Members of the Professional Planning Forum, an independent industry body, are involved in resourcing the call centres of large, often blue-chip organisations, making sure staff are available round the clock to respond to customers’ calls.
To do their job effectively they need the co-operation of people in many other parts of the organisation. For example, they need to be kept informed about new marketing drives which will affect the volume of calls – but their needs can easily be forgotten by a busy marketing director. Top-quality influencing skills can make a powerful difference in this context.
The Forum asked Wendy Sullivan, specialist trainer of Clean Language and NLP, to introduce a module on influencing skills within its Advanced Certificate programme. For the past six years, she has delivered this module regularly. Delegates often arrive feeling rather powerless. They know they need to change the behaviour of colleagues outside their own teams to deliver the results their organisations expect, but don’t know how to do so. At the end of the two-day course, they have a more confident outlook and a personal, detailed action plan to increase their influence in the organisation.
Wendy said: “They leave with a sense of purpose and an expectation that they will be able to make a difference, for themselves and their organisation. They can get their ideas heard. They realise it is time to stop behaving like victims, and that they have what they need to start presenting themselves as credible individuals.”
Recently, Wendy’s fellow NLP trainer Henrietta Laitt (best known as the organiser of the Richmond NLP Group) has trained as an associate on these courses.
The module has run regularly for six years. Paul Smedley (Executive Director, Professional Planning Forum) said: “When we first started running the programme with Wendy, people were reluctant to book for the course, as if it implied they weren’t good enough, but once they’d taken part, they were saying things like “it’s the best course I’ve ever been on – why didn’t you tell me about this before”!
“The course hits the button because it’s very relevant to the job role and because of the way Wendy presents it for us. We regularly coach people as part of our Advanced Certificate programme, and one guy still talks about his follow-up actions from the course 6 months later.”