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The Importance of First Impressions and Building Rapport




At some point in your life, you’ve probably met a person who is book smart and people stupid. This person is a valuable company asset, but is kept out of meetings because he or she can’t communicate effectively and doesn’t seem to listen to the ideas of others. He or she is sincere, but knows nothing about etiquette and manners. He or she can be interesting to talk to but has no sense of humour. He or she is very intelligent, but lacks even the most basic social skills.

In general, this person makes everyone uneasy and standoffish. In particular this person doesn’t try to establish the rapport needed to create a lasting relationship, either in his or her personal or professional life. And unfortunately, it’s costing this person dearly.

Now is the time for this person to mend his or her ways. Like it or not we all have to deal with others to achieve any degree of success. This is true regardless of our position in life, and no matter what our objectives may be. The more successful we are in getting others to cooperate with us, and the more people we can call our allies, the greater our chances are of achieving success.

The dynamics of human relations are pretty simple: If you relate poorly to others, you will most likely have a problem-filled life, and success will come hard, if at all. If you relate well to others, you will most likely have a pleasant life, and success will come easier. And that’s where the art of creating rapport comes in.

The ability to create rapport is the ability to create a harmonious relationship based on mutual trust or emotional ties. It is the […]

Managing your…self



There is a piece of jargon within the professional development world that we use frequently here at VM Learning. It’s called ‘Emotional Intelligence’ (EI). It’s up there with such legendary organisational icons as Total Quality Management, Transformational Leadership, Management by Objectives (MBO) and reengineering. In fact EI has gathered so much momentum over the years that it’s worth knowing about, as many organisations now consider it to be an essential component of  leadership.

Essentially EI is an umbrella term coined by David Goleman in his ground-breaking work of the same name. It encompasses many tried and proven ways of improving human relations. It’s revolutionary because EI’s structure provides a simple, natural understanding of complex human issues. It also provides a pathway to skills that can enhance the way you live, love, play and work with other people. A key aspect of Emotional Intelligence is the ability to handle our emotions, especially within a workplace setting. This can be easier said than done….

Whether you love your job or not, it is easy to get bothered in the workplace.  Frustrations with technology, a meeting running over time or too many distractions; sometimes no matter how hard you try to stay focused your emotions start to build.  And when tension rises in any environment, it is difficult to maintain a positive and productive attitude.  But emotions are simply a part of the human condition, both the good and bad, and while you may be extraordinary at managing your job role, you might not be so good at managing yourself emotionally.

Most people like to think of themselves as rational, but think back on the last time you were truly overwhelmed by your emotions.  Perhaps you acted in a way […]

11 Influential Women You Should know



Time magazine has recently compiled and published the ’11 Influential Women You Should know’  which showcases some of the leading female talent all over the world- from the women fighting against Ebola to the powerful entrepreneurs holding their own on Wall Street.

Being a Friday, we thought we would share this list with you, in order to provide some inspiration from some women leaders all over the world, for the week ahead. Happy Reading!

Taken from Time Magazine and written by Charlotte Alter.

When we think of “influential women,” there’s a familiar rotation that comes to mind: Taylor Swift, Malala Yousafzai, Hillary Clinton. This year’s TIME 100 is filled with bold-face names like those, and for good reason. Reese Witherspoon, Emma Watson, Kim Kardashian and Amy Schumer have used their fame to upend expectations about women in entertainment, and leaders like Janet Yellen, Angela Merkel, Elizabeth Warren and Ruth Bader Ginsburg are all fixtures on the 24-hour news cycle. But of the 40 women on this year’s list, many exert a different kind of influence.

Here are 11 women who are slowly working to make the world a better place, whether or not you know their names:

Chai Jing: This Chinese journalist and environmentalist’s documentary, Under the Dome, calls attention to China’s massive pollution problem. It was viewed over 200 million times before government censors attempted to suppress it (although other, more environmentalist sectors of the government supported the movie). The popularity of the film and the intensity of the reaction has prompted comparisons to Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring, and environmentalists hope the film could nudge the country toward greener policies.

Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier: These two geneticists developed a gene-altering technique that could help fight countless […]

Michelle Payne’s Historical Melbourne Cup Win Highlights The Need For Change in Australian Sporting Culture


In a flash of colourful silks and a stampede of hooves, the race that stops a nation is over for another year. Like the years before, the 2015 Melbourne Cup brought fashion and glamour galore to Flemington race course. However, this year’s cup also brought with it a heightened level of drama, when it was announced the winning jockey Michelle Payne, had become the first female jockey in history to win the Melbourne Cup.

Payne was considered some what of an underdog prior to the race, with odds on her horse – Prince of Penzance- reaching the 101/1 mark. Yet in a great display of skill and determination Payne pushed the six-year-old horse through a narrow gap in the straight and surged ahead of Irish stayer Max Dynamite, for the victory. This not only made Payne the first female victor of the Melbourne cup, but also made Prince of Penzance the fourth horse in history to win the race at a $101 chance.

In a post race interview Payne commented on the significance her gender played in winning the race and the difficulty in participating in such a male dominated sport.

“It’s such a chauvinistic sport,” Payne said. “A lot of the owners wanted to kick me off. Everyone else can get stuffed think women aren’t good enough.”

Indeed, this year’s Melbourne Cup was only the fourth time ever for a female jockey to be embraced and permitted to ride in the race.

“I would like to say that, you know, it’s a very male-dominated sport and people think we are not strong enough and all of the rest of it … you know what? It’s not all about strength, there is so much more involved, getting the […]

Congratulations to the Telstra Business Women’s Awards Winners for 2015!


  (award recipient Dr. Catherine Ball)

In a flurry of evening wear, champagne and pure talent, Telstra wrapped up it’s Business Women’s Awards for 2015 last Tuesday night. Much like the recipients before them, this years’ celebrated women were just as inspirational across the various categories they were nominated in.
The Telstra Business Women’s Awards is the longest running women’s award program in Australia. For over two decades the awards have recognised women from diverse industries and ensured that their achievements become part of the national conversation. This year’s winners ranged from a weapons engineer, cultural advisor and business leader in the Royal Australian Navy, to a fitness entrepreneur who has created and is running a successful fitness business and innovative fitness app.
Queensland business award winner Catherine Ball, was also commended for her world-leading work with drones. Dr Ball and her team have flown human sized drones hundreds of kilometres to track turtle habitats off the West Australian Coast, and spotted endangered animals not seen for years in the process. During her speech Dr Ball said the next step was focusing the use of the cutting edge vehicles for humanitarian work.
She even warned Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop during her acceptance speech to expect a call from her within the week, selling the benefits of Australian technology in international aid.
“ I had 20 minutes with Julie Bishop at the World Humanitarian Summit Pacific Regional briefing in Auckland and I managed to convince her that Australian-made UAVs were perfect for post-cyclone disaster response work across the Pacific,” she said.
“So Julie Bishop, I’m going to be calling you next week, now I’ve got this.”
Dr Ball was joined by fellow Queenslanders Marie Piccone, who won the entrepreneur award, HR […]