Richard’s Personal Development Workshops

Whilst I spend most of my time on professional development workshops for teachers, I also do them for business people as well as personal development workshops for, well, everyone really!

Today was my first time to be invited to give  a workshop like this in Beijing China, so it was very exciting.

Usually it’s usually businessmen who attend these types of workshops. Today it was all girls, which was great!

Warm Up
I usually  start off with my  “Genki Relax” programme.  It’s just a special piece of music and video I have that gets everyone nicely unwound after a hard day’s work and mentally relaxed, willing to listen to new ideas. It’s exactly the same as a sports “warm up”,  but we’re just chilling down instead of warming up.

Then my self intro. Normally my self intro has to be quite “humble” talking about how other people use my materials.  But here I have to build credibility, so it’s my business experience, travel and the people I’ve met that count. Which then leads into the students introducing themselves.

The questions I wanted them to answer today were:
1. Your name(s)  (Chinese people often have English and Chinese names)
2. What’s the best thing about their job (much better than asking directly what they do, here you find out what they’d like to do!)
3. What’s their biggest challenge with English (not a business question, but I just wanted to check their English confidence level was good enough for what was to come!)
4. One word to describe yourself (you can tell a lot about people from this one)

Then I started the workshop proper.

The Rules of Life

Whenever you talk about professional or personal development it all starts off with the way of thinking. You have to think like a winner in order to become one, whatever you do.  My grade school programmes don’t work because they are great programmes, but because they teach kids how to succeed, then they naturally do succeed with the  learning tools inside.

But in development courses it’s fine to explicitly teach this way of thinking. My favourite tool is to put famous quotations  on the screen. Then one person comes to the front, reads it out, simplifies it into easy language, and asks the group if they agree. You keep going until you find something where some people disagree. With great groups, like today, that’s quite far in. With many groups it’s much earlier!

Here’s an example of the first four for personal development (numbers 5 and up are for business development). How far do you get before you disagree?

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right. “ – Henry Ford
“Those who say it can’t be done are being passed by those doing it.” — Unknown
= Rule No.1: I can do it!

‘The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.’ — W.C. Magee
“A ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” — William Shedd
= Rule No. 2: If you lose, just try again

‘If you want to test your memory, try to recall what you were worrying about one year ago today.’ — E. Joseph Cossman
“I have no time to worry” – Winston Churchill
= Rule No. 3: If you can do it, do it. If you can’t, use your energies elsewhere. Never worry.

“Building a better you is the first step to building a better America.” – Zig Ziglar
‘It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.’ — Unknown
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi
= Rule No. 4 – It’s up to you.

Everyone was very much on board with all this, which made life easy for me. It’s the “It’s up to you” that causes many problems with people blaming their spouse, or lack of money or lack of time or where they live. But today they all got it.

One round is to ask them what they want to do, and then ask who it’s up to. Do I decide? Does your boss decide? No, of course not, it’s up to you. Because the group was all girls, except for the staff guys, it did throw up some interesting things!

One girl said “I want to have plastic surgery. And it’s up to me!” So fair enough, although I wished I had prepared more self image quotes! And one girl said “I want to find a boyfriend” to which I asked “And who’s it up to?” and she looked at me, forgot to change the sentence and said “It’s up to you!”

OK, that’s one way of throwing me off balance in the middle of a workshop!

How to get your dream job

Then we had a quick break.

Breaks are always good because you get asked questions, and it’s here where you really see what people want. One girl was wanting to be a lawyer, it’s her major,  and was asking how she could get a job. Teaching people how to get a dream job is quite an easy one, you just listen to what they say, follow the rules, then follow it up with practical advice.

Here it meant phoning law firms, getting their prospectus, talking to their HR department to ask what they are looking for and trying to make contact with other lawyers in the firm to see if they will give you any advice.

The first rule is you have to believe you can do it. The second is that many people will turn you away, so you just try again. You will lose faith, but never worry about the outcome, do what you can, leave what you can’t. And finally realise it’s all up to you, nobody is going to get the job for you.

Role plays

Business in the21st century is very different to the old ways. In the 21st century one Google search can make or break a company’s reputation. Communication skills, people skills and use of positive language are vital. So I practice these with role plays.

Students learn new techniques from seeing each other’s role plays in action and offer criticism for future improvements.

I have a funky “role play” generator that just scrolls through different scenarios until you hit the space key. I had expected lots of hard nosed business people so the role plays I had prepared were more business orientated e.g.

Richard is a lazy worker. Motivate him. (for management issues)
Make a sales presentation. Make us want to buy your new …. (sales language)
“Your …. broke!” Make the customer a fan again. (customer relations)
The plane is cancelled. Get compensation from the airline (Negotiation skills)

All have to be done in a positive way with win-win outcome.

Today the girls were much more into the personal development side of things, but the organisers wanted me to do business activities, so I just did one, how to sell!

And for that you’ll have to tune in next week. How to get an infinite amount of new customers, whatever you sell!


My schedule is very full, but if you’d like me for your own highly energetic, personal development or motivation workshop or speech, then please contact me at:

Post Author: Richard

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