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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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How To Streamline Your Meetings and Make Them More Productive

July 12th, 2016

image of a business meetingMeetings are designed to occur in an allotted amount of time to address topics and business in an orderly fashion. In the workplace, you want to ensure your meetings are productive and effective. All too often, however, meetings are sidetracked with time-wasting discussions, unproductive behaviors, and weak meeting leadership. Motivating meeting openers and focused agendas can set the tone for a meeting and guide the session where it needs to go.


Have an Agenda

Proper organization of the meeting is just as important as the content and topics covered. You want to ensure an adequate amount of time is allotted for each topic in order to keep the meeting moving. Create an agenda for your team to refer to throughout the duration of your meeting. This prevents meetings being taken off course by distractions, talkative employees, and side discussions.  

Stay Focused

Focus is key. You don’t want to waste anybody’s time attending your meeting (this begins by only inviting people to the meeting who are absolutely necessary). It’s important to stay within the context of the agenda you’ve set. When you set your goals for the meeting, keep in mind that every meeting should have a purpose. Decide ahead of time what answers or decisions you need to walk away from the meeting with. Then, all discussion should be somehow related to that initial purpose and your set of goals.

Define Takeaways

Takeaways symbolize a successful meeting. If your goals are clearly defined in the agenda and discussed effectively during your meeting, the steps following the meeting should be very clear. The attendees of your meeting should have clear takeaways (who owns what task, and when it’s due). At the conclusion of your meeting, there should be an answer to every question/concern that was discussed. If there wasn’t, there should be follow-up steps to find answers to those questions. Accountability is incredibly important; therefore the meeting leader should take the initiative to clearly define the next steps that should be completed prior to the follow-up meeting. This ensures that by the next meeting, the to-dos of every member were clearly defined and completed.

At CRM Learning, we offer the best team building training videos. Explore our meeting management training videos, like Meeting Robbers, Meetings, Bloody Meetings, and The Invisible Meeting to ensure your meetings will be productive and effective in the future.

9 Essential Supervisory Skills

June 24th, 2016

Every workplace needs strong supervisory skills, and CRM Learning offers the best supervisor training videos at low cost. Train your supervisors using the nine essential supervisory skills featured in our supervisor training video, “After All, You’re the Supervisor.”

After All, You're the Supervisor imageUsing the scenario of Alec, a recently-promoted Customer Service Representative now asked to lead his previous co-workers, the video teaches nine skills your supervisors need to manage subordinates effectively and efficiently.

1. Acknowledge Your New Role

Having been a superior customer service representative, when Alec is promoted to supervisor, he struggles a bit moving from friend and colleague to “boss.” Alec learns that new responsibilities are required in this role along with a new level of authority. The hard part for many new supervisors like Alec is acknowledging that in order to be effective, you must change the way you interact with your team members.

  1. Plan and Prioritize

In order to be successful, Alec will need to plan and prioritize his – and his team’s – responsibilities and tasks. This includes listing tasks and generating a plan for how to get things accomplished on time. Inevitably, this process will also include delegating tasks to others, which Alec also learns in a later skill point.

  1. Be Accessible

Every great supervisor makes themselves accessible to their employees. Alec learns that this can take the form of an open door, walking around the department, having regular meetings with team members, or learning to take advantage of spontaneous “coachable moments” when you see them.

  1. Encourage Teamwork

Alec quickly realizes that he is no longer an “individual contributor.” Creating a well-functioning team is part of his new job. Encouraging teamwork enables supervisors to go further in accomplishing departmental and company objectives.  It also helps create great team cohesion and high morale. High performance teamwork is achieved by ensuring that your team is comprised of diverse individuals with a range of complementary skills and then fully utilizing those skills. By fostering cooperation rather than competition within your team, and by modeling good teamwork behaviors yourself, you will see team results soar.

  1. Communicate Upward AND Downward

An efficient supervisor communicates effectively both “upwards” to his or her manager and “downwards” to his subordinates.  Downward communication is the process of communicating the direction, philosophy, goals, and values of the company to the team. It also applies to changes communicated to the team, and if done correctly, helps them buy-in to decisions that affect them. Alec employs upward communication when he shares his team’s concerns over a software update with his boss and keeps her informed of how the “front line workers” are using the software.

  1. Delegate

Supervisors need to delegate tasks to their team in order to effectively supervise. No supervisor can do all the work on their own, so Alec learns to consider his team member’s strengths as he evaluates who should be assigned which tasks. He also learns that following up on the tasks you delegate allows you to ensure their completion, support your team members, and uncover and resolve problems. 

  1. Discipline Effectively

For a brand-new supervisor like Alec, effective discipline is perhaps the most difficult thing to learn, especially when you are disciplining the person you were sitting next to last week. Alec must discipline a coworker, Libby, who repeatedly returns late from lunch. In doing so, he learns that effective discipline places the responsibility for the problem and the solution on the employee, rather than him, and that effective discipline provides for a positive outcome rather than a punitive one.

  1. Provide Feedback

As important as it is to discipline your people effectively and give constructive feedback, it is equally important to recognize when they are doing a good job, and praise or reward them for that performance. Alec gets practice giving constructive feedback to a coworker who slightly missed the mark on an assignment, and later gives genuine and specific praise to that team member when he does a better job.

  1. Model the Way

Perhaps the most effective way to modify team culture is by modeling the behaviors and attitudes you want to see in the team. No matter how much you tell your people how you want them to behave, unless you show it yourself, it won’t have much effect. Model behaviors such as respect, punctuality, attitude, conflict resolution, and in Alec’s case, good customer service and pitching in to help out a different team.

These nine essential supervisory skills are a well-rounded introduction into the basics of supervising. Let Alec and his team teach your new supervisors how to manage others effectively with After All, You’re the Supervisor.

CRM Learning offers the best supervisor training videos on the market. Visit our website and browse all of our supervisor training topics.

Build Stronger Workplace Teams with Generational Diversity Training

June 17th, 2016

Bridging the generation gap in the workplace can seem like a daunting task. For instance, team building training can be difficult when you have multiple generations on a work team. Luckily, CRM Learning offers generational diversity training that also strengthens teams, including the video Please Respect My Generation!”.

Why is generational diversity training important?

Generational respect imageToday, you could have as many as five different generations in the workplace, each with their own opinions about other generations. Since generational stereotypes can be just as disrespectful as cultural and ethnic ones, it’s important to train employees about generational diversity so they learn to communicate better, deal with change, and develop a more respectful workplace.

Please Respect My Generation!” teaches how to bridge the generation gap amongst coworkers and translate age differences into an advantage. Viewers will learn the dos and don’ts of working with multiple generations. In this training video, you will hear from 5 different generations as they discuss their own generational traits and those of the co-workers they encounter daily. After completing this training, your employees will know how to communicate with various generations effectively and respectfully. Viewers will see that different generations offer a wealth of knowledge in different areas, and they will learn to understand and empathize with colleagues from a different generation.

Not only does “Please Respect My Generation!” bridge the generation gap, but it also encourages team building. No matter the level, role or generation of your employees, team building is essential for a productive, communicative workplace. “Please Respect My Generation” has the ability to tackle both topics in 23 minutes. Your employees will walk away with a greater capacity for collaboration and cross-generational understanding in the workplace.

Get your copy of “Please Respect My Generation!” and create a respectful, productive environment at work. CRM Learning provides the best training videos at the lowest prices. Visit our website and learn about our team building training videos.

Why Your Best Employees WISH You Would Provide Accountability Training

June 3rd, 2016

Accountability imageAt your organization, there is one thing your best employees are hoping for: accountability training for the whole staff. Employees who are naturally responsible hold themselves accountable for their actions, but tire of fellow workers who miss deadlines and place blame elsewhere for their failures. Your best employees know that overall performance of the team will improve when EVERY member of the team has an accountability “mindset” and does what they say they’re going to do.

CRM Learning’s best-selling “Accountability That Works” training video provides a new take on accountability training for employees at all levels of the organization. This accountability training video uses a 3-stage model to ensure that every task has a clear owner and agreement, and that employees are willing and able to hold themselves and their teammates accountable. This helps avoid finger-pointing when things go wrong, and provides you with tools to address communication issues within your team.

The Cycle of Accountability and How It Can Help Your Team

  1. The “before” phase: Responsibility – establishing a mindset of ownership before the task begins and taking complete responsibility for getting it done.
  2. The “during” phase: Empowerment– doing whatever is necessary to complete the task, including identifying action steps and timeline.
  3. The “after” phase: Accountability – owning the outcome of the task, good or bad, and learning from it.
  4. Behind it all are Clear Agreements – they are what hold the three stages together and make the cycle work effectively.

Accountability That Works will not only teach current employees how to remodel their outlook on accountability, but it will also teach new employees how to build a solid foundation of personal accountability. After employees complete this training, they are more apt to take responsibility at the outset of a task, empower themselves to complete the task, no matter the obstacles, and be accountable for their results at the end of the task. Accountability That Works will enable employees to walk away with a new set of skills for task management.

Keeping tasks moving forward requires focus, practice, and constant effort. Accountability That Works provides valuable perspective and tools to help keep tasks (and people) on track. By implementing procedures and habits that improve task focus and accountability, more conflict will be avoided, an accountability culture will be created in your organization, and results and morale will both improve. Make your best employees’ wishes come true today with accountability training from CRM Learning.

 

What is “Empathic Listening” and Why is it Crucial to Success?

May 30th, 2016

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another, so how is this trait crucial to success in the workplace? For one, mutual understanding is the key to effective communication. Managers who are empathetic listeners gain the trust of their employees and can manage their team more effectively. When employees use empathy to listen and communicate with peers, it helps them to better understand one another, building morale and improving efficiency in the process. 

CRM Learning offers the best communication skills videos on the market with subcategories like verbal skills, listening skills, and organizational messaging. The listening skills video below will teach your management staff about the importance of empathy and how to look at situations from another’s perspective.

Empathic Listening imageEmpathic Listening: The Key to Communication is one of our best-selling videos that teaches the key to good listening: empathy. It features 3 complementary video components that feature realistic and humorous vignettes demonstrating empathic listening (or a lack thereof), as well as practical tips and phrases to incorporate into your interactions immediately to improve your listening. 

What does empathic listening entail?  

The video addresses misunderstandings, how to achieve higher levels of trust and understanding and how to develop an elite set of listening skills. Viewers of the video will learn to diagnose before the prescribe, listen empathically and seek to understand from another perspective. The ability to “put yourself in someone else’s shoes” can help you make better decisions in the workplace and increase the productivity of your team.

  • Nobody’s Listening
    In this 11-minute video, a manager fails to listen to the concerns of a subordinate. After his failure, he has a second (and third and fourth) opportunity to change his behavior to actively listen and participate in the conversation. The manager (and viewers) learn that to be an effective listener, you must pay attention, including eliminating distractions, feeding back to the speaker what you’ve heard and asking clarifying questions.
  • Diagnose Before You Prescribe
    In this 8-minute segment, Stephen R. Covey teaches the process of listening with the intent to understand. Listening intently to a person in the workplace before responding can avoid misunderstandings, talking over one another, and disagreements.
  • I Know Just What You Mean
    In this 21-minute video, the skill of active listening is covered in depth. Techniques are demonstrated that will minimize misunderstanding and miscommunication. By showing how quickly people can jump to conclusions, the video underscores the vital importance of diagnosing needs before prescribing solutions.

CRM Learning has numerous award-winning communication skills videos to choose from to enhance your employees’ and managers’ communication skills, including Empathic Listening: The Key to Communication.

The Manager’s Role in Preventing Workplace Bullying

May 18th, 2016

bullying imageWorkplace bullying training is extremely important for managers and supervisors. Did you know that 50% of the U.S. workforce reports witnessing or having first-hand experience with bullying in the workplace? In fact, workplace bullying is more prevalent than illegal harassment. This management training topic – how to prevent bullying at work – is essential for employee morale and preventing a hostile work environment.  


What is bullying?

“By definition, bullying is persistent, offensive, intimidating, or insulting behavior that makes the recipient feel upset, threatened, humiliated, or vulnerable. Without intervention, bullies generally do not accept responsibility for their behavior; they are unable or unwilling to recognize the effect of their behavior on other people.”- CRM Learning’s Preventing Workplace Bullying training video

Bullying can happen in any size organization, in any department, and to anyone – subordinates, managers, men, women, young and old. Awareness is key, and it is everyone’s responsibility to prevent it. Prevention starts with each and every employee being aware of exactly what constitutes bullying, and knowing how to speak up for themselves and others. It means creating a culture that doesn’t tolerate bully behavior from anyone.

CRM Learning offers the best workplace bullying training videos on the market. Our “Preventing Workplace Bullying” video has been successful in training managers and employees who wish to improve their work environments. The video covers four skills, and features realistic workplace vignettes that take place in office, education, healthcare, and industrial settings.

1. Recognize Bully Behavior

The first step to preventing bullying is to recognize the behavior. Bullying comes in many forms and can often be mistaken for other types of behavior. It’s important to know what behavior “crosses the line” and fits the definition of bullying.

2. Speak up for Yourself

Looking out for yourself and your well-being is appropriate if you are being bullied in the workplace.  Everyone should know how to respond to bullying so they have a better chance of nipping the behavior in the bud. It’s important to be confident and share facts and feelings when speaking up to a bully.

3. Stand up for Others

If you witness bullying, it is your responsibility to stand up for the target of the bullying behavior. State your observations and share your concerns with the appropriate people. Explain how the negative behavior is affecting the employee and others.

4. Commit to Next Steps

Document actions taken and responses to speaking up to a bully. If necessary, make a formal complaint. Every organization should ensure that employees know what the organization’s bullying policy is and who in management or HR they should talk to if they have a complaint. 

Left unsettled, bullying in the workplace can lead to emotional distress and reduced productivity. Make sure all managers are equipped to handle bullying in their departments by providing bullying prevention training.

Preventing Workplace Bullying: How to Recognize and Respond to Bullies at Work depicts common bullying situations in a manner that encourages rich discussion. The accompanying Manager’s Module gives leaders additional instruction on bullying behaviors and the damage they cause. Leaders are taught to address bullying when they observe it and – because workplace bullies are frequently in a supervisory or management role – they are given a checklist of things that let them evaluate their own behaviors.

Visit CRM Learning’s website to learn more about management training topics and how they can help your company.

Infographic: Don’t Get So Defensive!

May 15th, 2016

We’ve all witnessed (or experienced) defensiveness in the workplace.

Person 1 takes Person 2’s  comments the wrong way and — perceiving he is under attack — issues a counterattack.  Person 2  feels hurt or threatened by Person 1’s response and says something negative back. Additional counterattacks are exchanged as the individuals become increasingly determined to defend themselves and justify their actions.

Don't Get So Defensive Infographic

CRM’s classic communication tutorial Communicating Non-Defensively: Don’t Take it Personally explains what can make people defensive while demonstrating practical communication skills for nipping it in the bud.

We’ve summarized some of the content in this infographic (opens a PDF). We hope you find it useful.

How Can Emotional Intelligence Videos Improve My Team?

May 6th, 2016

ei_aluminum04When they think about building team effectiveness, most people don’t think of Emotional Intelligence (or “EI”) training because EI training typically focuses on the individual not the group. But, increasing the emotional intelligence of individual team members will ultimately improve a group’s effectiveness and enable them to use the power of emotion in their pursuit of organizational goals.

As humans, we all have our “blind spots” at work—areas where we over-react, or repeatedly make the same mistakes when dealing with certain co-workers or situations. In a team setting, these disruptive behaviors can undermine trust, respect and collaboration.

By helping team members develop the 5 Emotional Intelligence Competencies, you can build a cohesive team that works together and is less likely to fall prey to dysfunction. These five competencies are Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, Self-Motivation, Empathy, and Effective Relationships.   

The basic premise of EI Training is that people can change.  Employees can develop these competencies and become:

  • more self-aware (and have a better sense of their “blind spots” and what to do about them). 
  • better able to regulate their emotions, specifically learning how to cool down in times of anger and frustration instead of venting or taking it out on others.   
  • inspired to use the positive aspects of emotion to remain motivated… especially in the face of setbacks or challenges
  • more empathic towards others
  • more successful at building positive, respectful workplace relationship

With the help our Emotional Intelligence videos provide, you can create a more pleasant, safe and collaborative work environment for your entire organization.

More About Our Emotional Intelligence Videos and How They Can Help Your Team

The Emotional Intelligence Series contains 3 different videos that cover the understanding and demonstration of emotional intelligence as well as how it leads to optimal performance on the job. Host Daniel Goleman explains the science behind emotional intelligence and introduces scenarios that illustrate how improvements in the area of emotional intelligence impact employee well-being and overall organizational communication. The 3-part series is a perfect EI “how-to”course .

So, if you are noticing a dip in team productivity or an increase in emotional outbursts at your organization, the Emotional Intelligence Series, along with our overview video Emotional Intelligence, can help. Use them to fix common issues associated with negative emotions and to enable people to tap into the energy of positive emotions.

Visit CRM Learning for more training videos on interpersonal skills and other topics designed to increase productivity and create a better work environment. 

How The Groupthink Video Enables Groups To Make Better Decisions

April 30th, 2016

challengerWorking effectively in a group comprised of different people and personalities can be one of the hardest challenges in the workplace.  Team decision making, in particular, is often undermined by unproductive group dynamics.  CRM Learning’s classic training video, Groupthink, exposes one of the most common ways groups end up making bad decisions.

Groupthink is a phenomenon that occurs when a group’s decision makers appear to be in agreement on a course of action– when, in reality, some team members have doubts. It happens a lot in groups where the desire to seek unanimity (either stemming from a strong sense of “esprit de corps” or out of a perceived pressure to conform) prevent the group from critically examining the proposed action…in particular, failing to fully consider opposing viewpoints.

Identifying groupthink, and knowing how to avoid it, helps ensure effective decision making at all levels of the organization. And, that is what CRM Learning’s groupthink video is designed to do. It uses a reenactment of the Challenger disaster, along with other historic examples, to powerfully illustrate how well-intentioned people can make bad decisions, entirely or partly due to groupthink.

The Groupthink video enables viewers to answer the questions below and apply the video’s lessons to their own group decision making:

Why do group decisions sometimes result in monumental error?

What drives groups to agree on a course of action despite the better judgment of some, or even all, participants?

What specifically can groups (and group leaders in particular) do to encourage critical thinking and give full consideration to opposing points of view?

CRM Learning offers a number of outstanding training videos on teamwork and group dynamics.  Each video has multiple options for purchase including DVD, USB Flash Drive or online streaming.  Classroom training materials are provided with DVD/USB Flash Drive purchases and may be purchased as add-ons to online streaming.


 

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