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We were lucky to have Maryna Blankenstein from "Winfluence" present this very interesting topic to us. And thank you to those who attended and contributed!

This newsletter will give a short summary of some main points from the workshop, as well as a brief introduction of the presenter. Enjoy!

Maryna coaches in the field of Personal Development and Presenting Skills to generate growth, success, and satisfaction. She is a certified Emotional Quotient (EQ-i - Bar-On) facilitator and uses techniques from E.Q. and Non-Violent-Communication to increase performance in global companies from the newest recruits to senior executives. Conveying our message in an effective and convincing way, whether speaking to one person or a sizeable audience, is an essential business skill. Poor communication wastes opportunities and loses business; however, good communication is as much about how we say things as what we say!

Effective communication relies on our Emotional Intelligence (EI). By organising our thoughts and messages in a way which persuades and stimulates our audience we create optimal impact and influence. An integral part of success in business is the ability to enlighten and create interest when speaking in public.

Key messages from an Emotional Intelligence point of view:

The objectives in giving feedback are to:

Maintain high performance by highlighting what a colleague is doing well: e.g." your work is accurate, effective and on time." As opposed to praise which is: "You were great, well done!"

Improve performance by identifying what is not working so well: "Your work is accurate and effective but it was delivered late."

Deliver effective feedback designed to encourage personal and professional development: "What can we do to ensure you meet the deadline in future?"

Demonstrate how to receive feedback constructively.

"Pearls of wisdom" and input from the audience

Some cultures are more comfortable giving and receiving feedback than others. In a situation where a manager is unaccustomed to providing or requesting feedback (but much more likely to simply criticize) we could begin by requesting feedback from him or her. By opening up a dialogue where we can request information on what we are doing well and what we could improve, we begin to lay the foundations for an exchange of feedback. Learning new skills takes time!

We had some interesting questions that came up, particularly around cultural norms, and there was some agreement in that to improve communications in the current business environment, some kind of coaching arrangements at all levels in the organisation would be beneficial.

After the workshop, I spent some time getting to know the presenter:

"Can you tell me a bit about yourself, Maryna?"

Yes, I'm Scottish, the sixth of seven children and brought up by a Scottish Mother and Polish father. Speaking up and getting along with people from different cultures came naturally and much of my professional life I have used these skills. I came to France in 1986 for a change of climate and business opportunities. I already spoke French, having working in the hotel industry in Switzerland. Later I spent two years in the USA while my husband was doing post-doctoral medical research. Back in France I taught in the Université de la Mediterranée, again in the field of communications. I set up my own company in 1997 to handle an increasing interest from physicians and researchers in getting their key messages across to the medical world and the media; this was in the early days of bio-tech start-ups. They were selling their ideas to investors, pharmaceutical companies and colleagues, sometimes with thousands in the auditorium! Competition for audience attention and ever more sophisticated communication techniques means we have to be ever more creative in catching and keeping listeners' attention.

Coaching in speaking skills on three continents, I train professionals to optimise every encounter from the shortest elevator pitch to leading dynamic meetings and running full training programs. Using techniques from Emotional Intelligence, sophrology and the performing arts; these skills can be learned, whatever your level of expertise, and rapidly generate a high-profile professional image. If colleagues know that you deliver smart and stimulating presentations they will ask you to present again!

"What is it that attracts you to EPWN?"

The network's mission of encouraging women to build, maintain and expand the support systems for entrepreneurs and women in business seems to fill a gap. The international aspect of the network allows women to see beyond the confines of a strictly local workplace. There is a rich pool of experience to contribute to and draw from and the exciting part is that it is not hindered by convention and tradition. We are making our own rules and we are confident about experimenting and innovating.

There are some good discussions, it is a forum where we can put forward ideas and share solutions to the challenges we face. It is a great place for French women who work in an international environment as well as foreigners who work in a French environment to share experiences, ask questions and find answers.

"What do you get out of joining the meetings?"

Obviously the opportunity to meet likeminded people and to exchange creative ideas on overcoming the challenges of doing business, creating a client base and generating contracts in a multi-national setting. I have been invited to participate in a number of projects and have had an opportunity to bring some of my skills to the collective pool of ideas and support systems.

"Thank you for sharing your insights, thoughts and background with us, Maryna!"

Maryna can be reached on Cette adresse email est protégée contre les robots des spammeurs, vous devez activer Javascript pour la voir. and http://www.winfluence.fr/

Winfluence - Maximize the Message.

For EPWN Marseille/Aix: Sunniva Heggertveit-Aoudia