Paradigm Shifts

Some moments in life just take your breath away. 

And being the curious and magnificent phenomenon that it is, life can spring them upon you at the most mundane times. 

They can teach you important lessons, as well. 

So, the preamble aside, what am I talking about now (as regular readers of these musings must be very familiar with thinking)?

On Friday, I went out for a run. 

Ok, there was nothing remarkable about that.

I try to do 2 or 3 a week, to keep this aged old body is some kind of a passable shape, despite all the... Read more

Faces in the Crowd

One of the most common questions I get asked in my communications work is this - 

How can you feel confident while you're giving a presentation?

Where does that sense of knowing you're getting through, saying the right things, and making an impact come from? 

The answer? I have a little trick that I find always helps.

I gave a couple of presentations last week, which were both challenging in their ways. 

Above is a picture from my talk at Exeter College in Devon, my dear old homestead.

I was speaking to some... Read more

A Very British Problem

I get to see a lot of presentations in my communications consultancy work, and there's a certain very noticeable something which is often lacking.

It's a shame, because it's both important and effective. 

And it's a very British problem, which can be easily remedied - 

Incidentally, it's also something I think is fundamental to me doing passably well as a tutor.

Why did this careers lecture go well (apart from me doing my Dad dancing impersonation)?

Because I had a terrific twenty years with the BBC as a News Correspondent, and I wasn't... Read more

Fixing the Odds in Changing Careers

When I was thinking about changing careers, I was given one piece of excellent and indispensable advice. 

It's something I've handed on to a few other people since, it always seems to work, and so is probably time I wrote about.

For me, the time was 18 months ago, and it was a very big move.

I was contemplating leaving the security, renown and prestige of the BBC, to test myself as a teacher and trainer here in Cambridge. 

I'm very glad I did, as the move was a renaissance for me, allowing me to learn new skills and do... Read more

Teaching, Speeching and a Wonderful Whisper

There's one big, tempting, sabre toothed trap that people can fall into when teaching. 

I've seen a fair few examples of it in my years at conferences, schools, and universities, watching others do their thing.

It's kind of understandable, but that doesn't make it any more forgiveable. And it's this - 

Confusing teaching with speeching. 

I was privileged to speak at two fantastic events this week, which both went really well. 

The inaugural Cambridge Social Media Day, above, was fortunate to see none of it. 

And another, which did see a little, and I... Read more

Sad Beginnings, Happy Endings

I can be such a hypocrite. 

Whenever I'm teaching anything to do with presentations, or public speaking, I always say, time and again - 

Know where you're going. Be there early. Be organised. 

It helps you relax, and you can welcome along the group, which is useful in establishing a rapport from the start, and helping you to perform. 

So then, that hypocrisy...

This week, I had a big event. My first full day teaching for the excellent Cambridge Network. 

I prepared the course well in advance, in my usual fashion, and practiced... Read more

Inspiration and Intent

There is an evil enemy, which I've been running from for a few years, but now need to stand up to and face. 

Finally this week, I found the intent to do so, and think - hope - that it will bring some fascinating new experiences. 

I made the decision on Monday, travelling back from London to Cambridge, after teaching media skills to a group of Malaysian parliamentarians. 

They were a delight to work with, so energetic and enthusiastic, and with some wonderful insights into the ways of politics in their country. 

We... Read more

Place, Productivity and Pleasure

What a difference your surroundings can make to the quality of your work. 

I've felt that repeatedly in Cambridge, and plenty this week. 

I held a public speaking workshop with the wonderful students of Newmarket Academy, in the beautiful surroundings of St Catharine's College. 

We were asking an intimidating lot of the young people - to put together and give a talk, in the imposing surroundings of a Cambridge College.

But they really rose to the challenge, and did a great job. 

Part of the reason, they told me, was the privilege of... Read more

Productive Distractions

Distractions have a bad name in the world of business, communications and writing. 

Don't get distracted, you're told from schooldays onwards. Focus on your work. 

Fair enough, and true enough, most of the time, anyway. 

But here's a word in praise of distractions, because they can really help your productivity.

I was doing some communications work this week with a senior bod, and we decided to do it at her house. 

Because you know what it's like if you try to get some peace in the office - continual knocks at the door,... Read more

Glamour and Grit

I consider myself fortunate in life, a view that many others seem to share, and are often keen to say so - 

You're lucky they tell me. Giving that talk, or travelling there, to do that writing event, or news story, or meeting all those interesting people, with that teaching

I would never disagree. But it's not quite as simple as being lucky

There's plenty of grit that goes with the glamour. 

This week, I was privileged to be invited to the Judge Business School in Cambridge, as part of a large audience who would assess the merits of the... Read more