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What’s stopping you from delegating?

For some reason, people can feel very uneasy about the whole idea of asking someone to take on a task and get it done. Typical objections that I’ve heard include:

“They’ll think I’m arrogant”

“They’re already overwhelmed”

“They’ll stuff it up”

And the old favourite: “I don’t have time”

Let’s take each one in turn:



Yes, they will think you’re arrogant if you laughingly dump a task on someone with the words “it’s a s*&t job but I had to do it” and/or that other classic, “let’s see if you sink or swim!” But when you delegate well you’ll soon realise that it’s about getting the right people to do the right job…right. If you’re clinging to a task from your previous role (before your promotion to a role involving managing people), it’s time to hand it over. In doing so you’ll be developing others and helping them step up.


They’re overwhelmed?

Maybe they’ve simply said ‘yes’ to everything, thinking ‘no’ would be a Bad Career Move. If so, it’s part of your job to help your team members prioritise and focus on those priorities. Discuss what they’re currently so busy on and when they’ll be able to take on the task you have in mind.


They’ll stuff it up?

Maybe they’re unsure how to do something; they may have stuffed up the last task they did for you. Did you review progress when the job was done, and give/get feedback? Did your delegate have complete clarity about the results you expected?


Not enough time?

This is where we can really get in our own way. If you haven’t got time to delegate effectively, you will stay stuck in your present role – and watch others progress faster. Sorry, I know the truth hurts. People who progress soon learn the value of taking time to delegate; it frees up time for them to take on a new task.


Take these 7 tips to stop dithering and start delegating:


1. Rethink delegation

It’s not just about you – when you get other team members taking on tasks and getting on with the work, they’ll be making progress as they develop new skills. Before you delegate something, consider the task from your delegate’s perspective: what’s in it for them if they do this task? Be ready to sell the benefits of taking on the task.


2. Use examples

This is one of those simple-when-you-know-it elements of good delegation. Create a folder and add all the examples you can find of what ‘good’ looks like, whether that’s a great presentation, a well-argued point of view or a clear meeting report. Having examples that both parties can see eliminates guesswork and sets standards.


3. Do a demo

Yes, really. Don’t assume that your colleague knows exactly how to use Excel to produce that gorgeous chart. First, ask them how they’d go about it – you never know, they may have this thing sorted. But if they’re unsure, take them through the process step by step, ensuring they’re taking heaps of notes and asking questions.


4. Delegate first

If you want your whole team to be productive, work on the tasks that are ‘yours’ last and delegate first. Don’t keep team members waiting for you to explain what they are supposed to be doing – and then give them a now unrealistic deadline.


5. Monitor, don’t meddle

Agree upfront when and how you’re going to be involved. Are you going to check in with each other by the end of today? Or later this week? What are you expecting to see when you review progress? If they keep asking questions at 5-minute intervals, say you’ll give them time by the end of this morning / today to answer all their questions (and ask them what they did with their notes…or maybe re-run that demo). Don’t take a task back. And brace yourself: they just might have a better way of doing the job that, before today, was your pet project. Having had that experience, I’ve learned it’s important to savour the moment – you’ve got a great performer on your team.


6. Give and get feedback

As you monitor how your delegate is progressing with the task, give them feedback on what they’re doing well – and where they can correct course. When the task is completed, review how it went. What worked well? What didn’t work so well? What have they learned? What will they do differently next time? How can you better support them in doing a great job? Give credit for a job well done.


7. Transition from teacher to coach

As your team member repeats the task and becomes more proficient, you can make the shift from teacher (‘here’s how you do one of these’) to coach (‘how will you approach one of these this time?’), for this combination of task / person. Different people and different tasks will require you to adapt along the ‘ask-tell’ continuum; you may need to be in coaching mode with someone on a task they’ve been doing for a while, but revert to teaching mode with them for a new project they’re about to take on.


About the author

Dawn SillettDawn Sillett has been designing and delivering training workshops and executive coaching for over 15 years.


Author of: The Feedback Book

THE FEEDBACK BOOKMaintaining performance today is no longer simply about having an annual appraisal and telling employees “you must try harder”. Research demonstrates that regular discussions about performance and providing feedback to the people you manage is a more effective way to motivate them and keep them on track. Distilled into this single, handy-sized volume are 50 tips, advice and techniques to help any manager become quickly skilled at regularly discussing performance, setting goals and objectives and providing the necessary feedback to ensure individuals and teams thrive in the company. Structured into five key parts, each of the 50 concise chapters also contains a practical exercise to help the reader understand and implement the concepts and ideas of this book.

New ways of working require leadership skills that are more important than experience, says Dr. Riitta Lumme-Tuomala, Head of Growth at Aalto University Executive Education.


Organisations in rapidly expanding sectors are wrongly prioritising experience over potential – components of which include adaptability and high learning agility – when deploying leaders.

Dr. Lumme-Tuomala studied the humanitarian aid sector, where highly experienced managers are often favoured despite new crises, such as those caused by climate change, requiring new ways of decision-making and leadership.

She says: “NGO managers, as in a number of other industries, typically spend their entire career in an organisation, working their way up from technical roles to management. Yet as sectors expand, particularly as we have seen in humanitarian aid, more leaders are recruited externally. Despite this influx of new talent, highly seasoned individuals continue to be deployed to increasingly complex operations which require new ways of working and new types of mindsets.

“Strong leadership is important in this context, as decisions made, often based on incomplete information and in rapidly changing situations, affect lives. Not only that, but leaders must build and maintain long-term relationships with various stakeholders, ensure livelihoods of survivors, and build resilience in communities in the long run.”


Importance of EQ

The humanitarian aid sector’s ‘heroic and macho’ leadership style of the past is being replaced by the need for managers to demonstrate emotional intelligence, including self-awareness, self-regulation and high levels of influencing skills.

Lumme-Tuomala continues: “Historically, leaders and founders of NGOs have been known to operate with a paternalistic management style. Often leaders of this type demonstrate drive and commitment, as well as an ability to mobilise people and resources. However, they can also dominate organisations, be unaccountable and fail to adapt their ways of working to changes in the context of their sectors.

“This is further proof that the skills and competencies which guaranteed success in the past are not always adequate today, and that leadership roles are changing. Talent management initiatives now, in humanitarian aid and sectors beyond, should prioritise problem-solving, strategic decision-making, goal and direction-setting, and understanding operational context in managers, rather than relying on high levels of – often outdated – experience.”


SOURCE: BlueSky Public Relations


20 March marks the International Day of Happiness, which recognises the importance of happiness in the lives of people across the globe.


This year’s theme is ‘Share Happiness’, focusing on the role of relationships, kindness and helping each other.

Although there is no one key driver of happiness, Robert Half has identified five key ways to bring positivity back to the workplace that can help to increase the productivity of the workforce by ensuring employees feel valued and recognised for their efforts:


1. Greet co-workers with a smile

research paper published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology noted that connecting with others, even strangers, increases personal happiness. With this in mind, a great way to set the tone for International Day of Happiness is by greeting colleagues in the morning. Go beyond the normal circle, and offer a hearty “good morning” to the office support and reception team, the shy office junior, or the executive sharing a lift ride, to extend the feel good factor across the organisation.


2. Praise the efforts of colleagues

Positive feedback puts a spring in anyone’s step but in a time-poor working day, praise may be scrimped on, often to the detriment of employee happiness.

Taking a few minutes to offer glowing feedback doesn’t just boost happiness, it can also have a positive impact on productivity. The same US research found 40% of workers would put more energy into their work if their contribution was recognised more frequently. Chances are, a simple “thank you for doing a great job” could go a long way to elevating happiness, fulfilment and enthusiasm among employees.


3. Surprise with kindness

Random acts of kindness offer a two-for-one benefit. According to the Harvard Business School, a person extending a hand of kindness feels happier, while the recipient feels an uptick in joy too.  Share the goodwill on International Day of Happiness with unexpected gestures of kindness. Pick up a surprise latte for a colleague on the way to work, help a co-worker complete a project on time, or lend a hand to fix a paper jam instead of turning a blind eye to the struggles going on in the photocopying bay.


4. Host a happiness event

Nothing can dull the happiness factor faster than a boring routine. This year, celebrate International Day of Happiness with a dedicated workplace event in honour of happiness. A special morning tea, a lunch or even a celebratory dinner doesn’t just break routine – it’s an opportunity to share the virtues of being happy across an entire department or even the whole organisation.


5. Make the world a better place

Giving has a way of making people feel good. Harvard University confirmed this with research showing that donating to charity has a direct link to personal happiness. This makes it worth celebrating International Day of Happiness by combining efforts into corporate social responsibility. Instead of simply passing around a bucket for a coin drop, aim to make it an inclusive, fun-filled event. Try selling cakes home-baked by the accounts team accompanied by tea or coffee prepared by the sales crew, to let everyone feel part of the action.


Enjoy lasting benefits from International Day of Happiness

One of the big pluses of happiness, is that like laughter, it can be contagious. Don’t be surprised if any ‘happy’ initiatives introduced will extend beyond the 24 hours of International Day of Happiness. As a corporate happiness ambassador, an organisation can have a direct and lasting impact on the satisfaction, meaning and joy that the entire staff gain from their work environment.


About the author

Matt Weston is Managing Director at Robert Half UK. Robert Half is a specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. Founded in 1948, the company has over 325 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, creative and administrative professionals. and

Whether it’s home-based workers or teams operating across disparate sites, many businesses are struggling to make the remote working vision a reality.


Contrary to popular belief, Maintel’s flexible working study revealed the differing preferences between the multi-generational workforce, with the younger generation preferring to work from the office rather than remotely.

This was in clear contrast to baby boomers, who would rather work from home. The research, which polled 1,000 working adults in the UK, also found that 48% of those aged under 35 feel they are most productive in the office, while only 19% of those aged above 55 agree.

In light of this, businesses can no longer enforce one-size-fits-all flexible work policies among varied, multi-generational workforces. While working from home one day a week is fairly common, for example, it may not work for every employee in an organisation. Today employees of all ages want to work where they feel most productive, leaving it up to the business to ensure that workers are equipped with the right tools to keep in touch wherever they are.

With this comes obstacles which many businesses are yet to overcome, whether it’s maintaining connectivity across disparate sites, equipping staff with intuitive technology they actually want to use, or training and educating teams to effectively use information and communication technology (ICT) tools. These are all contributing factors as to why mainstream adoption of remote working has yet to come to fruition.

To help identify and implement the best tools to create optimal remote working environments, there are three key challenges companies should consider.


Ad-hoc communication


While the older generation may prefer remote working due to commitments at home, our study found that 28% of all workers have trouble getting hold of colleagues or managers when working remotely. For younger workers this may also explain the preference towards office-based work, giving them more face-to-face support from experienced co-workers. But it may also be down to the social aspects of office life and when seeking promotions – ensuring the visibility of hard work. What’s clear is maintaining inclusiveness within teams is challenging when employees are split between the office and their homes. Phone calls alone are simply not enough.

Ad-hoc video communication needs to be a priority for businesses, allowing employees across disparate locations to feel more included in discussions. The advantage of video calls is that they allow for gestures and body language, adding dynamism and context to discussions – a benefit which shouldn’t be underestimated. Virtual ‘face-to-face’ conversations need to become common flexible working practices if businesses are to foster a more inclusive team culture.


A cultural shift


Successfully embracing remote working isn’t just about technology– it also demands that businesses develop the right values and culture.

Building a culture whereby an organisation values output and productivity regardless of location, and empowering them with the tools and training required to do so, is crucial to making remote working work.

Working alone, whether at home or on-site, can be demotivating. Whether you’re working in an office or disparately across multiple locations, efforts need to be made within teams to ensure everyone is kept up-to-date and in constant contact. Presence information, for example, is an invaluable tool for people working remotely, enabling workers to see who’s available to them in real time, while allowing homeworkers to work together on documents with collaboration tools is hugely beneficial to productivity.

When spread over multiple locations, time together as a team needs to be specifically allocated, whether in the form of video calling or using online messenger tools to brainstorm or collaborate. The process needs to be coherent and manageable from both the desks in the office and the ones at home.


The security factor


Businesses are embracing more and more mobile and cloud-based apps for employees as they identify and exploit new ways of working. However, this can bring up a raft of potential security issues. Companies looking to harness the benefits of remote working need to place security front and centre, and focus on:

  • Making sure remote worker’s devices are safe and secure, including deploying and managing apps with local device policies to protect the network from the threats of remote devices
  • Ensuring data leakage protection is in place so those working remotely can’t access and extract valuable company data
  • Implement robust data access controls and authentication to ensure remote workers are who they say they are.


While it sounds obvious, successful remote working policies start with getting the basics right by making sure people can effectively communicate over voice and email. By offering workers secure and reliable access to key business applications, information, services, and tools to easily get in touch with co-workers at home, on-site or on the move, organisations can improve employee morale, performance, and ultimately retention and productivity.

This also includes creating the right work environment which balances multi-generational employee preferences and the needs of the business. Therefore, companies need the right mix of office space, flexible work policies, multi-site connectivity, training and technology to ensure remote working is successful.


About the author

Rufus Grig is as an industry expert and frequent conference speaker, contributing regularly on the subject of the future of the telecoms, UC and contact centre markets.

Since joining Maintel in May 2016 as Chief Technology and Strategy Officer, Rufus is responsible for overseeing three key aspects of the business: product and service offering, in-house product development and go-to-market strategy. Prior to his current role, Rufus was CTO at Azzurri Communications and was Managing Director of Callmedia.

Connect with Rufus on LinkedIn


A new survey brings to light the attitudes of employees across Europe, sparking concern for business leaders.


It shows that 33% of UK workers have gone as far as looking for a new job due to frustrations around operational efficiency.

The Digital Work Survey 2018 was commissioned by the work management platform company, Wrike, and surveyed 3,000 workers from across the UK, France and Germany.

The findings highlight frustrations over inefficiencies at work and the worrying impact this is having on how engaged, productive and happy employees are in their roles.

Wrike wanted to understand the knock-on effect of operational inefficiencies on workers, and ultimately businesses. Nearly a third (29%) of UK workers say that they have become disengaged due to inefficiencies at work. Of those who were feeling most stressed, 66% said that over the last two years they’ve seen increased expectations around the speed at which they must deliver work. Added to that, 59% of all UK workers said that their workload had gone up since 2016, with a negative impact on stress levels (69% said it had increased).


Top frustrations

With an ever-increasing workload and a seemingly endless desire to have worked completed ‘yesterday’, what are the reasons UK workers are citing for their frustrations? They include:

  • No clear direction on projects or tasks (31%)
  • Using slow or outdated technology (38%)
  • The company’s way of working demonstrates outdated thinking (39%)
  • New processes and changes to processes spark anxiety (34%)
  • For those who are already stressed, lengthy approval cycles are a key frustration (45%)


In addition to these functional frustrations, 50% of the most stressed UK workers said that they felt undervalued by their boss, despite the fact that 67% of them are doing more hours in the office, 46% are working more on weekends and 56% are taking fewer breaks. 47% of the most stressed respondents believed, given the opportunity, they could do a better job than their managers.

Andrew Filev, founder and CEO of Wrike comments: “Demands on businesses to offer top-rate services or products, personalised to individual requirements, and delivered in real-time are the reality of today’s business environment. It’s down to leadership within companies to figure out how to keep up with these demands without burning their employees out. We need to find solutions that are relevant to today’s market, with new processes that suit customer demands, and use the powerful technology available to us.”

Of UK workers who’ve admitted to looking for another job, 81% also experienced rising stress levels (this figure was 77% in France and 76% in Germany) suggesting there is clearly an emerging issue that needs addressing urgently.




Employee recognition should be considered a key ingredient in your business mix.


Singling out exceptional employees for excellent work isn’t just a nice gesture: It boosts morale, increases productivity and innovation, and helps retain top performers.

But acknowledging staff who make a difference often becomes an “I’ll-get-around-to-it-later” task for busy managers.

Many wait too long for the compliments to have the desired impact, fail to match praise with the achievement, or forget to say thank you altogether.

If you’ve been faltering lately in giving hardworking team members rewards for exceptional effort, take action now. Hiring of financial professionals is accelerating, and you don’t want to risk losing your best employees to the competition because they don’t feel recognised.


Here are three ways to promote employee recognition and ultimately let talented professionals know you appreciate their contributions.


1. Give timely praise – and encourage others to do so too

Be quick to acknowledge your employees’ accomplishments. Often, a verbal thank-you or handwritten note directly from you can go a long way towards making a team member feel valued. However, accolades shouldn’t come just from the top. Praise from colleagues is often as meaningful as a nod from a manager, so be sure to foster a culture that encourages peers to commend each other openly for a job well done. How you offer compliments depends on the situation. Some suggestions to consider include praising an individual or an entire project team during a staff meeting, spotlighting their achievements in an article on the company’s intranet or newsletter, or rewarding them with a paid day off or a special treat such as lunch or a movie.


2. Reward your top people

Elevating high-performing employees to the next level has always been a practical way to reward top talent. But in the current economy, upward opportunities may be scarce for firms who have had to reduce staff and are still operating with smaller budgets. If you’re unable to promote deserving employees right now, invest in their continued growth through relevant training. In New Zealand, 38% of Chief Financial Officers said their companies will offer leadership training this year as a way to reward, attract and hold on to talented financial professionals. You can also keep staff feeling engaged by expanding their scope of responsibility or by assigning challenging projects. Be sure to first discuss these opportunities with them and find out if there are other developmental areas they might prefer


3. Don’t go overboard – make recognition meaningful

While there’s no substitute for thanking employees for their hard work and accomplishments on a regular basis, be careful not to overdo it. Avoid praising team members for simply carrying out their basic job requirements and reserve accolades for truly outstanding performance. When possible, tie recognition to achievement of specific business results.


A culture that recognises and rewards high performance is a key aspect of most successful companies. Your most valued staff members need to know they make a difference and that the firm performs better because they are part of the team.


About the author

Matt Weston is Managing Director at Robert Half UK. Robert Half is a specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. Founded in 1948, the company has over 325 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, creative and administrative professionals. and

Long suffering British employees will sit through a mind numbing 9,776 meetings in their working lifetime, according to Deliveroo for Business.


Whatsmore, over half of these meetings are deemed as completely pointless.

New research of the nation’s office workers has discovered the average Brit reckons 51% of the meetings they attend every week are utterly useless.

So much so that a staggering one in ten employees admitted to having nodded off during a meeting at some point in their life.

In a bid to get through the tedium, we will munch through 10,753 sandwiches, 19,552 chocolate biscuits and drink 15,642 cups of tea during our lifetime of meetings.

In fact, 85% of those polled said they are much more likely to be enthusiastic about a meeting if food and drink is laid on.


Dreaded meetings

The poll of 2,000 full time employees found a quarter of adults dread one to one sessions with their boss about their progress, 26% hate awkward catch-up lunches with clients and 17% said they loathe annual general meetings.

Of those polled, 17% claim they have completely clammed-up in a meeting, 26% said they have not listened to one word that was said, and 27% have spent the duration of the meeting thinking about what they were going to have for dinner.

Almost one in ten pass the time by flirting with colleagues over the meeting table, while 20% admit they text their other half to get through the boredom.

Four in ten said they like it when their diary is packed full of meetings as it gets them out of doing any ‘proper’ work. But six in ten moaned that meetings just create more unnecessary work.

Juan Diego Farah, Global Head of Deliveroo for Business said: “Meetings can be dull and traditionally the food and drink offered in them is pretty lacklustre, consisting of dreary biscuits thrown on a plate and lukewarm tea from an old office urn.

“Some meetings do drag on and breaking up proceedings with breaks for high quality food and drink can really boost people’s energy levels and their enthusiasm. Deliveroo for Business was set up so office workers and businesses across the world can have the same choice and access to great food at work as they do at home on Deliveroo”.

More than a quarter of workers say they are embarrassed when visitors come to their office for meetings as their hospitality is so poor – confessing to barely being able to scrape together tea and biscuits.

14% said they only have chipped, mismatched mugs in their office and 22% said they are guilty of plonking stale biscuits on a plate in order to look presentable.


SOURCE: GingerComms


When we wish to communicate our ideas, there is a myriad of tools we can call upon to ensure that people remember both the memorable phrase and its memorable speaker.


As an added bonus, these can improve your own memory retention. The confidence which comes from being able to remember your text helps reduce or even remove the fear of public speaking, thus allowing you to focus your efforts on your speech.

The first weapon in our mental armoury is involving all our senses:



The more visual imagery contained in your speech or presentation, the more memorable it becomes. Take the following example: “A fox with glasses told his submarine to dive beneath the surface.”

This is reasonably unusual but, if you were to dial up the imagery, you might produce: “The reddish orange fox adjusted his sky-blue goggles and barked the order for his yellow submarine to dive beneath the salty, emerald sea.”

Such use of vivid imagery helps to create more powerful memories for your audience.



Sound can act both as a tool in its own right but also as a reinforcement. When you describe a ‘crashing cymbal’ or a ‘crack of thunder’ the audience is automatically given an image as well as adding a sense of drama to your speech.

Symbolism related to sound can trigger powerful associations for audiences.  Mentioning the skirl of the bagpipes at a Remembrance Day parade may bring to mind the ‘devils in skirts’, the famous nickname given to the Highland regiments due to their ferocious fighting during WW1 by the German soldiers.



Invoking aromas can produce impressive reactions; take for example wine descriptions on a menu, ‘Dark Cherry’, ‘Peppery’, ‘Fruity’. These spark mental associations in the same way as perfumes being described as floral, musky or woody. Your ability to link language to senses invokes strong memories.



Think of any restaurant menu and the highly descriptive choice of words like crafted, fire-roasted or hand-dived, all of which are designed to activate your taste buds, enticing you to buy. It is no different to persuading your audience to believe in what you’re saying.



If you run your fingers over an object, what feeling do you experience? Can what you’re describing be thought of as smooth, rough or perhaps sharp?


Word Hacks

The most potent weapon for a speaker wishing to deliver a notable speech are ‘word hacks’; seemingly simple word magic tricks that can be used to dazzle an audience.

Here’s an example – ‘Mocha is not my cup of tea’ is mildly amusing wordplay but when you learn it refers to a horse named Mocha and a nervous rider is making the remark, the meaning resonates further with the listener.


Here are 7 more top tips:
  1. People in Greek and Roman times placed great emphasis on oratory, developing a raft of techniques which are still in use today, in a range of remarkable settings. You might be surprised to learn that the last word of a sentence used to begin the next sentence, exemplified in Star Wars by Yoda in his, ‘Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering’ is in fact a rhetorical device called anadiplosis. It’s reasonably certain that any speaker would want to be thought of as possessing Yoda’s wisdom.


  1. An effective, simple and easily remembered tip is to employ the Tricolon; epitomised most famously by Julius Caesar. Veni. Vidi. Vici. I came. I saw. I conquered.


  1. ‘Lock her up’, ‘Drain the swamp’, ‘Build the wall’ are all three-word combinations which rolls off the tongue easily and delivers a powerful message to the listener. These examples are all short punchy action statements. Donald Trump used these to devastating effect – who remembers the soundbites from Hilary Clinton’s election campaign?


  1. President Trump also used Paralipsis; drawing attention to a point by pretending to ignore it. ‘I refuse to say she ran that business into the ground.’ ‘I never attacked him for being a dummy.’ ‘I was going to say sorry but I won’t’.’


  1. Then we move on to Chiasmus, the transposition of word order in otherwise parallel phrases. There’s President John F Kennedy, who at his inauguration said, ‘My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country’.


  1. A highly effective communicator like Barack Obama also employed rhetorical skills, his weapon of choice in his famous New Hampshire speech was the repetitive trope or leitmotif We all remember the powerfully simple statement ‘Yes we can!’.


  1. Alliteration; using the same sound or letter at the start of a word – makes your speech both memorable and easy to memorise though you have to be careful not to give yourself a verbal hurdle.


A recent Economist article about eating rabbit contained two alliterations in quick succession; ‘Lapping up lapin’ which is reasonably simple to remember but went on to say,   ‘But the hutch-based solution that Mr Maduro has hatched has run into a hitch’. The second example would require practice and verbal dexterity from a confident speaker to deliver the full comic effect.

People want to remember your speech; give them the opportunity to do so by using language they don’t often hear. If you write and deliver a speech or presentation, or run a training session using the tips described, you will separate yourself from your peers in an area most people shy away from. Make the most of your words so they will be remembered by everyone who hears them.


About the author

Eddie Darroch is from Toastmasters International, a non-profit educational organisation that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations. Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, the organisation’s membership exceeds 352,000 in more than 16,400 clubs in 141 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people of all backgrounds become more confident in front of an audience. There are more than 300 clubs in the UK and Ireland with over 7,500 members. To find your local club:  Follow @Toastmasters on Twitter.







As LID celebrates it’s 25th anniversary this year, LID Radio speaks with general manager and publisher Martin Liu, about how he started out and how the industry has evolved during that time.


Martin Liu joined LID Publishing as the first member of staff in the UK in 2012, just as the company was breaking into the English language market.

Now, six years later, the business has gone from strength to strength, publishing more than 45 books a year as well as two high-profile journals.

Martin has extensive knowledge in the business book arena, having set his heart on publishing while studying at the University of East Anglia. There he completed a BA and MA in Modern European History and French before taking a postgraduate course in publishing.

Considering his fields of study, Martin initially thought he would publish history books, that is until he discovered business books while working at Random House.

“I think what really drew me into business books were three things: the subject matter itself is vast and so relevant to the world; the authors, who tend to be very ambitious and at the cutting edge of their particular field, which is very exciting; and that business is global and international, and I enjoy that part of it very much.”

He has since worked for the likes of HarperCollins and Orion Publishing, and went on to co-found Cyan Books, an independent business and self-help publisher, in 2004. This was later acquired by Marshall Cavendish.


Building bridges

Martin is particularly keen on using books and literature to improve communication and bridge barriers between countries. As well as overseeing the smooth running of UK operations, he now manages the US and China operations.

“I enjoy working with authors to develop their ideas and thinking into book format – that is definitely a key motivation for me and always has been – but I also very much enjoy the part about working across boarders, whether that be with authors or other publishers or organisations in general,” he explained.

An example of this is the collaboration between LID and various Chinese publishers and authors over the last three years, which has resulted in a number of publications and the China’s Entrepreneurs Series, which includes the biographies of five high-profile businesspeople.

“I think that’s been tremendously eye opening even for myself and the results are also very rewarding. I’m also very excited about projects we’re developing with our Japanese partners over the coming two years, I think that will also open new doors for LID,” he said.


Digital evolution

Martin recognizes that the emergence of social media as a tool for promoting and publishing content and authors has been a major change factor in publishing.

In fact, he argued that digital technology in general has been the main driver of change in publishing over the last 25 years.

“As much as I love paper, it’s almost inevitable that publishing will be completely digital in the future,” he conceded. However, he’s not concerned that this shift might spark the end of traditional publishing as a whole.

“I see ebooks as a medium for people to gain access to content and authors, but that content still requires a certain amount of expertise and input from publishers to refine and present it, so that the reading experience is of a relatively high standard,” he explained.

“I very much believe that the traditional skillsets found in publishing houses are going to be relevant going into the future.”

He also highlights the importance of marketing to the success of a book. One of the greatest challenges for those who produce and publish content is this: how do you make good content and how do you make it stand out?

“I think marketing will determine the absolute winners, writing a book is only half the battle, it’s just the beginning, you do need a proper strategy and a sustained approach over a longer period of time if you really want to bring your book or ideas to an audience,” he said.

“Your core audience needs to be constantly engaged and the reengaged if you want your message to really stand out.”


About the author

Martin LiuMartin Liu is the general manager and publisher for LID Publishing UK, USA and China. He has a BA and MA in Modern European History and French from the University of East Anglia and postgraduate diplomas in Publishing (from Exeter University, UK) and Management Studies (from Kingston University, UK).


UK businesses are missing out on top talent because they are alienating candidates with poor communication and long hiring practices, according to RobertHalf UK.


A poll of 1,000 jobseekers found that the biggest frustration with job applications is slow feedback from prospective employers about their progress through the application process.


What are your biggest frustrations about the recruitment process when applying for a new role?

Slow feedback to get an update about where I stand in the recruitment process 52%
Poor communication about the required steps in the recruitment process 44%
Delayed decision-making 39%
Doing multiple job interviews with the same employer 35%
Keeping track of multiple job opportunities with different employers 33%
Difficulties scheduling interviews 23%
Lack of transparency on rewards and benefits 19%
Changing role requirements 16%
Disappointment with contractual terms 15%

*Mutliple responses permitted.


When professionals are looking for a new job, they do so actively with almost half (46%) of jobseekers applying for ten roles or more at the same time. However, in a market where 93% of businesses say they find it challenging to source skilled talent, they need to act fast or risk losing talent

 The research indicates that seven in ten jobseekers (71%) regularly receive multiple job offers when searching for work, with 35% ‘often’ or ‘always’ getting more than one job offer at one time.

“With increasing concerns around a growing skills gap and top talent in short supply, businesses can’t afford to alienate prospective employees with drawn-out interview processes,” commented Matt Weston, Director at Robert Half UK.

“A company’s recruitment process needs to be balanced against the expectations and frustrations of jobseekers. Companies should be thinking about how they can streamline application and interview processes to ensure that frustrations such as delays in providing feedback and poor communication, don’t cost them the best candidates.”


Further feedback

With slow feedback being the biggest frustration for jobseekers in the UK, 38% of them generally do not even receive feedback from their potential employers about their performance in interviews and 46% do not receive feedback about the reason why they were not offered the job.

Companies need to be wary that the implications of slow communication and the lack of feedback can be far-reaching with 52% of jobseekers saying they would not recommend a company as a potential employer and 36% even willing to withdraw their application if they have not received a timely response about its status.

“While multi-stage interviews might be unavoidable, timely communication throughout the application process is key to keeping candidates interested in the role. A negative experience during this process can have long-term detrimental effects on the company’s reputation too. Disengaged job applicants who have had a negative experience with a company are not only more likely to withdraw their application, they could potentially speak negatively of the organisation at hand, jeopardising the attractiveness of the company as an employer of choice and even potential business,” concluded Weston.


SOURCE: Robert Half UK

Robert Half is a specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. Founded in 1948, the company has over 300 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, creative and administrative professionals. For more than 15 years, Robert Half has been named to FORTUNE® magazine’s list of “Most Admired Companies” and offers workplace and job seeker resources at and