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The CRM Learning weblog will be regularly updated with helpful training tips, articles, and other news. We encourage you to comment and share ideas. Come IN!
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3 Interpersonal Skills You Can Learn from Employee Training Videos

May 26th, 2017

There are employee training videos available on every topic relevant to working in an organization – from safety to sexual harassment, from leadership to customer service. Some of the most compelling and effective business training videos teach interpersonal skills using emotionally-engaging, realistic workplace situations.

Salesteam in front of computer

Here are three interpersonal skills you can learn from employee training videos.

Team Building

You don’t have to go to the wilderness and ride a zipline with your co-workers to build good teamwork; you can gain all the skills you need with a great team building training video. There are programs on every aspect of teams: group dynamics, achieving team goals, decision-making in a team, holding effective team meetings, leading teams, and many other topics.

Teams are comprised of unique individuals, each with their own personal and professional background, and style of problem-solving and communication. This can make it hard for everyone to get along and get work done efficiently. But teamwork videos will teach your employees that it’s not necessary to assimilate everyone to the same preferences and styles in order to get work done; instead, team members should be encouraged to utilize self-awareness, honesty with other team members, mutual respect, trust, and flexibility when working in a team. In this way, individual diversity becomes the essential building block of a synergistic, high-performing team.

For recommended Teambuilding skills videos, check out: Teambuilding: What Makes a Great Team Player, We’re on the Same Team, Remember? and The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team.

Communication

Another interpersonal skill that can be learned from employee training videos is communication. We can’t be effective at work unless we can clearly and comfortably talk to one another about what needs to be done and how to do it. But, over the course of our work (and personal) lives, we fall into bad communication habits. Using a communication skills video can help teach employees to recognize how their communication behavior affects others and take steps to be more clear and proactive on both sides of every conversation.

Communication skills video recommendation: Communication Counts: Speaking and Listening for Results. Also, The Communication Toolkit.

Accountability

In our highly connected, global economy, we can lose business to a competitor (or have our agency or organization slandered on social media) in the blink of an eye. All this means that we have to work extra hard at being accountable – to our customers, to our owners, and to the person at the next desk or workstation. We need to take ownership of our work, commit to doing it right and on time, and make sure to help our co-workers succeed at their own tasks. Employee training videos on personal accountability teach behaviors like doing what you say you’re going to do, taking initiative to solve problems and your own conflicts, and not making excuses when things go wrong.

For recommended accountability training videos, check out Can We Count on You? and Accountability that Works!

3 Ways to Defuse Diversity-Related Conflicts in the Workplace

May 5th, 2017

Diversity-related tension in the workplace is a common occurrence, whether you work with just a few people or have teams of hundreds all across the globe. Small tensions can simmer into large conflicts, so it’s important to provide diversity training to employees so that they know how to defuse diversity-related conflicts before they boil over.

In the workplace, “diversity moments” happen when differences in culture, experience, and expectations affect our relationships or understanding of a situation. They are often based in cross-cultural misunderstandings when a meaning that exists in one culture is interpreted differently in another.

Diversity training programs – and even communication skills videos – that present realistic scenarios and concrete steps for handling these “diversity moments”, are a great resource for combating workplace conflicts about diversity. Here are 3 ways to address diversity-related conflicts.

Explore and Acknowledge Differences

When in the midst of a diversity conflict, it’s important to explore others’ viewpoints, and not assume that you know it all. Quickly explain the situation or concern from your perspective, then invite the other person’s perspective. Use phrases like “The way I see this is….” or “How do you look at this?” Then, reframe what you’ve heard the other person explain with something like, “If I understand what you are saying…”.

Diversity and communication skills video recommendation: M.E.E.T. Breaking New GroundCovers how to manage dynamics and create a respectful workplace by focusing on the respect & inclusion component of diversity.

Assess Intent Cautiously

In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to assume that someone else INTENDED to be hurtful, mean, rude, or even racist. But diversity training teaches us to assess others’ intent cautiously: don’t jump to conclusions about that person’s intent. Think about a time when you made an assumption about someone’s attitude or intent and turned out to be wrong (or when someone misjudged your intent).

Diversity and communication skills video recommendation: Gateways to Inclusion Dr. Sondra Thiederman teaches skills that turn moments of diversity tension into “gateways” for increased understanding and improved relationships.

Speak Up Without Blame or Guilt

If a “diversity moment” occurs where you hear someone stereotype another person, or say something demeaning, speak up. If you stay silent, other people may interpret your silence as support for the hurtful comment or action.

When you speak up, make sure you do it without blaming the speaker or trying to make them feel guilty. Remember in the point above – don’t assume that person intended harm; instead, give them the benefit of the doubt and ask a question (like, “I’m not sure I caught that; what were you saying?”), explain the impact of what they said (“I know you meant that to be funny, but it hurts.”), or try to broaden their remark to universal human behavior, like (“I don’t think that’s really a ‘woman thing’; I think that applies to both men and women.”). These steps can help defuse a diversity conflict before it really gets started.  

Diversity and communication skills video recommendation: Ouch! That Stereotype HurtsIn a powerful way, this program depicts the impact stereotypical comments have on others. Practical techniques for speaking up are provided.

Infographic: Is Good Enough?

May 4th, 2017

Infographic: Is Good EnoughConsidering the number of things people have to do on any given day, most are happy if they get things right 90% of the time.  But is that really enough? Especially when it comes to how we do our jobs?

If we’re right 99% of the time…or even if we’re right 99.9% of the time…what about the people who are negatively impacted by the .1% – 1% of the time we’ve made a mistake?

This infographic cites examples that will help people rethink quality guidelines and renew their commitment to giving their best at all times. Feel free to share it with your employees.

This graphic’s content is from the popular meeting opener, Is Good Enough? Click here for product information and to preview the video.

Identifying & Overcoming Diversity Challenges in Healthcare Delivery

April 28th, 2017

Hospitals in North America are serving an increasingly diverse patient population. This requires healthcare providers to be not only medically competent but culturally competent, too. Identifying and responding to diversity challenges while delivering patient care requires compelling diversity training for healthcare employees.

In order to provide optimal care, it is essential to understand that not all cultures share the same beliefs regarding health and illness, nor do they agree on what is an appropriate treatment for a disease, or what is proper behavior when ill. These differences can, at best, cause a great deal of frustration on the part of the provider, and at worst, result in inferior care. To prevent this, diversity skills training will prepare employees to handle the various challenges that present themselves daily in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

For example, not knowing that coin rubbing is a traditional Asian healing remedy can cause a healthcare provider to be distracted by the welts on a patient, ignoring the true source of the illness, particularly if the patient does not speak English. Some patients may refuse medical treatment, believing that God will heal them. Muslims may refuse to plan for death, believing that to do so would challenge the will of Allah. Sikhs may not allow a nurse to prep them for surgery, since their religion forbids the cutting or shaving of any bodily hair. While it’s impossible to have an encyclopedic knowledge of every cultural or religious belief or tendency, we can learn something about the most common patterns of the populations we commonly serve, while keeping in mind that there is tremendous variation within each group, and among individuals.

Effective diversity training will introduce healthcare employees to the two keys to achieving cultural competence in healthcare delivery: attitude and knowledge. First, medical professionals must learn to approach a diverse patient population with the proper attitude: understand that different people’s ways of doing things may be different, but equally valid. Anthropologists term this attitude cultural relativism and contrast it with ethnocentrism – the belief that your culture’s way of doing things is the only right and natural way, and that all other ways are inferior. The healthcare practitioner who tries to understand the beliefs and values of his or her patients will be much more effective than one who merely sees them as strange.

Having varied knowledge about different cultures’ beliefs, values, and traditions is also important. The best sources of knowledge, however, are your patients and co-workers. Most people are happy to share information about their culture with people who genuinely want to learn. So don’t be afraid to ask people about their culture, and share with them information about your own.

Patient Diversity is an engaging diversity skills training video created to help medical practitioners develop the awareness and skill to treat patients with different cultural, religious, and language backgrounds.

How to Create a Sense of Buy-In with Employees

April 15th, 2017

Knowing how to encourage employee buy-in is a key leadership skill. Getting employees’ buy-in — to organizational values, new initiatives, or even daily assignments — is critical to productivity and team success. Leadership training is an invaluable way to learn the skills necessary to get your team “on board” with key organizational priorities.Tell Me a Story image

Tell Stories

While telling stories at work may, at first, seem like a waste of time, in fact, storytelling is a very effective way to influence employees and create a sense of buy-in. From listening to stories as a child, or reading a book, or watching a movie, we all know the power of a story to create emotional impact, teach us a lesson, or change our minds. As leaders, we can tap into that same power of stories to effect change at work.

It’s important to choose the right story to support your idea, and then deliver it in a compelling way. When choosing a story to help “sell” your point, you should try to keep it brief, use emotion or humor to engage the audience, set the scene with atmospheric details, and make sure to tie your story back to your main point.

This takes some practice, and a leadership training video on storytelling can greatly aid in learning how to choose, craft and deliver a story to create employee buy-in. Tell Me a Story: A Powerful Way to Inspire Action reminds leaders that stories capture people’s hearts and minds, and teaches four steps to developing and telling stories to inspire action in others.

Ask Questions

Getting employee buy-in for a project or initiative can also be accomplished by asking employees questions to get them involved in the decision-making or planning process. When leaders take the time to involve employees in making a decision, or planning how it will be implemented, this automatically builds trust. Asking employees a series of questions can further build their commitment to the goal. For example, “Where are we already experiencing success?” or “What has worked in similar situations in the past?” both start the conversation on a positive note, enabling the group to discuss what’s going right, and building everyone’s cooperation, energy, and creativity.

After discussing some group successes and how they achieved those successes, move on to questions about what the group thinks their objectives should be moving forward. After you’ve asked their input on what the goal is, or how you’ll measure success, make sure to ask questions that help employees verbalize the benefits of achieving the goal — to the customers, the organization as a whole, the team, and them, personally. “What do you think will be the benefit to the organization of reaching [XYZ] goal? How will our team benefit? What’s the benefit to YOU of achieving this goal?” This step allows you to focus attention on the objectives and benefits at all levels, so all team members have an understanding of what is truly important. By starting with more global benefits and working towards a discussion of more personal benefits, it eliminates the discomfort team members often have about discussing the benefits they might want to gain for themselves.

All these questions help employees feel more involved, engaged and empowered – thus driving a sense of buy-in into whatever objective or project is being discussed.

To develop leadership skills for asking questions to create buy-in and successful outcomes, use 5 Questions Every Leader Must Ask. This leadership training program introduces a proven process called The Framework for Leadership™, consisting of 5 questions, which, when asked in a specific order, enable leaders and project managers to engage their team in finding and implementing effective solutions.

4 Tips to Recover From Miscommunication in the Workplace

April 3rd, 2017

Despite organizations’ best efforts to provide all employees with communication skills training, miscommunication sometimes still happens at work. When it does, make sure employees know how to recover from the miscommunication — respectfully, tactfully and with accountability. Here are 4 tips to help anyone recover from communication breakdowns.

  1. Acknowledge that a miscommunication has taken place. When faced with the realization that a miscommunication has occurred, sometimes we have a tendency to want to just “sweep it under the rug” — ignore it in the hopes it will work itself out — or, we may throw a frustration “tantrum”, or decide to badmouth the person with whom we had the miscommunication to another co-worker. None of these are productive responses, though. Instead, go see, call, or email the other person and simply state, “I’m sorry – I think we may have miscommunicated.”
  2. Admit your part in the miscommunication. Communication problems are almost never a one-way street. Communication skills training will teach you to consider what part you may have played in the miscommunication. Even if you feel like there’s NO WAY you misheard, swallow your pride and say something like, “I thought I heard you say (XYZ), but maybe I misunderstood?” Taking some accountability for your role in the problem will help the other person feel less defensive, and will pave the way for them to “own” their part of the problem, as well.
  3. Ask for, and provide, greater clarity. So, you’ve established that a miscommunication has occurred, you’ve taken responsibility for it, and now you must try to clear it up. Ask for clarity from the other person to get to the root of the issue. Explain your own impressions of the original communication, and clarify what you said or did at the time. Most importantly, decide how to move forward in a way that avoids similar miscommunications in the future.
  4. If the miscommunication stems from a diversity-related issue, take these extra steps: assess intent cautiously and demonstrate respect as you address the issue. Sometimes in the workplace, miscommunications happen when someone says something that is interpreted as insensitive or offensive. When this happens, communications skills videos teach us that it’s important NOT to jump to conclusions about that person’s intent. Think about a time when you made an assumption about someone’s attitude or intent and turned out to be wrong (or when someone misjudged your intent).

Address the other person respectfully, in a way that keeps the conversation moving forward, rather than shutting it down. Try to engage the other party about their perspective on what happened. Have the conversation in private, and avoid name-calling, or using labels such as “sexist” or “racist.” Try phrases like, “I know you didn’t realize it, but what you said really bothered me.”

We recommend these two communication skills videos to help employees prevent miscommunications in the first place, and address them once they’ve happened.

Communication Counts examines the day-to-day things people do (or fail to do) that cause costly misunderstandings and mishaps. Tips for preventing them are provided.

Gateways to Inclusion: Turning Tense Moments Into Productive Conversations teaches skills that turn moments of diversity-tension into ” gateways” for increased understanding and improved relationships.

Effective Conflict Management – Learn These Stages to Resolution

March 24th, 2017

Our response to conflict can sometimes be seen as a circular pattern – a trigger event happens, followed by one person’s negative, confrontational response, which then prompts a similarly negative response from the other person…and on and on. What if, instead of falling into this cycle of conflict when a trigger event occurs, we, instead, had the training that would enable us to make a better choice of how to respond, breaking the cycle altogether? A conflict resolution video can teach your team how to productively respond to conflict when it occurs with effective stages of conflict management.confilict-management

Events that trigger conflict at work can vary widely, from body language that one person interprets as angry or offensive, to a co-worker verbally attacking you for how you submitted a project. While some people’s reaction to that trigger event might be to clam up or run away, often people will fight back: they’ll respond emotionally and defensively.

The first of the stages of conflict management is to step back and get some perspective. Do not respond to the trigger event immediately; instead, force yourself to take a deep breath, ask to speak about the issue later, or ask to move to a more private location to talk. All these things will allow you a few moments to calm your body and gain some perspective on the situation.

Next, endeavor to control your emotions. This is easier said than done when you’re upset by another person’s words or actions, but it is vital to turning the conversation into a productive one, capable of a constructive outcome. One way of controlling your emotions is to depersonalize the comments that have been made. Another tip to keep in mind is to give the other person the benefit of the doubt – don’t assume he or she is mean, or is out to get you personally; instead, perhaps they don’t have all the information, or are having a particularly bad day. Taking a moment to rein in your own anger, fear or anxiety helps you respond more constructively and also helps the OTHER person remain calm.

Lastly, imagine, and then take action to create, a successful outcome. When planning your responses to the other person, envision a response that respects the other person, while focusing on solving the issue. Ask clarifying questions, and even try to empathize with the other person (“It seems like you’re upset…”). Then clarify aloud what both of your goals are in this situation. While staying calm and respectful, try to find a way to meet his or her goals as well as your own.

A conflict resolution video can be invaluable for demonstrating relatable workplace conflict scenarios and providing good behavior modeling for how to effectively work through the stages of conflict management. Conflict Clock: Taking T.I.M.E. to Resolve Conflict in the Workplace is designed to help employees, leaders & teams respond to workplace conflict by teaching four strategies to help participants break old & negative response habits.

Leadership Training: Skills for Today’s Workplace

March 17th, 2017

How do ordinary people use their skills and talents in everyday situations to become extraordinary, modern leaders? They do it through commitment and skill. Many people believe that leadership skills are inherent – you either naturally have them or you don’t – but research has shown that these skills can be very effectively taught with leadership training. Here are three important modern leadership skills that can be learned with leadership training.ordinarypeople

Lead by Example

While leadership is often described as accomplishing goals through other people, your personal action is what’s needed to motivate your team to accomplish those goals. Consider what actions you can take that would set a good example and would show the team your commitment and respect for the work they do. Never ask an employee to do something you’re not willing to do yourself. Lead by example with your words and actions.

Practice Success

No list of modern leadership skills would be complete without “analyzing and practicing success.” A leader must know how to teach their team to repeat successes. Employees and teams who dwell on failures, blame and analyzing “what went wrong” can get stuck in a cycle of negativity. When things go wrong, own the mistake, explain how you’ll fix it and what you’ll do differently next time, and move on. Instead, encourage your team to spend time talking about what went RIGHT: what’s working? WHY is it working?  What is our objective moving forward, and how can we repeat this success?

Be Able to Lead Change

Change is almost constant, so being able to lead a team through routine, daily change, or a larger change initiative, is key. Leadership training can instill the basic skills of leading change: establishing trust, listening and observing, and empowering others. Employees must trust you in order to follow you during change. In addition to keeping your word and demonstrating solid ethics, other ways you can establish trust are to demonstrate your competence, allow your staff some sort of additional autonomy or self-direction (such as setting their own work schedules), and to communicate straightforwardly (yet respectfully) at all times.

Rather than jumping in and giving directives during change, it’s instructive for leaders to listen to, and observe, their staff. Observe how the change might affect their daily work lives and listen to what they have to say. (This will also help instill trust in you as a leader.) Lastly, empower and encourage proactive staff involvement. The more your employees understand how the change benefits them, the team, the organization, and the customers, the more engaged and “bought in” they’ll be. Empower your employees to take actions in support of the change and then step back and watch them succeed.

For effective leadership training that uses engaging, real-world stories to teach leadership skills, watch Ordinary People, Extraordinary Results: True Stories of Great Leadership. Featuring Stephen Covey, this program offers four unique case studies which profile real leaders in business, healthcare, sports and education who were able to significantly impact organizational performance.

Communication Skills Training – Strategies for Dealing With Difficult People

March 10th, 2017

If you’re like most people, your day is spent working with and dealing with generally pleasant people. But all of us, at one time or another, come into contact with a difficult person, and then we must rely on the communication skills training we’ve received to help us with strategies to handle that difficult person. Often, a communication skills video is a helpful tool to teach these strategies and model how to engage with difficult people.difficultpeople

Types of Difficult People

There are many types of people who are hard to work with – and they can be co-workers, customers, vendors and even bosses. Some of the more common types you may need to deal with are: people who are regularly rude and fail to use common courtesies (such as saying hello, please, or thank you); people who have no respect for time, regularly miss deadlines and are late for meetings; people who tell you TMI – Too Much Information about their own personal life, or someone else’s; people who can’t be relied upon to do what they say they’ll do; and of course, there are some people who are downright angry or disgruntled…these people require special care, especially when they are customers.

Using “I” Statements to Deal with Difficult People

An “I” statement is an effective way to non-accusatorily address someone who is being difficult. An “I” statement consists of four parts: I feel….when…because…so, I’d like… I statements should NOT be accusations – they should relate the other person’s action to the effects they have on you and how you feel. Because I statements put the focus on you, they are less likely to be resented by the person you’re addressing.

An I statement for the person who is regularly rude to you might sound like: “I feel offended when you don’t say ‘please’ when you’re asking something of me because it feels like I’m being commanded instead of asked. It would make a big difference to me if you would try to say please when you’re making a request.” An I statement for a person who regularly misses deadlines could be: “I was very concerned when you said you couldn’t meet the schedule because we have customers relying on a ship date. I’d like to take some time to meet and brainstorm how we can stay on schedule; can we do that?”

Dealing with Difficult Customers

When the difficult person is a disruptive customer, rely on your communication skills training or service recovery training to help you calmly manage the situation. If the customer is “making a scene” in a busy area, first ask to take the guest to a more private area. Then begin by listening to the customer, without interrupting. Hear them out so you make sure you fully understand their problem or complaint. Next, apologize – this shows you’re taking responsibility, and it can really help defuse the guest’s anger. After you’ve apologized, work with the guest to problem-solve and try to reach a satisfactory solution. Even though it may be difficult and you may feel attacked, remember to empathize with your guest, tell them you’re sorry, and personalize the solution to the problem so they feel heard, respected and satisfied.

Use a communication skills video like Working With You is Killing Me to teach and model the skills above. In this program, viewers are taught about toxic workplace relationships and how to unhook from them using verbal and written communication skills. When the difficult person is a customer, The Difficult Guest video provides solid training on recognizing, understanding, and taking care of irate or dissatisfied customers.


 

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