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Space, The Creative Frontier

Excuse the title, but I’ve always loved Star Trek.

Why? Much because of the remarkable imagination and talent that went into creating it.

Any show that can stand the test of time like Star Trek, and spawn so many offshoots, has to be worth admiring.

And, indeed, learning from.

What am... Read more

Monologue Slog, Dialogue Agog

A good friend of mine went on a date with a girl he liked a lot. 

How did it go? I asked him the next day. 

Great, he replied. I told her all about my job, my family, my hobbies, my life, the lot. 

And what did you find out about her? 

Ummmm....

Has she messaged you about getting together again?

That's the funny thing... no. 

I mentioned that story to a group of lovely Scottish Government Civil Servants I was talking to about communications in Edinburgh this week.

The reason? They'd been... Read more

The Iceberg of Life

Don't think me going off into the metaphysical, but there's an iceberg to life which too few people seem to appreciate. 

I was asked this week to do a talk at a school, one of my favourite requests, as it hits right at the heart of my touch-feely doing your bit for the future thing.

(Hence the big smile in this school visit, earlier this month - thanks to all at Hinchingbrooke School for a great afternoon.)

Anyway, for this upcoming talk, I was discussing with the head the best topic to cover. 

... Read more

Write Soon

I was paid an unusual compliment this week. 

Partly because such warm words don't come along that often, but mostly because there's a useful lesson in it, I thought I'd give it a mention. 

The compliment was this - 

I love working with you because you always answer my emails quickly. 

Ok, it wasn't a tribute to my rugged, chiselled good looks, or snappy, sassy dress sense, my elegance or charm, not to mention my talent (unsurprisingly on all counts), but it was informative. 

I asked my colleague what he meant, and he said most people took between a week... Read more

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