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  1. A few weeks ago I got my son's school report. I was very pleased with it and with all the effort he had put in throughout the year. However, I must especially commend his teacher who managed to come up with at least 30 different ways of telling us that our son talks a lot.

    From 16 months old, he's been talking in sentences and he only stops when he's asleep. But although this can be wearing, it is how he learns. He genuinely is spongelike and takes in everything that he hears. He learns by asking questions, by providing a commentary on what he's doing, and by listening to other children. Of course an auditory learning style is not that uncommon, and I'm delighted that he hasn't been told to shut up in the classroom. To do so would be limiting his learning.

    This is one of the key reasons Power Hour is a live training format. So far we have resisted the temptation to put our learning online. That's not to say that e-learning isn’t useful: Of course it can be incredibly useful for certain people and with certain topics.

    However when people talk about flexible learning, all thoughts tend to be about online methods. But with most online learning you have a solitary experience. For those with a visual learning style it may work very well, but for those who are more auditory and like to talk, or those who are kinaesthetic and like to touch, feel and do, the impact is going to be limited.

    So when planning development for an organisation, make sure that live training remains part of the mix. It may feel a bit old hat, it may not be trendy, but there's a reason that it has been around for as long as it has – and that is because unlike any other medium, live training allows you to engage with all of the learning styles not just one.

  2. Recently I had coffee with someone I met through networking. We soon discovered a small group of mutual acquaintances and naturally we discussed our opinions of them. In most cases we had similar views but in one we had very different perceptions.

    I had always found this particular person likeable, easy-going, and friendly. My friend however found them aloof, rude, and slightly offensive. I couldn't believe that we were talking about the same person! I began to re-evaluate all the contact I've had with them, whilst at the same time defending this person to my friend.

    The fact is no one sees us exactly the same way as someone else does. We all have different personalities, likes, dislikes, values, beliefs, expectations, and feelings. we react to things in different ways, and we express ourselves differently. The thing is, we make judgements about other people based on our own values or 'moral compass', and this is why we often see people (and in particular their behaviour) quite differently.

    it also explains why friendship groups develop – we naturally gravitate towards people who are 'like us'. People 'like us' are easy to understand, communicate with, and work alongside. It takes more effort to get the same results when working with someone who is quite different to us. In fact we often interpret different as difficult, simply because we don't instinctively understand them. It takes more effort to work with that person.

    In our latest Power Hour - Handle Difficult People, we aim to help people understand those differences, and provide practical advice for getting around them, and having more productive relationships. The key as always, is understanding. If you understand what is driving someone's behaviour, you are more likely to be able to react to it appropriately, and get the best out of that person and that relationship.

    if you want to find out more, why not download our free key points sheet for a little taster? And next time you find someone difficult, try to pinpoint exactly what it is about them that is particularly different from you, and make an effort to acknowledge and respond to those differences.

  3. I recently met with someone who asked my what inspired me to start Power Hour, and why I charge such a small fee for (in his words) high-end materials. My response was instant: I don't see why people should be denied training due to lack of funds.

    In the current climate, training and marketing budgets are still being squeezed. Marketers have quickly realised that social media offers many of the benefits of traditional marketing for a fraction of the cost. How come training hasn't adapted the same way? Informal learning is taking off with some groups (notably those driven individuals who have a clear career goal), but for the vast majority of people who want 'to do a fair days work for a fair days pay', what is there?

    Much training is still 'ego-led' by those trainers (who I refer to as the shiny-shoe brigade), who can talk for hours about how wonderful they are, and are gracious enough to share a few morsels of their experience for a substantial fee. Other training requires a significant commitment of time (by the employee), money AND time (for qualification-based courses) or technology (by the firm), which even large firms simply can't afford these days.

    The problem is, that you can't just stop training either. Ok, you can put it on hold for a short while, but if you stop, your best people will start looking around for jobs in companies that will invest in them. And we all know that it costs more to recruit than to retain. If your people don't leave, standards will start to slip and your company will begin to look very second-rate compared to your competitors, and soon those 'savings' made on training are translating into loss of business.

    So, Power Hour was designed to fill a need, and provide a choice to companies who thought there might not be one. Think where we would be if the only clothes we could buy were individually designed and tailored clothes from a top fashion designer? Many people whould only have one outfit, and half of us would be going around naked! Thank goodness for Matalan, Primark and George. We can all be clothed, at a reasonable cost, and still 'treat' ourselves to the odd designer outfit when we can justify it.

    Thank goodness for Power Hour, that allows us to keep training in the tough times until we can get that eutopia of bespoke, accredditted, fully-funding training.