Just another cliché?

When we’re coaching we keep tired phrases and euphemisms ‘on our radar’ because they help us to ‘think outside the box’. But most importantly ‘at the end of the day’ they help us to ‘hit the ground running’ and prevent us from going back to the drawing board’ when we explain them to clients. What’s really important about this issue is that it makes clients ‘think outside the box’ when using words – and really the point is therefore a ‘no brainer’ for inclusion in our coaching. The whole issue of hackneyed phrases in today’s vocabulary really is an ‘elephant in the room’ and yet is ‘par for the course’ in lots of presentations.

Sometimes people think these sorts of phrases give them a bigger ‘bang for your buck’ when meeting someone for the first time and they get the ball rolling’, and also when building rapport helps them to compare ‘apples with apples’ and to ‘drill down’ into the listener’s interests. All in all, people often use old cliches because they think they create a ‘win-win’ situation in understanding. But you know, it’s pretty lazy and just an attempt to use ‘low hanging fruit’ in terms of vocabulary.

Anyway, often it’s important for us with a client to ‘circle back around’, ‘take things offline’ and ‘touch base’ after a meeting on this subject, because although we often have a ‘lot on our plate and don’t always have the ‘bandwidth’, we do try to get ‘all hands on deck’ on this issue and frankly want to ‘move the goal posts’ on these cliches!!

Or as Lucy Kellaway from the FT said earlier this year “As more people try to sound clever, the  standard gets tougher, and before long formerly sensible people start talking absolute rot.” (19.1.15). We rather agree with her – despite the above! If you’re interested take a look at this link: http://www.inc.com/travis-bradberry/please-stop-saying-these-25-ridiculous-phrases-at-work.html?cid=sf01002

2014 Corporate Recruiters Survey Report

In this year’s ‘GMAC 2014 Corporate Recruiters survey’ an interesting assessment appeared regarding the importance of communication skills. Specifically, those communication skills included presentational, oral, listening and written. While the survey covers primarily corporate expectations of today’s post-graduates and MBA students, the very fact that this is what is expected in junior staff must surely confirm what is required from middle and senior management.

Today’s job market has become increasingly competitive.. Not only are recent business school graduates competing against one another, but they are competing against other college graduates and against experienced workers.. When recruiters see a candidate with an MBA or other advanced graduate business degree, they assume that the prospect will have the necessary business knowledge and quantitative skills to fill a position.

To assess the skills and abilities employers demand in recent graduate business hires, this year’s respondents were asked to evaluate the importance of five overall skill sets: communication, managerial, teamwork, leadership, and technical.. Also, for the first time in this survey, they were asked to indicate the proficiency level for the specific skills in each category that they would require of a recent business school graduate being considered for placement in a mid-level position.

Of the five overall skill sets evaluated, employers said communication skills were the most important skills they seek in recent business school graduates, followed by teamwork, technical, leadership, and managerial skills. With the exception of one industry—manufacturing—this finding was true across all world regions and employers, regardless of company size or industry. Communication skills are very important to employers—on average twice as important as managerial skills.

Seen graphically the survey revealed the following:



Desired skill sets for mid-level hires vary across industries and with the exception of manufacturing, employer respondents in each industry sector expect new hires to be highly proficient in oral communication. In fact, skills classified in the communication category dominate the top-rated proficiency levels.

Read More…

Banks go on the attack as IPO competition heats up

In today’s increasingly competitive world of investment bankers pitching for mandates, and while we don’t supply lab coats (!), we believe that the strength of delivery of a presentation will significantly increase the competitive edge. Our Pitch Coaching will help create that strength, as well as saving the pitch team valuable time in preparation. If so much time and thought is given to actually producing the pitch documents and presentation, then why not do the same in actually ensuring your performance and delivery in the critical meetings matches that work? Isn’t it false economy not to? Let alone reducing your chances of ensuring the ‘win’.

Read More…

Our Services

Communication Coaching

Effective communication cannot be achieved by getting people to conform to a ‘one size fits all’ model that is not natural to them. Each of us has the ability to communicate with, influence and motivate others when the circumstances are right.

Kingstree’s approach identifies what is going on when people are communicating well and builds on that natural style, which is unique to each of us.

Through one-on-one tailored sessions, or group workshops we will show you how to :

  • Communicate effectively whatever the pressure.
  • Build structure into all forms of business communications.
  • Use visual aids to support your messages.
  • Guide the communication to a successful outcome.
  • Listen productively and stimulate positive discussion.
  • Be succinct and time efficient in meetings.
  • Rigorously prepare for Q&A.

Reinforcement is key to creating lasting change in any form of coaching and ours is no different. Through the use of your own fully customised web-portal we give can give you easy access to:

  • Focused online e-learning modules
  • Templates
  • KeyPrep, our proprietary software for preparing meetings and presentations.

Transaction Support

Corporate finance transactions typically require spoken communication under pressure and we clearly recognise this. When a company is being sold, listing on the stock exchange, issuing a bond or being restructured, time is of the essence and clarity of advice crucial.

We have specialist transaction consultants at Kingstree – with backgrounds in investment banking and financial PR – who understand the language of corporate finance and who are highly experienced in helping each presenter make a strong, positive first impression to future owners and investors.

Getting spoken communications right creates value in transactions. The challenge is to communicate to potential buyers or investors, the value they will gain from the transaction. In other words, helping them answer that simple question; why should I buy/invest in this company? This involves more than just delivering data and pretty slides. It takes a well-structured sales story and key executives consistently performing at the top of their game, even when faced with frequently repeating the same presentation throughout the process.

Kingstree builds on the natural strengths of the management team to ensure confidence, consistency, credibility and teamwork. Whether preparing for formal presentations, road shows or informal Q&A sessions, we work with the financial advisers to define a clear ‘sales story’ that develops dialogue and motivates investors / buyers into action.

By focusing on getting spoken communications right early in the process, Kingstree can help management teams save time in preparation for management presentations and road shows, allowing them to spent more time on their day job.

Competitive Pitching

Competitive pitches and formal tenders are now a regular feature of business life. Existing clients, as well as new business prospects, are continually asking advisors and providers to participate in rigorous tendering for the supply of virtually all products and services.

Skill in winning competitive presentations for advisory work, commercial contracts, individual fees or peer and senior group attention is increasingly critical. Kingstree coaches individuals and teams in preparing for all these various conditions and circumstances by influencing the following components of the process:

  • Identifying points of differentiation and potential advantage
  • Developing a hard-hitting structure
  • Ensuring a first-class performance and delivery on the day
  • Reducing preparation time to the minimum

Negotiation Skills

The Kingstree Group (U.K.) Ltd, are market leaders in the specialist field of negotiation skills.

The negotiation programme is fast, inter-active, flexible and fun, with practical, easy to implement principles reinforced through participation in simulated negotiations with video feedback.


Reinforcement is key to creating lasting change in any form of coaching and ours is no different. Through the use of your own fully customised web-portal we give can give you easy access to:

Focused online e-learning modules
KeyPrep, our proprietary software for preparing meetings and presentations

Speech Writing

If you are delivering opening remarks, addressing an audience, hosting an event or accepting an award then our speech writers, led by Rodger Morrow who, at the age of 21, became the youngest ever speech writer for a US President, can work with you to transform your ideas.

Audit Services

As leaders in our field, Kingstree offers the experience and knowledge to recognise areas of communication strengths and weaknesses. Our objective and independent approach to a communications audit, allows us to ask the difficult questions to a variety of different audiences – external and internal. We gain a comprehensive picture of our clients’ communication needs and then make recommendations to equip them to win in what is an increasingly competitive environment.

Through a top down approach we can provide you with a full analysis and insights into your communications challenges and deliver advice and guidelines on how to best address your needs.

Scope of Work and Efficiency

Client time is always at a premium. We also recognise this in our advice – our guidance will reduce the time you ultimately spend in preparing for presentations in the future. In short, we look to ensure your presentations provide more impact for less preparation time.

While our recommendation is for new clients to undertake a full Kingstree programme of specific sessions (each of around two hours), we will of course provide one-off advice for presentation rehearsals, which need to be sharpened, or for whatever reason haven’t gone to plan and need to be put back on track. In those circumstances we’ll deal with individuals and groups, sometimes working at short notice.

If an advisory service is to be delivered efficiently, not only is experience required but it also needs to be applied appropriately for each client and the task in hand, be that:

  • Company results presentations
  • M&A transactions
  • Raising funds, including IPOs and bond issues
  • New business pitches, beauty parades and formal tenders
  • Management meetings
  • Internal town hall meetings
  • Professional development and educational presentations

We’ll look to ensure this. The background of our consultants lies in investment banking, financial public relations and the discipline of the military.

We work in a variety of countries, with offices in London and New York and a consultant permanently based in Paris, and have not only English speakers, but French, Spanish, German and Dutch. Ours’, unlike many of our competitors, is an international approach.

BC Partners takes over Allflex

Kingstree was asked to support the management presentations of Allflex with regard to the financing and sale of the company by its owners, Electra. The asset achieved the significant price of $1.3 billion.

BC Partners takes over Allflex for $1.3bn

BC Partners has acquired animal tag manufacturer Allflex for $1.3bn, in a deal handing Electra Private Equity $398m, 15 times the London-listed buyout firm’s initial investment in the business.

Electra Partners, an investment management company that caters for clients including Electra Private Equity’s shareholding, will receive $630.5m following the sale of Allflex.

Click Here to Read More

Office workers irritated by ‘management speak’

Using the appropriate vocabulary with the listening audience is key in any presentation. In every day conversation we use no more than 2,500 different words – that compares to approximately 250,000 listed in the Oxford English Dictionary. So in our view it’s important not to use jargon, rarely used words and irrelevant vocabulary when presenting to large or small groups…. As this article also makes clear.

Click Here to Read More