Article by Jackie Richards 19.09.16

You’re a busy small business owner, running around trying to be everything to everyone to ensure your business thrives, but what about the staff you’ve left floundering back at the office? Do you think they will be motivated if they never get to see their boss, for help, reassurance and most importantly, a bit of praise now and then for all of the hours they’re putting in for you?!

 I have worked in all sectors during my 20+ years in HR and have seen many disengaged employees for usually similar reasons, the main ones being as follows:-

  • They have been in the same job doing the same thing for many years and lack motivation;
  • They are in the wrong role but too afraid to admit this and look elsewhere.
  • They have poor managers who do not care about what they are doing, so do not make the work interesting, or show an interest in their employees;
  • In some workplaces, people are being bullied by insecure managers but they don’t have the courage to speak up about it;
  • Lack of communication within organisations – the people at the top don’t communicate what they are doing and where the company is heading, so the staff don’t feel involved in the bigger picture.

And all of these factors result in reduced productivity and hence revenue – I’ve seen a lot of companies who are ‘surviving’ but could do so much better if they focused on the most important asset they have – their people. 
Some of the above might not apply to you, but I’m sure you can relate to one or two there? And putting it right does not have to cost the Earth. Here are some suggestions on how to motivate your people, so that they look forward to coming into work and want to do their very best for you and your company:-

1. Communication – In any business it’s important to ensure two way communication. Employees need to feel that their voice and concerns are heard and if needed, action is taken. You should tell them your plans for the business and listen to their opinions, as the more involved they feel, the more committed they will be to the company.

If possible, have monthly team meetings to give your employees updates on the company’s progress and ask for ideas for new products or services, or improvements that can be made to existing ones – this will encourage innovation and creativity within your team. You should view your team as a family working together to achieve a common goal and let them know that too.
2. Trust your staff – give them some autonomy and/or responsibility for their work. If they are doing a good job, this will be an inexpensive reward – recognition for their efforts and some people are motivated by status. Find out what motivates each employee, as it will be different in each case and then work with that to get the best out of them.

3. Training and support – don’t assume that once you’ve recruited someone they will ‘hit the ground running’ – find out exactly what they are capable and then fill in the gaps with some training and support. This doesn’t have to be by you, it could be by one of your employees with as much or more experience than you in the area required and support them by asking them how they are getting on and if they need any further help.

4. Recognition – give praise where praise is due and if it’s something exceptional, thank them publicly for their efforts and give them a small reward – it does not have to be anything excessive, but a token of your appreciation will go a long way! We are all human and need praise from time to time, so encourage a culture of employees congratulating co-workers for their achievements, so working relationships remain healthy.

George Dickson at Office Vibe has recently posted The 12 Things You Need For Successful Employee Recognition which provides even more tips on doing this for free, the link is below:-


5. Offer incentives to high performers – they don’t have to be expensive rewards, just a bottle of wine for your top performer of the month or a gift voucher, anything to show appreciation will incentivize them to keep performing at that level, or indeed higher, to beat the competition.

6. Constructive feedback – if someone has done something wrong, take them into a private office and discuss it with them. Try to start the meeting with a positive – “You’ve been producing some good work recently, but …..” Don’t chastise them, ask them why they did made the error and what they think they can do to put it right. Work together to find a solution and they will feel more motivated to ensure they don’t make that mistake again.

7. Employee wellbeing – in a start-up everyone has to ‘muck in’ and do what’s required to win business, but at what cost? Is an employee really going to be productive and sound motivated on the phone to your potential customers when they are exhausted and feeling unappreciated? Make sure you ask employees regularly how they are feeling to ascertain whether the long hours are affecting them, make sure they have breaks and take time off wherever possible in your quieter periods. As in my October blog: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/workplace-stress-things-ever-going-get-any-better-richards-mcipd?trk=mp-author-card workplace stress can lead to a number of ongoing mental health problems which will result in reduced productivity and absenteeism costs in the long run if you do not nip it in the bud!

8. Employee benefits – if as an employer you can’t afford to pay high salaries or reward high performers by increasing their salary, there are some very inexpensive benefits schemes out there now for small businesses. Paybooster UK offer flexible health and wellbeing packages to employers costing as little as £52 per year per employee. For more information visit http://www.PayBosterUK.org

9. Have fun! – we are in work a long part of our day, so the workplace should not be all doom and gloom – introduce humour at times (appropriately, of course!) to liven things up, encourage brief chats about home to help staff relax and get to know each other better, or go out and buy staff cakes or icecream on a hot summer’s day – all these little things make a difference to making people happy and happy = productive.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog


Jackie Richards MCIPD

Owner/HR Consultant

JR-HR Solutions

T: 07807 166456

E: jackie@jr-hrsolutions.com

W: http://www.jr-hrsolutions.com

Thanks to Author and Thought Leader Vlatka Hlupic for the inspiration to write this blog

Thanks to DesignTec for the image



Are you being Sun Safe??

Article by Helen Chidgey 25.05.16

We all know the links between sun exposure and the incidence of skin cancers so most of us have a bottle of suntan cream to hand but are we really sure of how to apply it properly and how to stay Sun Safe??

Eight out of ten people are failing to adequately apply sunscreen before going out in the sun, according to a survey carried out by the British Association of Dermatologists to mark Sun Awareness Week (9th-15th May 2016).

The survey also found that 70 per cent of people fail to reapply sunscreen every two hours as recommended.

No surprise then that 72% of people admit to having been sunburnt in the last year.  A troubling statistic given the risk of developing melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer – more than doubles in people with a history of sunburn compared with people who have never been sunburned.

So what do I recommend to stay Sun Safe? Here are my 5 top tips!


UVA/UVB rays can still reach your skin and cause damage, even when it’s cloudy or when you’re in the shade. So when you’re sipping cocktails under cover at the beach remember to apply your Sun Screen to help prevent a surprise sunburn, OUCH!


Make sure you apply your sunscreen half an hour before you go out and just before exposure too.  Pay extra attention to the areas most likely to catch the sun and the ones not exposed very often!


You know those sunscreens you have hiding in the back of your cupboard past their expiry date? Don’t worry, we all have them but it’s about time we threw them all away! That’s because you can’t rely on the SPF protection of products past their expiration date!


Keep your sunscreen topped up by reapplying at least every 2 hours, to provide maximum coverage (but I’d recommend even more often, depending on your skin type). Always reapply after being in water, even with water resistant creams you will have lost some protection during your little paddle!


Body Sunscreen can be applied from head to toe, but if you’ve got a sunny date you want to look your best for, using makeup that includes a high SPF is an easy way to keep your skin protected and you looking gorgeous!




FB: Tropic Skincare Stratford with Helen

Twitter: @tropicstratford

Rediscover Your Mojo

Article by Daniel Browne 17.02.15

Do you ever feel like you’ve lost your mojo? I’m sure we’ve all had that thought at some point and wondered where the hell it ran off to. You know, that feeling when you wake up in the morning and simply cannot be bothered to do anything. It’s not a nice way to feel, but it only needs to be a temporary issue as there are a number of ways to rediscover your lost mojo.

Losing your mojo isn’t simply having an off day. Every single one of us will have had an off day from time to time, but found that it soon passes and we feel good again. Unfortunately, losing your mojo can be the start of a downward spiral, during which you lose all motivation and feel overwhelmed by life. If you identify with this, read on for my top tips for rediscovering your mojo. After all, you have a life to enjoy.

1. Take some time out. When was the last time you had some ‘me time’? When did you last take the time to recharge? If you can’t remember, or it’s been longer than a couple of months, it has been too long. Taking a little bit of time out for yourself can do wonders, so be sure to commit to doing that. Make sure it’s on a regular basis too. That will reduce the risk of losing your mojo again in the future. Taking time out for yourself isn’t selfish; it’s an essential part of your wellbeing.

2. Be strict with yourself. If you have a huge to do list but haven’t been very productive for a period of more than half an hour, have a break. Go and do something else and then come back to your to do list with a commitment to work through it. Switch off all distractions, including Facebook. You’ll thank yourself for it.

3. Have a look at your environment and take notice of how it makes you feel. Does the space you are in inspire you? If not, have a clear-out or make some changes. The trick here is to create a space that inspires and empowers you. An uninspiring space isn’t good for your mojo.

4. If you have a huge to do list, allocate a set amount of time for each task. Getting on with stuff in that way doesn’t leave room for procrastination. By giving yourself an allocated time for each task, you may discover just how productive you can be.

5. Reward yourself when you have done something that you needed to do. That feeling of knowing you have something nice to look forward to at the end of something should inspire you to simply crack on. So go on, you deserve it.

You can apply these tips to any area of your life; whether it’s personal or professional, and by following these tips you will soon rediscover your mojo and never lose it again.

Daniel Browne is a hypnotherapist who can help you to find your mojo. See http://www.daniel-browne.co.uk to discover more.

How to stick to your goals in 2016

Article by Rachael Richardson-Bullock 10.02.16
Who doesn’t love New Year’s resolutions? January offers the opportunity to begin again, to get motivated and to set goals. Many excited, well intentioned individuals buy gym memberships, or set up saving accounts or promise themselves they will find more ‘me time’. As for me, I am aiming to buy a house and am going to continue to try and get my first novel published. 
But now it’s February. Is your enthusiasm and resolve still the same? How are you getting on achieving your goals? Has one too many blisters left your running shoes under your bed? Has one too many sales purchases doomed your saving plan this month?
Perhaps you think it’s too late to set any goals now and won’t bother; this is a mistake!

The bandwagon is alive and well, and sticking to and ultimately achieving your goal is within your reach and I am going to give you the tools to get there!

Let’s face it, there are always going to be times when actually achieving your goal seems impossible and motivation and mood is low. There will always be unexpected obstacles, delays and setbacks. Plus, nothing is ever certain. As John Green so aptly writes in The Fault in Our Stars “the world is not a wish-granting factory.”

So why even trouble yourself with ambitions? Well excitement, happiness and fulfilment await if you can only keep going. It is up to you to motivate and focus yourself, no one can do this for you. And the only time available to us is now, so what are you waiting for? The below is what I am recommending to make the most of 2016.

1.) Get organised!

Now be realistic with your goal setting people! Piloting a jumbo jet or inventing a real flux capacitor may take more time, money and effort than you are ready to commit right now. Aim high, but be realistic. As well as realistic, be specific-what is it you are trying to achieve precisely? Being a better person, being fitter or relaxing more are all great goals, but they are vague. What do these things mean to you? How are you going to achieve them? Write down your exact ideas. Remember not to have too many goals-we would all love every aspect of our lives to be perfect, but being focussed on a small number of goals means you are more likely to succeed. Once you have these decided, consider the means in which you are going to achieve these goals; what resources do you need? How will you manage your time? Get these ducks in a row and you are good to go!

2.) Get motivated and stay there!

Think about why you have set your goals. Are you looking for a better work/life balance or increased happiness? Are you hoping to build your self-esteem, or achieve a long held dream? Write down why you are doing this, and what you hope it will bring you. Personal development and its worth can often be lost in the humdrum of the 9-5 job or housework or many other commitments. The most important thing to remember is that the pursuit of your goal is worthwhile, whatever it is you wish to achieve. Make sure you prioritise time for your goal, even if all that’s realistically manageable is a couple of hours a week. 
When the hard times arrive (and they will arrive, maybe you have faced them already!) have a pre-prepared plan on how to push forward. Pin an inspirational note to the fridge, allow yourself a day off from your goal, review the notes you have already made and try to remember the mind-set you were in when you wrote them. Some setbacks will be out of your control, some you will be responsible for. Either way, stay calm and focussed. Re-assess your situation, find out what is and what isn’t working for you and restructure your plan. Remember, you are in charge of your progress and if you need to change up the routine, then do so. The most important thing to do is not give up!

3.) Get social!

Establishing a support network can be a useful tool to help you achieve your goal. Seek out a club or group, in your local community or online to discuss your plans and vent your frustration when things aren’t exactly going your way. You can gain valuable insight from others and maybe make some new friends. Additionally, you are also able to provide vital support to others in the same situation as you. This may seem daunting at first, but taking the plunge in pursuit of your goal is a risk well worth taking. Alternatively, you can publish your efforts online by blogging or vlogging. This process can be very liberating and also helps chart your progress in a way that you are able to quantify. When your mood is low you can review your entries and appreciate how far you have come.

So, that should be enough to get you well on your way to setting and achieving your goal in 2016. Cast yourself into the future to this time next year and imagine what you want to see. See it? Want it? Then go get it!

Pros and Cons of Freelancing

Article by Michelle Abrahall 18.01.15

The original ‘free-lances’ were mercenary soldiers in the middle ages, who hired out their fighting skills to any Lords or Ladies who needed them. Modern freelancers have considerably broadened this remit. Alongside the established skillsets (writing, photography, design) we now have a huge variety of services on offer, from virtual PAs to web developers, recruitment consultants to genealogists.If you’ve got a niche skill or aptitude in a particular area, you may be better off ditching the 9-5 and ‘going it alone’. Far from being alone, you’d actually be joining a huge community. Self-employment in the UK reached a record high of 4.5 million in 2014, and apparently 1 in 7 people work for themselves (a statistic I must admit I was surprised by!)

So why the apparent exodus from traditional employment? It can’t be about money; self-employed people earn less on average than their employed counterparts. There have been various government incentives over the years to encourage people to start their own businesses, but leaving a steady job still means financial uncertainty, no holiday pay, and no company pension.

Like most things in life, it all comes down to personal taste. So far, I’m enjoying being self-employed and plan to stick with it for the foreseeable future. After a decade in salaried roles, I think I’m in a pretty good position to weigh up the pros and cons of freelancing. As it turns out, they can often be one and the same…


Pros- Ahh, freedom. The oft-quoted reason to give up the day job. Freedom to set your own hours and set up your office wherever you like (depending on the kind of work you do). Freelancing can fit around families and other commitments better than any company’s flexible working policy.

Cons- Freedom can be scary! If you’re able to work whenever you want, losing motivation is a very real danger. There are benefits to a scheduled, ordered day and lots of freelancers find they struggle without the structure of the 9-5. You can create a routine, but it takes discipline!

Working from Home

Pros- You must have heard these benefits a thousand times from smug home-workers! No road-rage inducing commute, no boring dress code, no infuriating office politics. You can accept parcel deliveries, pop to the shops, or put on loads of washing to your heart’s content.

Cons- Working from home is a never-ending test of self-control. Temptation is everywhere, from the TV in the corner to the fridge full of food and the pet giving you that ‘let’s go for a walk’ look. You’ll be amazed how hard it can be to get up at the same time every day without a hard deadline.

Being your own boss

Pros- Do you like setting targets? Are you good at motivating yourself? Then you’ll love being your own boss! You answer to no-one but yourself, and if you’re having a bad day or feel like death, you can give yourself the afternoon off. Business going well? Give yourself a bonus!  

Cons- If you’re self-employed and you feel ill, there’s no-one to send you home. And the guilt of not being able to work is magnified when you’re a freelancer. There’s no-one to criticise you, but there’s no-one to praise you either. You have to become your own HR department!

Financial Certainty 

Pros- Nothing motivates you like the thought of not being able to pay your mortgage. Financial uncertainty may be the biggest gift of freelance life – it ensures you never rest on your laurels. Without a regular salary, it’s impossible to become complacent or ungrateful, which can only be a good thing.

Cons- It’s a no-brainer why this is a ‘con’. Planning any big financial commitment (buying a house, getting a loan, going on holiday) becomes instantly more complicated when you’re self-employed. The key is to be ruthlessly organised when it comes to your finances, and always, always put money aside for tax.

Networking Tips for Success​​

Article from Sandra Garlick 08.01.15

 When I first started my business I embarked upon a networking campaign by attending as many events as I could! It was pretty much a scatter-gun approach with no strategic plan in place, a small budget and not really knowing what to expect.

I joined the local Chamber of Commerce, a couple of breakfast networking clubs and searched out anything that had a “networking” theme. I became the “Queen of Networking”!
It was only when I had been trading for a year, and the membership renewal invoices started to arrive, that I realised that I had no idea if any of these events had resulted in any new contacts or customers. I decided at that point to put systems in place to monitor how effective my networking was. I then had a great way of knowing which networking events were most effective for my business.
I strongly believe that networking has three main benefits:

1. Growing your contact database – contacts are essential for expanding your business network of potential customers and referrers

2. Building relationships – trusted relationships take time to build and are essential to business growth

3. Being remembered for the right reasons – being helpful and a sharer of information will reap rewards in the future

For me, networking isn’t just about “getting the sale”. So often, I am asked “How many leads did you get?”. In fact, I positively avoid the sales type approach and hard follow up. I simply link up via Linkedin and only email if I’ve promised to do so.

I spend the majority of my networking time building trusted relationships, listening to others, getting to know people and offering help, entirely without agenda. If one of these relationships recommends me in the future or becomes a customer, that is fantastic.

I do recall on one occasion receiving a phone call from a lady that had kept my details for four years. All she said was, “When I first met you, you were so helpful and I always remembered that…now I need your services.”

I now ensure that I only attend networking events or renew networking memberships where I know that I will build those relationships.

Selecting the right networking events and ensuring that your networking is effective is key to the growth of your business. You need to attend events where you are going to meet, or be referred to, potential customers.

It’s nice to go out every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner but as well as affecting your cash flow…and your waistline, it will also affect your availability to carry out your work or simply be a waste of your time out of the office.

Sometimes it difficult to attend a networking event once, or even choose the right one to go to, and make an informed decision whether it is right for you. 

The following 7 tips may help you:

1. Ask someone to recommend an event or networking group to you. Ideally, one that they have found effective. Ask if you can go along with them;

2. If you are attending an event for the first time, speak to the host in advance and ask them more details about the event, the type of people who attend, the format and if they can introduce you to people;

3. Ensure that you speak to as many people as possible while you are there and find out how they have benefited from attending;

4. Do some preparation in advance and think about your particular goals for attending the event and what you want to achieve as an outcome. Be specific…”I would like to meet 3 new business contacts”;

5. Make some notes as soon as you get back to the office… when it is fresh in your mind. Ask yourself some questions such as “Did I meet any good contacts?”, “Did I enjoy the event”, “Would I recommend it to someone else?”;

6. Keep an ongoing record of events you attend and more importantly the cost implications. Ensure that you monitor the cost versus benefit.

7. Have fun and enjoy your networking.

Sandra Garlick frequently speaks about “Networking for Success” and will be speaking at the FSB’s B2B Expo on this topic on Tuesday 12th January 2016 at The Belgrade Theatre in Coventry. You can book your free place here.

Follow @SandraGarlick on Twitter and #Periscope


New Year, Improved You

Article by Daniel Browne 04.01.16

Each January I begin rolling out a range of special offers at my hypnotherapy practice and run a number of classes to help people stick to their New Year resolutions. It normally comes under the umbrella of ‘New Year, New You’, but this year I’ve decided to throw that idea out of the window and replace it with something a little more appropriate.
I now feel that saying that a new year means a new you must arrive is a bit misleading. I mean, what’s wrong with the old you? Nothing of course; you may just need to work on achieving a few goals. From my perspective that’s more of an improvement that a complete reinvention. Therefore I now declare that New Year, New You should actually be New Year, Improved You.

Now I know that for some people the simple changing of one word is pretty meaningless, but actually the words we use can often shape our mind set and approach to things. For example, there’s an idea in hypnotherapy that we should use the term weight management instead of weight loss, with the thought being that if somebody loses their weight they may then try to find it again. Admittedly I don’t wholly subscribe to that school of thought, but I do believe there is something in the words we use ourselves shaping our behaviour and actions.

With this in mind, I am going ahead with New Year, Improved You promotions instead of the usual New Year, New You offers. It’s all about empowering positive change in people and letting them know that a completely new you isn’t required. Just a few simple positive changes can bring the desired improvements.

This isn’t about the selling of my services and promotions though. You can check those out by clicking here rather than reading about them in an article. What I’m here to do today is discuss what you can do this January if you’re looking to indulge in a little self-improvement (and even if you’re not).

Cut down on your pork life and get some exercise

Blur references aside, if you’ve over-indulged at Christmas and consumed enough calories to sink a ship, then trying to lose weight (or should that be manage your weight?) will no doubt be on your list of priorities for 2016. You may be thinking about joining a gym or an exercise class to get your body back into shape before the warmer months arrive. Hold that thought, though. Before committing to a gym membership or paying for exercise classes, think about all of the ways in which you can exercise and burn those calories without spending a penny.

Getting outdoors to exercise is a great way of getting fitter and some all-important fresh air into your body. You’ll save the cost of a gym membership and there’ll be nobody to make you feel guilty if you miss a session. You could even turn your exercise sessions into social occasions by roping friends in to joining you on your evening walk or jog. Then with the money you’ve saved by not joining the gym you can treat yourself to something nice as a reward for shedding your excess weight. I firmly believe in rewarding yourself when you’ve achieved something.

Be your own champion

If you’ve noticed that there is something in your life that you would like to change or improve, acknowledge the fact that you’ve noticed it and thank yourself for it. By having that initial self-awareness you’re already taking a step in the right direction. By being your own champion you’re providing yourself with the best form of support you can receive; self-confidence and belief in your ability to achieve. You can now let your own positive thoughts and inner wisdom guide you to making the positive change or improving that certain something about you or your life. If you’re planning on a resolution for 2016, make sure you’re not too hard on yourself and don’t judge yourself if you don’t achieve instant results. Tell yourself that you can do and let those words become your belief. That belief then becomes action, which leads to you achieving.

If you’re happy with your life and don’t feel you need any self-improvement, don’t bother

That’s right, I did just say that. If you’re ok with where your life is at and how you are within that life, why change anything? If you’re happy to continue with the way things are then I say carry on. If a tendency towards alcoholic beverages and the eating of cake is something you enjoy, why give it up? Don’t feel you actually have to make New Year resolutions or do anything revolving around self-improvement in January just because it’s what we’re supposed to do. Which leads me to my final point…

Do what makes you happy

As New Year arrives we’re fed images and articles about what we should be doing to improve ourselves and what our resolutions should be. My advice to you is not to pay attention to any of it. You will know in your mind and in your heart what it is you feel you need to achieve. You will realise for yourself what the positive changes you need in your life are. Once you know what you want and need to do, create an action plan and get going with it. You’ll end up happier and more likely to achieve your goals this way, as you’ll be subscribing to what you want to do rather than what we’re told we should do.

I wish you a very happy and prosperous 2016.

Daniel Browne

Hypnotherapist and Mindfulness Expert


Stay Cool This Christmas

Article by Daniel Browne 16.12.15

Christmas is supposedly a time for peace, love and joy to all mankind. However, it can so often become a stressful period fraught with worrying, fall outs, and trying to live up to what society has come to view as being a perfect Christmas. It doesn’t need to be like that, though.

With so many people saying that the festive period is a stressful time of year, I’d like to share my top tips for ensuring Christmas is indeed filled with peace, love and joy.

Cut down the ‘to do’ list

There’s just so much we have to do at Christmas time, right? Wrong. The question to ask yourself here is ‘what will happen if I don’t do this?’ If the answer is anything less than COMPLETE DISASTER, consider removing it from the list. The aim here is to cut down on the amount you have to do at Christmas by realising that you don’t actually have to do all those things.

Reduce the gift list

Have a look at the gift list you’ve written and consider whether you need to buy presents for all of those people. If you only see someone once a year (at Christmas), is it really necessary to buy them a present? Thinking about who you really need to buy presents for should help you reduce your gift list and in the process alleviate any stress you may feel about affording to buy all the presents or wondering what on Earth to get someone.

Tell yourself that grand gestures are not really necessary

It can be easy to get carried away at Christmas, but are the grand gestures really worth the stress that can accompany them? If you feel the need to get a present for someone, it doesn’t need to be expensive. Smaller, simpler gestures can often mean more to the recipient, so keep this tip in mind when planning for the big day.

Wrap as you go

I don’t think anyone likes to spend Christmas Eve wrapping all of the presents. It can be time consuming and you could be doing more enjoyable things with your time. Wrapping presents as you buy them can make it seem like less of a chore.

Cut down on the obsessive cleaning

If you have family or friends coming to visit you over the festive period, by all means clean up the public areas of your home, such as the kitchen, bathroom and living room. The private areas of your home (i.e. the rooms where your guests won’t be going) can wait though. Letting standards slip slightly over Christmas isn’t such a bad thing. Once the festivities are over you’ll be able to get all of the housework done, but it’s good to be able to take some time out to enjoy yourself and not worry about how clean the house is.

A bit of cheating is ok

It’s lovely if everything is homemade and perfect, but the reality is that it’s time consuming, often more expensive, and can be stressful. Buying items such as ready-made stuffing, gravy granules, and an easy to carve turkey crown can save you time, money, and a whole lot of stress. This allows you to relax a bit more and enjoy the day.

It’s all in the planning

I’m a big fan of making lists for just about everything in life. It provides a focus and shows a concrete plan for something. Making a list in advance of all the things you need to do in the lead up to Christmas can help bring order to chaos and you may well find that everything runs a bit smoother than usual. Plan who you are going to buy presents, what you are going to buy them, and what your budget for gifts is. Work out what food you need for the period and start buying items in advance. Doing things this way can be much easier than leaving it all until the last minute and going into meltdown.


It’s not all up to you. If you have a partner, children or other family members, be sure to get them involved and delegate certain tasks to them. Not only will it make your role a bit easier; it’s also positive to involve others in the preparation for this special time of year. Even if you feel something may be done quicker if you do it yourself, involving others could help them to feel part of the festive preparations and it will surely relieve any pressure you feel.

Make sure you have some ‘me time’

It can be so easy to get caught up in the Christmas whirlwind that we end up neglecting our own needs. ‘Me time’ is important all year round, but it’s even more crucial during the festive season. Whether it’s taking the dog for a walk, meeting friends for coffee, or sending everyone out for the day so you have the house to yourself, taking some time out to indulge in yourself is something that you’ll thank yourself for later (and your family may thank you for it too).
I wish you a very merry Christmas.

Daniel Browne

Hypnotherapist and Mindfulness Expert


Tips for Overcoming Your Fear of Public Speaking

Article by Sandra Garlick 07.12.15

Standing up for the first time in front of other business owners or an audience can be a daunting prospect.

However, these tips may help you overcome that fear. Remember…It’s all about preparation!

Build up your confidence slowly…

Start at a local business network meeting where there is a small group of people you know well. Rehearse in front of your work colleagues. You can increase your confidence slowly and you will soon be speaking to larger audiences with confidence. 

Tell a Story…

Rather than doing a sales pitch, tell a story, and make yourself memorable for the right reasons. If you share an interesting fact, your personal experiences or a useful piece of information, you are far more likely to be remembered rather than simply stating who you are and what you do.

Imagine your audience in a different context…

Someone once suggested to me that if you imagine your audience in pyjamas that this will relax you! However you decide to imagine your audience, pick something that makes you feel comfortable and confident. Alternatively, have a few people you know in the audience and imagine it’s just a conversation between you.

Engage with your audience…

Smile and most importantly…..don’t forget to breathe. Pause, especially if you lose track of what you are saying. Ask questions, interact by carrying out polls, ask for volunteers and invite questions. When speaking, use your tone of voice, vary your pitch and don’t forget to share personal experiences. If you have a large audience it’s a good tactic to pick 3 faces (left, right and centre) and focus on them throughout your talk or presentation. That way you appear to be speaking to the whole audience.  

Know your topic…

Avoid reading from pages of notes or using excessive content on Powerpoint slides, they should be used as a prompt only. Try to talk about things you know well and avoid heavy sales pitches. Share your knowledge and expertise, become a giver and sharer of information and the sales will follow later.

Be authentic…

Be yourself. Trying to be someone else or someone you think you ought to be will lead you to stumble. Just be authentic to who you are and you will come across as genuine. People buy from people and your honesty and natural authenticity will shine through.

Sandra Garlick regularly speaks throughout the UK on various business growth topics. To enquire about Sandra speaking at your event, please call 024 7621 4440.

You can follow Sandra on Twitter and #Periscope @SandraGarlick