+44 (0) 7885 336201

presentation

IMG_4988
What you see might not be what you get. How non-verbal communication can be misleading…..

There’s a moment in the excellent BBC three-part documentary The Space Shuttle that Fell to Earth (episode two, 55 minutes in) when the NASA flight director and his team begin to sense that something has gone catastrophically wrong. Screens in the control room are going blank; sensors are failing; contact with Columbia has been lost. We witness their dawning realisation that the shuttle has most likely broken up on the way to its landing location and that the seven astronauts – their colleagues, have been killed. The footage was live and the events were unfolding in real time. And these…

IMG_4686
Naughty dogs, new tricks, and how marathon training is like public speaking

If you’re reading this with your ‘lockdown puppy’ on your lap, you may be one of thousands of owners whose pooches are proving problematic. Recent research by the Royal Veterinary College reveals that many dogs which were acquired in lockdown now have a range of behavioural issues such as jumping at strangers, tugging on the lead and separation anxiety. Apparently, it’s because they missed out on socialisation and puppy training in their early weeks and months. The pleasing news, according to experts, is that it’s never too late to teach them good habits. So it’s off to puppy finishing school…

PURPLE SNOW DROP
TWO MINUTES OF LIGHT – how will you use yours?

I’ve just ‘phoned an old family friend who’s been ill. She was thrilled to hear from me. The call lasted no more than a couple of minutes. Yesterday, I posted a positive review on Tripadvisor for a hotel I stayed in over the holidays. It took around 90 seconds. Since 21 December last year, I’ve been rather obsessed with the concept of two minutes because that’s how much extra daylight we get each day. In these troubled times, when there’s so much pain and negativity in the world, this has been making me happy. But then I thought – what…

present_box_04
Flying by the seat of your pants – ad libbing with confidence and skill

In my last post I discussed the issue of speaking off the cuff, the fear many people have of losing control, and the fact that technology hasn’t helped us grow our confidence muscle. It’s the topic most often raised in my training room, by people of all levels of seniority, in all sectors. There are tips on preparation and rehearsal; banishing perfectionism and desensitising ourselves to ad libbing. Here’s another nugget – a magical word. Several. When used in response to a challenge or a tricky, unexpected question, it creates the illusion of ordered thinking, structure and control. You’ll look…

present_box_04
The most precious Christmas gift of all – no wrapping required (it’s not a scented candle)

I’m going Christmas shopping today.  On my list are a variety of gifts including Ferrero Rochers, a suitcase, a kettle, posh pants and a onesie. Obvs also a brace of scented candles. I can’t wait to see the faces of the recipients when they open them. These are things I know they want because I’ve been listening out all year for small references to coveted items (admittedly nobody ever mentioned the candles but who can resist the subtle aromas of pomegranate and cardamom????). But there’s one gift I want to give everyone this year, even people I won’t ever play…

Pink banana
Two ears, one mouth – a formula for dealing with challenge

July 18 was World Listening Day. A brilliant reminder of one of our most important communication skills (we do have two ears and one mouth, after all). And a prompt to heed Buddha’s excellent observation: “If your mouth is open, you’re not learning”. The concept of listening to an opposing viewpoint rather than shouting it down or silencing it is one of my passions, and it’s part of my RATIO technique. The idea for RATIO struck me in the middle of a conversation with a dear friend who happens to hold very different political views to me. She expressed an…

PURPLE SNOW DROP
Authenticity and humility – the keys to an audience’s attention (and wallet)

I recently had the terrifying pleasure of MC-ing a charity fundraising ball for Home Start (Wandsworth) – a brilliant organisation which gives families a helping hand when they’re going through a rough patch. https://www.home-start.org.uk/about-us I’ve worked on corporate events for two decades so I’m ok in front of a crowd. In fact, it’s a role I relish because you can genuinely contribute to the success of a conference by making the audience feel included; by facilitating interesting conversations; by setting an appropriate tone for the occasion. At the average corporate gig, the objective of the host is to extract, solicit…

PURPLE SNOW DROP
Please don’t apologise, but do say sorry…

Will Smith’s Instagram message to Chris Rock has prompted me to consider the issue of apologising and how to do it well.  I believe it’s one of THE most important communication skills – one which can salvage marriages, avert wars, restore friendships and save corporate reputations. Meanwhile, the absence of an apology, or one delivered poorly, can do irreparable damage to relationships of all kinds. One of the simple communication tools for life I offer 10 year olds in schools is ‘the power of the apology’.  We call it The Dog Ate My Prep. It’s a three part process: The…

flag-public-domain-symbol-ukraine
Not yours to kill, Mr Craig – the danger of disrespecting your audience

I’ve done an entirely unscientific piece of research among everyone I’ve ever met, to solicit their reaction to the latest Bond movie. DO NOT READ ON IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT Responses ranged from ‘devastated’ to ‘disgusted’, via ‘angry’, ‘cheated’ and ‘upset’. Not one single positive comment. And a common theme was a feeling that the makers had stuck two fingers up at the millions of loyal Bond fans; that they had fundamentally disregarded the pact made over 25 years between producers and audience. Comedian David Mitchell wrote this excellent piece (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/oct/10/ah-mr-bond-i-was-expecting-you-to-entertain-me) on why the ending felt like a kick…

Whatever you’re doing, stop now and listen to this. It will change your mood and it might even change your life….

As part of my 2021 Christmas greeting/present to colleagues, clients and contacts, I ran a competition asking people to nominate an exceptional piece of communication which they had come across that year. Suggestions went into a hat and I pulled out the winner this week. Thank you and well done Emily Jones for alerting me to this podcast interview with the global phenomenon and inspirational human being Mo Gawdat = https://podcasts.apple.com/jm/podcast/e101-the-happiness-expert-that-made-51-million-people/id1291423644?i=1000538174002 I urge you to listen to this NOW. Yes, it’s a masterclass in the art of communication but, more than that, he offers a practical, simple formula for achieving…

1 2 3