It’s Time To Overcome Your Fear of Writing

It’s Time To Overcome Your Fear of Writing

Do you have a fear of writing that’s holding you back? I chose a career in recruitment for three reasons. First, I liked the straight forward nature of getting rewards for being successful. Second, I enjoy helping people get what they want.  Last I am a closet dyslexic, so I am good at listening and talking, but struggle with writing.

I know there are many other recruiters who this fear of writing.  But today, the need to write well is just as important as the ability to listen and talk.

Think about the number of emails, or adverts, you and your team send in a day or week.  Most leaders take for granted that everyone in their team can write. But how many managers take the time to review the job adverts that consultants post online?

Writing well is not just about grammar. It is also about readability and influence. It’s hard to do all three well. If you want to know more about readability then check out the Flesch Reading Test

I know I need to work on my writing.  If I don’t write clearly, it doesn’t matter how good my ideas are. People won’t understand or buy-in to them.  This is also true for recruiters who write adverts or emails, where the grammar is poor, or are hard to read.

How to Beat Fear of Writing

It helps to know that others, who are good at talking, also struggle with writing well.  Fear of writing can be beaten with some smart tools. Here are some approaches that can help.

1. HemmingwayApp

This is the my latest and greatest writing support tool – check it out here.  All you have to do is write your text in the space provided and as you type it will let you know when you have made mistakes.  It will let you know when sentences are good, hard or very hard to read.  Also it will suggest simpler words to use, check your use of adverbs and of the passive voice.  Yes I had to look the last two up in wikipedia!!

It is free to use through your browser or just £6 if you want to use on your computer. As a starter, copy in an email you have sent, or job advert you have written and see the screen light up!

2. Grammarly

Grammarly is a chrome extension <click here> that checks everything you write online. Like the HemmingwayApp it checks grammar, highlights poor use of adverbs and the passive voice. What I liked most is that you can insert suggested words as you go rather than have to use a separate app.

This is a great tool if you use gmail or spend lots of time commenting on social media.

It is a free plug-in on Chrome, with premium options you can pay for which connect with Word and Outlook.

3. Find Help

Finding someone to help with editing your writing will help you lots, just as it has helped me. The editing process can slow the process of posting a blog or job advert. But for important documents, proposals or blogs it is a must.

To make more of this support, ask your editor to talk through the changes they make. This way you can begin to rely less on external support and get it right first time.

4. Go on a course

I have not taken this option myself yet, but is on my list of things to do.  I can see a time though where writing skills will be trained with equal intensity to sales skills. Some companies have already caught on to this. They are now training writing skills in the first few weeks of employment.

There are lots of online courses you can take on sites such as Udemy or Coursera. Face to face courses will likely be taking place near you. An example of a course you could look at is the one run by Mitch Sullivan (Recruiter) and Jackie Barrie (Copywriter).

It’s title is, “writing compelling job adverts – a practical course for ambitious recruiters.”

If you are one of those that struggle with writing, I hope that you have found this blog useful. And maybe it’s some comfort to know there are others that find writing hard too.

I am coming to writing a little too late in life to master the art. But in a world more dominated by the written word than ever, it is a skill I must work to master.

Best of luck to everyone out there who is great at speaking, but finds writing hard.

Why you should say “no” to unrewarding sex

Why you should say “no” to unrewarding sex

When it comes to developing your people, finding a formula for success that delivers on the learning needs of the individual, as well as the performance needs of the company can be tricky.

After recently attending the 20 year reunion from my summer job selling books in the US, I feel that I am a little closer to understanding what that formula is.

In my second year of university I signed up to travel to America and sell educational books door to door. The promise was a simple one, get yourself out to Nashville, Tennessee. We will train you, give you a sales territory, then it’s up to you to knock on doors and sell some books.

The financials worked out like this; pay out £800 up front to get there, buy your samples, order books and pay for all your own travel and living costs. You earn 35% of everything you sell. You might be forgiven for thinking this deal sounds a bit one sided, and truth be told I probably felt the same for most of my three summers selling books. However, the company made a promise that they claimed balanced the books. They claimed they would help me learn how to sell, build relationships, run a business, set goals, motivate myself, motivate others and take responsibility for my own success.

I still remember one of the senior leaders, Dan Moore, in sales school saying

“you are unlikely to learn more about selling, relationships and being successful over the next 20 years of your career.” 

Bold claims indeed. However, at our 20 year reunion I concluded he was probably right and that they had made good on their promise. I still use what I learned selling books 20 years ago every day; setting goals, building relationships, serving your customers needs equally to your own and much more. 

If you’d been a fly on the wall at the reunion, you would have heard many stories like mine from a lot of very successful people. Founders of companies like OVO Energy, SBR consulting, Nine Dots; successful executives including a Director at Uefa, several Finance Directors, half a dozen Directors of P&G and Unilever and too many Sales Directors to count and these are just the ones I keep in touch with. 

Why is this relevant to you?

If you promise training or personal development as part of your hiring strategy, or as a part of your total reward, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much of your training is focussed on specific job tasks vs transferable long term skills?
  • How much time do you spend teaching people how to manage their own performance by helping them learn how to set goals, manage their attitude and build relationships vs telling them what to do?
  • How do you help them link personal / life goals to what they can get out of work? 
  • How do you help them learn life skills that will significantly contribute to long term success & well being i.e Management of finances & savings?
  • How would your last 10 hires rate you on your delivery of the development promises you made?

This may sound hard, but other firms manage it and many more aspire to it. This means the most talented employees in the market expect more. If you want to hire the best you have to offer more and deliver on your promises.

Brexit: How To Be Positive With Your Clients

Brexit: How To Be Positive With Your Clients

This time last week you were sitting at your desk thinking “has this really happened?”

You were wondering how the decision to leave the EU was going to affect your client’s desire to hire.

From the conversations I had last week the feeling seems to be that whilst some companies are putting things on hold, many others are proceeding with their plans (all be it with more caution).

What is clear though is that the country as a whole could talk itself into a recession.  In the coming weeks, there will be no shortage of media outlets seeking to publicise the “faltering economy”.   It only took the IOD a few days to release a statement about headcount freezes.  (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36636574)

Recruiters have an important role to play in helping the country avoiding talking itself into a recession. There are about 100,000 recruiters in the UK. If they only speak to 30 people a week that is over 3 million phone conversations.

If recruiters run around saying “everyone is nervous”, “everything is on hold” or “we are dooooooomed!” It will not take long for companies to become negative in their outlook. This will then pass on to their staff and their desire to spend. Before too long we will be in recession.

I am not saying Recruiters will be responsible for a recession, but we have an important role to play in helping avoid it.

Leaders need to support their teams craft responses to questions such as “how is the market?” or “what do you see happening?”

These crafted responses do not need to be untrue but they need to be balanced. They need to balance the real concerns employers have with the positive news you hear in the market.

 

Five Ways I Try To Improve My Time Management Skills

I need to improve my time management skills. Who doesn’t? My life as a business owner revolves around three things: Selling more. Leading a team to sell more and.. Delivering training to consultants and leaders to help them sell more. Every day there are two things...

The Future of Recruitment: Where did all the humans go?

Yesterday I had an enjoyable day at Firefish software’s “the Future of Recruitment” event. The day was focused on how the recruitment industry will change in the coming years. There was a great line up of speakers including Greg Savage, Jonny Campbell from social...

3 Ways Sourcers Help Business Development

3 Ways Sourcers Help Business Development

“How can I improve the effectiveness of my consultants business development skills?”

That’s the number one question I get asked by CEOs and Directors of recruitment firms. In their minds, it’s the fee earners alone who hold the key to winning more business.

The most successful firms I work with take a different approach.

They understand that business development has to be part of the culture of the organisation.  They understand that every person in the organisation has a role to play.

These firms encourage their researchers and resourcers to take a more active role in business development.

The mindset of candidate sourcers in these organisations is subtly different. Instead of focussing uniquely on finding specific skill sets for roles, they’re also looking for relevant market information. Which organisations are going through change? Who is likely to be losing or hiring people in the next few months?

So what does this mean in the field?

1. CV databases

When they find active candidates in permanent roles, they alert a consultant. The consultant can contact the company, or line manager and start building a relationship before the person actually leaves.

2. Actively Interviewing Candidates

Every day researchers and resources speak to people who are already actively interviewing for vacancies,  this can give multiple leads:

  • Identifying the company they are leaving.
  • Discovering the name of the company where they are interviewing.
  • Names of companies where they’ve interviewed but been unsuccessful.
  • Details of major change programs or projects in organisations that are likely to result in hiring or have hired recently.
3. Contractors on Contract

They will come across many contractors who are already in contracts and not actively looking. This is still a useful lead because it tells consultants which companies are spending money on contractors with specific skill sets. These are just three of the ways researchers and resourcers can find and share quality lead information across the organisation. Small but significant ways they can help business developers make more from the time they spend on the phone, or in front of clients.

How can you help researchers and resourcers get better at sharing useful business development related market intelligence?

  1. Awareness – Make sure they understand what market information is valuable to the business and why. It may seem obvious, but it needs to be laid out in detail and documented so they can refer back to it.
  2. Collate & Organise – work out a way to collate all the market intelligence that is gathered and shared with the business developers. Managers can ensure information has been actioned and successes shared with the researchers and resourcers.
  3. Recognise – Researchers and resourcers aren’t always treated too well by consultants. Managers need to make sure that consultants are actively saying thank you when they get good information that helps them find new requirements.

If you’re interested in discussing how your researchers and resourcers can contribute more to business development then please come to #trulondon next week where I will be leading a discussion track. Click here for ticket information

Five Ways I Try To Improve My Time Management Skills

I need to improve my time management skills. Who doesn’t? My life as a business owner revolves around three things: Selling more. Leading a team to sell more and.. Delivering training to consultants and leaders to help them sell more. Every day there are two things...

The Future of Recruitment: Where did all the humans go?

Yesterday I had an enjoyable day at Firefish software’s “the Future of Recruitment” event. The day was focused on how the recruitment industry will change in the coming years. There was a great line up of speakers including Greg Savage, Jonny Campbell from social...

Recruitment Leaders: Are You Feeding Your Team’s FOMO?

Recruitment Leaders: Are You Feeding Your Team’s FOMO?

When it comes to developing your people, finding a formula for success that delivers on the learning needs of the individual, as well as the performance needs of the company can be tricky.

After recently attending the 20 year reunion from my summer job selling books in the US, I feel that I am a little closer to understanding what that formula is.

In my second year of university I signed up to travel to America and sell educational books door to door. The promise was a simple one, get yourself out to Nashville, Tennessee. We will train you, give you a sales territory, then it’s up to you to knock on doors and sell some books.

The financials worked out like this; pay out £800 up front to get there, buy your samples, order books and pay for all your own travel and living costs. You earn 35% of everything you sell. You might be forgiven for thinking this deal sounds a bit one sided, and truth be told I probably felt the same for most of my three summers selling books. However, the company made a promise that they claimed balanced the books. They claimed they would help me learn how to sell, build relationships, run a business, set goals, motivate myself, motivate others and take responsibility for my own success.

I still remember one of the senior leaders, Dan Moore, in sales school saying

“you are unlikely to learn more about selling, relationships and being successful over the next 20 years of your career.” 

Bold claims indeed. However, at our 20 year reunion I concluded he was probably right and that they had made good on their promise. I still use what I learned selling books 20 years ago every day; setting goals, building relationships, serving your customers needs equally to your own and much more. 

If you’d been a fly on the wall at the reunion, you would have heard many stories like mine from a lot of very successful people. Founders of companies like OVO Energy, SBR consulting, Nine Dots; successful executives including a Director at Uefa, several Finance Directors, half a dozen Directors of P&G and Unilever and too many Sales Directors to count and these are just the ones I keep in touch with. 

Why is this relevant to you?

If you promise training or personal development as part of your hiring strategy, or as a part of your total reward, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much of your training is focussed on specific job tasks vs transferable long term skills?
  • How much time do you spend teaching people how to manage their own performance by helping them learn how to set goals, manage their attitude and build relationships vs telling them what to do?
  • How do you help them link personal / life goals to what they can get out of work? 
  • How do you help them learn life skills that will significantly contribute to long term success & well being i.e Management of finances & savings?
  • How would your last 10 hires rate you on your delivery of the development promises you made?

This may sound hard, but other firms manage it and many more aspire to it. This means the most talented employees in the market expect more. If you want to hire the best you have to offer more and deliver on your promises.

Five Ways I Try To Improve My Time Management Skills

I need to improve my time management skills. Who doesn’t? My life as a business owner revolves around three things: Selling more. Leading a team to sell more and.. Delivering training to consultants and leaders to help them sell more. Every day there are two things...

The Future of Recruitment: Where did all the humans go?

Yesterday I had an enjoyable day at Firefish software’s “the Future of Recruitment” event. The day was focused on how the recruitment industry will change in the coming years. There was a great line up of speakers including Greg Savage, Jonny Campbell from social...