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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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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…

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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…

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