Volunteering

Are You Interested in Trust?

Maybe you are or maybe you aren’t. One thing’s for sure every relationship is built on a solid foundation of trust. If trust doesn't exist, a relationship can't exist. But what are the constituents of trust? I believe there are 3 main principles for trust to develop in your relationships. I've called it the 'Triad of Trust'.

1. Give more than you receive.

The principle here is about giving of yourself and searching for ways you can give support without expecting anything in return.

Nobody can force you to do this, it has to be the life force within you that decides that you will step out of your ego and give of yourself. I have witnessed many example of folks who really don’t get this right. Giving without expecting anything in return is really a tough concept for most to grasp. 

For just a few seconds think about your current relationships, your relationship with your line manager, your spouse, your kids, your parents and even your clients. Do you give consistently without expecting anything? We’re usually looking for some sort of payback, something that will make us feel good instead of focussing on making the other person feel great.

Putting this in the context of Marketing means that we must avoid too much self-promotion and instead share stories (or information) that will assist others and inspire them. 

Whenever I have a new connection on LinkedIn, I ask each connection who they wish to get in front of, i.e. what leads they may be looking for. I record those details on their LinkedIn profile. You'd be surprised how many actually don't bother answering, because they may be suspicious and believe I might have a different motive for the question. I guess it's human nature to be suspicious. Basically they don't trust me yet.

2. Listen generously.

Listening is the hardest skill for us to master because as soon as we hear someone speak we begin to formulate a response. This also happens with all types of mobile digital communication.

Who doesn't struggle with listening? Be honest, you can't wait to say something when you are listening (and thinking) when someone is speaking to you. My challenge to you is to hold back until you believe the speaker has completely finished. You’ll know when they have finished, because they’ll ask you a question. 

For example, I'm sure you've experienced attending a networking meeting. Imagine you meet someone for the first time there and often the first question will be, ’So what do you do?’. Instead of reeling off your rehearsed response, pause and say, ’Actually why don't you go first?’. 

This puts you in a state of listening straight away. And instead of waiting for them to finish and then jump into your own blabber, ask them a few questions. Listen out to truly understand and ask even further questions to understand at an even deeper level. It actually doesn't matter if you don't get your chance to say what you do. Understanding someone else’s story is much more important and they will remember you for it. 

The term listening generously I learnt from a client in the USA, http://winningdynamics.com, who I produced a Whiteboard Animation for. Be well worth watching, as the message is brilliant.

 

3. Share your knowledge willingly.

Our knowledge is precious and worth something. However, sharing your knowledge willingly with others builds trust. After all, you too learnt your knowledge from someone else.

We arrived on this plant with no knowledge and relied on our family, our teachers and all the different people we met in our lives to teach us what we know today. Therefore we actually learnt most of what we know from others. Just think about it. It's only with this knowledge that we've been able to potentially shape it into new knowledge that we create ourselves and then sell or share with others. Just like I'm doing right here.

But you don't have to sell all your knowledge do you?

You must give most of it away. You don't own it and our job is to pass it on. After all, your knowledge is only temporary, you can't take it with you when you depart this planet. You might as well start sharing it now.

I would love to learn from you how you ’Give, Listen and Share’ in your world. Feel free to share your comments below, so everyone can benefit from your experience and advice.

@stayingaliveuk

 

Will You be an E-MENTOR?

Student of economy Can you spare around an hour a week to be an E-MENTOR to help guide a 16-19 year old student on their path to a successful future?

I've been chatting with Diane Vernon,(http://www.linkedin.com/pub/diane-vernon/6/1a7/990), at Career Academies UK and she was telling me about their fantastic new programme called Career Ready. To work successfully they need to find willing volunteers to be E-MENTORS from the business world.

Mentoring is a crucial factor in helping a young person succeed in finding a job or place at University.

As an E-MENTOR you would communicate with a student via a new secure digital platform, as part of a structured programme. This eliminates the need to be located near your student or arrange meetings face-to-face. All E-MENTORS are DBS checked and trained by Career Academies UK.

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You know the stats on unemployed young people in the UK, I don't need to remind you of that and if you've always thought of wanting to make a difference, you can do this now by contacting Diane Vernon at diane.vernon@careeracademies.org.uk or speak to her direct on 07786 170588.

You can read/download the full E-MENTOR pack by going to

http://styin.me/e-mentoringpack

Thank you for your support, I really appreciate it. I know this will be very rewarding for some of you.

I will be joining the programme myself!

Warmest regards and wishing you success always!

Michael 07866 471596

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What does Ben want for Christmas?

Meet Ben…

Ben lives in Worcester, had a tough time with his girlfriend, who had his baby and a paternity test confirms he's the father (OK so that's his story), but she'd rather go back to her ex boyfriend claiming that he's the father, so kicks Ben out. His now ex girlfriend is back with her ex, who does drugs and now she can go back to drugs too. Wondering what kind of life that baby will have? Ben in the meantime loses his job, loses his car and now has to go on a waiting list for a hostel, as its already full.

If he raises enough money, he may be able to get into a B&B for £25 per night, but only if he's really lucky. So far everyone is passing him by and not paying any attention to him, because they're busy buying Christmas presents for their families and rushing through the crowds, snarling at anyone who gets in the way. Ben reckons it will be the cardboard tonight, which he stores behind the yellow grit bin. That's his bed, the pavement is his home, his desk, his kitchen, his front room, the bathroom, oh I forgot to say his hands and fingers have this black and dirty appearance, you know the ones that look like they've really not seen water for a few weeks.

So I share a few pennies and wish him luck, walking away with my shopping bags and wondering and wishing if Ben will ever get that warm bed tonight or whether he will be under his cardboard bed sheltering from the cold.

If you are visiting the Worcester shops, look out for Ben, you'll only miss him if you are rushing selfishly around the shops, thinking only of the presents you still have to buy.

I know Ben isn't alone, there are many others. Happy Christmas Prime Minister!

Has your 17-year old got 'Working Knowledge'?

Working Knowledge is a brilliant Social Enterprise, who invited me to join their 'Splash' event in Bromsgrove on the 15th March 2012.

My role?  An Expert!

I have never been an ’Expert’ before, so it was a real treat.

I was an Expert from the business community together with other business experts, who were all there to support 17 / 18 year olds from Northeast Worcestershire College, to become enlightened about business through the vehicle of a one-day experiential event, allowing them to innovate, create and visualise their own entrepreneurial spirit.

I had never done anything like it before and so did not know what to expect.

What was it like?  In one word...OUTSTANDING!

Basically the event is a cross between Dragons Den and the Apprentice and as a local business I played the role of ‘expert’ advising students from the local College on their new business ideas.  Working Knowledge is a Social Enterprise and Nationally Award Winning educational training company founded by Dr James Lott.

The events Working Knowledge run have been shown to have a profound impact on the students and tutors in colleges throughout UK, bridging the gap between education and the workplace.  As a business expert volunteer I played an integral role in the success of the event and thereby raise the aspirations of young people in my region.

Here's my testimonial MindMap and Video, which was the best way for me to articulate what I thought of the whole day.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcQmefmSKCc

And why does Working Knowledge exist?

They believe that for the UK economy to grow and for communities to thrive, young people need to be inspired by, and better prepared for, the world of work. We need young people that are more confident, purposeful and responsible and can therefore provide a sustained flow of talent and energy into the local economy. Their vision cannot be achieved by educators alone, the business community HAS to be involved in the education process.

What a great vision!

There is a website http://www.workingknowledge.org.uk/business-experts/overview/ where you can find out more about the expert role.  If you are interested in becoming involved then please register here http://events.workingknowledge.org.uk/profile/new?type=expert and Working Knowledge will contact you when a suitable event comes up in your area.

If you have any questions then contact Ollie Collard on 0117 304 8000 or email ollie.collard@workingknowledge.org.uk

I hope you do take up the opportunity.  It really is one worth doing.

Success!

Ready for an ethical planet?

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You may have noticed recently that autocratic and dishonest behaviour is being rewarded by resentment and demands for justice. And everyone on the planet is involved. The human drama continues to unfold in front of our eyes on a daily basis. And what has grabbed the news headlines for over 12 months are the battles, whether physical in terms of fighting or verbal against the regimes, journalists, police, banks, senior individuals in charge and many more institutions and individuals that have been allowed to get away with thinking of just themselves and their own personal interest.

Actually we are selfish race, we don't really like other fellow human beings unless they are our own off-spring and then even we struggle to get on with them.

We are all aware of the family feuds that happen between siblings and not to speak of the arguments during family gatherings.

So why can't we be more unselfish and decide to support others? Why can't we put the importance of our own happiness and satisfaction on hold for a bit and instead think of others?

'But we do!' I hear you say, we support charities, we give money to them every time there is an appeal and true the UK are one of the most charitable nations in the world. But we do this out of guilt, because we feel we may not have done enough during the past 12 months, so giving some money to 'children in need' or comic relief' or one of the other 'telethons' makes us feel better, like we have given something and that means we have done our 'bit'.

Genuinely do you feel better or does your conscious actually know that you only did something because you have a condition, which I like to call 'spontaneous guilt'?

So how do we change our behaviour to become more ethical, more community focussed, more charitable, display more integrity, be less greedy, supporting of our fellow human beings, inspired to volunteer?

I don't intend to answer this question for you, it's for you to answer this for yourself.

I challenge you to look into your soul and decide whether you are doing enough for your fellow human.

Oh and I nearly forgot happy Valentine's day!

Success!

Volunteering

I have recently become an Ambassador for Kemp Hospice in Kidderminster, a great charity who add 'quality to life' for people that may have an illness that reduces their quality of life. They are a great bunch of people running it and an even greater bunch of people volunteering. I spent a few hours getting introduced to their warehouse, where they sort through all their donations and decide what's suitable for the shops or not. It's been a real eye opener, as I have always wondered about the workings behind the scenes in charity shops. And although we have seen Mary Portas doing her magic on a famous charity chain of shops in the UK, it is still a real revelation to see and hear what happens.

One thing is for sure, they need more volunteers, as there is lots of sorting to be done. So I wanted to share a few learnings from my time in the warehouse.

Separate clothes between really good and really bad, assume something that looks worn is in the really bad category. Kemp only wish to sell really good quality clothing and something that either looks badly worn or is soiled goes to rags. Now here is the great news, there is money to be made out of rags and this is a great reason to send all your clothes into charities. But to help them, please sort your clothing into 'really good' and 'really bad'. That way the volunteers do not have to do as much sorting. They still need to check it but it makes the job a lot easier.

Unless shoes are brand new or hardly worn or vintage, send them all to the shoe bank on refuse sites. There is something not so pleasant about wearing second hand shoes is there? I know some people will and need to but the idea is to get the quality of merchandise as good as possible in charity shops. It means that we can rely on getting some great bargains in charity shops and give the rest of the high street a run for their money.

Kemp have some great ideas for their shops in Kidderminster, Bewdley and Stourport-on-Severn, which means a better look and feel for customers.

Then there is eBay and they will soon, with the help of 'yours truly', be selling on eBay too. And after investigating this inside eBay I also learnt that when anyone sells on eBay, they can nominate to make a donation from their sale to their chosen charity and eBay will discount your insertion fee by 50%. Now that's something to consider, as it's a win win.

I thoroughly enjoyed my few hours sorting through items for sale and making sure that only the best goes to their shops for those customers keen to look for a bargain.

I am sure I will share more in the months to come.