Monthly Archives: June 2016

How To Start A Conversation With Anyone 

When giving a recent presentation at a women’s networking group one of the questions that I was asked was “how do you start a conversation when you’re an introvert and can’t think of anything worse to have to do?”

I’ve always been lucky that I find it easy to start a conversation with anyone so I suggested 10 questions that she could ask in different situations.

As I looked around the room I noticed that a lot of the women present were writing these suggestions down. So clearly this is something that many women struggle with.

Striking up a conversation can be intimidating for even the most extroverted person.  So, if you want some ideas on how to break an awkward silence, start a conversation with your CEO when you bump into them in the lift or are off to your first networking event then check out the tips below:

1. Small talk

An easy way to start a conversation with someone is to engage the person in small talk.

If there’s a holiday coming up try asking them a question about that – such as “What are you doing for Summer holidays?” or, if you’re meeting them at the beginning of the week, “How was your weekend?” or alternatively at the end of the week “What are you doing this weekend?”

2. Ask for their recommendations

Most people are flattered to be asked for their recommendations. So, if you’re attending an event try asking if they’ve been to the event before. Then, if you get an affirmative answer, you can ask what they recommend seeing or doing. Should you be at a restaurant try asking the person/people you are with what they’d recommend from the menu.

3. Make them feel comfortable 

You can do this by asking them a question that’s easy for them to answer. If you’re at an event you could ask “Have you been here before?”, “Which talks are you looking forward to?” or “How was your journey in?”

If you’ve just started a new job then “How long have you worked here?” and What do you enjoy most about working here?” are good conversation openers.

4. Ask open-ended questions 

If you ask closed questions such as ‘Do you like reading?” it’s possible you’ll get ‘no’ for an answer. And that’s that conversation killed. Instead try asking them what their favourite book is and why they enjoy it so much.

5. Ask about their kids, partner, holidays, and hobbies

People like to talk about themselves so ask them what they like doing outside work. And then, if they say it’s taking the children to swimming and football, you can follow it up by enquiring how many children they have.

6. Remark on your surroundings 

This is a great way to start a conversation if you’re at an event and you’re getting a drink as you can turn to the person next to you and comment “Isn’t it a lovely location/room/restaurant? Deleting as applicable.

7. Give a compliment

Most people are more than happy to be complimented so you could say “I like your handbag, where did you get it?”  Be genuine in your compliments though. So if you think it’s the most hideous bag you’ve ever seen maybe comment on their shoes instead because a fake compliment will be spotted immediately!

8. Refer to previous conversations 

If you’ve met the person before but still don’t know them that well you could ask them a question about something they were doing last time you met.  Something like: “The last time we met I recall you were off on holiday to Greece, what was the best bit?” People will be impressed if you remember details about them.

So now that you have some examples of how to start a conversation let’s remind ourselves of the basics when talking to people.

1. Be approachable

Smile if someone catches your eye  because this will make it easier for them to join you.

2. Arrive early 

If you’re off to a networking event arrive early and then people will come to you as they join and you can introduce them to others. This tactic will help put everyone at ease.

3. Relax 

Remember that others may be nervous too so just relax and practice starting conversations so that you get used to doing it without thinking about it.

4. Say the other persons name occasionally 

This will help you remember it for the future and will also help you build rapport with the person.

5. Acknowledge that you’re listening

Let them know that you’re listening and interested in what they have to say by nodding your head and making appropriate comments and responses.


Caroline Arnold 

Executive Coach

T: @carnoldcoaching

F: Caroline Arnold Coaching


I: Carnoldcoaching

S: Carnoldcoaching

Ted Talks to Inspire

I’m off to Italy at the weekend for a friend’s wedding and I can’t wait! The bag is packed, my Kindle updated and I’m ready to go.

What’s not to love?  4 days with my boyfriend in stunning Tuscany celebrating with friends, drinking Champagne and eating local food in the gorgeous Italian sunshine.

Then I remember our flight is at 6am and the excitement starts to waver ever so slightly. I am a morning person but that’s an early start even for me.

In preparation for the ever so slightly boring wait at the airport I have downloaded some Ted Talks to pass the time.

So, if you’re off on holiday soon or you just want something different to watch during your commute to work, or to avoid the football, then download thee Ted Talks below for some true inspiration.

They’ll help fire you up if you’re off to an interview, if you need a general confidence boost or are about do an important presentation at work.

They might even inspire you to become the next leader!

Inspirational Ted Talks

Sheryl Sandberg – Why we have too few women Leaders


Anne-Marie Slaughter – Can we all “have it all”


Amy Cuddy – Your Body language shapes who you are


Julian Treasure – How to speak so that people want to listen


Susan Cain – The power of introverts



If you haven’t been to a Ted Talk event then I recommend having a look to see if there ‘s one in your area.

I went to one for the first time last year in Bristol and it was a fantastic day out.

Caroline Arnold 

Executive Coach

T: @carnoldcoaching

F: Caroline Arnold Coaching



Tips on How to Set Goals

As far back as I can remember I’ve been a goal setter.

At school I set goals regarding the grades I needed to go to university.

When I got to university it was about getting a good degree so that I could apply for a graduate scheme.

Currently my goals are all about how many coaching sessions I carry out every week.

Everyone says they know the importance and benefits of goals. Yet so many of my clients struggle to communicate exactly what their goal is, why they want to achieve it and when they want to have accomplished it by.

In case you aren’t yet convinced of the benefits of goal setting let’s remind ourselves of why it’s a good idea to have them.

Why setting goals is beneficial 

1. Focuses you on what you want to achieve.

2. Helps you turn your vision into a reality.

3. Stops you from procrastinating.

5. Measures progress.

6. Increases motivation as you achieve smaller goals on the way.

7. Can lead to a promotion at work with a salary increase.

I think we can all agree that a promotion at work with a salary increase sounds like a great result if that was your goal. So how do you go about setting a goal?

How to set goals

Setting SMART objectives seems to be the norm now in the workplace but in case you aren’t familiar with the format here’s what SMART objectives are:

  • S – Specific: You indicate who is doing the action, what’s happening, when it’s happening, why it’s happening, and how it’s happening.
  • M – Measurable: State the metrics that you’ll use to determine whether you’ve met your objectives. It should be a numeric or descriptive quality that defines quality, quantity, cost, etc.
  • A – Attainable: Is this goal attainable and within someone’s capabilities?
  • R – Relevant: Does the goal align with the broader goals of the company or department?
  • T – Time-bound: Include the date by which you’ll achieve the objectives or the frequency with which you’ll carry out the activity

Example of a SMART goal could be:

I’ll be promoted externally to HR Director by January 31st 2017 with an increase in salary package of 15%. I will have reduced my commute to a 30-minute walk instead of a 45-minute train ride, which will help improve my overall fitness and mindfulness.

To achieve that goal I will:

  • Update my CV and let 10 of my contacts on LinkedIn know that I’m looking.
  • Connect with 5 recruitment agencies and attend 1 networking event every month.
  • Spend time researching the company and do a mock interview with a friend who is an HR director.
  • Read a book on how to negotiate because I know I’m not a strong negotiator.

What may stop you achieving goals?

Once you’ve set your SMART goal it’s time to be honest with your self and think about what may stop you achieving it – what ‘roadblocks’ you might put in the way.

List these roadblocks and write by each one as many ways as you can think of to get around them so that you will absolutely achieve this goal.

For example it may be that you want to do a Master’s degree but your excuse for not doing it is that you don’t have the money.

Write a list of ways that you can increase your income and reduce your spend. For example, to increase your income you may get a flat mate, put your spare room on Air BnB or get a second job.

To reduce your spend you may negotiate new cheaper contracts on phone and Internet providers, cancel your gym membership and go for a run with a friend in the park instead, have a clear out and sell unwanted items on Ebay.

Or you could ask your company to sponsor your Master’s or see if there’s a scholarship available.

Hopefully you get the idea that there are ways around the roadblocks that may sabotage your success. Recognizing them early on and being prepared for how you’ll overcome them will ensure you stay on track.

Get support

To help you stay on track you could get a coach, join a mastermind group where you’re held accountable each week or try asking at work if there’s a mentoring programme that you could sign up to.

Reward your successes 

As you move towards achieving your goal make sure you celebrate the smaller steps so that you stay motivated.

For example, if your goal is to get a new job then your first step may have been to update your CV. Once you have done that reward yourself with drinks out with friends and once you have your new job with your increased salary consider booking a well-deserved holiday.

I hope that you’ve found these tips helpful. If you’re setting a goal at the moment why don’t you share this blog with a friend? Then you can set goals together and hold each other accountable.
Caroline Arnold 

Executive Coach

T: @carnoldcoaching

F: Caroline Arnold Coaching


I: Carolinearnoldcoaching

Management and Leadership Training

Promoting an employee is an exciting time for everyone concerned.

But it’s not enough just to give the promotion.  It’s vital that you then support the newly promoted person with suitable training.

Without that support it’s possible that what should be a positive and life-enhancing experience instead becomes stressful and career damaging for the employee in question.

But that situation is avoidable.

I offer a range of training modules designed to equip managers and leaders to tackle the challenges ahead of them.

The training offers many benefits – either to the individual or an organization:

Benefits to the individual

  • Become more confident and successful in your role.
  • Acquire the skills that distinguish a successful leader from a manager.
  • Understand your strengths and weaknesses and build on them.
  • Generate insights into effective ways of motivating and coaching others.
  • Discover how to lead teams to perform at their best

Benefits to a company 

  • Build a group of exceptional leaders well prepared for their roles.
  • Enhance team-leadership skills in your team members.
  • Improve the networking and influencing skills of your team.
  • Create a diverse, performance-oriented culture.
  • Reduce turnover by creating a team more confident in their roles.

The training covers a wide variety of topics that comprise a thorough grounding in the following:

Leadership Training Topics

  • Networking
  • Self-awareness
  • Hiring a team or successor
  • Empowering others through coaching and mentoring
  • Creating a culture of feedback
  • Leading change

Management Training Topics

  • Time Management
  • How to have difficult conversations
  • Recruiting high performing teams
  • Disciplinary processes
  • How to manage a restructure and redundancy programme.

Investment: £1,499 per day


Find out more about how my coaching services will benefit you and your company by clicking  here to contact Caroline.

Mastermind Group

Caroline Arnold, Executive Coach

Caroline Arnold, Executive Coach

Mastermind Groups are powerful and can do wonders for your career as well as for you personally.

Growing in a group is not only more effective – it’s quite a bit more fun!

What will you get from joining the Mastermind Group?

  • Mutual support – an instant and valuable support network.
  • Differing perspectives. Hearing the different views, ideas and experiences of your fellow mastermind participants will allow you to see issues you might not otherwise be aware of.
  • Accountability – your fellow group members will hold you accountable to the goals you set. In addition, just knowing that you have a regular scheduled meeting will drive you to make progress.
  • Increased confidence. Know that you’ve made the right decisions and are taking the right actions to achieve your goals.  Picture the boost to your everyday positive mental attitude as you feed off each other’s successes.
  • Think bigger – you can’t help but think bigger and stretch beyond your boundaries when surrounded by amazing people doing amazing things.
  • A safe place: What happens in the mastermind group stays in the mastermind group.

How long will the Mastermind Group run for?
The mastermind group will run for 6 weeks.

How big will the Mastermind Group be?
The mastermind group will have up to 6 participants with me as the group facilitator.

How much is the Mastermind Group?
The mastermind group costs £499.00 per participant.

How Does It Work?
The mastermind group is a formal, structured and focused group that will inspire you to greater career productivity.

It will consist of a weekly call of 60 minutes. The format of the call is as follows:

First ten minutes: Every member shares one win.

Next forty minutes: One person takes the hot seat where they share a problem, issue or project that they want help with and the rest of the group offer advice and support.

Last ten minutes: Everyone sets 1goal that they will focus on during the following week.

There will also be a private Facebook group so that you can support each other and ask questions.  I will be commenting and answering questions throughout the duration of your mastermind group.

Who Should Attend a Mastermind Group?

Women who:

  • Want to succeed in their career
  • Have the desire and inspiration to make this year extraordinary
  • Want a supportive team of Mastermind partners
  • Want to reach or exceed their goals

If you’d like to find out more about the great benefits available to you as a member of one of my mastermind groups click here to contact me.



Get Unstuck And Get Moving

6 weeks of total focus to get you past your sticking point.

This package is for you if:

  • You’re serious about getting unstuck and creating positive, forward momentum in your career and life.
  • You feel exhausted and frustrated from doing everything but making no progress.
  • There is some obstacle or challenge that keeps getting in your way.
  • Your career or relationship is stuck on hold and needs a real breakthrough.
  • You want to leave the corporate environment to start your own business but are fearful of taking the leap of faith. 


This 6-week coaching programme includes:

  • Six x 1 hour coaching sessions via Skype.
  • Weekly newsletter & podcast tips on how to be more successful.
  • Exercises straight to your inbox so that you can keep moving forward.
  • 1 x 30 minute follow up call within 8 weeks after finishing
  • Accountability every week!

My Get Unstuck and Get Moving 6-week Coaching package is £999


Start your amazing coaching journey now by clicking on the Add to Cart button. In 6 week’s time there’ll be a new, successful you!

Accomplish Something Amazing


3 months dedicated to an important goal

Do you have a goal that you really want to achieve but yet you keep avoiding?

 Do you feel that you could make it happen if you only had some extra help, guidance, and support?

That help is right here. 

Working together we’ll break your goal down into manageable steps and create a focused strategy. In that way we’ll accomplish each step in the right order and in a timely manner.

You’ll always know what you need to do next and how to do it because I’ll be there to guide you every step of the way.

This package is for you if:

  • You feel ready to achieve something life-changing.
  • The time has arrived to stop thinking about it and make it happen.
  • You would feel more confident and actually do it if you had some support and accountability.


This 3 month coaching programme includes:

  • 12 x 1 hour coaching sessions via Skype.
  • Weekly newsletter and podcast with tips on how to be more successful.
  • Exercises emailed to you to keep you moving forward.
  • 1 x 30 minute follow up call within 8 weeks after finishing
  • Weekly Accountability!

The Accomplish Something Amazing Three Month Coaching Package is £600 per month.

Why not you? To start your amazing coaching journey simply click on the Add to Cart button below. Then look forward to that feeling of achievement.

Completely Reinvent Your Career

Six months targeted, step-by-step transformational coaching

Would you like to make some major changes to your work life and reinvent your career?

There’s no need to wish for it. You can make it happen. Work with me for 6 months of step-by-step transformational coaching targeted to your specific needs.

Yes – making such a move can be scary. But it can also transform a mundane existence into an adventure full of passion and excitement. Why shouldn’t that be yours?

One thing is for sure – this kind of transformation deserves careful planning  with support along the way. You’ll get both those things with a Caroline Arnold coaching package.

This package is for you if:

  • You feel compelled to overhaul your career because the thought of one more month of doing what you are doing makes you feel ill.
  • A new, more meaningful and passionate life is calling you and you’re ready to take the plunge.
  • You’re ready to explore all aspects of your career and what you can achieve.


My six month coaching programme includes:

  • 24 x 1 hour coaching sessions dedicated to your needs. Face-to-face or via Skype.
  • Weekly newsletter and podcast with tips on how to be more successful.
  • Exercises straight to your inbox so that you can keep moving forward.
  • 1 x 30 minute follow up call within 8 weeks of finishing the programme.
  • Weekly Accountability

Reinvent Your Career Six Month Coaching Package: £500.00 per month

To start your amazing coaching journey just click on the Add to Cart button below.

What Can We Weed Out?

Julia Cawte

When I do presentations someone will always come up to me and comment that I must be brave to get up on stage and talk. I am very lucky that I love doing talks, however, I recognise that most people don’t enjoy it so I have asked the fabulous Julia Cawte to do a guest blog for us this week to give us tips on how to do fantastic presentations.

Julia Cawte, Communicate with Confidence

The other day I was weeding my garden, which does not happen that often, but the sun was shining and the mood took me. Whilst I was doing this I was pondering on what is a weed? It is said that a weed is simply something we don’t want – they may have beautiful flowers on but we make the decision we don’t want them as we would prefer something else to be in their place.

With a fistful of weeds which went into the compost bin, I was reflecting on what we can weed out of our presentations before we, metaphorically speaking, plant the good stuff.


The most obvious one is verbal fillers, the ers and ums and whist these are not wrong or bad if there is a lot of them, just like weeds, they could become distracting and take over the good stuff. So to weed these out you can get someone you trust, a friend or respected colleague to make a note of how many you are using, in say a two or three minute talk and whether it was off putting. If it was distracting then you can practice a few times to reduce the amount. One way to do this is to say your talk again and remember the word pause in your head. Ers and ums are used to fill the space but if we say pause to ourselves we can train ourselves to do exactly that. So, in this instance, the pause replaces the um or er and when we get used to pauses there is much less of a need to use verbal fillers.

Another one is distracting body language, whether that’s fiddling with our hair, a pen or rocking back and forth. Sometimes we do not know we are doing it and the only way to know for sure is to have ourselves filmed. Once we get over do I really look like that?! (or something similar) video can be a useful learning tool. If you do have something which is a bit distracting then anything to help relax you will be good, as it is usually caused by nerves and an excess of adrenaline in the body. This is totally understandable and there is one thing which can provide immediate help and that is breathing from your belly (as opposed to higher up in your chest).

The last one is not so much a weed but rather an overgrowth of a certain flower or shrub (to continue the metaphor!) I think many of us are in the habit of cramming a lot into a talk or presentation because of the belief that we want to give value or we need to prove that we are the expert. However, less is often more – just like in any well designed garden there is space for everything to breathe, so there is space for your audience to think and assimilate your thoughts.

So I hope you enjoy weeding your gardens as well as talk and presentations.  I would love to know how you get on!

Julia Cawte

If you would like to sign up to Julia’s newsletter please click on this link sign up to my newsletter.

Julia has kindly offered my clients and newsletter community a discount to her Public Speaking course in Bristol.  Here is the link for more information and to buy tickets.  The promotional code is discount.

Julia Cawte