100 years of Ford and Engaging Body Language

April 24, 2017 by

100 Years of Ford in Cork, Ireland

On Friday last I interviewed Bill Ford, the great-grandson of Henry Ford and the Executive Chairman of the company that bears his family name.

He was here in Ireland, along with his terrific wife Lisa and equally terrific sons Will and Nick, two of their four children, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Ford establishing a manufacturing plant in Cork.

In the University College Cork auditorium packed with pensioners from the factory, business students, and local dignitaries, we had a “fireside chat” about the future of mobility, technology and leadership.

I’ll write more about what he said on the topic of leadership, for my next week’s column in the Sunday Independent, which will also happen to be close to the 100 day mark for the presidency of Donald Trump, leader of my birth country, the United States. But, meantime, back to the Ford Company leader, if you weren’t in that auditorium to see him speak, you missed something critical: seeing how he delivered.

To me, Bill Ford exemplifies the skill of using body language to enhance a presentation.

Bill Ford at UCC

He didn’t hide behind the lectern when he gave his opening remarks like so many other CEO’s I have interviewed.

He didn’t pace around the stage. He didn’t rock or bob on his feet as he stood. He was poised and confident in the centre of it, angling his body to different parts of the room as he addressed them.

He didn’t read from a fumbling set of papers.

He looked directly out into the audience.

And perhaps most of all — he smiled!

His body language was a critical component of how he so compellingly connected with that audience.

Go online or if you’re here in Ireland, get over to your newsagent and pick up a copy of The Sunday Independent and discover my top three tips how you can become more engaging in that way too.

And, of course, shameless plug, that’s one of the communications skills I train and coach here in my directorship role with Fuzion Communications. So, I’m happy to help you and your organization power-up.

Like the Ford Company says, “The Future is Unwritten.”

And much of how your future gets written is up to you!

Great relationships equal great communications.

Gina London - Fuzion CommunicationsGina

Gina London is a former CNN anchor and international campaign strategist, now Strategic Communications Director with Fuzion Communications. She serves as media commentator, MC and corporate consultant.

 

What is “Work Life Balance” to you?

April 18, 2017 by

Work Life Balance

Some people wake up at 6am to get a run or a workout in before they face the day, maybe do some yoga or meditation to start the day in a happier mindset or simply just because they like being up that early.

I wake up at 6am because I need to, to travel to work.

No, I am not complaining, it’s great to be working. I’m just saying that it would be nice to wake up at 6am and not run around my house like a mouse just after escaping the claws of the dreaded mouse trap because I need to get my train.

My point is that as industries grow and businesses get more and more tech savvy our jobs are changing with them. Remote work, sometimes seen as working from home/working from anywhere (depending on the role) is now part of a lot of job descriptions. This got me thinking about how we are now looking for newer ways to go to work and where to work from.

I see people every morning commuting to work on different modes of transport – bus, car, bicycle, moped, skateboard, electric scooter and regular train, bus, walkers like myself! (now I’m complaining!).

As employees, I feel we too (like consumers) are looking for new experiences in our jobs, our work environment and ways to achieve our full potential within our careers and personally, that achieve a positive “WORK LIFE BALANCE”.

The first question we need to ask ourselves is – What does “Work life balance” mean to you?

Someone recently asked me this and I was stumped. I knew I wanted it but what was it? So, I took myself aside and asked myself that very question.

Here’s what I came up with, for me work life balance is a lot of things…….but mainly it is being able to do my job to the best of my ability while having time for myself personally. It’s all about TIME!

There are so many articles telling us that working from home is bad or working from home is good, but I think it depends on the individual, their productivity and also accessibility outside of the office. A recent article from Silicon Republic referred to this luxury as a way of showing employees that the company they work for is flexible and trusts and values them.

So how is working from home a bad thing?

The same article quoted Michelle Hammond, senior lecturer in Occupational Behaviour at University of Limerick referring to the drawbacks of working from home, isolation being one of them. Full-time, I can understand this issue but part-time, isn’t it just that extra hour of rest in bed, the flexibility in the evenings or having more time with the family?

Irish Rail

Today, I am grateful for the work from home option since the trains decided to go on an unscheduled strike!

The remote access to my work allows me to do my job (time for a blog post!) in the exact same way as well as not letting down my team and supporting my clients. It also made me feel even more trusted and the flexibility spared me that feeling of always chasing time. I didn’t need to be finished at this time – to get to the next place – to get the Luas on time – to reach my train on time – to get home – Phew!

Everyone’s work, life balance is different and it is very much connected to mindfulness. For that reason, it is important to look at this and ask yourself that question – What does “Work life balance” mean to you?

Arlene Foy, Fuzion PR, Marketing Graphic Design, DublinArlene

Arlene Foy is an Account Manager with Fuzion PR in our Dublin office.

Five great tips to ensure you can remember names

April 13, 2017 by

Tips to remember names

Oh, I’m terrible with names.” How many times have you heard that? Perhaps you’ve even said it yourself. As self-fulfilling

How many times have you heard that? Perhaps you’ve even said it yourself. As self-fulfilling

Perhaps you’ve even said it yourself. As self-fulfilling prophecies go, this may be one of the easiest to fall prey to. If you tell yourself you’re not good at remembering names, you probably won’t be.

I, on the other hand, am good with names. I’m not bragging here. I really am. I may not be great – I do occasionally have to be reminded of one – but I am good.

Recently, I was the featured speaker at the Enterprise Start-up Awards in Limerick. I was introduced to dozens of people in rapid succession.

I met contestants, academics, and some very high-profile people, including one with a famous family name of perhaps the most influential entrepreneur in Ireland. But all people matter, so all names are important.

I remembered them all!

Especially, Jerry, the technician, to whom I was introduced during the set-up, long before the event began. Later, during the program when my mic wasn’t working properly, I looked up to the control booth and asked for him by name: “Jerry, is there another microphone?

Smiling, Jerry zipped down with a new mic in hand. I then introduced him to the audience and asked everyone to give him and the other stagehands a well-deserved round of applause. An opportunity to recognise the efforts of someone made stronger due to the fact that I remembered his name.

I don’t deploy Derren Brown-style “memory palaces” or other fancy mental gymnastics to partner a person’s name with a rhyme or an object.

Like ‘Fancy – Nancy’ or ‘Burt in the Red Shirt’. No way. I am not that clever nor quickly creative.

But, simply, here is what I do. I find it really works.

1 FOCUS

Slow down and really focus on the person’s name. Chances are when you’re introduced to someone, you may have other things on your mind. Turn that off for a moment. Make the moment matter. Genuinely look at the person’s face and let their name sink in.

2 REPEAT

Silently say the name over and over in your head while you’re looking at them. I’m not talking a mindless repetitive mantra here, say it to yourself in a thoughtful way. Find meaning in the name.

Is it a name of someone you’ve met before, perhaps a relative or a dear friend? Jerry happens to not only be the name of the technician, it’s also the name of my step-dad for whom I have enormous love and admiration. That helped the memory stick.

3 SPEAK

Say the name back to the person. Don’t let yourself off easy, with a simple “nice to meet you“. Add “nice to meet you, fill-in-the-person’s-name-here.”

Of course, you don’t want to over-use the person’s name as an obvious measure to remember, but here is a great opportunity.

4 LEARN

If it’s an unfamiliar name, take the time to try to learn it properly; don’t simply nod and gloss over the introduction. In today’s global marketplace, this is especially important.

Here in Ireland, I am learning that names written in Irish, “Caoimhe” for instance, are said differently than I may first have thought. I also do a lot of work in Africa and am learning a range of great new names there as well.

The wife’s name of a business associate in Nigeria, for instance, is Olaseyi. It is pronounced “Oh-lah-SHAY-ee” and it also has a lovely lowering in pitch on the final syllable.

Where does your work take you? Wherever you go, the point is not to create a fuss about a new name, but to demonstrate your sincere interest in expanding your horizons – embracing the new – and getting it right.

This can build rapport with the person in addition to solidifying your recollection of that person’s name.

5 ENQUIRE

Take a moment to ask a question of the new person. Try to learn something about them. In your mind, repeat their story along with their name.

Rather than overloading your memory, this gives the name a story to stick to which makes it easier for you to recall the name when you need it.

After the awards ceremony, the head of the Limerick Institute of Technology Foundation, Kieran McSweeney, wrote to me: “It was an absolute pleasure meeting you yesterday. The inspiration of your talk was only surpassed by the warmth of the sincere friendship you extended to everyone.”

Thanks, Kieran, I credit that, in part, to taking the time to remember names.

It’s a good place to start to build a relationship – Business is built on relationships.

On Tuesday, CPL Resources, Ireland’s largest recruitment agency, held a conference in Cork to feature its latest research on ‘The Future of Talent‘.

It showcased how the best companies are getting the best people. Why jobs are being lost to machines – machines, like my iPhone, which are programmed to “know” your name.

Hello, Siri.”

Hello, Gina.”

Don’t let a machine beat you at having the human touch. I still believe people are the future of talent and if you’re a person, you can be better than Siri.

So, don’t tell yourself or others that you’re no good at remembering names.

It’s a blow-off comment that doesn’t get you off the hot seat. Take a breath and discipline yourself.

Try. You can remember names.

Gina London - Fuzion CommunicationsGina

Gina London is a former CNN anchor and international campaign strategist, now Strategic Communications director with Fuzion Communications. She serves as media commentator, emcee and corporate consultant.

This column is part of ‘The Communicator’ series that Gina writes for the Sunday Independent

 

The importance of remembering people’s names

April 12, 2017 by

Remembering names

Early on in my professional career, I learned how important it is to get names right and here I will give you my simple tips to help you get them right too.

My first job in Washington was on Capitol Hill in a Congressional office. The Chief of Staff’s first name was Christopher.

It’s Christopher. Not Chris,” he corrected me after I erroneously referred to him in the more casual manner.

Christopher wasn’t being fussy. He simply preferred his name how he preferred it. We went on to have a very solid working relationship. I always respected him for reminding me. Nothing wrong with that.

Our names are possibly the most important part of our identity.  

Later on, when I began working in television news in Washington at WTTG, I carefully made it a part of my job to learn and remember the names of everyone I met. I even made a little spreadsheet – listing names, positions and something cool or interesting about each person.

One day, about a couple of months in, I passed a producer in the editing hall whom I had probably met only once or twice before. “Hey, Mark,” I tossed out as I walked by. I won’t tell you his last name, but the cool thing I had listed was his ponytail. Very un-Washington-like!

Hey,” he turned, “You’re new, right? You clearly make an effort to remember names.

He went on to leave WTTG to become the producer for The McLaughlin Group, one of the best-known and longest-running current affairs panelist talk shows in US television.

I never forgot Mark. Or Christopher and to this day, I try not to forget names.

Last week, I traveled to Shannon to work with a group of directors from an aviation company. One of the directors’ first names was “Iarlaithe.” I have learned plenty of great new names here in Ireland, but this was a new one for me.

You probably haven’t heard my name,” Iarlaithe said to me. “It’s unusual.”

Yes, it is. It even says so when you Google it.

An unusual Irish name that means ‘earl’ or ‘tributary lord,’” reads the citation.  The name is also Irish for the St. Jarlarth, who, research shows, was noted for his piety and his teaching ability as he founded a school in County Galway.

The current Iarlaithe I met last week is known to me for his ability with numbers and that he likes his curry very hot!

I find the more I focus taking a genuine interest in people and their personalities and stories that surround them, the more I will remember the names that go with them.

I’m not perfect, mind you. Last summer, when I spoke at the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Conference, I tried to show-off and go around the large ballroom and name everyone to whom I had been introduced. I got 99 percent – notoriously missing one gentleman I had been having a wonderful talk with before I came up on stage!

Thankfully, he forgave me. And I’ll keep trying to focus more!

Tune in for my next blog post, a copy of an article that I have written for my column “The Communicator” in the ‘Your Work’ business section of the Sunday Independent where I will share some simple tips that will help you to remember better.

If there’s a career communications topic you would like to me to cover in an upcoming column, or if you would like me to help you or your organization – please drop me a line at gina@Fuzion.ie

Great communications equal great relationships!

Gina London - Fuzion CommunicationsGina

Gina London is a former CNN anchor and international campaign strategist who is now a director with Fuzion Communications. She serves as a media commentator, emcee, and corporate consultant.

Social media is easy, right?

April 11, 2017 by

Social Media Management

Social media is hard!

There I said it. I reckon this is what most people think but no one wants to admit.

Social media is meant to be the easy part of marketing. It’s free so it must be simple! No-one counts the time that has to go into creating, posting and monitoring the content that will represent you or your business on social media.

This is what scares a lot of business people away from using social media. They dip their toe in and then realise how much time is involved and step back. And when they decide to give it a second chance everything has changed!

But it doesn’t have to be that hard – I promise.

Here are my top tips for keeping on top of your social media platforms:

  1. Create a social media marketing plan before you begin

Just like you would with a normal business plan you should create a social media marketing plan. This will help you set goals and decide which platforms you want a presence on. Doing this will set you up for success, and will allow you to avoid any social media mistakes.

  1. Create a social media content calendar

I swear by this.

It makes everything so much easier and helps you to stay organised and on track with your plan. By using a social media content calendar you’re able to figure out a social media content schedule that works for you. You can see and control how often you post and make sure you’re posting suitable content to the right platform.

  1. Engagement!

You must be willing to engage with people online. The main point of social media is to be social!

If people are asking questions about your business or your products, you need to respond to them. Even if it’s bad. Acknowledgement of an issue goes a long way and could stand to you in future.

  1. Know when to outsource your social media management

If you’re getting stuck with ideas for content or you just don’t have the time to properly monitor your activity, it might be a good idea to seek some outside help.

Whether it’s training or getting someone to take over your accounts, sometimes an outside perspective can be very beneficial. By working with an agency you get access to their knowledge and expertise about social media marketing which you can apply to your business.

Greg, our social media guru (he’ll hate me saying that!) is a huge advocate for not outsourcing your social media but even he will admit that outsourcing to well-briefed professionals is much better than doing it badly or not at all.

If this is you then give us a call!

Alma

Alma Brosnan is part of the Social Media Consultancy team at Fuzion Communications who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

How to craft the perfect eight-second introduction

April 3, 2017 by

Gina London - Fuzion Communications

I just got off the phone with the CEO of a charitable organisation here in Ireland. He’s about to head to the US for a conference which will allow him to meet many potential donors. But most of these meetings will be the “reception or networking” type; casual events that aren’t set-up to be formal sales or pitch meetings.

He knows it’s essential he introduces himself in a way that is positive, interesting and leaves the other person wanting to know more.

So I had him rehearse his planned introduction for me. Thank goodness. Because his first go simply sounded like he was trying to pack in too much information. There were too many clunky, jargon words. It sounded like more like a brochure and not a relaxed introduction.

Together we re-crafted his introduction so he could quickly give his audience an upbeat, easy-to-understand interesting impression and then move the conversation back to them.

Knowing that there are exceptions to every rule, here’s my basic Intro How-To:

1 Write down your first thoughts.

Go ahead. Write whatever comes to your mind about yourself and your organisation. Aim for four components: 1. Hi, I’m (Name), 2. (Title) of (Organisation name). 3. We (What your organisation does). 4, (Question for the other person.)

2 Read that aloud and time it.

Do you sound jargony? Did you just go into company-speak? Assume every person is a lay person and think “conversational”. Would your eyes glaze over if you heard someone describe their business the way you’re describing yours? Get real and be tough on yourself.

Focus on your timing. You have between 4-8 seconds to introduce yourself and your organisation. I mean it.

Anything more for an introduction and you’ll sound forced.

Like my CEO, it’s trying too hard. You probably have included superfluous information. People may still be looking at you, but they’re likely no longer tuning in.

3 Give that a hard edit.

Okay. Now get out your scalpel or razor and cut! Cut out the jargon, the parentheticals, the disclaimers, the tangents, whatever. Your intro should be high-level and understandable. Go into more detail as the conversation unfolds. Not all at once.

4 Add a superlative – as long as it’s interesting and accurate.

Is your organisation the first, the largest, the newest, the something-est? If so, lead with that – in a friendly, not cocky way.

If you have to reach too far for this one, don’t force it. But at least consider it. Adding credibility adds interest.

5 Refine and rehearse.

Now re-time yourself. Do you have all four components? Are you under eight seconds? Say it aloud. Say it again. Say it again. Like you mean it. Do you sound effortless and conversational?

Don’t forget you’ll need to be able to say this without thinking really – as you’ll likely be surrounded by other “circles” of people at the conference or networking event. It will be buzzy and noisy.

So you should have this ready to roll. Be memorized but don’t sound rote. Make sure you have the question rehearsed.

Of course, it’s good to have two or three questions prepared so you don’t sound like a single-question robot.

Introducing yourself is not the time to “Give the pitch” or “Position your organisation.”

It’s your first impression – and even more importantly, it’s your chance to begin to get to know the other person. Relationships take time.

Practice doesn’t make perfect; practice makes permanent. So make sure you take time to purposefully and conversationally craft your introduction.

And remember how I opened this article by saying I was working with a CEO? These tips are not only for them. It doesn’t matter whether you are the top brass in an organisation or a new hire just starting out. You have goals don’t you?

Where do you want to be in six months? Six years? It’s largely up to you. Becoming a better communicator will help give you that competitive edge.

I can promise you that as someone who grew up in the tiny rural town of Farmland, Indiana (yes, that’s actually the name of the place), I learned a thing or two about crafting and delivering content after the rigours of delivering hundreds of thousands of live-shots during my career with CNN combined with my time as an international campaign strategist. I do not write or talk the same way I did as a girl.

Developing better communication skills is something we can all achieve.

The same way you are developing your competencies in whatever field you work in, you can also start focusing on how to re-train the way you speak about yourself and your work. You can become a more strategic communicator.

Practice doesn’t make perfect; practice makes permanent.

So, today, let’s start at the beginning. Make sure you take time to purposefully and conversationally craft your introduction.

Gina

Gina London is a former CNN anchor and international campaign strategist who is now a director with Fuzion Communications. She serves as media commentator, emcee and corporate consultant.

This is the first ‘The Communicator’ column that Gina has written for the Sunday Independent

Global recognition for Enda Kenny abroad – Bula Bus!

March 28, 2017 by

Enda Kenny

We all held our breath as our Taoiseach, Enda Kenny went over to the US to visit the new President of America, Donald Trump on St Patrick’s day.

A visit that wasn’t welcomed by all, as many expressed their dislike at our Taoiseach visiting the not so popular Donald Trump, went much better than expected as Mr. Kenny took the opportunity to lecture President Trump on Immigration. This turn of events was quite brave and unexpected and earned our Taoiseach immense praise at home and abroad.

He began his speech by thanking the President for extending the invite to celebrate St Patrick the patron of immigrants”. He was careful not to mention any of Trump’s harsh immigration policies but instead made a point and encouraged the President to be open to immigrants. He went on to tell how many Irish came to shelter in America in the past and how it had such a positive impact on the country rather than a negative.

 “We lived the words of JFK long before he uttered them – we asked not what America could do for us but what we could do for America. And we still do.”

US Media including the New York Times and Fox News praised our Taoiseach for not playing it safe and instead doing what he could do to encourage change and positivity. Enda Kenny used his visit to represent his people and protect Irish Immigrants who are residing in the USA and who are contributing to “making America great again”.

Enda Kenny is under a lot of pressure to stand aside at the moment and is receiving a lot of criticism in Ireland, however in this instance I think he did us proud and represented us well and instead of flying under the radar, he took a bold stance and possibly a risk. As well as doing wonders for his reputation as a leader his performance deserves a massive pat on the back and a Bula Bus!

Maybe St.Patrick himself was looking after Enda Kenny in his own way?

Edel

Edel Cox is a PR Account Manager  with Fuzion Communications who are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Dublin and Cork

 

 

PR is not a “one size fits all”

March 27, 2017 by

The perception of the PR industry is one we often have to fight against and to defend. Some people may take a cynical view that PR is an indulgent commodity, a drain on a marketing budget and that those working in the industry are experts on ‘spin‘ rather than communication.

It’s hard not to feel offended and disheartened when you look at it from the inside out, knowing the broad range of work and tasks our job entails.

For instance one client of mine depends on me for devising their strategy in line with their organisation’s objectives over the coming two years. I’ve carried out workshops with top level staff across divisions with the aim of helping them to refine their messaging, target audiences and objectives. I also act as their press office function which, for a public sector Statutory organisation, is a role of great responsibility that requires efficiency, accuracy and professionalism.

Another client of mine is a global company which requires profile building to raise its profile and understanding among the Irish market.I do this through liaising with their stakeholders, identifying interesting case study stories to pitch to the media, through office launch events and openings, media engagement and drafting and issuing press releases.

I work closely with the company’s global corporate communications team, which can significantly increase the level of liaison that is required but it is absolutely necessary to provide them with assurance, confidence and understanding of how we work and achieve results in Ireland. Building this relationship has built trust which is paramount.

We may have another project that is purely for internal communications to foster and enhance engagement with staff through events, workshops, communications, videos etc.

As an agency the varied and broad nature of our work and client base is significant. One size does not fit all – the only common ground our clients and work has, is enhancing and sometimes protecting their reputation which can be achieved through many diverse PR activities.

Aoibhinn Twomey - Fuzion PRAoibhinn

Aoibhinn Twomey is a Senior Account Director with Fuzion Communications – PR, Marketing and Graphic Design  who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

(Image taken from the very funny 2005 movie, “Thank You For Smoking” which presents a great example of spin)

How do you tell your story?

March 26, 2017 by

Gina London - Fuzion Communications

At the beginning of this month I had the privilege of being the Master of Ceremonies for the first Cork University Business School (CUBS) conference.

The theme was “Shaping Ireland’s Future” and the list of impressive speakers included top business leaders, entrepreneurs and broadcasters. From Marissa Brown, one of Ireland’s most successful business women and creator of Cocoa Brown to Harry McCann, the founder of the first digital youth council of the world. Each person sharing their vision, their journey and their story.

And it’s precisely how they tell their story – how well they communicate – that will largely mark each one of the speakers as the successes they are.  Research shows that when you line up people with equal competencies, the better communicators will always have the competitive edge.

As a former CNN reporter and anchor, I first learned the power of communications the lens of journalism: how to write compelling copy that hooks a viewer. After my days at CNN, I managed international campaigns – for politicians – like the first female parliamentary candidates in Iraq and opposition parties in Egypt – and on issues – like increasing immunization awareness in Cambodia.

Today, as a strategic consultant with Fuzion Communications, I see communications as a solid combination of style and strategy.

What does that have to do with you?

Quick!

Without any further preamble from me, find someone and shake their hand.

What did you get? 

Did every single one of you deliver a warm, firm embrace? Fingers curling around the other person’s hand with the pads of your fingers making contact with their hand in a meaningful way? Did you clasp for a full second or two?

Or did some of you find that you shook hands with a limp, dead fish!? Or who got the arm wrestler – the squeezer of death?

Why do I make a big deal about a handshake?

Because it’s often the very first thing we do when we’re introduced to someone – and for many of us – we don’t have any idea about whether we’re doing it right – or even if there is a right way or a wrong way.

But make no mistake – how you shake hands does send a message.  Think about it. What does shaking hands with the arm wrestler or the dead fish say to you?  Every time you interact with someone – you are communicating something – either by design or by default.

Whether I am working with clients or participating in a business conference like the upcoming CUBS event, I constantly witness that:

“Communications is not a soft-skill,  it’s a critical skill.”

Thankfully, communications is also a skill that can be learned – and put into action for better results – in every part of your lives.

Any time you have what I call a “communication event” – you are either moving your relationship forward or backward with that other person – or people – in your work and in your personal life. I mention both, because we aren’t two different people – we don’t have a professional life and a personal life – we just have a life.

For instance, applying skillful communications is critical when you first have a big idea. How are you going to pitch your product, platform or service? Even more than the market research and the projection numbers, the story you tell will either connect or not connect – with your intended audience.

How do you take the kernel of an idea, or, as you mature in your field, the depth of your knowledge and best communicate that kernel or knowledge -to various audiences? It takes emotional intelligence and communications training.

This past spring, the University of Florida officially announced a new translational communications centre dedicated to making science and tech better understood by all. They understand the importance of training scientists how to communicate to a lay audience.

There are two main facets of any communication event: content and delivery – and there are teachable strategies around each.

Before you create any content, you need to apply an AIM strategy. This is devised by Stanford University as Audience. Intent. Message. In that order.

1. AUDIENCE. Take a moment to consider who is in your audience.

Are they new-hires or veterans? Senior management or the executive board? Women or men or both? Do they prefer Elvis or the Beatles? Tea or coffee? PC’s or Macs?

Every audience is different. Try to get inside their heads. What are their hopes, dreams and fears? 

I sometimes ask clients to write their agenda. Then write a second agenda from their audience’s point of view. Then I have them throw out their agenda and begin again from the second one!

2. INTENT. Your intent is never simply to inform. If you’re just doing that, then put your information in an email and hit the send button. You must be trying to motivate or inspire your audience to some sort of action. Define your goal very clearly. Too often I see this one overlooked. The goal is too broad and ill-defined. What is it exactly that you want your audience to do after you’re finished speaking? Even if it’s just to agree to another meeting. That’s okay. Be very specific.

3. MESSAGE. Only after you have deliberated points 1 and 2 should you move on to craft your message. Like intent, this must be clear too. Write it down. One sentence! Here’s the definition I learned from organizing campaigns:

 A message is “brief, memorable, repeatable, emotional and data-backed”

But it’s not only the data. While supportive, taken stand-alone, data dumps are often dry and boring. Your message is your call to action. Your spoken declaration of your written intent. Your motivation! State it clearly and state it often. Don’t assume your audience is just “getting it!”

Next! Now that you’ve crafted content, How do you deliver your message?

Think of presentation delivery as three legs of a stool, – words, para-lingual and body language.

1. WORDS. Use powerful, colourful, imaginative words. Don’t waffle or equivocate. Be bold. Choose active verbs not flat ones. Go for it in your word choice! Have you heard those people who say words are only 7 to 10 percent of communications?? Try watching a foreign film without subtitles and tell me if you understand 90-93 percent of what’s going on!! The words do matter!

2. PARA-LINGUAL. This mouthful just means the way we say our words. The tone, the pace, the volume, the pitch. These are tools we naturally vary when we’re talking to family and friends, but often get left behind when we deliver “business stuff.” When we don’t use them, they leave us sounding robotic, rote, dull and lifeless! You got ’em for football and rugby matches. Don’t leave them at home when you go to work!

3. BODY LANGUAGE. Whether we like it or not, unless we’re master poker players, our bodies are always “leaking” our emotions. And people are always reading us. How we hold our arms, our hands. Does your listening or concentrating face look interested or disinterested? Other people notice, so, take some ownership and get retrained to appear more engaged.

As we look to the future of Ireland’s economy, business leaders too, must learn how to improve their communications. Across vertical silos. Across countries and oceans too.

Like it or not, Brexit proponents and Donald J. Trump discovered how to break down and communicate potentially complicated messages in a simple way to reach their targeted audiences.  While critics may argue that those simpler messages also played on a constituency’s anger or fear, imagine what can happen when one creates simple, captivating messages that seek to inspire and motivate people to positive action?

It’s not too soon – or too late – to get started getting deliberate about your communications. Great communications equals great relationships in business and in life.

Thank you CUBS for such a fantastic event!

Gina London - Fuzion CommunicationsGina

Gina London is an award-winning former CNN correspondent who now serves as director of Strategic Communications at Fuzion Communications with offices in Dub;in and Cork, Ireland.

How little is too little? Nothing!

March 21, 2017 by

Patrick Jones, Fuzion PR in Belarus

Many years ago, or at least it feels like it, I took part in a charity trip with my Alma Mater, Dublin Institute of Technology that would change my perspective on life for the better.

In my youth, my mind was set that only the big things counted and if you could only do something small, it won’t make much of an impact. How my mind was changed.

It was this trip to Post- Chernobyl Belarus, where I first realised how incorrect I was and that so much could be achieved with so little. An old rugby buddy from D.I.T organised and led the troop of my bright eyed and bushy tailed students from D.I.T and Ulster University Magee, Derry. None of us had been to this part of the world before and to our shame, knew a lot less about it than we should have.

The experience centred on raising money prior to the trip, and cycling from orphanage to orphanage to see what the money would be used for. Before we left for Belarus, we were cautioned that some of the young people we would be meeting were disabled, both physically and mentally, but in our naivety, little did we know what was in store.

When we arrived into the first orphanage in Rechista, the whole convoy was stopped in our tracks at the reception we received; hundreds of people, small children to young adults were standing outside waving flags and cheering to welcome us. Those who could, ran and walked to greet us, the others had little other choice but to wait till we moved up to them. (We found out later, the children had been waiting for this day since the previous year.)

The children put on a magnificent show to welcome us, and then the tour. After the initial shock was over, we noticed the disrepair the building and grounds were in, how little they had and how much they needed.

In the week we were there, and with the intention of just raising money for the orphanages; two disabled ramps got completed, a playground got finished, a garden area covered in clay got cleared and we put as many smiles as we could put on faces that truly needed them. Anything that needed to be done, we did, if we didn’t have the tools, we made do, but we did it.

By the end of the week, there were no tears left, nor were there regrets as even though we could only do a little, I know it meant a hell of a lot!

Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a littleEdmund Burke

Patrick Jones - Fuzion CommunicationsPatrick

Patrick Jones is an Account Manager in Dublin with Fuzion Communications, Marketing, PR & Graphic Design 

 


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