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What’s Happening in June?

It’s a long road out of the social restrictions that we have had in place for months now, but in February, the Prime Minister announced a four-step plan to ease England’s lockdown, which could see all legal limits on social contact lifted by 21 June, as long as strict conditions are met. The government hopes to re-open the final closed areas of the economy

That being the case, and as long as good progress continues to be made, life could go back to something like normal in June. Here are some of the events that we, hopefully, will be able to enjoy:

30 May – 5th JuneBike Week

This year’s theme is health and wellbeing. Cycling is a great way to keep fit and is a good way to boost immunity, Bike week this year promises to launch with the World’s Biggest Bike Ride. 

5th JuneWorld Environment Day

Considered by many to be the most important event on the environmental calendar, the theme of this year’s World Environment Day is Ecosystem Restoration, which can take many forms: Growing trees, greening cities, rewilding gardens, or even changing diets.

 5th June – Sausage Roll Day

There are options for Vegans too.

5th-12th JuneFestival of Nature

Join the UK’s largest free celebration of the natural world and make your walks a little wilder and take action for nature.

11th-21th JuneMoray Walking & Outdoor Festival

A midsummer walking festival that stages events across Moray including walking challenges, gentle ambles and other outdoor events. Great for enjoying long summer days exploring walks in on the coast, over hills, in forests, by rivers and through towns. 

 20th June – Fathers Day

.21 June – Summer Solstice – Longest day of the year

If all goes well, people will be able to gather again this year, at Stonehenge overnight to celebrate the Summer Solstice and watch the sun rise over the stones. The event usually brings together New Age Tribes, ordinary families, tourists, travellers and party people. English Heritage are expected to be providing “Managed Open Access” for around 20,000 people to Stonehenge this year. 

If all goes well, these are just some of the things that we can hopefully be looking forward to in June.

10 Top Tips for PowerPoint Presentations

With PowerPoint, it’s important to note that the best presentations should not be remembered. They should be part of the background, because they are there to support you and the message you’re trying to get across.

Bad PowerPoint presentations are a distraction. Too much text, poor design and amateur looking photos all detract from the message you’re trying to get across and undermine your professional credibility.

Here are 10 powerful and potent 10 tips below to make your presentation great.

1. Keep Text Short and To the Point

Remember, remember that PowerPoint is a tool to support your presentation. Don’t put the literal text onto your slides. Use bullet-points and keep it to the point. Your audience should focus on you, not the presentation.

2. Silence the Sound Effects

Sound effects are distracting and outdated. In most cases avoid them. You can add audio or music to highlight an important point, but unless it is really effective, leave it out.

3. Get the Font Right

If you pick the wrong font it can cause your text to be unreadable for your audience. Verdana, Calibri and Helvetica are safe choices. And make sure the font is the right size. Not too small or large.

4. Don’t Use Flashy Slide Transitions

Subtle, consistent animations within slides are far more effective than over-the-top transitions between slides.

5. Contrast

It is important to take contrast into account, as well as the font that you use. When placing text on a photo, or other background. Change the text colour so it can be seen, or use a border or shadow around the writing.

6. Use High Quality Images

Make sure any images that you use are good quality and relevant to your material. There are a number of sites that provide great quality photos for free; on a variety of subjects. Our favourite is Unsplash.

7. Use Accurate and Relevant Charts

Make sure your information design is simple and that your audience can see exactly what the chart is showing instantly. And make sure the data is relevant to what you are saying and supports your presentation.

8. Visualize Data with Infographics

Use visuals to convey dense data instead of text. Graphs might give you the results you are looking for. Donut-graphs are a simple and effective way to do this, but PowerPoint offers other powerful tools such as WordArt.

9. Keep Your Tables Simple

If there is a lot of information in a table, first get rid of any of it that you can and keep only what you really need. Then delete unnecessary outlines, colours and borders. With tables ‘less is more’ should be your watchword.

10. Use Presenter View

You are the presentation. You are the presenter. Not PowerPoint. If it is possible and you are working with more than one screen, use Presenter view to show the information relevant to you on a private screen, along with any notes that you have made.

If you make your PowerPoint presentations effective, it will be your message that will be remembered and not another bad set of slides.

Great Outdoors Month

“When the world in which you live in
Gets a bit too much to bear
When you need someone to lean on
When you look, there’s no one there
You’re going to find me out in the country
Come on and find me out in the country”

In The Country’ – The Farmers Boys

After being confined indoors for too long over the last year and with summer almost here, it is time to get out and about. June is Great Outdoors Month and it’s the perfect opportunity to encourage children in the importance of outside play.

Not only is a day outdoors something that can be part of a healthy lifestyle, it is often a free or cheap day out for families. It’s a great way to learn about nature, the environment, history and geography; it can also form the basis of school projects and is, as a bonus, a lot of fun.

“Discover incredible landscapes, wildlife, lifestyles and adventures. Find yourself.”

“Conservation, enhancement, sustainability, enjoyment – four words that sit at the heart of all National Parks.”

“Stunning natural beauty, beautiful wildlife and fascinating cultural heritage make these living and working landscapes truly unique.”

National Parks Website

As well, as stunning countryside in every corner, the UK has 15 National Parks, each one of which has been designated as a protected landscape. There are 10 National Parks in England, three in Wales and two in Scotland, they are:

  • England –  Broads, Dartmoor, Exmoor, Lake District, New Forest, Northumberland, North York Moors, Peak District, South Downs and Yorkshire Dales.
  • Wales – Brecon Beacons, Pembrokeshire Coast, and Snowdonia
  • Scotland – Cairngorms and Loch Lomond & The Trossachs.

All National Parks in the UK have been designated a protected landscape because of their special qualities. National Parks are administered their own authority and have an incredible diversity of wildlife. They hosted over 330 conservation projects in 2019/20. Added to this there are thousands of kilometres of public rights of way and 1,300km of these have been designated suitable for those with accessibility issues

National Parks are funded by central government and have specific purposes that are enshrined in law. In England and Wales, they are:

  • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage.
  • Promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of national parks by the public.

Take part in Great Outdoors Month and get involved by exercising or taking part in volunteer programmes. Take some time to enjoy the incredible beauty of the countryside in the UK.

How to Be a Great Communicator

We all know just how important effective communication is, especially in a changing world, where much more communicating is done remotely. Building communication skills is critical to your personal and professional success.  Strong communications skills help us build trust, can prevent or resolve problems, provide clarity and direction, create better relationships, increase engagement, improve productivity and promote team building.

Good communication improves relationships, both in work and in your personal life with friends and family members.

Fundamentals of Communication

Infero Training’s one day Fundamentals of Communication course provides an overview of the basic principles of business communication. It provides guidelines and best practices for effectively communicating in the workplace, thereby improving productivity and mutual understanding in culturally diverse business organizations.

Delivery Method – Instructor-led, group-paced, online or classroom-delivery learning model with structured hands-on activities.

Target Students – Business professionals who are interested in learning effective written and verbal communication techniques.

Prerequisites – Ability to use Microsoft Word is an advantage.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Communicate formally and informally in business so there is a mutual understanding between the sender and the receiver.
  • Write clear, concise business communication so that it has a positive and meaningful impact on the reader and achieves the desired result.
  • Use graphics in business communication so that facts, processes, and summaries are effectively designed to convey visual and textual information.
  • Use verbal and non-verbal communication appropriately in business so that there are no barriers to mutual understanding in culturally diverse organizations.
  • Use electronic communication in business so that you observe proper etiquette and ensure professionalism to send and receive messages.
Course Content
Lesson 1: Understanding Business Communication

Topic 1A: Identify Basic Communication Techniques

Topic 1B: Describe Formal and Informal Communication

Lesson 2: Communicating in Writing

Topic 2A: Write Effective Business Documents

Topic 2B: Write Effective Business Letters

Topic 2C: Write Effective Emails

Topic 2D: Write Effective Reports

Lesson 3: Communicating with Graphics

Topic 3A: Create Graphics for Business Communication

Topic 3B: Communicate Static Information

Topic 3C: Communicate Dynamic Information

Lesson 4: Using Verbal and Non-verbal Communication

Topic 4A: Describe Verbal and Non-verbal Communication

Topic 4B: Identify Elements of Effective Meetings

Topic 4C: Identify Elements of Effective Presentations

Topic 4D: Read Body Language

Lesson 5: Communicating Electronically

Topic 5A: Using Voice Communication in Business

Topic 5B: Using Internet Communication in Business

Infero also has courses on Advanced Communication Skills, Effective Presentations, Face-to-Face Communications, Communication Skills for Leaders and many others. Find out more here.

HOW TO READ MORE BOOKS

There are so many interesting books, and we all struggle to find more time to read them. How to find time to go through an endless ocean of books?

Here are 5 Ways to Read More Books:

1. MAKE READING PART OF YOUR ROUTINE

Just as people reserve 30 minutes a day to exercise, you can increase reading volumes by five times by simply engaging in a book each morning during breakfast.

Wake up a little earlier each day and read while you drink your coffee, spend   half an hour before bedtime reading, and read a few pages while you are having your lunch breaks. It usually takes up to six weeks to develop a habit.

2. LEARN TO DOUBLE TASK

Learn to read a book while you’re doing something else that doesn’t require your full attention. You can read or listen to books while working out, cooking, cleaning, and even walking.

3.LISTEN INSTEAD OF READING

Listening to audiobooks is not cheating.

Audiobooks are one of many ways to enjoy a good book, and they are amazing when it comes to multitasking. You can listen to an audiobook while driving, exercising, walking, cooking!

4. READ MORE THAN ONE BOOK AT A TIME

Sometimes, no matter how much we are enjoying a book, we are just not in the mood to read it. It can hold us back and give a feeling of dissatisfaction.

So, why not to start reading another book in a different genre?

You can come back to the one you started earlier when you feel you are ready for that.

5. CREATE A READING SPACE

Having a cosy space where you like spending time can help you read more books. Create a special nook in your home with a comfy chair, good lighting, and everything you like to have while reading.

Prepare your favourite snacks, drinks, turn off your gadgets, and enjoy your book.

It will make your reading time less of a chore and more of an opportunity to relax and lose yourself in a very good book.

Remember, that reading should be fun, not something that feels like hard work. Enjoy your reading!

What Version of Office Have You Got?

Having the most up to date version of Microsoft Office (now known as Microsoft 365) is good, as you can use all of the new functionality which Microsoft have added. However even older versions have all of the features that most people need.

If you are unsure what version of Microsoft Office you have then open either a Word document or Excel Workbook, choose File from the top left corner, and then click either Account or Help on the left navigation bar. You’ll see your Office version and information under Product information, on the right side of the window.

If you don’t see Account or Help after clicking File, you may be using an older version of Office. Open one of your existing Office document or create a new document open in any of the Office applications such as Word or Excel. You should be able to match your version with the screenshots below.

Office 2019,2016 and 2013

Office 2010

Office 2007

Office 2003 has text-based menus on the gray-bar and the menu headings:

FileEditViewInsertFormatToolsTableWindow, and Help

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at Infero Training.

Get Caught Reading Month

Get Caught Reading Month

May is Get Caught Reading Month. The main goal of the campaign is to remind people of all ages that it is actually fun to read.

Here are six ways you can celebrate Get Caught Reading Month:

  1. Just Start Reading

All you need to do is dig into a book and forget about everything else. Take your favourite book and read it on your lunch break, or while you’re enjoying a quiet coffee break, and keep that book by your side at all times.

The most important thing is not to put it out of sight; whilst your book is easily reachable, there are more chances for you to get back to reading.

  1. Form a Book Club.

Gather a group of eager readers and enjoy a masterpiece together. It’s a great way for people to interact with each other and explore shared literary interests.

  1. Invite a Mystery Reader

Each week invite a guest into your club; it could be a local celebrity, or a local author. This will keep your book club members excited about who will be coming in and what book they will read next. 

  1. Invest in a Digital Reader

Many of us nowadays have digital readers, so charge up its battery and load it up with your favourite books.

There are many books available digitally for a lower price than print copies or even for free.

  1. Set Aside a Special “Reading time”

This is set “Reading time” when everybody who wants to be involved needs to stop what they’re doing and start reading.

For those who are a little reluctant, you can provide a treat during “Reading time”. This might be especially good for children, encouraging them read more.

  1. Get caught reading to children.

Find a snug spot at home or outdoors and create a routine that goes on for the whole year and not just this month.

Happy reading!

Stress Management Course

Living with high levels of stress can put your entire well-being at risk. wreaking havoc on your emotional and physical health. It narrows your ability to think clearly, function effectively, and enjoy life. There may seem like there’s nothing you can do about stress, but you have a lot more control than you might think.

Effective stress management helps you to be happier, healthier, and more productive. It helps achieve a balanced life, with time for work, relaxation, and fun. Perhaps most importantly, good stress management helps you to develop resilience; meaning you are able to hold up under pressure and meet challenges head on. Infero’s stress management course helps you experiment and find out what works best for you.

STRESS MANAGEMENT

In this one day Infero course, participants will learn how to define stress and will learn to understand its effects on emotional health, examine strategies for coping with stress, employ mindfulness meditation techniques, learn how to make personal contacts positive and meaningful, and explore ways to attain and maintain emotional maturity.

Delivery Method – Instructor led, group-paced, online or classroom-delivery learning model with structured hands-on activities.

Prerequisites – There are no prerequisites for this course.

Course Objectives – You will examine strategies for coping with stress.

COURSE CONTENT
INTRODUCTION

Welcome and Introductions

Learning Objectives and Agenda

MODULE 1: Understanding Stress

Recognizing Stress

Identifying Behavior Patterns

The Three Stages of Stress

Examining Workplace Stress

Stress in Your Workplace

Understanding Burnout

Finding the Right Amount of Stress

MODULE 2: Taking Responsibility for Your Own Stress

Identifying Stress in Your Life

Coping with Stress

Stress Release

Case Study: Maria’s Overwhelming Stress

MODULE 3: Reducing Stress Through Biofeedback, Mindfulness, and Meditation

Understanding Biofeedback and Mindfulness

Meditation Exercise

Seven Attitudes That Contribute to Emotional Health

MODULE 4: Improving Relationships with Self and Others

Accepting Yourself as a Unique Individual

Realistic and Unrealistic Expectations

Assessing Your Strengths

Acknowledging Universal Human Needs

Building Better Relationships

Recognizing Negative Relationship Patterns

How Well Do You Relate to Others?

Case Study: John Relates to Family and Friends

MODULE 5: Enhancing Your Emotional Health

Understanding Emotional Maturity

Case Study: Roger Deals with a Common Problem

Exploring Your Own Emotional Fitness

Building Self-Confidence

Solving Problems Openly

Ten Tips for Maintaining Emotional Fitness

Case Study: Carol Looks Ahead

Setting Personal Goals

CONCLUSION

Learning Objectives Review

Course Evaluation

Call us to find out the latest deals on the course and to enrol today.

6 Ways to Beat Stress

April is Stress Awareness month and we all know what it’s like to feel stressed, but it’s not easy to describe exactly what stress means. When we say things like “this is stressful” or “I’m stressed”, we usually talk about situations that put pressure on us – for example, times where we have lots to do and think about, or don’t have much control over what happens.

What is Stress?

When we feel stressed, we often find it hard to sleep or eat well, and poor diet and lack of sleep can affect our physical health, which, in turn can make us feel more stressed emotionally.

Why We Experience It

The issue is that when we feel anxious, our bodies release hormones called cortisol and adrenaline, the body’s automatic way of responding to a threat, sometimes called the “fight or flight” response. If you’re often stressed, then you’re probably producing high levels of these hormones, which can make you feel physically unwell and could affect your health in the longer term.

What to Do to Bust It

When stress becomes overwhelming, or it’s chronic, it can seriously affect your well-being. That’s why it’s important to have effective stress relievers that can calm your mind and your body.

1. Aromatherapy

Relaxing smells decrease stress hormones and make you feel energized, they also help shift your mood into more positive mode.

2. Try some meditation

At least, give it a go, even if you are very busy or are not sure if meditation is beneficial. There is huge amount of meditation apps on the market, also, lots of the apps are free.

3. Get moving

Start exercising, even if it is only a short stroll outside your office, or a brisk walk in the park.

4. Develop a positive self-talk habit

Praise yourself for every achievement however small it is.

5.  Practice yoga

The benefits of yoga are immeasurable. Practicing yoga improves strength, balance and flexibility, brings in more energy and brighter moods, helps you relax, which, in turn, helps you sleep better, which, in the end, helps you manage your stress level.

6. Do something you really enjoy

Allow yourself some time to do something you’ve always wanted but postponed it because there were more important things to do.

It could be anything from gardening, learning to draw or playing a musical instrument to quilting and doing embroidery or writing a poem or a novel.

If you aren’t into drawing or painting, consider colouring in a colouring book. Recently, colouring books for adults have risen in popularity; colouring can be a great stress reliever, can be done anywhere, anytime and doesn’t cost lots.

This are some suggestions for managing life’s inevitable ups and downs. There are many other tools to help keep stress at a manageable level. All you need to do is to experiment and find out for yourself which works better for you.

Is it Time to Learn Microsoft Project?

Microsoft Teams is one of the success stories of the last year, spurred on by the massive growth in home working brought about by the global pandemic. In fact, in October of 2020, Microsoft announced that Teams had reached 115 million daily active users.

Microsoft project management software however includes not only Teams but also Microsoft Project. However, whereas Teams was launched in 2017, MS Project has been in the business for almost four decades. For a long time, the de facto software for Project Management, it is still very widely used for complex projects.

MS Project is scalable and can accommodate all sizes of business from start-ups to enterprises, across numerous industries, whatever their project plan. It can be used for an extremely wide range of project activities, including:

  • Development of project plans
  • The creation of Gantt charts
  • Managing & creating budgets
  • Resource assignment
  • Progress tracking
  • Task scheduling
  • Creation of very detailed graphical reports
  • Provides a big picture view of organizational capacity
  • For Team management

Obviously, Ms Project has seamless integration with Microsoft Teams. Microsoft are also introducing some really smart integrations with Power BI. As well as the desktop version there is also Microsoft Project Online, a cloud-based, web browser version of MS Project. Built on the SharePoint platform, Project Online stores data in the SharePoint data store. Just like it’s the desktop counterpart, it offers resources to help plan, prioritize and manage workflows of all different kinds.

If you want to learn more about SharePoint, we have a blog here. And if you’d like to know how project management is made easier with MS Project, try here.

If you’re persuaded that you should learn MS Project, Infero have an industry leading course for you. The details are below.

Microsoft Project Introduction

This course is designed to familiarize you with the basic features and functions of Microsoft Project Professional 2013 so that you can use it effectively and efficiently in a real-world environment. It is an instructor led, group-paced, Live Virtual/Classroom training with structured hands-on activities.

Target Students – Students taking this course are responsible for managing projects in a work environment. This includes creating and maintaining project plans.

Prerequisites – You should have basic project management knowledge and skills. It will be helpful if you have familiarity and competency in using other Microsoft Office applications.

Certification – This course is one of a series of courses that addresses Microsoft Certified Application Specialist (Microsoft Business Certification) skill sets. The Microsoft Certified Application Specialist program is for individuals who use Microsoft’s business desktop software and who seek recognition for their expertise with specific Microsoft products. Certification candidates must pass one or more proficiency exams in order to earn Microsoft Certified Application Specialist certification.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Start planning a Project
  • Work with Project Calendars
  • Work with Project Tasks
  • Work with Project Resources
  • Deliver a Project Plan

Course Content

Lesson 1: Starting a Project

Topic A: Project Management 101

Topic B: Navigate and Customize the Project 2013 Interface

Topic C: Add Tasks to a Project

Topic D: Add Resources to a Project

Topic E: Save a Project

Lesson 2: Working with Project Calendars

Topic A: Manage Project Time Frames

Topic B: Change Working Time

Lesson 3: Working with Project Tasks

Topic A: Manage Project Tasks

Topic B: Add Summary Tasks and Milestones

Lesson 4: Working with Project Resources

Topic A: Manage Project Resources

Topic B: Allocate and Level Work Resources

Lesson 5: Delivering a Project Plan

Topic A: Print Project Views

Topic B: Share Projects

Topic C: Export Projects

Contact us here at Infero Training today to find out more.