will make you happy (but tired)

11th June

What makes you happy? You can probably list a few things straightaway. But it turns out that quite a lot of behaviour has the potential to make you happy.

A pair of researchers at the University of Helsinki recently conducted a clever study looking at the effects that different behaviours had on people’s mood. The investigators asked several dozen people to report on their behaviour five times a day over … Read more


The 3 biggest interview mistakes you could make

21st May

Having run a series of in-depth workshops with job hunters recently, I thought I would summarise three of the commonest mistakes that job hunters make when being interviewed.

1. Assuming that you can just turn up to an interview and ‘be yourself’
Some candidates think that they don’t need to prepare before interviews. And they are the ones who probably get rejected time after time.

Whenever I coach job hunters, … Read more


5 and a half productivity tips to help you achieve more every day

1st May

You’re busy. Of course you are. Who isn’t these days? The topic of productivity came up on several occasions with different individuals I’ve been coaching recently, so I thought I’d share a handful of tips and insights.

1. Batch your work (and life) tasks
During your working day, do you respond to emails as they come in? Or do you prefer to wait until you have a large number of … Read more


6 books for success and happiness

9th April

As a psychologist, I try as far as possible to recommend evidence-based interventions, i.e. techniques and methods that have been researched and shown to work by credible researchers. I get terribly frustrated by authors and so-called experts who recommend techniques based purely on their own anecdotal experience. What works for one individual may not work for others. It’s only through science that we can tell what works for most people.… Read more


How to perform under pressure

19th March

To what extent do you perform at your best under pressure? That may be in a job interview, a written exam or when giving a presentation.

Unfortunately, many people perform worse under pressure. And the more motivated they feel, they worse they may perform.

If you have an anxious desire to perform well, you may begin to worry about the situation and its consequences. If your worries take up even … Read more


4 steps to being more assertive

26th February

I run a lot of workshops for clients on confidence and assertiveness. I often teach something that I call the DEAR method for negotiating, dealing with conflict situations more assertively. You might find it handy whether you’re trying to win over clients or change your colleagues’ minds.

 

Once you’ve watched the video, here are some additional pointers on applying the DEAR method successfully:

  • Write down bullet points for each
  • Read more


The 3 stories you must know when pitching, presenting or persuading people

5th February

How can you win people over?

I recently ran seminars for two groups on a similar topic. The first was a class of business students with goals of setting themselves up as entrepreneurs, aiming to sell their products and services either to other businesses or perhaps home consumers. The second was a group of experienced travel agents who wanted to improve their ability to sell luxury holidays to their clients.… Read more


How to boost your happiness AND success

15th January

When I was giving a speech at a recent conference, I asked the audience two questions. “Do you want to be happier?” And “Do you want to be more successful?”

Of course, I’m willing to bet that you too would answer “yes” to at least one of the two questions – if not both.

If you genuinely want to boost your chances of becoming both happier and more successful, I … Read more


A simple trick for boosting your outward confidence

4th December

Would you like to make a better impression on people? That could be say when you need to give a presentation – perhaps you’re pitching your product or services to customers. Maybe it’s pitching yourself in a job interview. Or it could be in a social setting: perhaps you want to make a stronger impact on friends or a date even.

Whatever the situation, here’s a quick technique that you … Read more


3 ways to beat worry

13th November

Sometimes things can seem really bleak and hopeless. Maybe you’ve suffered a big disappointment at work or you feel rejected by a friend or loved one. Or perhaps it is world events that make you feel that things are gloomy.

If you’re feeling down and want to feel more confident about life again, here are 3 actions that psychologists often suggest to clients:

1. Buoy your spirits
Don’t allow yourself … Read more


A simple trick for influencing and persuading people

23rd October

Imagine you’re trying to sell something that you own, something like an older computer, for example. Consider the two ways that you could phrase your request:

  1. “I’ll offer you my computer for £600.”
  2. “I’d like £600 for my computer.”

The two statements mean the same thing, right?

Yes, of course they do. Both imply that the buyer will get your computer in exchange for £600.

But it turns out that … Read more


One thing I guarantee will happen to you

3rd October

Death. It really is inevitable. And it may seem like a strange topic for me to write about, given that I usually write about self-improvement, confidence, productivity, and so on.

But I recently read a book which I felt was rather profoundly important: Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande. Gawande is a surgeon who decided to investigate the modern experience of mortality.

I guarantee that this book will be … Read more