Happy New Year! We hope you had a great break and started 2017 with some positive resolutions. We have a couple of CPD stories to help you to kick start your year.
Membership blog: The British School of Etiquette
A New Year a new you, how investing in yourself with CPD this year can improve your communication skills. The British School of Etiquette, CPDSO member (no.21277) gives eight tips for making the best first impression offline.
The word ‘netiquette’ means a socially acceptable way of communicating over the Internet like ‘email etiquette’ which just shows what a world we live in today.
However, in this very competitive world, face-to-face etiquette is far more important than ever before and if done well, leaves a lasting impression on your clients, potential business partners and friends. Harvard University Research (2012) confirmed that during first impressions, two questions are asked: What are this person’s intentions towards me? And how competent is this person? The research (2012) shows that these two trait dimensions account for 80 to 90 percent of an overall first impression, and that holds true across cultures.
Undertaking CPD that updates your interaction and communication skills can provide you with a wealth of benefits and will help you ensure that you know what to do and how to present yourself in a variety of business and social situations.
Philip Sykes, Principal of the British School of Etiquette who delivers accredited CPD to businesses in the financial and hospitality sectors says: “First impressions are vital. How you make them are just as important as what you say. They are made in an instant and they form the other person’s opinion of you the entre time they are with you.
A first impression takes less than a few seconds to form; we only have one chance to make that first impression. Everything, from what we wear, to how we look, to what we say counts!”
So, what are the vital communication skills that business people need to make that first moment count? Here are Philip’s top business etiquette tips:
- Dress appropriately
In an image-conscious world, making sure that you are clean cut and well dressed in a business meeting is vital to keep your client’s opinion positive. If you choose to meet in a less formal location, make sure you know what is on trend or wear something neutral. Understanding how to dress before you attend a meeting will help you to fit in and help you to be taken seriously.
- Anticipation techniques and keeping an eye for detail
When meeting with a client try to go beyond their expectations by delivering something they would value but did not ask for. One way is to prepare to give a few extra case studies so your clients can a CPD activity into context. Another way could be to offer factsheets or free advice to customers when they have finished your CPD activity.
- Body language
Non-verbal communication, or body language presents a great challenge for many people. This includes ways of talking, eye movements, facial expressions, closeness and hand movements.
When properly used, body language can be a key to greater success. It can help you develop positive relationships, influence and motivate the people around you, improve productivity, bond with team members and present your ideas with impact.
- Keeping good posture
People with good posture look more confident, are self- assured, remain calm under stress and are more present in the moment. Looking up rather than down will keep you aware of what is going on around you and give you the chance to react in time.
- Conversations skills, the art of enquiring
Good sales people have the best answers, but the key is knowing how to ask the best and correct questions. The only way to get to know your customer is through good conversation and inquire without being intrusive.
- Speech and voice control
When you are nervous, your voice may change pitch. The best way to control your voice is practice your speech with key words and not to memorise a page of text. This will help you speak more confidently about your business proposition.
- Dealing with distinguished clients
Do some research on your customers and business partners before you meet them which will help you adapt your future communications. Beware that addressing your client incorrectly will show that you have ill-judged the situation and that you are unprepared.
- Multicultural etiquette
Understanding multicultural etiquette when dealing with a diverse consumer base is a fundamental aspect of doing business in today’s world. Make sure you keep a worldly point of view and act considerately and respectfully to cultural norms.
With all these etiquette tips in mind, consider hosting meetings face-to-face whenever possible. After all good practice makes perfect and face-to-face meetings is good practice.
The more effort you put into updating your professional communication skills will earn you greater success when meeting face-to-face with your clients and business partners.
If you would like to know more, please contact Philip Sykes on 0207 692 4032 or via email: Philip@thebritishschoolofetiquette.com
Essential guide for selling your CPDSO accreditation in 2017
The CPD Standards Office (CPDSO) has written essential tips for selling your CPDSO accreditation in 2017 to inspire your customers to undertake lifelong learning with you.
As many of you know, CPD is a broad concept and sometimes difficult to articulate. It is defined as: ‘Continuing professional development (CPD) is the intentional maintenance and development of the knowledge and skills needed to perform in a professional context.’
Here at the CPDSO, we believe that the context of your training is important to deliver a good learning experience. So always keep in mind, who your customers are and why they need training from you.
Here is our essential guide for selling CPD to your customers.
- CPD makes your customer look more employable on their CV
Take care in understanding what sector your customers work in. In unregulated sectors, such as sales and marketing, hospitality or telecommunications customers are not mandated to undertake CPD or keep a point record for due diligence purposes.
CPD in unregulated sectors can help professionals keep abreast of trends in their trade which can be done by attending free workshops, reading trade journals or attending webinars. The CPD Research Project (2010) found that those who have added CPD experience to their CV are 10% more likely to get their dream job.
In a competitive job market, employers are looking for employees who have well-honed leadership, communication and organisational time management skills. So, customers who can show their employer that they have proactively worked on developing their professional skills for their employer are more likely to be promoted and improve their employability prospects.
- Due diligence and issuing CPD certificates
A CPD certificate is proof of successful completion of a training activity. In regulated sectors such as law, medical and accountancy, a CPD certificate is vital for proof legal due diligence.
In health and safety across many sectors such as construction or pest control, having a CPD certificate is vital for employers to prove that their staff are compliant with legal standards of practice.
Promoting CPD certificates can be a useful selling tool and many accredited CPD providers are using digital platforms to publish online CPD certificates by building collaborative partnerships and growing a network with technology experts.
- Professional bodies and submitting accredited CPD points
Many professional membership organisations require their members (your customers) to submit accredited CPD activities for their records.
Your customers who are aligned to these professional bodies are looking for accredited CPD which their professional body will accept as CPD points for their annual record.
The CPDSO accreditation is recognised by 1,600 professional bodies in the UK as its independent assessment process is guided by an independent Expert Advisory Board which keeps it up-to-date with changes to professional bodies’ CPD policies.
So, keep in mind to explain how the CPDSO accreditation can help your customers submit their CPD points
- CPDSO Accredited activities are assured to have excellent delivery
Our research has found that if CPD is delivered in context, it gives a wider meaning to the learning individual who can then relate their CPD to the wider world.
In contrast, if a CPD is too focused on providing content by delivering all facts on plain presentation slides, the learner will switch off and will not advance their thinking.
The most effective CPD is delivered with learning objectives, evaluation forms, pre-CPD and post-activity exercises and can engage delegates by adapting course material that is inclusive to a range of learning styles. Another service could be providing a learner’s CPD feedback process so they can reflect on their progress if they feel it works for them.
It is the responsibility of an accredited training provider to listen and ask customers questions about their learning needs. By getting to know your customers, you can provide them with on-going personalised support. In turn they may continue to invest in you for more CPD accredited activities.
We hope that these four tips have been useful in explaining to sell your CPD accreditation.
If you have any questions regarding your membership with us, please do not hesitate to call us on 0203 745 6463
We look forward to hearing from you soon.