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A toxic culture in the House of Commons and beyond – three things we can all do

I’m delighted that there’s so much discussion at the moment about communication. It’s my passion and my trade, and I’ve long been worried about the tone of public and private debate. We seem to have forgotten how to ‘disagree agreeably’, as John Bercow put it after that shameful evening in the House of Commons. He talked of a toxic culture, and beseeched members to treat each other as opponents not enemies. Wise words. Let me also, with a little help from some even wiser friends, offer three simple tools we can all use to achieve more measured and civilised interactions….

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Confidence – is it a gift, a skill or a code? Ten tips for growing yours…..

My summer book has been The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman.  An excellent read, full of great examples and ideas, and replete with practical tips and tools for (a) understanding confidence and (b) acquiring more of it.  I recommend it highly – https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-confidence-code/katty-kay/claire-shipman/9780062414625 While the focus of the book is predominantly on women, much of the content is applicable to everyone.  Here are 10 key points which I think are of value to all of us: ‘Rumination’, over-thinking, too much self reflection are the enemies of confidence. We must avoid dwelling on our failures. We must learn…

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George Ezra, Johnson and Trump – authenticity or manipulation?

I’ve just been accepted as a speaker at the Open University’s TEDx event in November. Exciting news. The theme is ‘Imagine what’s next’. No doubt many will be looking at technological innovation and the amazing opportunities which lie ahead. The angle of my talk is fear – a concern that while our heads are turned by technology, we are forgetting how to talk to each other and how to listen. At the heart of good communication is authenticity. In my training room we agree that we’re not learning to ‘act’ or to copy someone else’s style. To be effective and…

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OMG The way we communicate is disgusting and EVIL!!!!!!!!!!!

I’ve realised that I’m not using enough exclamation marks or capital letters or excessive language. I’m certainly not expressing enough outrage. I seem to be out of step with current communication trends, as illustrated recently by the spat between actresses Bella Thorne and Whoopi Goldberg. Thorne shared naked pictures of herself online because a hacker was threatening to make them public. A horrible and upsetting experience for her. Whoopi Goldberg commented on the talk show The View “If you’re famous, I don’t care how old you are, you don’t take nude photos of yourself.” A thought provoking sentiment, worthy of…

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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…

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