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© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential EuroStar 2007 Can “Softer Skills” Help Define Your Career Growth?
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential Why Soft Skills? We are always part of a team We’re dependent on information from others We constantly have to demonstrate our value We want enough resources to do our job We want to progress our career – don’t we!
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential Skills I’ve found helpful, and why 1.Communication Understand how other’s prefer to communicate 2.Negotiation Learn to “trade” not just getting your own way 3.Coaching Grow careers, and handle “difficult conversations”
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential Communication
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential Communications Why does it matter to testers? What does it mean? How can it help me?
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential Styles of Communication Internal communication – thinking styles External communication – to others Recognising others preferences
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential Internal Communications Thoughts Words Tonality Body Language Tonality Words
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential How do you think? Pick a memory e.g. Holiday –What can you see? –What can you hear? –How do you feel? What representation of the memory came first and most easily? How you think is personal to you, others don’t think the same way, although we assume they do
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential External Communications Thoughts FILTERS Sight Hearing Touch or feeling Taste Smell Sight, hearing and touch/feeling are most prominent in most people but to different levels
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential Recognising Preferences Sight (Visual) –I see what you mean –We see eye to eye –You’ll look back on this and laugh –Show me what you mean –It appears to me –The future looks bright –Sight for sore eyes
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential Recognising Preferences Hearing (Auditory) –On the same wavelength –Unheard of –Music to my ears –Hold your tongue –Turn a deaf ear –Loud and clear –Rings a bell
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential Recognising Preferences Touch/feeling (Kinaesthetic) –I will get in touch with you –Hold on a second –I can’t put my finger on it –Firm foundation –Heated argument –Thick skinned –A cool customer
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential Recognising Preferences Smell and Taste (Olfactory and Gustatory) –Smell a rat –Fishy situation –A bitter pill –Fresh as a daisy –A taste for the good life –A sweet person –An acid comment
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential Just a few Words on Body Language Zones Handshake Barriers Carbon Copy Desk and Seating European and American interpretation Culture adds another dimension
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential Comfort Zones Intimate cms Personal 46cm – 1.2m Social 1.2 – 3.6m Public >3.6m
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential Handshake Take control –Place your hand on top and press downwards Give control –Place your hand underneath and push upwards Equal –Meet side on and move upwards and downwards equally
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential Barriers Leg barriers –Cross legs – nervous, reserved or defensive –Cross legs (left over right) displeasure –Foot on opposite knee – argumentative, competative Arm barriers –Cross arms – hiding from unfavourable situation –Cross arms with fists clenched - hostile –Cross arms with fingers showing – firm stand –Using a prop – handbag, papers, etc
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential Carbon Copy Very common in one-on-one discussions Others naturally mirror you To gain acceptance, mirror others position To maximise constructive communication, take an open position –No arm or leg barriers –Lean forward slightly –Make regular eye contact
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential Desk and Seating A B1 B3B4 B2 A - Other person seated first B1 – Corner, friendly negotiations B2 - Co-operative, comfortable with working together B3 - Competitive/defensive, solid barrier can lead to people taking a firm view B4 – Independent, does not want to interact or participate
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential Negotiation Skills
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential Principles of Negotiation EVERYONE negotiates Don’t confuse with selling or persuasion Seen as a formal process, even threatening Most people feel ill equipped to negotiate You have more skill than you think already! –Priorities, budgets, time, resource –Holidays, teenagers nights out, pocket money
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential Agreement & Conflict OR.. Co-existence of hope and frustration! They want You want You want They want You both want Negotiation opportunity BUT…if you’ve nothing to vary, you can’t negotiate Nothing to gain from negotiation No point in negotiation
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential Internal vs External Internal –Time from business users –Budget process with project managers –Acceptance criteria External –Supplier doing development –Supplier doing systems testing –Supplier doing ongoing support
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential Preparing for Negotiating Set your objective Establish your fallback position Identify issues and priorities Set limits and Targets Calculate cost of concessions
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential Plan Ahead for Trading Prepare and plan with great care –Identify common ground –Identify options and how you’ll use them Trade concessions, don’t just concede Identify and use your levers As yourself “what if’s” Don’t open on the most contentious issue Don’t settle minor issues early
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential Interaction Categories Content Procedure Building Supporting Disagreeing Defend/attack Test understanding Summarising Seek information Give information Bringing in Shutting out I have a skills planning sheet I can forward you if you request one via
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential Coaching Skills
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential Coaching Model Many models are available for this I’ve selected one by way of example It needs practice! Try it out for yourselves Can be used to resolve issues Can also be used to conduct “difficult” conversations e.g. someone’s performance on the team.
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential GROW Model Goal Reality Options Way Forward
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential Goal What do you want from THIS discussion? Use SMART goals –Specific –Meaningful –Agreed to –Realistic –Time-phased What are the consequences if you do not reach this goal?
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential Reality Briefly, what’s been happening? What have you tried so far? What were the results? What’s the sense of the obstacles for you?, for others? Is the goal still realistic?
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential Options Describe “fantasyland”: if you could do anything, what might you do? If you were the other person, what would you have to hear/see to get your attention If you were watching this conversation, what would you recommend? Would you like suggestions? Do any of these interest you enough to explore further? If you were to do this, how might you go about it?
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential Way Forward Does this option interest you enough to take action? How will you go about it? What might get in the way? How might you overcome that? What and when is the next step? (SMART)
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential Implement the Model WILL Choose an option Commit to action Identify obstacles & Resources Recap & identify follow up GOAL Identify the long and short term goals Describe the desired future state OPTIONS Explore possibilities for action Uncover new opportunities Identify potential next steps REALITY Describe the current situation Understand what is happening right now Go forwards and backwards around the model as necessary
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential What will you do differently? Understand your own preferences for communication and recognise others are different – use different methods to get your message over – not just one! Practice the “trading” aspect of negotiating next time you plan your testing project or need specialist assistance. Practice the coaching model, maybe in your own team to start with All these skills require preparation and practice It’s rare to find someone with this ability You’ll be recognised and rewarded when you demonstrate them!!
© 2007 WMHL Consulting Ltd Confidential QUESTIONS ? NOW OR ME ON
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