Stop being so nice!

I’m somewhat dismayed to have just realised that I’ve been running presentation skills workshops for the John Lewis Partnership for twenty-one years. Where has the time gone? The Partnership was one of my first clients and I’m delighted to say they’ve stuck with me through thick and thin: recessions as well as the boom times. Together we’ve been through the lot.

I’ve often heard myself say that in another life I would be happy to work for them – but as you can see I really am, but as freelance consultant – which means I’ll never qualify for their staff discount card.

The Partnership is staffed by some of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet. They pride themselves on the quality of their customer service. But when it comes to delivering powerful, persuasive and authoritative presentations, always wanting the audience to like you might be rather difficult to pull off. Delivering a difficult or unpopular message with a big smile on your face is likely to lead to confusion, or worse.

Psychologist Daniel Goleman suggests that for women the problem is compounded by an cultural upbringing that encourages girls to be nice, whereas boys are allowed to show some aggression. Female mangers are expected to nurture their team but men can boss theirs about.

So how nice are you? Want to find out? Fearful of showing your feisty authoritarian side? Then why don’t you enrol on the next Successful Speaking Skills course that’s running on Friday 7th February 2014 in Hatton Garden, LONDON EC1. You’ve nothing to lose except your niceness. Click on the link for all the details about the course:

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