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Instantly Effective Communications

It seems like everybody is trying to put out messages at the moment, and mostly about the coronavirus crisis.

So, how to get your voice heard above all the noise?

Particularly when you’re having to work quickly in a fast-moving environment.

My company, Creative Warehouse, has been running the communications for a project to build emergency ventilators.

I’ll use the website we created for Global Vent as an example, but these five favourite tips apply to just about any form of communications.

 

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Sanity Ropes

Lots of people have been writing about the newness of homeworking, and how to cope…

So I’m not going to go into that in detail, but instead focus on one area which I find critical.

Sanity ropes.

What do I mean by that?

I mean a good sturdy length of metaphorical rope you know will be there to hold onto, which can save your sanity in these strange times.

So here are my top 10 sanity ropes for coping through the coronavirus - 

 

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The New World of Webinars

I’ve been on a crash course in webinars in the last week.

I went from never having done one before, to performing a couple in front of hundreds of people, both on the subject of the moment...

So, given these days of the coronavirus crisis, and that we are all likely to be using webinars more often, I thought I would share my learning and experiences.

 

1. Preparation is key

Just like with any presentation, the more you prepare and practice, the better it's likely to go.

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Always Ask

It can be hard to do, but it's essential if you want to get on in business, your career, and so many areas of life. 

What am I talking about? 

It's the big ASK - the thing you really want to come out of this meeting / talk / moment / whatever. 

I was privileged to welcome my friend, the brilliant screenwriter, Julian Unthank, to Cambridge last week, where he gave a fascinating lecture on careers in the TV and film industry. 

We had a group of about 50 students, who were very interested and engaged, and it made for a great session. 

But of the 50, guess how many lingered afterwards to ask for Julian's contact details, and whether he would be prepared to offer further advice?

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The Size of a Story

How long does it take to tell a story?

The average novel is about 90,000 words, the average film just under two hours, an online video usually no more than two minutes, but...

You can make a big impact with much less work.

I'll show you a famous example in a minute - a brilliant story in just six words. Only six.

So, to succeed with a story, whatever the length, what's the most critical part for engaging an audience?

For me, it's this...

Firing the imagination. 

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Here's to Haggling

What is one of the things that people hate most in life, yet is absolutely critical?

Not just in business, or jobseeking, but every area there is…

Bargaining. Haggling. Dealmaking. 

I’m reminded of the wonderful sketch in Monty Python‘s Life of Brian, where he won’t haggle, and the incredulity of the merchant, to the extent he even gets his security in to make sure there is some bargaining…

“Won’t haggle?!”

And I’ve seen it myself, as I’ve been taking on writers for my new company.

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Cutting It Fine

On my travels this week I met a woman in an airport, and she looked decidedly unhappy.

At risk of making matters worse, but also being a reasonably good Samaritan, I asked why.

The answer was that she had missed her flight. 

And, as you can tell, this was no place to be to feel good about life.

Interestingly, her anger was directed largely at herself, for cutting her timings so fine.

Which resonated, as I so often see people taking delight in cutting it fine when an important deadline is looming, and I just don’t get it.

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Challenging and Growing

Of all I teach, media training is probably the toughest for my victims... sorry, I mean the guests on my courses.

I’ve just got back from Northern Ireland, where I had a splendid time, teaching some wonderful professionals the dark arts of mixing it with the media.

As ever, I built a little sightseeing, and very much enjoyed Belfast.

Yes, particularly the pubs - you know me. 

I taught two groups, both with about half a dozen people, and the reaction was certainly interesting.

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Calming a Crisis

I hope you never have to deal with a crisis, either in business or life, but the sad reality is you are likely to be forced to do so…

And there is one critical thing to remember if you do.

My flight back from Edinburgh last week, after working on some communications challenges with the Scottish Government, was delayed by four hours.

Which took the shine off a wonderful trip to a fantastic city.

These things happens, yes, but there are ways to handle it, and there are ways not to handle it.

This is what unfolded…

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The Art of the Job Interview

I’ve been interviewing writers and journalists to work for my new company over the last couple of weeks.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how well-prepared some people are, but you wouldn’t believe how even the most basic details seem to have evaded others.

More of that later - it's instructive, if not impressive. 

So, if you’re going for a job interview, or thinking about changing positions, I thought I would set down a dozen quickfire tips to help prepare.

1. Be on time. Preferably, be early.

If you want to blow an interview from the start, there’s little to compare with turning up late for scuppering your chances.

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