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Brydon a motivational guru

2nd October 2007

Port Talbot-born Brydon, is starring in a new business training film due to be marketed across 50 countries.

And the Marion and Geoff star, a successful voice artist before becoming one of Britain’s top comedians, will have felt at home filming the new business aid, made by Video Arts, which was set up by fellow comic John Cleese in 1972. It was sold to Llanelli-based production company Tinopolis for £2.4m in May.

In the new training movie, Pass it on: Coaching Skills for Managers, written by Armando Iannucci, Brydon and fellow comedian Will Smith attempt to show line managers the coaching skills they need to guide and encourage up and coming staff.

It is thought the new film will be used by local councils and others in the public sector, financial companies and retail outfits.

A spokeswoman for Video Arts said, “Coaching junior staff has become an increasingly important component of successful business development with line managers expected to take on the bulk of responsibility for this role. “However, many managers feel they are not equipped – in terms of time and skills – to offer effective guidance.”

Martin Addison, managing director of Video Arts, added, “Many line managers feel they are too busy to engage with a coaching programme, but coaching is a mainstream management role and an essential tool to pass on knowledge and develop skills in their employees.“ Our film uses clear messaging, humour and practical, believable examples of how to get coaching right – and wrong.”

Among the information for line managers in the new Brydon film are hints on how not to appear like disastrous manager David Brent from The Office, who tried to use humour but failed.

Joe Hoare, a visiting lecturer at the University of the West of England, who runs “laughter facilitation” courses for professionals, said he has noticed an increase in the number of corporate sector trainers who want to learn how to use humour in their own sessions. “In the last few years there has been a steady stream of inquiries, but noticeably in the last 12 months the conversion rate has increased,” he said. “These are soft skills and they are coming to be valued more and more by business.”

Mr Hoare’s own tips line managers who want to try using humour include making fun of themselves to show staff they can take it. He added, “Until people see you can take it they won’t take it from you. And if you use self-effacing humour it will also make you appear more accessible. “Don’t necessarily use jokes and if you are not a practised joke teller, definitely avoid them.”

Cleese founded Video Arts, which specialises in business training videos, after he left Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

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