Blog

The Big Shift

One thing has really surprised me since I left the BBC.

It's the number of friends and former colleagues who... Read more

The Beautiful Balance

There's a beautiful balancing trick which makes any talk, lecture, or public speaking performance work well.

It's something I think hard about when planning an event, and then analyse afterwards, to see if it was about right.

This week, I was lecturing in Social Media to some of the excellent entrepreneurs at Cambridge Judge Business School.

Given the importance of images online, part of the lecture was about how to take pictures. 

I could have just waffled on about the rule of thirds, the use of foregrounds, backgrounds, and angles, but it's a... Read more

Making a Plan... and Trashing It

I like plans. But then, most people do. They're kind of comforting. 

They can improve efficiency, and give you a sense of direction and purpose. Like a guide leading you through your project, or working day. 

But plans can also be dangerous.

They can constrain you, stop you being flexible and responding to developments.

I had a big event this week, talking to a group of civil servants in London about tricks for dealing with pressure. 

I'd planned the day, in my usual way. And all was going smoothly. 

Until one of the... Read more

The Smartness of Simplicity

I've come up with a new game to play in my lectures and workshops.

I think it'll be really helpful in allowing people to make a strong impact with their communications, not to mention jolly fun.

And yes, since it's you, I'll tell you about it in a minute. 

But first! Since this is me, a little storytelling to lead up to the punchline...

The idea was born of a splendid week, in which I met lots of great people, and hopefully helped a few with their communications needs.

Throughout the week, the same theme came up time and again... Read more

Getting in Early

If little things please little minds, I don't want to think about the dimensions of my brain. 

Because something very small happened this week, but it brought me a great deal of pleasure. 

This is it - 

Two people, in a lecture theatre, writing away... well, I did tell you it was a little thing. 

But the reason I was happy is that they were practicing a trick I think is both brilliant and invaluable. 

To explain, I'll step back a few hours from when this photo was taken. 

I was lecturing at... Read more

Bridging the Divide

I was at a careers fair last week, which unwittingly presented an important but often overlooked lesson in the art of getting your message across. 

The hall was full of tables for all the various businesses and contributors, and this was the view from mine - 

It was a double barricade from the students who were our audience. Not just a table in front of me, but a couple of signs as well. 

Some of the other exhibitors were sitting behind their desks, and - perhaps not surprisingly - getting little in the... Read more

The Right Words

The right words are rare and beautiful things.

Get them spot on and you can make someone fall in love, bring peace, get yourself a publishing contract, seal a business deal, or get people to follow you just about anywhere, through just about anything.

And so much more besides.

But get them wrong and the consequences can be awful.

One small example -

I don't think I've got the best taste in the world, but I try to keep my house reasonably stylish. 

For a birthday, years ago, my dear parents, for reasons... Read more

Just Another Blog... or The Triumph of a Thrilling Title

Modern life is so bish-bash-bosh busy.

Emails, messages, social media, the phone ringing, we're far too often short of time to do all the rich array of things we'd like to.

So if you want to get noticed, get people interested in what you're doing, you've got to use all the communications tricks at your disposal. 

Where better to start than the title of that talk you're doing, or the course you're running, or the product or service you're trying to sell?

So, given all the competing demands for your time, which of my musings are you more likely to... Read more

A Forbidden Word

There's a word I'd like to ban from job applications, biographies, social media profiles, CVs, and any forum whatsoever in which people describe themselves. 

I heard it three times last week, and excuse the melodrama...

But I wanted to chase it around the room with a stick, corner it, cage it, and bury it under tonnes of earth, never to be seen again. 

The first time was in London, where I was teaching in the Church House, a wonderful building which is part of the magnificent Westminster Abbey corner of the city.

There... Read more

Off the Shelf... and Into the Bin

There's a big, smiling, alluring, come hither temptation when you're asked to give a talk, lecture, or teaching session...

It's understandable. We're all busy. There are plenty of other demands on our time.

So we're very tempted to find the notes on that session we did before, and regurgitate it.

FATAL. 

Why? 

Because yes, sure, it will probably be adequate.

It'll fill the space, tick the box, get a polite round of dutiful applause at the end.

Score you as average/ok/fine on the feedback forms.

But do you really think that's enough?

Sufficient to impress the people in the audience... Read more