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Changing negative beliefs, Continuum of interpersonal skills, Influencing, Interpersonal skills, Negotiation, People Skills, Psychology, Relationships, Work skills

Why should you join the People Skills Revolution?

Do you want to have more power?
Do you want to have more influence with other people?
Do you want have more control of your life?
Do you want to achieve some goals that you never before thought possible?

Well today I am going to tell you how to achieve all of those goals if you are prepared to step out of your comfort zone to try some different behaviours.

More specifically I am going to tell you about the People Skills Revolution Books and what they can help you to achieve. This I will do by
• Showing you the link between skills and beliefs.
• Demonstrating how a systematic approach to skills development can increase your confidence
Helping you to remain in control every step of the way
• Show you how to achieve your goals in a clear, concise and straightforward manner which will transform your interactions with others

The approaches have been tried and tested and have worked for thousands of clients who have had the curiousity to try out the approaches

But before I do that I want to tell you something about me.

From a very young age I have been interested in how people communicate and change.

One of the main reasons for this is that I was born with a cleft palate and hare lip and I had some very negative beliefs about myself and found it very difficult to interact in a positive way with other people. I almost believed that the negativity went with the territory.

But it was only when I fell into training almost by accident that I realised that this negativity was not inevitable and that the main reason for my lack of ability to communicate with others was simply that I had never been taught the skills and this made me very negative about my ability to impact on the world around me.

This fundamentally changed when I was working as a training professional with the Wellcome Foundation. I was asked to run an assertiveness course and felt that I needed to experience a course before I ran one myself. This course which was run by an adult education authority for two hours a week over 10 weeks changed my life.

Before attending the course I did not believe I had any assertiveness issues, I was simply attending a course so that I could train it myself. But during those 10 weeks I realised that I had lots of assertiveness issues and that one of the reasons I did not get feel that I did I had a lot of assertiveness issues was that somewhere in my upbringing I had stopped having needs and therefore since I was not aware of or expressing any needs I did not know or feel that my needs were not being met.

After attending the course I tried out all the techniques – quite clumsily at first. In fact I pitied my boss. But gradually I started to reclaim myself and then achieve out comes which I never understood were possible.

From that time I became very passionate about not only training people in assertiveness but was also asked to develop and train a number of other courses including influencing and negotiation.

But it was a course on change, which was not going well that made me realise the link between beliefs and skills.

I sat in the lunch break reflecting on why the course I had run on many occasions was not working for this group and I realised that they were rejecting the ideas because they did not believe that the techniques would work for them.

I went back to the afternoon session and confronted them that their negative beliefs were preventing them from embracing the ideas. They agreed and I helped them to understand that unless they could see things differently they would not be able to make things better for themselves.

It was this realisation combined with my own experience that made me realise the critical impact that negative beliefs have on our ability to change and develop. Since that time I have always addressed negative beliefs as part of the entire learning experience.

The next things I realised during my Masters Degree in Change Agent Skills and Strategies is that although people want to help people to change, they are often reluctant to change their own behaviour. Change is hard and it makes people feel unsafe.

But I also realised that if you make the process predictable and stable, people are much more likely to take the risk of stepping out of their comfort zone to achieve some much more positive results. And furthermore when they see a clear link between their actions and the more positive outcomes they are much more likely to try other approaches to help them achieve better results.

In other words structure creates safety, helps people to feel in control and increases their confidence in their interactions with others.

The role of assertiveness as an underpinning skill

Then when running influencing skills courses I noticed something interesting. That the people who achieved the best outcomes were those who understood the basic underpinning skills of assertiveness and interacted with others from the classic ‘I positive, you positive’ position and were prepared to embrace the idea that learning to influence was part of a game where both parties benefit and enjoy the experience.

Furthermore when running negotiation skills workshops I noticed that the people who were assertive and able to influence enjoyed the negotiation process and achieved win- win outcomes whilst the people who lacked assertiveness and influencing skills often tried to hammer their opponents into submission or buckled under the pressure during the process.

All these things led me to believe that learning new skills is about having positive beliefs and then learning positive skills, in a step by step and cumulative manner.

The Development of the Continuum of Interpersonal Skills

Having identified the cumulative nature of assertiveness, influencing and negotiation I started using this discovery to systematically develop my training and coaching clients. Then I became interested in what might lie further up the continuum of interpersonal skills concept that I was developing.

I had two ways of researching this. Firstly I became interested in significant peace makers and secondly I was lucky enough to have a group of stable long term coaching clients who now had extremely good interpersonal skills, who had travelled the path towards greater assertiveness, influencing and negotiating with me and I was curious to know what skills they would develop next.

Reading Nelson Mandela’s great book ‘a Long Walk to Freedom’. I was able to track his development from an aggressive terrorist, through to learning to be assertive, able to influence, becoming an expert negotiator and finally a peace maker.

This became the template for my now developing model of the continuum of interpersonal skills. But I still believed there were stages in between negotiation and making peace.

It took me a while to identify these and they emerged gradually as my coaching clients started to conciliate both with their natural opponents and also to assist others in conflict.

Having identified the peacemaker as the end point of the continuum of interpersonal skills, I still felt there was another stage between conciliation and making peace.

In other words there was a stage or a process between being able to conciliate and taking the decision to become a peacemaker with the not inconsiderable personal risks that might be involved.

And then I realised that this is a very personal decision, which involves taking a stand for what you believe in. For Nelson Mandela this involved staying in prison for 11 years more than the authorities dictated and for my clients it involved going against what the powers that be dictated and standing up for what they believed in.

Once I had identified and felt comfortable with the continuum of interpersonal skills model I started to use it to consciously to develop my coaching and training clients in a systematic, step by step manner with considerable success over a number of years. In the process I also worked with a number of clients to develop a successful methodology to defuse the arch manipulator which surprisingly also involves an advanced form of assertiveness.

Writing the People Skills Revolution

Then one of my long term coaching clients who had in effect helped me to develop the continuum suggested that I write a book about my approach and the People Skills Revolution is the result.

It is called Revolution because it gives people the opportunity to completely turn their lives around. They can do this by becoming more confident and achieving different and more positive outcomes in their life. The People Skills Revolution offers a safe, straight forward and step by step approach to achieving the goals which up to now you might only have dreamt of.

The People Skills Revolution was published by Global Professional Publishing in 2011 and the Handbook which makes the ideas more accessible and helps people to translate the ideas into action was published the following year.

I am very proud to say that for the Handbook I was able to interview a peace maker working in the NHS who was able to verify that he had been through all the stages of the Continuum of Interpersonal Skills without undergoing a formal development process and without any knowledge of the Continuum of Interpersonal skills.

When I first wrote the book I had no idea if the techniques would work in the written format as well as face to face. But I am thrilled to say that the book seems to work as well as the individual coaching that I do. I know this because have stopped me in the street, sent me emails and texts to thank me for writing the book and written favourable reviews on Amazon about their experience of reading the book.
People have also enjoyed telling me the deals that they have negotiated whilst following the ideas in the book.

So to close I want to leave you with 2 quotes.

The first one is from the People Skills Revolution

‘I also have a theory that the extent of a person’s negative beliefs is in direct proportion to the amount of skills, talents and abilities they are suppressing. Now this does sound a bit peculiar, but I think that sometimes it is not possible to celebrate our potential when we are younger.

We may get told ‘Don’t get too big for your boots’ or ‘I know best’ or ‘Who do you think you are?’. So we learn to take on the criticism of others and then once our critics are not around we take over the job from them. If a person is particularly bright or talented, it can take a great deal of criticism from ourselves and others to keep that enormous well of possibilities in its place.

As the layers of negativity are peeled back, the blocks on this power are removed and true creativity and capability can be revealed.’

I wondered if this quote is true for you or anyone you know who just does not recognise their talents?

And the second quote comes from the Peacemaker who I talked to for the People Skills Revolution Handbook

‘Most people see me as a natural, but there is a lot of psychological thinking behind what they see. When I approach people I do my homework. If you understand what their private concerns are, you know where they are coming from. I have never had a performance development plan in my life but my whole life is a performance development process. I am aware that I think all my skills have happened by accident but when you look back at it, it has all been a conscious decision.

How often do you see people who have great interpersonal skills and believe that they were born that way?

Chances are they have learnt the skills outlined in my book in the same way that I am encouraging you to learn them. Step by step and systematically even if they have done this unawarely.

These skills are not magic and anybody with a degree of intelligence, self awareness and readiness to change can learn them.

I believe that the People Skills Revolution Books can change your life – if you let them. I would like you, your family and your friends to make a conscious decision to take ownership of your own personal development in order to achieve outcomes that at the moment you might only dream of.


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