Chris Markiewicz's Blog
Every Monday – thoughts, observations and ideas that hold up a mirror to who & how we are

Archive for the ‘Interpersonal Skills’ Category

What’s with the hands?

November 2, 2015

There I am, settling down one evening last week to watch a bit of TV on my computer. Searching through the BBC iplayer, I came across what looked like an interesting programme. I think it was called “Building Cars Live” and featured a visit to the Mini car plant in Cowley. The main presenter was […]

Accurracy or understanding?

September 7, 2015

I wonder how you have reacted (if at all) to the spelling error in the title of this post. Perhaps you let it go, thinking it a symptom of a bleary eyed Chris knocking out yet another post early on a Monday morning. On the other hand, you may be appalled. This is one I […]

Empathic or arrogant?

March 23, 2015

It appears that, at times, when trying to be empathic we may instead display a kind of inadvertent arrogance. This is represented in an oft used statement which, on the face of it,  may seem perfectly reasonable. It can tend to trip off the tongue when another person is upset or distressed by something. So, […]

Exceedingly charmed

February 23, 2015

“It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.” – Oscar Wilde So, what’s the secret to being charming rather than tedious? Take an interest – enquire. More specifically, we need to ask the right questions. These allow the other person to open up, and the vast majority […]

Are you sticking your ‘or’ in?

January 12, 2015

Or – It’s an innocent little word, on the face of it….. Yesterday, my son was about to start vacuuming our living room. I was concerned that the dustbag might be full so asked him “Shall we check the bag or do you think it’s all right”? Given he just wanted to get on with […]

Straight talking

December 8, 2014

A judge decided last week that the word “pleb” was most likely uttered by UK MP Andrew Mitchell during his altercation with a police officer. Whilst, you could argue that its not OK to use such language, there was a small part of me that admired the straight talking. In his years of attending sessions […]

To know or not to know?

November 17, 2014

The girl on the Personal Impact course I was running asked me “What if I don’t know the answer when a colleague or customer asks me something?” Afraid that her credibility would be blown, she was worried that not having the answer to something would stand against her. However, there are likely to be times […]

Hypocrites all?

June 30, 2014

It was interesting to hear the singer Lily Allen interviewed on the radio this weekend. I’m not that familiar with her work, beyond one or two of her big hits, but really warmed to her as she spoke about her life and views on life. She came over as someone who was both gracious and […]

The missing skill

June 23, 2014

How many of us spent our school days being told to sit up and listen? What if, instead we had been taught to listen? I don’t simply mean nominal written comprehension tests or repeating back by rote what the teacher had said. I mean real, genuine listening in order to fully understand the other person. […]

Politeness is all well and good……

March 24, 2014

“Say please, say thank you” – this is the mantra of many a parent during their youngsters’ formative years. They are the two base words for being polite. They are good words, and perfectly appropriate in all manner of situations. They embody good manners. Yet, I happen to have quite an issue with the notion […]

Upward and onward?

November 25, 2013

The young sixth form student took to the stage to give a speech at the school open evening for prospective new joiners and their parents. She was to speak about her experience of being at the school. She was eloquent, articulate and well spoken. Her talk received hearty applause – clearly “hitting the spot” with […]

The three word challenge – up for it?

September 30, 2013

This week’s post offers up a challenge for you. It’s an incredibly simple challenge, yet I wonder how easy you would actually find it to take on. Doubtless, there will be people in your life whom you like. They may, of course be relatives or friends, colleagues, neighbours or even acquaintances. There may be all […]

Underground soul

September 9, 2013

A man arrived late for a course I was running. He explained that he’d been stuck on an underground train on the Central Line for 40 minutes. He said the experience was great. Sideward glances around the room, along with your’s truly at the front feeling baffled as to how to take this – did […]

Open letter to the head of Lacoste Retail UK

June 17, 2013

Dear Sir/Madam Please excuse the impersonal appearance of this letter, however I have had difficulty establishing the name of the top person at Lacoste in the UK. Hopefully, given the wonders of the internet, this missive will find its way to you. On a recent Sunday afternoon,  I visited your retail store in Gatwick Airport. […]

Shocking Phil

June 3, 2013

Just a few days ago I declared to a man called Phil that he was the most important person in my life, at that moment.  He was certainly taken aback!  And, indeed  you may think: “ Goodness me – has Chris taken a liking to a potential new, male life partner and thinking of abandoning Ingrid and […]

Broken windows

March 18, 2013

I have. for many years been a great admirer of the work of Dr Marshall Rosenberg who, several decades ago, devised a new model for communication called “Non Violent Communication” (NVC). I particularly loved a story he told on one of his workshops that I attended. He had been invited into a high school somewhere […]

Pardon? Yer what? Que?

February 4, 2013

Having worked in and around the corporate world for the vast majority of my adult life, you’d think I’d be speaking the language of “corporate-speak” fluently by now. Yet, all through my time either working full time within a major organisation or training and coaching  their people during my freelance career I’ve felt very much […]

Two men and a hole – a lesson in empathy

November 5, 2012

A word that often comes up when I’m running customer care courses is empathy. However, when I challenge people to come up with a definition, especially as distinct from sympathy, they often struggle. So, I turn to a distinction I heard years ago on a motivational tape by a man called Bill O’Brien. Whilst it […]

What’s in a name?

October 22, 2012

So, there I was on the first day of my first full time job, looking resplendent in my brown polyester suit and equally polyester shirt and tie. Sitting opposite me was my new boss, Alan. “Welcome aboard, Chris” he said cheerily “I hope you enjoy working here”. His face then turned more stern, as he […]

What are you missing out on?

October 8, 2012

“[Pippa] wonders what the new DG would have said had he been allowed to finish a sentence or two.” This slightly cryptic looking sentence was a post written on Facebook a few weeks back by a buddy of mine. She was referring to a radio interview that morning with the new Director General of the […]

Man behaving badly

September 9, 2012

Two days ago I was running one of a series of performance management days for a major public sector body. This is a mandatory programme, devised to introduce a new system to staff throughout the organization. Going round the room each participant introduced themselves and had opportunity to say how they felt about being there. […]

Love me or hate me……

July 23, 2012

Imagine you are in a room and you ask someone a question or make a request of them. Imagine they then just turn their back on you and simply ignore you. Without a doubt you would feel mightily offended. Yet, increasingly it seems that people are being ignored when we communicate in writing. Now, this […]

An unrecognised pleasure

July 2, 2012

A few days ago, Ingrid my partner and I were engaged in a rather heated discussion. It was going nowhere, apart from perhaps downhill. And then…..….. I can’t identify precisely what she said or how she said it but I suddenly understood her point of view. It’s like something clicked and I let go of […]

Butt out!

May 14, 2012

Last week I did something that I haven’t done in at least a decade. I sat down to watch an episode of Eastenders. I did so, with a notepad in my hand. Why? Well, I wanted to check out a theory that I have held for a while about this particular programme. More on that […]

Give and get

March 26, 2012

Are you a person who tends to give as good as they get? Last week, as I was about to kick off a training course, three of the delegates arrived looking rather unenthusiastic to say the least. The three men sat down together – body language clearly indicating that they most definitely did not want […]

All right

October 31, 2011

How are you today? No, I mean it. How are you? Really? I find it amazing how this enquiry can fall off peoples’ lips scores of times in any day and yet rarely receives a specific or accurate response. It’s as if what should be a genuine, heartfelt enquiry as to someones well-being is so […]

Assertive? Aggressive?

September 26, 2011

One of the most common questions I am asked on courses is:  “What is the difference between assertive and aggressive behaviour?” Although the majority of people who come on assertiveness courses tend  towards the passive/submissive end of the scale, occasionally someone will turn up (usually sent by their manager) because they are too aggressive. Almost […]

Doing your best? It could spell trouble

August 15, 2011

Checking into a hotel in Dorset the night before a training course I asked the receptionist for an iron and board in order to iron a shirt that evening. Her reply:  “Certainly sir, I’ll do my best”  I went to my room. I showered, I rang my partner at home and prepared to go downstairs […]

“You make me……”

August 1, 2011

Just for a change, this week’s blog post kicks off with a quiz. All you need to do is identify who originally performed each of the songs listed below. Additionally, can you spot the odd one out? Answers appear at the end of this post. The way you make me feel You make me feel mighty […]

I just called…….

June 13, 2011

When’s the last time you picked up the phone to ring someone and said “I just called to say hi, how are you?”  I don’t know about you, but I love a good natter. Yet, I fear that this is an activity that is becoming increasingly rare.  So, what’s happened? Why do many of us natter […]

Oh no!

May 16, 2011

This week I’m taking you to the flipside.  That is, the flipside of last week’s post. Whilst many of us find it difficult to ask for what we want (as discussed last week), we can also find it equally, if not more challenging to say no.  Too many of us are pleasers. We want to […]

I hate to ask……

May 9, 2011

  “Unless you ask, the answer is already no”  Dutch saying  How easy do you find it to ask for what you want? Do you find yourself getting into the “I wonder whether you’d mind awfully….” kind of patter? Perhaps you end up going round the houses in order to get your needs known or, […]

The world’s most counterproductive acronym?

February 21, 2011

   I was invited to visit a large public sector organisation to discuss some conflict resolution training for their staff. The meeting was to take place in Croydon with the HR director and training manager on a Friday afternoon early in the summer.  The meeting went very well, so much so that I was asked […]

Mirror, mirror on the wall…..

February 14, 2011

What was the first thing you did when you got up this morning? Chances are that it will have involved you going to the bathroom and looking in the mirror.  And what did you see? You may think that the answer to that question were pretty obvious. Perhaps a fairer way of putting it would […]

Oussez

February 7, 2011

Few people will have heard of the relatively obscure Belgian philosopher Pierre Oussez, yet he can provide a significant contribution to improving how we all get on with each other. Before I say more about him I need to explain how his thinking can help most of us. This is probably best illustrated by a […]

Is “you” the problem?

January 31, 2011

Have you ever been poked in the chest? Do you enjoy being poked in the chest? Somehow, I doubt it. Yet, so many of us do it to each other on a regular basis. In fact,  I did it big time to my partner just yesterday morning.  I realise that I have probably confused you, […]

The truth about lies?

January 23, 2011

Martin, a former neighbour of mine was summoned to see the headmaster at his ten year old son’s school.  The head came straight out with it: “Your son has been telling lies and we are not happy about that”.  Martin swiftly and firmly replied “If my son is telling lies, he must be afraid. Why […]

Are you a business Lothario/Lothariette?

January 10, 2011

A few days ago I remembered an email I’d received a couple of months back from an old buddy of mine. I wasn’t reminded of it’s content, more of what he had written at the foot of his note, beneath his name.  “Aspiring to live in a way where everybody’s needs matter.”  I was really […]

Will someone PLEASE tell me what’s happening!

December 20, 2010

I can’t begin to imagine what it’s been like for the thousands of people stranded at UK airports over the past few days, along with others who have had their plans completely knocked asunder by the snow. I have come off relatively lightly so far to say the least – an afternoon at the bowling […]

Difficult people – no such thing?

December 13, 2010

  “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”  Plato I have been a bit grumpy and feeling sorry for myself over the past week or so. This is mainly because of being laid up with a rather grotty cold and sore throat.  Whilst I have dealt with it reasonably well, my […]

Speak fluent English? It could be a problem.

December 6, 2010

About two years ago I was running a programme for an IT services company in the north of England. At the morning break most of the group left to grab a cup of tea or coffee. One person stayed back however.  He was a young Japanese man who was very reserved and polite. He sat […]

I hear what you say…..

November 29, 2010

In the post that I wrote this time last week, much emphasis was put on the importance and value of good listening and how it contributes to building stronger, richer relationships.  Great listening isn’t necessarily about merely doing the listening, but also very much about showing, even proving to the other person that we really […]

Are you inadvertantly damaging your interactions & relationships with “UVV”?

November 22, 2010

Please read beyond the first paragraph – there’s a gem in here – honest! How many times have you vomited today? Yes, you read right. How many times? It may well have been several, yet you probably will not even have been aware. Now, before you think I have taken leave of my senses or […]