Virtual Training v’s Virtual Seminars

With many businesses and employees being suddenly forced to work remotely and start using a range of new conference / communication technology, Futureproof Training have also seen a sudden increase in the number of requests for virtual training and development support.

This short post is designed to provide useful information regarding the key differences between two of the main virtual delivery formats that you may consider using for staff development / support interventions.

What is a Virtual Seminar?

Futureproof believe that Virtual Training Seminars are most appropriate for knowledge sharing sessions and are ideal if you want to cater for a large number of participants. The duration of a seminar would typically be between 45 to 60 minutes. We interact with the group via chat rooms, polling facilities and use of virtual ‘break out’ rooms.

It is important to note that when the group size reaches 15 people or above, participants will generally join the sessions with video and audio turned off. This does have a negative impact on the levels of interaction and human contact that that we can achieve during delivery.

What is a Virtual Training Session or Coaching Session?

We have found that Virtual Training sessions limited to a maximum of 6 to 8 delegates, achieve far higher levels of engagement and interaction between the group that are very similar to those associated with classroom-based delivery.

The smaller numbers allow the Facilitator to actively involve each person by asking questions and encouraging delegates to share their thoughts and experiences with the group. The duration of the session would be between 60 to 90 minutes and delegates may be required to complete pre and post training activities.

Virtual Training Ground Rules

It is important that virtual training workshops give delegates an interactive experience that provides tools, techniques and new ways of thinking that will help the way in which employees approach working life in these uncertain times. The following guidelines will help enhance this experience.

  • Give yourself time to understand how to use the conference platform you will be accessing. Allocate time to download the correct application and know your log in details for the session.
  • We ask that all delegates have video and sound ON. It is important that we know that all participants are engaged and ‘in the room’ mentally with no distractions.
  • We ask delegates to observe all of the rules associated with a face to face meeting or training session. Phones and other devices on silent or do not disturb and all other applications on your computer closed.
  • Delegates should join the session with pen and paper to hand and having completed any pre-training tasks.
  • We would like all delegates to take a full and active role throughout the training workshop in order to gain maximum benefit.
  • Delegates will be asked to follow a specific protocol for asking questions or providing comment on group discussions.

If you want to receive further information regarding the range of virtual sessions that we deliver, please get in touch 01623 409824 or email

Menopause in the Workplace

Statistics show (British Menopause Society) that 25% of women go through the menopause with little impact on their daily life. But this means 75% experience symptoms that can last for several years and have a negative impact on their performance at work. Sleepless nights can affect concentration, while hot flushes can be physically distressing and embarrassing. The British Menopause Society actually state 34 different symptoms and are keen to point out that no two women are the same and many women can have quite different experiences.

Why act now?

The Office of National Statistics have shown that women aged 50 to 64 are the fastest growing economically active group. By supporting women through the menopause, your organisation will benefit from increased engagement and loyalty, as well as lower sickness absence and employee turnover.

Don’t make menopause HR’s responsibility

Of course, HR will have a role to play in supporting the business in their legal duty to ensure working conditions don’t exacerbate someone’s symptoms and to protect employees from discrimination, but the majority of direct support must come from line managers and colleagues. In a business world trying to foster equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace we all have a part to play in supporting our work mates.

Support Available (Short courses & Bite-size sessions)

  • Awareness workshops for women
  • Awareness workshops for men and women
  • Training workshop for People Managers
  • Training Workshop HR / L&D professionals & Key Stakeholders

If you want to raise awareness in your workplace, look at putting guidelines in place and understand the adjustments you could put in place to create a support and comfortable working environment, please get in touch for further information 01623 409824 or email

How to improve performance and wellbeing through mental toughness

Mental Toughness describes the mindset that every person adopts in everything they do. It is defined as:

“A personality trait which determines, in large part, how people respond to challenge, stress and pressure, irrespective of  their circumstances”.

Mental Toughness assesses “how we think”. In other words, why we act and respond emotionally to events. It enables us to understand mindset in a very practical way. Research carried out under the direction of Professor Peter Clough of Huddersfield University identified eight factors to be understood and assessed. This is shown below:


  1. Life Control – I believe in myself, I can do it
  2. Emotional Control – I can manage my emotions and the emotions of others


  • Goal Orientation –  I set goals and like the idea of working towards goals
  • Achievement Orientation – I do what it takes to keep promises and achieve goals


  • Risk Orientation – I stretch myself, welcoming new and different experiences
  • Learning Orientation – I learn from what happen, including setbacks


  • In Abilities – I believe I have the ability to do it, or can acquire the ability
  • Interpersonal Confidence – I can influence others

Can we develop Mental Toughness?

We can. We can either help someone change their mental toughness or we can show someone how to adopt the behviours that a mentality tough person would adopt. Either way, many of the benefits of developing mental toughness can be achieved.

For more information contact us at

Hitting the refresh button on your sales skills

For many businesses the start of a New Year is the time to communicate their strategic objectives and set sales targets for next 12 months. But, how many of us at this time year also take the time to reflect of our sales performance during the previous 12 months? Reviewing, what went well? What challenges did you face? What could you do differently to improve your performance?

Sometimes, we can lose sight of the simple things that when working with customers / clients make all the difference. Have a look through the list of core skills and behaviours below and see if you are doing these during every single sale or customer interaction. If  not, maybe now is a good time to hit the refresh button and put some energy and focus back into your sales approach.

  • Research your customers – find out their strengths, weaknesses, ambitions, competitors and challenges.
  • Know your sales success criteria – have a clear process for your call / meeting. Think through the different questions the customer may ask and rehearse how you can react seamlessly.
  • Prepare all your questions – A major part in being confident when selling comes down to being extremely well prepared.
  • Tailor your approach – being able to adapt the way you communicate will allow you to build rapport quickly with different personality types. Listening carefully and picking up on use of language and responding accordingly will help you engage effectively with customers
  • Balance confidence and enthusiasm – have complete faith in what you are selling  but overconfidence can be a negative trait and turn the customer off.
  • Sell ethically & with integrity – never overpromise, build open and honest relationships with your customers.
  • Handling objections – remain positive and see objections as an opportunity to re-position the value / benefits that your products / services can provide. Isolate objection and don’t move on until you have confirmed the customers is happy with your response.

Futureproof have a real passion for keeping it sales simple and getting the little things right!

If you want to know more please get in touch 01623 409824 or email

What is a high-performance team?

Wikipedia define a high-performance team as a group of people with specific roles and complementary talents and skills, aligned with and committed to a common purpose, who consistently show high levels of collaboration and innovation, produce superior results, and extinguish radical or extreme opinions that could be damaging. The high-performance team is regarded as tight-knit, focused on their goal and have supportive processes that will enable any team member to surmount any barriers in achieving the team’s goals.

This is a very simple but strong definition about team culture that many businesses are striving to instil in their workplace. Sometimes in the learning and development world we can over complicate or have a tendency to be constantly looking for new techniques and new ways of working when some of the simple things done well can provide the most powerful results.     

I’m not saying we shouldn’t use tools and models to help us on this journey for example, Tuckman’s stages of group development, the application of Belbin and the use of MBTI or Insights profiling tools will provide invaluable knowledge and insight about self and others.

Different characteristics are used to describe high-performance teams, however if you can truly commit to the some or all of the key characteristics below it will naturally lead to success.   

  • Participative leadership – using a democratic leadership style that involves and engages team members
  • Effective decision-making – using a blend of rational and intuitive decision making methods, depending on that nature of the decision task
  • Open and clear communication – ensuring that the team mutually constructs shared meaning, using effective communication methods and channels
  • Valued diversity – valuing a diversity of experience and background in team, contributing to a diversity of viewpoints, leading to better decision making and solutions
  • Mutual trust – trusting in other team members and trusting in the team as an entity
  • Managing conflict – dealing with conflict openly and transparently and not allowing grudges to build up and destroy team morale
  • Clear goals – goals that are developed using SMART criteria; also each goal must have personal meaning and resonance for each team member, building commitment and engagement
  • Defined roles and responsibilities – each team member understands what they must do (and what they must not do) to demonstrate their commitment to the team and to support team success
  • Coordinative relationship – the bonds between the team members allow them to seamlessly coordinate their work to achieve both efficiency and effectiveness
  • Positive atmosphere – an overall team culture that is open, transparent, positive, future-focused and able to deliver success

Futureproof specialise in team and people development that is focused on creating an inclusive, effective and enjoyable working environment.

If you want to know more please get in touch 01623 409824 or email