+44 (0) 7885 336201

Uncategorized

marker_test
What ZARA, M&S and Theresa May teach us about small talk and great content

According to TED speaker coach, Briar Goldberg, most TED talks these days are 9 – 12 minutes rather than, as previously, 18. That’s because audiences have an ever decreasing concentration span. I find this rather depressing but I’m taking it on board and therefore this month’s musings are going to be short. Two things have happened recently. One – Theresa May resigned. Two – I went shopping. Both events reveal something important about communication. Among the acres of analysis of TM’s downfall, one theme rings out – her inability to resonate with people and make small talk. Funnily enough, I’ve…

marker_test
Take control of your Aura and don’t get type cast

Aura, (NOUN) – ‘distinctive atmosphere or quality that seems to surround and be generated by a person, thing or place’. This word has been haunting me. It’s come up multiple times recently in the context of individuals and businesses. It’s reminding me of the work I used to do in branding. Working out what people perceive and think and feel about you/your product or service, and then if that’s not the Aura you want to communicate, taking practical steps to change (via eg your customer care, visual identity, written tone of voice, services, pricing etc etc). This is all around…

marker_test
Dealing with challenge, building the muscle – ask Roger Federer

The most popular topic in my training room is Dealing With Challenge (DWC) – how to maintain control and confidence at the moment when we’re thrown onto the back foot by an unexpected question or comment. I am constantly surprised by the number of people who struggle with this, and the extent to which it holds them back professionally and personally. My pet theory is that it’s all to do with technology. When I started work back in 1850 (arriving at the office in a horse-drawn carriage), I had (like everyone else) a desk and a ‘phone (landline). The ‘phone…

marker_test
Confidence, resonance and shellac – how to communicate like a pro

My great passion is communication (after George Clooney obviously), and I’m always fascinated to see good and bad practice outside the corporate world which I can bring to the training room. This month, I’ve come across great examples in unexpected places: on the dance floor, in the nail bar and in my living room. All of them reminders of some of the essentials of excellent communication – confidence, relevant content, clear structure and appropriate packaging. In BBC1’s recent The Greatest Dancer (very good, by the way. Worth a visit to iPlayer) a talented classical ballet dancer performed for the live…

marker_test
Pantomime – a blueprint for a brilliant presentation (oh yes it is!)

So the pantomime season is over. The Aladdin’s lamps, glass slippers and beanstalks have gone back into storage; the ugly sisters and widow Twankeys have moved on to Pinter and Lloyd Webber, and the country’s theatres are a little less sparkly. As always it’s been a season of sequins and (varying degrees of) smut. But, sitting in the Bradford Alhambra, watching the inimitable Billy Pearce’s Aladdin, it occurred to me that a pantomime is actually a blueprint for an excellent business presentation or pitch. That idea sent me in the direction of actor/writer Nick Mellersh and an illuminating piece on…

jc_christmas_card_v1_1
The greatest gift you can give this Christmas – a question!

Last week I was with a group of 11 year olds in a ‘Communication Skills for Life’ workshop. We were focusing on a technique we call ‘Doing a Hairy Granny’. It’s a simple three part structure to empower children to have better conversations with adults (hairy or not) in response to those killer questions such as how’s school, how was your day, did you have a good weekend???????.  It comprises: The headline eg school’s really great this term, thank you Additional information with something from the heart eg we’ve started Latin this term which I thought was going to be boring…

marker_test
Watch out for your non verbals, and don’t stare at celebrities

Yesterday I had an extraordinary, surreal encounter with a world-famous celebrity, one of the most recognised faces on the planet. I spotted her in a shop as I was walking down my local high street. I was rooted to the spot with shock. We weren’t that far apart, either side of the glass window, and I couldn’t help but stare. She looked up, our eyes met and, feeling guilty and embarrassed, I mouthed “sorry” with my hand on my heart, and then “hello” with a little wave and a huge grin. Yes I did! Incredibly, she in turn mouthed “hello”,…

marker_test
Enough of the school-yard vitriol – it’s time to grow up

This month I want to rant. But I’m not going to. Because the thing I want to rant about is other people ranting. So that’s not going to work. Several things have happened recently to bring me to this point – all of them symptomatic of a deterioration in public discourse and therefore offensive to someone like me whose great passion is helping people become skilful communicators. You’ll have read the comments made by anonymous Tories about Theresa May. “She should “bring her own noose” to a meeting of the 1922 committee; “the moment is coming when the knife gets…

marker_test
COMMUNICATE LIKE A LEADER – FIND MIDDLE C

I’ve spent the last month thinking about leadership – analysing how leaders communicate, in preparation for my slot at the new PRCA Leadership Academy last week.  It’s been fascinating to unpick what these individuals (who need to persuade, motivate, challenge and nurture us) actually do and say to earn our respect and trust and confidence.  It turns out to be a package of behaviours and habits and mind set. Which is great news for us because it means we can take small, practical steps towards becoming the leader lurking within us.  We can take control of our own leadership potential….

marker_test
Much ado about whales, Kylie the dolphin and introverts

I’ve rarely been so excited to write a blog. That’s because I have two amazing things to share with you this month. One’s a book and one’s a sound. I’ve recently been lucky enough to go whale watching, to be in the right place at the right time to see an extraordinary number of humpbacks. Unforgettable images of flukes and fins and breaching but also a haunting and eerie sound. Via a hydrophone sent deep into the water we were able to hear a cacophony of whale song from a 3km radius. Here it is – https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=y7YVfU1S-jg I hope you…

1 2 11