Jayne Lee and Kirsi Aalto of Davitt Corporate Partners featured in the Irish Times

Jayne Lee and Kirsi Aalto of Davitt Corporate Partners were featured in the Irish Times ‘New Year New Career’ special report, published on Friday the 21st of December 2018.

Please click below links to read the two articles:

Things to consider before changing career

Upskilling may be key to soaring in your career


Tips on managing stress over Christmas and into 2019


Click here for some tips on managing stress over Christmas and into 2019.

Courtesy of www.helpguide.org


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To Make a Change at Work, Tell Yourself a Different Story



Click here to see the article.


Courtesy of Harvard Business Review – August 2018


The Art of Active Listening

Speaking and listening are soft skills that most of us take for granted and believe ourselves to be fluent in. However, often we may not be fully present in a conversation and as a result, important information can be ignored or simply forgotten. Research varies greatly in terms of how much of what we hear we actually retain, but it is far from one hundred percent, indicating that we may not be as skilled in this area as we might assume.

Active listening is a concept which is alien to many. Often, when people are speaking to us, our minds wander, thinking about what we are going to say next and focusing on the next gap in the conversation so that we can interject with our own pearls of wisdom. This can result in valuable information slipping through the cracks. Not just what the person is saying, but also what they are not saying.

The practice of active listening is when one focuses completely on the person speaking to them – not just their words, but their body language, facial expressions and tone. Themes can emerge and emotions become more noticeable, allowing the listener to understand what the person is really trying to say and also, what they are not saying. By focusing all of ones attention on the speaker, it allows for a far richer understanding of the message that they are trying to convey. That is not to say that interruptions should not be made, its fine to interrupt, if clarification is necessary, or simply to paraphrase what is being said, if there is an appropriate pause in the conversation, but not simply to interject with your own point or counter argument.

Top tips for active listening include:

  1. Focus on the person who is speaking, try to tune out any external stimuli.
  2. Maintain appropriate eye contact with the speaker; nodding or making some other signal which shows you are still fully engaged will encourage them to continue, knowing that they have your undivided attention
  3. Do not try and multitask – put down your phone, or any other work you may be absentmindedly be flicking through, not only is it disrespectful to the person to whom you are speaking, it does not allow you to fully process what they are saying and can mean you miss out on nonverbal cues such as facial expressions or even crucial gaps in the information you are being presented with.
  4. Ask questions in an appropriate way, try not to interrupt unnecessarily, but if something is not clear, do attempt to clarify, simply saying, “so what I’m hearing is…”
  5. If you disagree with what the person is saying, wait until they have finished before voicing your objections, respectfully listen to the point that they are trying to make first


Practicing this skill takes time and effort, but the benefits are undoubtedly worth the investment and can include improved workplace relations, a more complete understanding of your client’s needs, and a greater understanding of what is happening in your team and the wider organisation as a whole.

Uncover Your Creative Genius: How to Boost Your Creativity (Infographic)

For many professionals of all types, the freedom to create and innovate within a supportive work environment is an essential element of their overall job satisfaction. Studies have revealed that creativity and happiness are closely linked, with one survey finding that 78% of people believe that being creative makes a difference in their lives.

What is Creativity?

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.”
– Albert Einstein

Creativity is the process of turning new, imaginative ideas into reality. It involves cognitive processes that transform one’s understanding of and relationship to the world. Creative people are skilled at problem-solving due to their ability to identify solutions that may not seem initially obvious.

Creativity: The Key to Career Success

Creative workers are not only happier, but they are also more hireable. As more and more jobs become automated with technology, human skills like creativity and emotional intelligence will only become more desirable for employers. It is no surprise therefore that 60% of CEOs see creativity as the most important skill for leaders.

How to Unlock Your Creative Potential

“Creativity is more than mere imagination. It is imagination inseparably coupled
with both intent and effort.”
– Alex Osborn, Ad Man & Author

The creativity expert, Alex Osborn argued that creativity was a skill that could be honed over time. Just like any muscle, it is possible to train yourself to become more creative. Many people’s creativity may lie dormant for years, but some argue that it can be rekindled through specific activities.

Scientists have conducted some fascinating studies over the years about the various methods we can use to stimulate our creative minds. For example, one study has revealed that sipping a relaxing cup of black tea can put the drinker help put the drinker in the optimum state for getting creative.

If you would like to learn more about Osborn’s thoughts on creativity as well as some other quick creativity hacks, why not take a look at our infographic below?

Uncover Your Creative Genius: How to Boost Your Creativity

Minimalism at Work

We’ve all heard about the Minimalism trend and how it involves rules, such as living with less than 100 items, capsule wardrobes and stark interiors. However, there is a lot more to Minimalism and in fact, less rules than one might think. This article is about how to bring minimalism to your working life, freeing up your time to do the important things, not just the urgent.

Ways to simplify your day to day 9 to 5:

  1. Clear your desk – get rid of unnecessary paperwork, books, cups and general clutter. Keep only what you need and are actively working on, to hand. It might sound like a cliché, but a clear desk really can help bring clarity to the mind
  2. Work on one thing at a time – this draws on the ‘if a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing properly’ maxim. If you are going to dedicate your working hours to a task, make sure you complete it to the best of your abilities and this can be done so much more quickly and effectively by giving it your whole focus, for the time it needs. Decide firstly how long you need to get it done and set a timer. Turn off your email notifications if you can and focus solely on that particular task
  3. Handle things once; deal with your paperwork and then either shred it or file it, don’t keep it in a pile on your desk
  4. Workwear – plan ahead and don’t overcomplicate it. There is a reason why many successful business people wear the same thing, or a variation on the same outfit every day. It simplifies things and reduces ‘decision fatigue’. Project 333 looks at downsizing your wardrobe to 33 pieces per season and mixing and matching it to create a variety of outfits. It’s not compulsory to downsize to a particular number, but it can be useful to have some fail-safe outfits for important meetings and pick out a selection of clothing that you like to wear to work and which is comfortable, smart and functional. Ditch the rest if you can! If you know you’re not going have the necessary repairs done, or you know that a particular jacket will spend most of its time in the laundry basket because you won’t take it to the drycleaners, get rid of it. By editing your workwear, you will need a lot less time to make clothing decisions in the morning.
  5. Food – by eating the same thing every day, you are reducing and simplifying another aspect of your working life, freeing up your decision making capacity to deal with the important things in your working hours. That’s not to say that you need to eat the same lunch 365 days of the year, but by keeping your choice simple you can eat and then take the time to go for a walk, or do something else you actively enjoy during your break, such as reading, catching up on calls to friends or simply sitting mindfully outside and taking that time to recharge your batteries for the second half of the day

There is a lot more to minimalism of course, but these could be an easy way to kick-start your minimalist movement and bring some of the advantages to your working life. Minimalism is not really about less, it’s about more, freeing up more time and energy, in order to use these resources in a more productive and fulfilling way.

How to avoid getting lost in translation

Taking the time to speak to your stakeholders and colleagues in a language that they understand is vital for building relationships in the workplace. As a psychologist, who assesses many people from different professions, one of the most impressive observable skills people can have is the ability to communicate in an interesting and when necessary, simplified way so that you do not need to be an expert in their field to understand what they are saying.

 In the working world, we all speak different languages and this is something which can lead to confusion, mistakes, frustration and damaged working relationships. Finance, science, marketing and engineering, for example may all have to work together and by taking the time to understand that different disciplines may use very different language is vital in creating a cohesive working environment. Understanding what somebody needs to know and what they do not is the difference between engaging your audience and losing them completely. Taking the time to think about what your audience needs to know can be the difference between winning a pitch and losing it.

This is the case both within organisations as well as with external stakeholders. Make it easy for your audience, don’t bore them with unnecessary technical details, even if you find them fascinating, if it is not ultimately going to bring value or increase your audiences understanding. If it is going to add value, find a way of communicating that they will understand, without losing patience, or showing signs of frustration.

Leaving out key information because you think it too technical for your audience is also a mistake. Ensure that you are providing adequate information so that your audience knows that they can trust you and to show that you do know what you are talking about. Glaring gaps will be obvious and will not engender a trusting relationship.

If you are in doubt, try explaining your concept to a friend, or family member – somebody who has no technical knowledge of your field and see if they understand. If they don’t tweak your message until they do.

If your message is a written one, shorten and simplify, read and edit again.

Many professions use acronyms, if you are going to use them when speaking to someone outside your domain, take the time to explain what they mean. This is something which is particularly helpful for new recruits to an organisation as it can be daunting getting to grips with a language which is specific to that company.

Take on the burden of responsibility for your audiences understanding. It is not their fault if they do not understand what you are saying. It is yours. Check in with them – not in a patronising way, if what you are saying is particularly technical, acknowledge that and check that you are explaining it clearly, rather than asking whether they understand – taking the responsibility for ensuring your audiences understanding, rather than placing it upon them. This will help create an environment in which people are more likely to say if they are not clear on something.

Spend time with people who do not work in your field. Engage with other departments if you can and take the time to build your relationships across the organisation, not just within your own domain, this will be beneficial in terms of practicing your communication style with individuals from other areas of the business.

The more you practice, the easier it will become, until one day, hopefully, it will become second nature.

Published in The Sunday Business Post 26th August 2018


Your Essential Guide to Emotional Intelligence

When a man is prey to his emotions, he is not his own master.” – Baruch Spinoza, Philosopher

Emotional intelligence (or EQ) is an essential ingredient for both personal and professional fulfilment and success. Defined as “the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others”, emotional intelligence is generally said to be made up of three key skills:

  1. Emotional awareness, i.e. the ability to identify your own emotions and those of others
  2. The ability to apply your emotions when performing various tasks
  3. Emotional regulation, i.e. the ability to manage your own feelings or soothe others

Emotional intelligence is important for many reasons. Firstly, it is a core element of both mental and physical wellbeing. What’s more, it helps us to build strong and positive relationships with others. It also plays a critical role in skills that are valuable in the workplace, such as conflict resolution and leadership.

“The greatest ability in business is to get along with others and influence their actions.” – John Hancock

So, why is building emotional intelligence necessary for career success? The ability to understand and communicate your feelings to others is crucial for any fruitful collaboration, what’s more it can help you remain calm in stressful situations and create a general atmosphere of openness and positivity. Additionally, the capacity to recognise the feelings, needs and responses of others can be enormously helpful in managing others, gaining respect and staying on top of stressful situations.

If you would like to learn more about the importance of emotional intelligence, we recommend that you check out our infographic below. This comprehensive guide takes you through the various definitions of EQ and outlines why it is so important for success. It also offers tips on how to hire emotionally intelligent staff and features a brief quiz so you can gauge your own EQ level.

Your Essential Guide to Emotional Intelligence - Infographic