What Business Skills Can We Learn From The Apprentice’s Melissa Cohen?

What can we learn from Mrs. Malaprop … I mean Melissa Cohen? Well some some unique vocabulary for a start! She flaunted her “proffesionality”, demonstrated a fierce negotiation style that offered ‘no room for manoeuvrement’, and though she couldn’t work out the price of a bread roll she professed to have an exemplary capacity for ‘analyisation’.

Watching Melissa was excruciating, it challenged my ‘comfortability’ as she continuously praised herself and over estimated her capacity to ‘conversate’. Wednesday night she was yet again blathering on about a task speaking to her skillset, em … remind me what skill set that is.

Melissa also taught us that “babies cannot speak” and that Debenhams definitely doesn’t sell DIY and Gardening gear, no Melissa that is “does’t sell”, no we said “doesn’t sell”…..and how not to pitch.

Mellisa wasn’t the only contender in the “most excruciatingly painful to watch” stakes on Wednesday. For me, she was most closely followed by Stuart Baggs, who was also excited by the shower head, breaking into a remarkable David Brent impersonation: ‘Would you like some free money? Oh yes, please!’.

We thought that we could actually teach Melissa a few things:

She could start with some Active listening skills Training – Karren Brady, Lord Sugar’s aide, looked embarrassed when Melissa ploughed through her inadequate pitch. ‘She just doesn’t listen – she just talks and talks,’ said Brady after Melissa had failed yet again to drum up any business.

Then she could do with some Team Building Training – Over the last few weeks Melissa Cohen has horrified us with non-stop aggression. She could start a fight in an empty room, yet feels she’s a great team player. We know this because she tells us.

Then she should look into Assertiveness Training – I know this may sound odd but being assertive is about being able to communicate and put your point across without aggression, and her tendency to exaggerate her talents is a sure sign of lack of confidence.

Assertiveness and Confidence Building Training would also teach her how not to take everything personally and to accept constructive criticism, a skill she is obviously lacking after we watched her throw a massive strop when her team wisely decided against making her project manager again, instead opting for Jamie.

She also demonstrated a touch of the “everyone is against me” syndrome – again a sign of lack of confidence displayed during her exit interview. Her grounds for appeal included an accusation of “ganging up on me” by the “horrible people”, aka Jamie and Stuart.

Lord Sugar described before he fired her: ‘You’re like knock-off DVDS. At first glance you’re quite convincing, but then you’re impossible to follow…

She also provided us with another cringe worthy tantrum in the reception area when she refused to shake hands with her colleagues, and iced the cake with a threat to the others as she was driven away in the cab. ‘Some people set out to get me – karmically they will be retributed. The universe speaks louder than I do.’

Yesterday on BBC Breakfast she explained how much she’s changed after hearing Lord Sugar’s dreaded words “you’re fired”. Blimey that was quick I didn’t even have time to sell you any Business Skills Training courses. But quite honestly, Jaime doesn’t seem too bothered!

Heather Buckley is Director and co-founder of IT and business training providers Silicon Beach Training. Founded in 1999, Silicon Beach Training run public-scheduled training courses in their Brighton Training Centre as well as bespoke on-site courses worldwide. Popular courses include Social Media Training, Photoshop Training and PRINCE2 Training, which has recently been launched in Birmingham. Heather writes on the Silicon Beach Training blog with a focus on IT, Project Management and Social Media as well as offering Photoshop knowledge from her experience as a photographer.