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Yesterday was a bad day…

September 15, 2015

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Starbucks Coffee, Granola and Five Pound Note

We all have them. Yes, even me. Confident, carefree and happy me. Bad days happen.

Even the strongest among us need, from time to time, to retreat to a quiet and safe place, have  good cry and release some of the steam from the pressure cooker of life. Let’s face it, even being positive can be exhausting.

Over the years I have been fortunate enough to learn not to ‘sweat the small stuff’ and those who know me will attest to my belief that most of the things we worry about almost never happen. When it comes to life I try and focus on what comes next, focus on the positives of life, focus on the future but occasionally, just occasionally that can be hard to do.

Yesterday was one of those days.

Fortunately I managed to get everything done that needed to be done so I remained a ‘functioning adult’ but that’s about all I could admit to achieving. Finally it was bed time, time for healing sleep, time to reboot the brain cells and look forward to a new day. Today. Tuesday.

Despite the somewhat puffy eyes I bounced out of bed (well OK, maybe not bounced exactly) and made my way to the kettle, the shower and the car (I even managed to get dressed in between times I might add). So the day was begun.

After an early morning appointment in town I decided to drive through (or ‘drive thru’ depending on which side of the pond you hail from), to grab myself a coffee and a granola to help my productivity.  In my usual jolly voice I ordered my usual single shot Americano with hot milk (I succumbed to the ridiculous coffee name game some time ago after being made to feel stupid when just asking for ‘a coffee’),  and I gave the webcam my usual smiley grin in an attempt to connect with the ‘real person’ that I knew lurked beyond.

A slightly longer wait than usual allowed me time to check my emails and text messages before driving along to the window to pay and collect my purchases. There was clearly some ‘altercation’ or ‘problem’ taking place ahead but I was in no rush. Today was a good day remember.

Finally, and still sporting my winning smile I approached the window armed with money and a jolly ‘Hello’, only to be greeted by a rather troubled and somewhat concerned looking barista who, with the gravity and weight of someone delivering bad news said ‘The lady in front of you has paid for your order’. If you’ve ever seen my shocked face, it was that face I was sporting at that point.

‘I’m sorry?’ I replied.

‘The lady in front of you in the queue has just paid for your order. She said she was having a rubbish day and wanted to do something nice for someone else to make her feel better’. She shrugged.

‘Does she know me?’, I asked.

‘No, she just wanted to pay for your order’.

I was stunned. My inane grin was soon replaced by a look of confused delight. What a truly  wonderful thing to have done. What a constructive way  to counter a bad day. What a shame I couldn’t thank her in person.

So, what could I do to use this gesture positively? What this complete stranger did was a gift. More than a single shot Americano and a granola bar. More than a surprise act of kindness. More than a reason to smile. What she gave me was a boot up the backside and reason to reflect on what I might have done differently yesterday to use my own negativity in a similarly positive way.

Yesterday is past and can’t be revisited but something can be done to pay forward this kindness. This seemingly small and simple gesture could spread so much further than the driver’s seat of a black VW Beetle in Starbucks, Oswestry. It has wheels. In fact it has legs.

So how can you help?

The Five Pound Note pictured is earmarked for a random act of kindness and you, dear reader, have the opportunity to decide how it should be used.

OK, so £5.00 isn’t going to change someone’s world forever but, as has been proven today, £5.00 does have the power to change someone’s frame of mind and that does have the potential to last forever.

Please use the comments box to suggest how you would use £5.00 to achieve a similar outcome for someone and I pledge to live out the best suggestion. Let’s keep it clean and kind and realistic but please don’t let the realms of possibility constrain your suggestions.

Have a great day!

Heather x



Hear Me Roar! Motivational and Inspirational

July 16, 2015

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This week I had the absolute pleasure and privilege to speak at the Rethink and Do Conference at Chester Zoo.

I am so very lucky to be able to enjoy public speaking and to, in some small way, motivate and encourage others to tread a path they might not ordinarily follow.

Finding the courage to shine, to be the best that we can possibly be and to throw our heads back and give off a huge lion’s roar takes courage, it takes conviction and quite frankly it takes ‘a bit of doing’ for some of us.

The subject of my presentation on Monday was ‘Talking Up Your Business. Finding Your Voice In The World Of Therapy’ and my aim was firmly set on helping my audience to believe that whatever they have to say is worth saying, is worth listening to and is worth remembering. We all just need to engage with what we believe, what matters most to us and to our audience and to give them everything we’ve got in terms of energy, enthusiasm and excellence. Simple as that.

The feedback from delegates has, I am relieved to say, been incredibly positive. People have told me I was funny, engaging, inspirational and motivational. All things I aspire to be, but, and it is a very big BUT, I couldn’t be any of these things if I didn’t take some of my own medicine. If I didn’t walk the talk. If I didn’t believe in my subject, my specialism and myself (at least some of the time).

Monday was a day full of positive energy in an environment where everyone was given the space to soar like an eagle, the stamina to march like an elephant and the energy to roar like a lion.

Heather Noble is a Coach, Trainer and Facilitator specialising in communication, leadership and management. Full details can be found at or by calling 01691 700800.

There’s something funny going on at the 13th Dyslexia Information Day

May 8, 2015

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I am absolutely delighted to be exhibiting at this event next Saturday, 16th May, in Telford.

I’ll be sharing some funny ideas on how to feel more confident and having a laugh or two at the same time.

Come and say hello, make me smile and try your hand at winning a great prize.

I’m not joking !






Fast Track Networking – does it really exist?

February 6, 2015

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coffeandbaconRecently, whilst working with a coaching client, the subject of business networking came up in our discussion. So many of us, when we hear the term ‘networking’ think of greasy bacon, cold coffee and sweaty palms but it really doesn’t’ need to be that way.

I find it much more helpful to think of networking as something that is all around us (a bit like love). It is ongoing at every moment of the day, every day of the week and every week of the year. In my view, we can’t, actually switch it on and off like a tap, and nor should we.

Networking is about building relationships that are deep rooted and lasting. There is no such thing as speed networking. Not really. It’s about efficiency and efficacy. The best we can hope for is to learn ways to get inside the mind of those we meet and use our emotional intelligence to smooth the process in such a way that we don’t inadvertently ‘shoot ourselves in the foot’.

This Trust and Rapport Pyramid provides a great insight into what is actually happening when we are ‘networking’. Think Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and you’ll be somewhere near understanding how it works.


We are networking all of the time. Constantly. Our job is to listen, probe and consider the needs of others and then decide how our offering fits into their needs. Business comes as a by product of networking not as a direct result of it.

I think this is really interesting and a useful way to recognise what is happening when we are ‘networking’.

Happy networking!

Bye for now.


How To Keep Things In Perspective – Public Speaking Nerves

July 24, 2014

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Butterflies in your tummy, sweaty palms and a dry mouth can become things of the past if you follow these few simple steps to turn your public speaking nerves on their head.

Glossophobia, the fear of speaking in public as it is better known, is regularly listed as the most common of all phobias and many books have been written about how to overcome this state of mind.

In my work it is often the one thing that motivates people to make contact with me and frequently turns out to be masking of an altogether different emotion.

Indulge me if you will…

I want you to imagine you have been invited to deliver a presentation to a group of important officials about your absolute field of expertise. You have had a fortnight to prepare and the presentation is written and rehearsed (finally). You will be speaking for 20 minutes and will be handling questions at the end of the session (time permitting). You know precisely where you will be meeting and what you are going to be wearing and someone else is sorting out the IT for you (hooray).

An added pressure is that your overall ‘performance’ will determine whether or not you gain a long overdue promotion at work which will attract a hefty pay rise (and I mean a seriously hefty pay rise). You have to deliver the presentation tomorrow and, if successful, will start your new job on the first of next month so those extra pounds will soon be in the bank.

So, how have you been feeling?

  1. Have you been suffering with an upset tummy (butterflies), sleepless nights and heart palpitations?
  2. Have you convinced yourself it will all be a disaster, that you will forget everything you want to say and make a complete fool of yourself and?
  3. Have you started to think you should never have put yourself forward for this stupid promotion in the first place and stand no chance of success?

All of the above are perfectly reasonable emotions and would be experienced by many in the same situation but what if we took some time to listen to what is REALLY going on here? What if we could ‘re frame’ our feelings and come up with some strategies and techniques to concentrate on making your presentation a HUGE success and that ‘hot shot’ promotion a reality?

So, what have you been feeling?

  1. What if the emotions you are experiencing are not ALL based around fear?
  2. What if the world becoming your oyster is almost too incredible to bear and you are feeling the exact emotions you felt as a child when you secretly hoped for a Scalextric, a new Chopper bicycle (the link takes you to a Chopper Owners Club!) or a Tiny Tears that really cried?
  3. What if these physical symptoms are not, in truth, a fear of messing up with the presentation but are in some way related to the fear of not being able to spend those extra earnings on holidays, houses or pension provisions?

We forget that the physical symptoms of anxiety and excitement are incredibly similar. Somewhere between childhood and adulthood these emotions become confused and ‘fear’ becomes the dominant label.

So, how can you change your perspective?

  1. How would things feel if you chose to embrace the excitement?
  2. How much more engaging and ‘real’ would you be in the delivery of the presentation if you used the excitement positively?
  3. How much easier would it be for the interview panel to make the ‘right’ decision’ if they could see how excited you were about the job in hand.

They say a change is as good as a rest so next time you start to feel ‘anxious’ stand back, change your perspective and leave the rest to success!

Bye for now.


How To Hold Things Together When Delivering A Eulogy At A Funeral

June 13, 2014

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By Heather Noble

One of the most common questions I am asked about Public Speaking is ‘Do you have any tips on how I can hold things together when delivering a eulogy at a funeral?’

Being asked to speak at  a funeral is not only a great honour but is often the very last thing we are able to do for a loved one and it is that which makes us so very desperate to say and do the right thing and that leads to a fear of not being able to keep our emotions in check.

Fear of breaking down in tears in a genuine concern for so many as they feel that in doing so they have somehow ‘messed up’. I’d like to share with 5 key things to remember when taking to the lectern at a funeral which will not only help you to ‘do things right’ but will leave you feeling emotionally rewarded and connected with the person you have lost.

  1. Check in advance with the vicar, priest or civil celebrant as to how long you have available to speak. Perhaps share with them what you plan to say, if only to avoid any duplication with what they plan to cover in their tribute. They aren’t going to ask you to change your reading but more likely will amend theirs accordingly.
  2. Allow yourself time to write, reflect and become familiar with what you are planning to say. If you are reading a poem or piece of prose written by another person, give yourself time to practice reading it aloud. Things sound very different when we read them inside our head so taking time to notice the pauses, variations in pace and punctuation are all very important.
  3. Focus on the person in question and what they meant to you. This way your sincerity and appreciation of them will shine through. Of course you can make reference to what they  meant to others but the essence of what you say should be a reflection of how they made you feel. What they leave you with in terms of knowledge and memories and the spiritual part of them that you will carry with you in the future.
  4. This is one of the very few occasions where I would recommend you read your words verbatim from notes but do make sure you are familiar with the text. Print it out in large font instead of using a book and certainly not hand writing. Allowing yourself time to pause, breathe and give eye contact to the congregation will also need to be factored into the reading. Keep the pace slow (the slower the better) and keep your back straight and chin raised to help  with the projection of your voice.
  5. And finally, remember, it is absolutely acceptable to get emotional when delivering a eulogy for someone who has touched your life. Don’t try to stifle the emotion because it is this that will make the reading beautiful and sincere.

Following these few key rules will, I promise, help you to keep your emotions and nerves sufficiently in check to deliver a fitting tribute to a special person.

Feel free to share your comments, experiences and thoughts for the benefit of other readers.

Bye for now.



How To Fast Track Speaking Confidence

May 27, 2014

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Sometimes we all need a way to fast track our speaking confidence and one of my first jobs helped me to learn precisely this.

My first job in the public eye was in a local newsagent shop called Star News.

I can remember my first day so very clearly and all the nerves and apprehension that I was to learn would always accompany the first day in a new job.

Selling sweets, newspapers and tobacco in itself wasn’t going to be terribly taxing but dealing with customers was going to be terrifying.

That was until my colleague Paul (a gorgeous and trendy 16yr old) arrived on the scene.

As I took my place behind the news counter alongside him I looked, quite obviously, petrified. How on earth was I going to cope when we opened for business.

The rather wonderful Paul uttered 5 words that were to echo through my working career for the next 30yrs.  He assured me there was no need to be nervous and advised to simply me ‘pretend to be on stage’.

And that really was sound advice. When you are on a stage you can become a character, you can become one step removed, you can hide behind the ‘fourth wall’. The same applies when presenting and idea, delivering a speech or making a telephone call.

Naturally, there are other skills that you need to draw upon to give a convincing performance but these can all be worked upon and developed into a genuine style.

If in doubt, observe some of the great performers, the great orators, the national treasures of this world. You’ll see the real person but you will also see the ‘stage version’ of their persona. That is what looks like public speaking confidence.

If time is short and the need to ‘perform’ is real you can fast track your speaking confidence by taking a leaf out of Paul’s book. It worked for me…

You can build on the above by contacting Heather  on 01691 700800 for help with a wide range of communication skills including presentations, meetings and telephone techniques.

May 20, 2014

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Thanks so much for your public speaking workshop last week.  I’m sure that everybody took something positive and helpful away from the session. I found it really useful for my public speaking and it was also interesting to hear you give examples of how to present specific information. I think I’d like to work on a more engaging and direct style of delivery, if it suits me! Thank you so much for helping us in our work in this way.  

J.D.  Business Development Manager (UK), Self Help Africa

Customer Service – are you missing the point?

May 6, 2014

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As business owners we invest an awful lot of time in considering how to deliver the best levels of customer service and spend even more time putting procedures in place to deliver on these great ideals.

So why is it, inspire of these efforts we sometimes actually make matters worse?

Take for example Ryanair. Last week a truly hilarious and very cleverly written letter of complaint was addressed to Ryanair by a less than happy customer, Mr James Lockley. The letter was posted on Social Media Site Facebook and soon went viral. (Click here to read the letter in full, it is pretty clever).

In essence, Mr Lockley arrived for his flight a little later than planned. There then followed a sequence of events which not only led to Mr Lockley missing his flight but resulted in additional cost for replacement flights and taxis, an unplanned overnight stay and missing the wedding reception he and his wife were flying to attend.

Each of these things in isolation would have been infuriating enough for even the calmest amongst us but it was the way that Mr L was treated that made the whole situation worse.

No doubt, Ryanair spend an awful lot of money on creating their brand and defining their place in the market. Budget airlines receive quite a bit of bad press but let’s not forget they are, and always will be, budget airlines.

However, where in the rule book does it say that budget has to mean poor customer service? Budget may mean ‘no frills’, it may mean ‘basic’ but it should never mean poor quality. After all, we wouldn’t expect a budget airline to use poorly maintained aircraft so why is it acceptable for us to be given an inconsistent message and less than polite staff. I imagine it is this in particular that will prevent many of us from flying with Ryanair.

Moving a little closer to home, just a couple of weeks ago my husband and I decided to visit a lovely pub, that we know well, for a very late lunch or very early supper (it was 4.30pm, you decide). We hadn’t booked a table as it was a last minute decision to eat out (mind you the pub in question doesn’t take ‘same day’ bookings so we turned up on spec).

The pub wasn’t at all busy but most of the tables were marked as ‘reserved’ and laid for evening meals. Each table had a little card that said the time of the booking and stated the table could be used until that time. However, neither my husband nor myself felt comfortable sitting at ‘someone else’s table’ just in case they arrived early or we left later than planned. We were clearly not alone in this as there were 2 other groups of people doing the same thing.

Anyway, we kept looking and eventually spotted a lovely table that was waiting to be cleared from some earlier diners. We enquired whether we could sit at the table in question but were asked to wait while the waitress wandered off to speak to another waitress who checked in a book to see if and or when the table was needed again.

Eventually, after loitering like a couple of interlopers and almost deciding to walk out with embarrassment we were granted use of the table. Hoorah!

Now, you may think that I shouldn’t blame the staff for simply trying to ‘get ahead’ of themselves for the evening shift and in many ways I don’t but imagine if there was a different way of achieving the same result for everyone without making us feel like unwanted and unwelcome customers.

Imagine a situation where all of the tables are laid for the evening sitting but without the ‘reserved’ cards. Imagine having just one member of staff standing at the entrance to the dining area. Imagine one side of a conversation that goes a bit like this:

‘Good Afternoon, can I help you?’

‘Are you looking for a table for 2, 4, 6 …?’

‘We are just in between sittings but we do have a few tables available if you think you will be finished by 7.00pm, 7.30pm, midnight…?’

‘Would you prefer to sit near the window or near the fire?’

‘Please take a seat, here are a couple of menus, I’ll be back in a few minutes to take your drinks order’.

This way, we are happy, we get a warm welcome, we understand we are on a time limit, we accept the situation and can relax and view the menu.

This way, the staff are happy, they get to keep their tables ‘under control’ and can be sure that we will be leaving on time and if we look like we are outstaying our welcome, they have every right to politely eject us.

This way, we are full of happy memories and feel able to return again to enjoy the warm welcome and great food in the future. Perhaps with friends or family.

So, next time you are pondering what good customer service really looks like, take a moment to think of what really matters to your customer, consider what their ‘must haves’ really are and save yourself time in doing just a  little bit less and achieving a whole lot more.




Stand and Deliver

November 28, 2013

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From time to time we all have to stand up in front of a group of people to speak. Whether it is an informal thank you to family and friends or a more official speech for business, it is entirely natural to be nervous and apprehensive.

Believe it or not, nerves are good for us. They keep us ‘on our toes’ and prevent us from becoming complacent. Even the most experienced speaker feels some anxiety before speaking in public. If they don’t they probably won’t be a terribly interesting as a speaker, we are after all, only human.

The following public speaking tips are based upon lessons I have learned (and mistakes I have made) during my public speaking experiences AND from observing many different presentation styles.

Let’s assume you know your audience and what is expected of you, let’s assume you know (at least in part) what you want to say and let’s assume you feeling just a tad nervous…

Try to adopt some of the following performance tips next time you stand up in front of a room full of expectant faces. They might just help.

1.       Don’t Speak, Talk

Be yourself, don’t try to be as good as or as funny as another speaker. This will distract you. Simply focus on being true to yourself. Speak naturally, don’t try to lose your accent if you have one. Forget your ‘telephone voice. Save that for when you are speaking on the telephone…oh, and remember to breathe

2.       Dress Code

There is an unwritten rule that, when invited to speak to a group, you should aim to be at least as smart as the smartest person in the room. Speaking to a room full of young students in jeans might not require you to wear a business suit but, speaking at business conference would. Feeling comfortable in this way will enhance your performance and enable you to ‘own the room’.

3.       Don’t Tell Jokes

Jokes aren’t funny. Really, they aren’t. If you use them you run the risk of alienating members of your audience. That’s not to say that humour doesn’t play a part in any presentation, in fact, it is key. Use anecdotes or the odd funny aside to punctuate and provide breaks in your delivery.

4.       It’s Theatre Dahling…

No matter what the occasion, we can always use a little theatre. Believe it or not, even when reading at a funeral, theatre is called for. Theatre does not equate to ‘razzmatazz’, far from it. Theatre, in public speaking relates to voice projection, eye contact and pitch of your voice. Whatever the occasion, choose a ‘character’ to fall back on and work that room.

5.       Listening styles

And finally, remember that each member of your audience will have their own preferred listening style. Whether they are VISUAL (absorb information by what they see), AUDITORY (absorb information from what they hear) OR KINESTHETIC (absorb information by what they do), they will all be absorbing what you are say in the following proportions;
7% of what you say (words). 38% of how you say it (pitch, pace, tone) and 55% through your body language (eye contact, gestures, stage presence).

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