TREE AID - Joanna Lumley Supports the She Grows Campaign

UK government doubles donations to charity using trees to fight poverty and climate change

Environmental and international development charity, TREE AID, has launched a three-month appeal with proceeds doubled by the UK government. With the support the UK public, the She Grows appeal will help people reverse the effects of deforestation and climate change in the drylands of Africa. The UK government will match pound for pound any public donations between 1st April and 30th June through the UK Aid Match scheme.

The charity, set up by foresters in 1987, has planted more than 16 million trees and supported more than 1.2 million people, and is increasingly gaining recognition for its long-term solution to help alleviate poverty and halt deforestation in the poorest and most arid parts of Africa.

Joanna Lumley, TREE AID’s patron and supporter of the She Grows appeal, explained: “I have been supporting TREE AID for more than 25 years because it provides such an effective, practical solution to the urgent issues of poverty in Africa and the environmental decline that so often causes it.

“Trees are being wiped from the landscape in the African drylands and the desert is spreading, making it harder for people, especially women, to feed their families and earn an income. I urge local people to please give what they can to the She Grows appeal, knowing their gift will be doubled by our government. If ever there was a time to support a local organisation working on global issues, it is now.”

The She Grows appeal will help one thousand women in Mali to set up small businesses that process and sell shea butter and honey, and give them the tools and training they need to save and replant their local forest.

Mali is a country in West Africa that is two-thirds desert and where more than 50% of people live below the poverty line. The burden of poverty falls hardest on women who have limited access to land and few opportunities to earn an income. They are expected to feed their children and families but their land is some of the driest in the world and, as climate change effects deepen, the situation is getting worse. Trees are a lifeline, surviving drought, improving the soil and providing fruits, nuts and seeds for food and income.

The She Grows project comes at an important time, with the UN naming 2019 as a “critical year” for climate action and with scientists around the world calling for reforestation to slow down climate change.

Setou Traoré is one of the thousand women in Mali who will benefit from the TREE AID project. Due to frequent droughts and deforestation, Setou is finding it harder to find food for her family and she can’t afford to send her children to school: “Trees are vital, especially for us women. Without trees, we wouldn’t eat. The produce from the fields has reduced. Farming doesn’t feed us anymore, the sources of income are weak. There aren’t many trees anymore. I am worried for my children.”

TREE AID is urging people to donate as much as they can to the She Grows appeal before 30th June 2019 and the UK government will double all donations. Match funding from the UK government will help 1,000 women in Mali to grow their way out of poverty using the power of trees. Donations from the UK public will mean TREE AID can help even more communities across the drylands of Africa to transform their environment and their lives.

To donate and find out more, visit the TREE AID website: www.treeaid.org.uk/shegrows.


2019 BEFA Write Up - Inspiring and Motivating.... Bring on Q2!

Having just returned from the 2019 Business Excellence Forum and Awards I am feeling inspired and happy to have spent time with my brilliant coaches Gary Keating and Jane Carvell of ActionCOACH Bristol https://actioncoach.co.uk/coaches/gary-keating/ together with a group of their talented clients.

What follows are my favourite notes and soundbites from the conference.

Sir Clive Woodward spoke about the DNA of a champion and also about how great teams are formed.

“GREAT TEAMS ARE MADE OF GREAT INDIVIDUALS - GET EACH INDIVIDUAL PERFORMING AT THEIR OPTIMUM LEVEL”

“ENABLE EACH PERSON TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR OWN LEARNING”

Performance Under Pressure

Winners are those who perform best under pressure and who can think clearly under that pressure.

Prepare for all situations…have a plan

TCUP

Thinking

Clearly

Under

Pressure

Winning Culture

Winning teams are made from a winning culture. This culture is based upon Leadership, Partnership (both internal within the company and outside) and Teamship.

Teamship is a brilliant concept.

In simple terms you get the team to come up with an agreement that 100% of them sign up to. You can start with simple thing like dress code or punctuality. Let your team come up with the rules. Bring your teamship rules to life by making them fun. Don’t do too much at once and drip feed these rules in.

You can take a look here to learn more from Clive

Nicky Pattinson

https://nickypattinson.com

is a sales communication expert and lead conversion guru. Down to earth, authentic and entertaining - her session was one of my event highlights.

“THE FUTURE IS OWNED BY THE UNFORGETTABLE”

It’s all about the story….tell a story to seat people at the table. At your table.

Take a look at these two videos from Nicky, they are both short views and are well worth it. All of us in business are sales people -  it gives a really good insight into her techniques:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzxUQbIDMDI


This one is from her work at Halfords, it’s brilliant how she gets involved with the customers:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jW58PtP6TA


For me personally, this was the take away from the whole two days…..

“PUT THE WHOLE OF WHO YOU ARE... BEHIND THE FORCE OF WHAT YOU DO... AND YOU WILL SURELY GET THERE”


Damian Keyes did an excellent session on social media and focussed on giving value:

“LOOK AFTER PEOPLE LIKE THEY HAVE NEVER BEEN LOOKED AFTER BEFORE”

Find out more about Damian here - his book looks fabulous: https://damiankeyes.com


James Clear https://jamesclear.com

is the good habits guru. I think we all came away with ideas of small habits/rituals we can make that will over time make a big difference. Focus on getting 1% better each day.

For example “After I make my first cup of coffee of the day, I will meditate for 1 minute”

“EVERY ACTION YOU TAKE IS A VOTE FOR THE PERSON YOU WISH TO BECOME”

“A HABIT IS A LIFESTYLE TO BE LIVED”


Jo Fairley shared the story of the founding of Green & Blacks.

This is the first time I have heard someone of her calibre speak on stage and share their love of PR and its importance to the growth of their brand. Thank you Jo! I was especially impressed by how much she has used and uses print. It’s easy to discount print as being old- fashioned but as Jo said, each time they had something in print they saw a spike in sales.


I would encourage you to follow Jo and her business journey for inspiration (and she gave us all chocolate!): https://www.josephinefairley.com



Brad Sugars  https://bradsugars.com is the founder of ActionCOACH and he entertained and inspired us to look at our business systems as a way to save time and ultimately money. His book Instant Systems is well worth a read.


My team will be getting used to us documenting everything we are doing on a day to day basis so we can create checklists. My favourite bit:

“DO THE WORK ONCE, KEEP THE CLIENT FOREVER”


The 2 days ended with the brilliant Steve Judge - an inspirational story, and such a lovely guy as well. I really enjoyed meeting him. If anyone will inspire you to stop making excuses and to get on with it, he will: http://steve-judge.co.uk


I can’t do a write up without mentioning my client Sophia Ali of Amma Life https://ammalife.co.uk who was a finalist in the ecommerce category on the Thursday night awards. Keep up the hard work Sophia, you are changing lives.




Thoughts for Mothering Sunday

On Mothers Day, busy mum and owner of Amma Life https://ammalife.co.uk Sophia Ali shares her top 5 tips for relaxation….


  • Create time to hang out with your friends - spending time with your friends helps you to relax and unwind. Sometimes this is the first thing we cut out when we are busy, though we should always make some time to socialise. Whether it’s having a chat and a few laughs over a cup of tea or going to the gym together, we don’t need studies to reveal that time spent with a friend can reduce the body’s stress response, lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol. So, no matter how busy you are, be sure to make time at the weekends or after work to get together with your besties.


  • Biohack your Mindset - This may sound like some futuristic activity, but it is a really about understanding the process of making changes to your lifestyle in order to “hack” your body’s biology and feel your best. One simple way to do this is to focus on 5 things you are grateful for every night just before bed. This encourages you to recognise all of the positive things that occur in your life and view the world through the glass is half-full lense (as opposed to half-empty).

  • Another technique is to get outside and exercise regularly - exercise is incredibly beneficial for your body & mindset. It is about much more than helping you to keep physically fit and healthy. Any form of physical activity increases the brain’s production of endorphins. This neurotransmitter has a positive effect on your mood, thus making you happier and decreasing stress and anxiety levels. Additionally, getting into the zone - the intense focus you maintain during many forms of exercise, can be viewed as a form of physical meditation. As it often helps you to forget about unimportant irritations and helps to retrain your mind to remain clearer and calmer in future stressful situations. These are simple forms of bio-hacking to help you work with your biology to ensure it works to support you.


  • Gain more natural energy – Do you frequently find yourself craving a cup of coffee to make it through the day? One simple step to support your energy system is to reduce the coffee consumption. Excessive consumption of high caffeine drinks can have a negative impact on your body, increasing cortisol levels and prohibiting sleep. Why not consider switching to a caffeine-free alternative. There are so many herbal teas on the market to choose from such as our CBD tea? Be brave, set yourself a challenge and give up caffeine for 7 days then observe how you feel at the end of that week.

  • Do check out our CBD tea range here (CBD and CBD & Mint) https://ammalife.co.uk/collections/cbd-tea/

  • These are naturally caffeine free drinks and we believe they are a great choice of beverage at any time of day with their delicate and floral taste. We recommend that you drink the tea when you have time to relax and make the most of enjoying some ‘me’ time. You can even add honey or lemon to it for a great bedtime drink!


  • Write your way to a happier you - Journaling is such a great way to relax and reduce stress. Keeping a journal helps you to prioritize your goals & challenges, look at any concerns in a new light and gives you an outlet for your emotions. Being able to look back at your day and take a few moments to connect to your inner wisdom can support you to evaluate any situations that had caused you stress, look at what steps you can take in future to avoid these or turn the situation around to suit you.  It can also be used to monitor any negative behaviours you wish to reduce and change. Journaling provides some great time for self reflection and in time you may find it much easier to come up with logical solutions for any issues you are faced with, when written out on paper.


  • Turn off and tune out - Ditch the guilt that we often feel when taking some ‘you’ time and create a schedule that allows you to have a designated time that is completely your own. We can be consumed with constantly checking our phones and ‘just quickly’ responding to work emails in our own time. However, it is important to put aside some time where you can focus solely on yourself for the purpose of self-care and personal growth.  So leave your phone in another room and choose an enjoyable hobby, play some music and dance in the living room, find a new book to read or simply take a relaxing bath. Whatever it is that you choose, enjoy it without interruption.


  • Happy Mother’s Day to all of you, whether you are mums, step-mums, mums-to-be, daughters, single dads, have children in your life or want to have a baby! This is your time to take a break and make it a regular thing in your life.

The Subtle Art of Swearing....

Is it me or does it seem like you have to write a book with a f**k on the front cover these days? Don’t get me wrong, they are some great books out there. I particularly like the idea of a f**k list by the way........


But are we heading for swearing overload? Now as a PR you might think that I have a strict no swearing rule. And that I impose this rule on my clients too. Well you would be right - most of the time. Lazy swearing really annoys me as there is no need for bad and lazy language. You know the sort, a f*** or b****** every other word. But well used swearing as part of well crafted language is another thing entirely. In certain circumstances it is acceptable and evidence shows it’s good for us. Take a look at this article - and also look at the Emma Byrne website if you want to find out more.


This is when swearing is a bad idea:

  • On TV

  • On radio

  • On social media - just don’t do it PLEASE. It’s too risky. Your clients or potential clients could see it. Really. Oh yes and you know when you think you have a private profile? It probably isn’t - the risk of information leaks are really high….

  • In front of your mum

My rule is if you wouldn’t say it to your gran then don’t say it or write it. Well actually my gran was pretty liberal but you know what I mean………

Happy Christmas and New Year….


Book Review - The Jelly Effect

The Jelly Effect - Brilliant Communications Tips


The book I’ve read most recently in the The Jelly Effect - How To Make Communications Stick, by Andy Bounds


The first thing to say is that it’s the kind of book I like as you can dip in and out of it and read in detail the sections that apply best to you and your challenges.


The overarching theme is telling people a load of irrelevant information is like chucking a bucket of jelly over them in the hope that something will stick.

The next theme is the AFTERS - audiences don’t care what you say - they only care about what they are left with after you’ve said it.


What I will do is go through my favourite topics and tips here for you and leave you to go and read the book yourselves.


  • The aim of your networking is to arrange to have a cup of coffee with a big fish, on a subsequent date. Your big fish could be be potential customers, potential suppliers, potential recommenders and the guest list

  • The best question to ask at networking events is “what professions are good contacts for you?”

  • Prepare for presentations using the RAP method: Results - what do you want to achieve, Audience - what are they like?, Preparation - only do this once you know the first two areas

  • Every single product is bought because of what the customers are left with AFTER they bought it - e.g. you will buy a lamp because you want light

  • Your customers want problem solvers (not technicians)

  • A referral is a personal recommendation, to someone you don’t know but who is your target, that target is expecting AND is looking forward to it



That is a very quick pick of the best tips - for more info take a look at Andy’s website 

The CEOS Guide to PR - What the Hell is PR Anyway?

You may have a marketing department, and perhaps a social media and comms function too -  but do you need a PR?

 

First things first, what the hell is PR anyway? It’s all about building great reputation. Everything you say and do is PR. The steps normally taken are:

 

  • Deciding what you want to be known as/what you want people to talk about

 

  • Deciding who you want to see/hear this info (who is your customer)?

 

  • Work out the best way for that to happen – what do these customers read/watch/listen to?

 

  • Putting together a great story/angle/opinion piece

 

  • Getting it to the right journalist

 

  • Following up and setting up interviews

 

  • Making sure the campaign is featured on social media and in newsletters and other marketing communications by liaising with other marketing and comms staff

 

  • Measuring the results of a campaign and to be ready for future campaigns



 

Do you need a specific PR expert to work with you? You won’t be surprised that I think you do. You certainly need someone who has the right connections and who can see the right opportunities for your company. It’s not a "dark art", but it takes time to sharpen the conversational, observational and commercial skills that a good PR requires.


 

The CEOs Guide to PR - What makes a good news story?

What makes a great (news) story?

 

The first question to ask may seem obvious but it’s “Is it really news?”.

 

Put yourself in the place of the reader... is it something that will add to the life & knowledge of the reader, is it useful? Does it potentially solve a problem? Is it helping the community in some way?

 

Some ideas to help:

 

  • Hold a monthly/regular meeting with your department heads to find out what’s going on with them, their department and their staff that might that might turn out to be a good story. Remember it could be something in a staff members personal life that makes a story – such as a sporting or community project / achievement.
  • Task someone with the job of keeping an eye on a good story & news ideas within the company and flagging them. There is always someone in a company who knows what going on and all the gossip - it’s a fun role for them.
  • Remember that great stories can be just as useful for internal PR as for external stakeholders – they can keep everyone feeling involved in the company, brand & help them be great ambassadors for the company.

Good topics are:

  • New products
  • New staff
  • New facilities
  • Charity & community work
  • CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Events
  • Awards

 

  • If you are not sure if something is a good story – Google it & see if anyone else has promoted something similar.
  • If you have favourite publications make sure you read through some recent issues and check what types of stories are popular & what format those stories take.


 

Travel.....My Tips

Being a mum can turn into a huge list of stuff to feel guilty about. Being a working mum adds to this list for many ladies and I’d love to encourage you to ditch the guilt once and for all. We are all doing the best we can aren't we? Yes we are...

 

I love to travel and to meet people. It’s something I still do as part of my job despite 3 small people being at home. For me it's an important part of my job, and yes when I call home I do get a little twinge of guilt for leaving them behind but I think it does us all good. I make the most of my time away to have some space to think about work and home stuff and to plan - and I get A LOT of work done. The kids get to cope without me for a couple of days which does them good and helps them be a bit more independent. I feel I'm better when I get home as I've spent a bit of time away refreshing.

 

But travelling as a woman on your own can be lonely and a bit scary. I especially found this when I started travelling again once I’d had the kids. These are my tips for travel on your own - staying safe and happy.

 

Planning

 

  • I do invariably forget one small thing at home when I go away (normally to pack my toothpaste…) but I start prep a week in advance with lists, filling the freezer with food and checking the washing has been done (or leaving a note for what must be washed)

  • Make sure everyone knows where you will be and when

  • Make sure everyone knows where they need to be and when

  • Make the most of your time and plan your meetings/ work well


 

Choosing somewhere to stay

 

  • As a woman travelling on my own, I do tend to be careful where I stay. I am much happier in a nice environment and you will find your family are happier too. I need Wi-Fi that works brilliantly, flexibility, good locations and an upmarket ambience in case I need to meet client. If you are a regular traveller try staying in the same place as you start to get to know the staff - which makes it feel more comfortable if you are a little lonely. You might get regular stayer discounts too.

  • I recommend https://www.citizenm.com/ They tick all the boxes for me and even don't blink an eye when I walk around in bare feet to get my coffee early in the morning….

 

Take some time out to refresh (and have some fun!)

 

  • Make the most of being away and do take a little time out to refresh and relax - you know when you get home there will be a HUGE list of jobs to do so take a breather in between meetings (and you get to watch what you want on TV for a night too)

 

Enjoy your time away!

 

Everything You Say And Do Is PR

I went to a great awards dinner last week, but I do admit to having witnessed some PR blunders during the evening. Anyone who knows me will know that I like a party and love to chat and meet people. Awards evenings are great for catching up with contacts and clients, celebrating with your staff, and meeting new people. Yes, we should all have a great time - but we also need to be aware that it is first and foremost a professional event and EVERYTHING YOU SAY AND DO IS PR.

I don't like to be a party-pooper (I've always wanted to say poop in a blog - it will entertain my 6 year old)  but there is a time and place for everything. This is my (slightly tongue-in-cheek)  guide to how to deal with awards nights like a pro….

 

  • If you drink, please be careful! Make sure if you are nominated for an award that you are able to make a great acceptance speech that is short and to the point. It's polite to the organisers and the sponsors to be prepared and thankful. Save your extra beer for after ;-)

  • If you ask someone to attend on your behalf the make sure its someone who will represent your business professionally - they will be remembered as being part of your company

  • Be nice about other businesses, especially competitors. Be generous. You never know when a competitor might become a collaborator. 

  • Not everyone will share your sense of humour - if you are not sure, don’t say it. Or if you can't judge that then use the “if you wouldn't say it in front of your mum - don’t say it in public” rule

 

Dress up - be glam - have fun - represent your business professionally!

 

Know Your Worth

 

 

A couple of weeks ago I went to a panel discussion organised by the brilliant The Women's Chapter

The Know Your Worth event was hosted by Claire Cohen, Telegraph Women Editor @clairecohen, Emma Sinclair MBE @ES_Entrepreneur, Ann Franke @cmi_ceo, and Hannah Ford @stevens_bolton.

As can be expected there was a fair amount of discussion regarding gender pay gaps but I wanted to find out more about how you can #knowyourworth as an entrepreneur and business owner. These are a few of the gems I picked up on the night: 

- Think carefully about your tribe - there is strength in numbers (if you surround yourself with the right people). Can you have a WhatsApp group with other leaders? 

- Play the social media "game" and create a strong personal brand. 

- Fake it till you make it! Or in my mind, I prefer to have a vision of myself the way I want to be and I "act" that vision if I'm not feeling it - we all have days like that! 

- Keep an achievement log (this is very useful if you are in a corporate environment and want to negotiate pay and promotion).

- When negotiating - use silence. Say what you need to then shut up and let your statement hang, it's very effective. 

 

How do you #KnowYourWorth ? 

5 Minutes With...

Who are you and what do you do? 

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I’m Lauren Chiren, founder of "Women of a Certain Stage."  My personal experience of menopause was a rollercoaster; in fact until I was diagnosed I actually thought I had early onset dementia! I had concentration issues, sleeplessness and I just became very very emotional. It all left me wondering whether that could possibly be normal. Women of a Certain Stage educates organisations and women on all things menopause, provides pathways and programmes that businesses can put in place in order to support their female talent, and also works with women one to one and in small groups to ensure they thrive through this phase of their lives.

 

What makes you different?  

Because of my own experience, and the sheer mental anguish that coincided with my menopause, I've now got a real passion for helping other women to avoid going through that. I've got background in psychology, nutrition, training, health assessment, stress management and coaching and I've also held senior level roles in industry. All of that means I'm perfectly positioned to understand what it's like to be a working woman in a demanding job, going through peri-menopause. I'm a member of the British Menopause Society and I keep up to date with all the latest information, tools and techniques to manage it. It’s not all about HRT!

 

If you could visit any time and place in history where/when would you go?

Oh dear...I’m not much of a historian, so I hope you'll allow me a little bit of leeway here. There's a scene I love in the film Rob Roy… do you know the one? Where Robert says to his wife "You know how fine you are to me Mary McGregor." It's set in the 1700’s in the Scottish Highlands, and they're just living off the land and looking after each other and their clansfolk. It's a tough but simple life. The scenery and the simplicity definitely appeal to me.  

 

What's your superpower?

Blimey - It’s got to be inspiration! I get crazy ideas all the time - like setting up a business to support people through menopause! It may not make sense to anyone else, but if it works in my mind, then I’m up, up and away making it happen. Nothing can deter me once I get going.  A few years back my son became critically ill, so I decided to raise funds for the hospital and challenge myself at the same time. I entered a marathon, even though, at the time, I could barely run to the bus stop. Somehow, slowly, despite having no training at all, I managed to run it.  I was so inspired, and so determined to honour my sponsorship for the hospital that I couldn’t and wouldn’t give up!

 

What's the best piece of advice you have been given?

If you are not happy with a situation, you have three choices.

  1. Try to change it
  2. Put up with it with a good heart and carry on
  3.  Walk away

It's tough advice for sure, but when you think about it, incredibly powerful.

 

What book would you recommend and why?

Informed Touch, A Clinician’s Guide to the Evaluation and Treatment of Myofascial Disorders. It's great wee book. I used it all the time when I was a sports therapist and I still refer to it all the time. It’s beautifully laid out and easy to follow and it helps clients to understand why you might be treating a completely different area to the one they came to see you about.

Why Timing Can Be Key - The Art of PR and Trust

 

 

Recently I've had a couple of projects where time has been short and the pressure of getting the right publicity has been high.

 

I have to be honest that I’ve discovered I don’t enjoy these types of situations. Unfortunately, I can’t control the news and what is being covered by journalists – with luck behind us there is a space available to cover my client’s stories but more often than not, we have to wait for an appropriate slot/space to come up in a magazine or an editor to commission a certain themed article from a journalist.

 

If we give a project more time, then we have the chance to be agile if a big news story hits the country. 

 

These are my tips for having a fantastic campaign experience.

 

  1. PR can take longer than you think – add 2 months on to any project at the beginning if possible and bear in mind there might be 4-6 weeks of following up and chasing up of results at the end of the campaign.

  2. What you think is news might not be suitable for coverage – a good PR will find a different angle. Trust them – if they need to do this it’s for a good reason. Sometimes “plan b or c” will bring you better coverage.

  3. PR is a subtle art. It’s a gradual way of building reputation. If you want a quick, sharp shock & exactly what you want to say you might be better to spend some money on an advertising, or advertorial campaign.

Good luck with your planning & campaign – enjoy the fun you can have with them.

5 Minutes With... Ruby Soho

Who are you and what do you do?

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My name is Ruby Soho. I'm a self employed artist and maker of large-scale props and crazy machines and vehicles. I co-run an arts company called liberty productions, creating things like art cars, and circus sets for performances. We've got a show we're touring at the moment, created to raise awareness about displaced people and featuring a stegosaurus that has morphed with the refugees' luggage. It's built on a golf buggy and it has a very strange personality. I also make things on commission for other companies - like Gail  - a giant snail based on a mobility scooter.

 

What makes you different?

I make other people's ridiculous ideas a reality. I can and will create whatever crazy idea the client wants and quite often make it significantly more practical in the process. I'm known for making really unusual things that other people maybe can't make, and I'm willing to make mistakes. People underestimate how important that is, but it's part of the creative process. In my line of work, every project is completely different, so you never know for sure if something's going to work. You just have to say yes to it and then find a way to make it happen.

 

If you could visit any time and place in history where/when would you go?

I reckon I would go to ancient Egypt, around 2500 BC. I’d love to find out how they managed to engineer those pyramids.

 

What’s your superpower?

The ability to survive (and work) on less than 4 hours sleep a night. I wasn't born with that one, I've developed it over the last year or so, aided by my night-owl toddler - or the 'rave baby' as I call him. I'm actually looking forward to the time when I can hang up my cape and become an ordinary mortal again.

 

What’s the best piece of advice you have been given?

Choose your jobs wisely. That gets easier with experience of course - I've learned over the years which projects to say no to; which ones are going to be doomed from the start. You have to learn to play to your strengths and the things you know you can do, but it's also important to expand your skill base and keep trying and pushing. Don't undersell yourself - (That's one I still struggle with to be honest)- but also don’t panic about when the next jobs going to come in, because it always will.

 

What book would you recommend and why?

Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins. Why? It’s just a great book - It's got everything - Dark humour, raw sex, smelly ancient Gods... not to mention the secret of immortality. And of course, lots and lots of beetroot. I love beetroot.

5 Minutes With... Julia Cawte

Who are you and what do you do

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I'm Julia Cawte, and I transform people's relationship with public speaking, helping them to get over their fears and to shine when they deliver a presentation or speech.  I work with individuals, groups and teams, and my goal is, ultimately, to enable them to enjoy speaking in front of others.

 

What makes you different?

I use an integrated approach in my work, so I help my clients to explore and develop many aspects of themselves - mindset, body, voice and energy. I work intuitively from the heart, creating a safe and supportive space so that everyone feels nourished and able to be the best they can be.

I'm trained in drama, so I use a lot of techniques from that to help people to build a strong connection with the audience and to speak with impact and gravitas. I mix these with Qi Gong relaxation techniques - which ground you, and reduce the adrenaline response, and I also work with clients to help them build an empowering mindset. By exploring all of these areas, people are able to walk confidently into any public speaking situation.

 

If you could visit any time and place in history where/when would you go?

Rather than go back in time I would go into the future, where women are stepping into their own divine female power. This will be beautifully balanced with male energy so it will be a truly egalitarian society.  

 

What's your superpower?

I am a Ninja Warrior; small in height, but big in power and presence. I encourage people to step up into their own power, to love the audience and to allow the audience to love them back.

 

What's the best piece of advice you have been given?

A good friend once told me to remember that life is a journey. You just move forward and get on with it - you don't have to have it all figured out in advance.

 

What book would you recommend and why?

The Purple Cow by Seth Godwin.  It's all about being remarkable and using that to transform your business. It's something we all need to think about these days, what with social media and the ever increasing pace of life - how are we going to stand out from the crowd? It's a very optimistic book really, and I love it for that. The idea is that you really can succeed and compete with the giants, as long as you start with a great idea and carry it out creatively.

Having said that, I think it's easy to spend too much time with your nose inside a book. It doesn't really compare to learning from experience. 

5 Minutes With... Dani Hall

Who are you and what do you do?

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My name's Dani Hall and I'm the owner and founder of The Literary Gift Company. which specializes in book-related gifts and its spin-off sister site Present Indicative, which sells academically themed gifts.  We buy some of our products in, but we also produce quite a lot of them ourselves. We often use work by local artists and designers - including my husband, Geoff, who's worked on quite a few of our literary products. I met him while I was working on the till at Waterstones, and now we work together on looking after our 3 children and running the business.

 

What makes you different?

I’m not sure how different this makes me, but I seem to be good at seeing the big picture and making connections. I have a hyperactive brain and a lot of notebooks full of ideas for products, websites, and DIY projects. I’m currently finishing an M.Ed. for fun, too, although I’m still not sure how I managed to carve out time to do that.

 

If you could visit any time and place in history, where/when would you go?

I definitely wouldn’t want to back to any time prior to the invention of anaesthetic; that would be crazy. I'm not sure about the exact place but It would have to be a long sandy beach with the right sort of waves, at the right sort of temperature with just enough infrastructure to provide a regular supply of good friends and chilled wine. I’d want something to do though; I couldn’t just sit around... although that does actually sound tempting for a while.

 

What's your superpower?

That's a hard question. I think I'm good at creative problem solving, but there are still loads of unsolved problems so I can’t be that super at it. I do have the ability to cook the best cheese straws on Earth, so maybe that could be my superpower.

 

What's the best piece of advice you've been given?

Quiet leadership can be powerful. The focus is on action instead of words, which can generate excitement, encourage ownership and develop loyalty in unique ways. Quiet leaders lack something that is stereotypically present in good leaders – an exaggerated ego. When you think “leader,” you may think “loud,” but those two words are certainly not synonymous. Many times the volume comes from overconfidence, a competitive nature and an inherent need to feed the ego.

 

What book would you recommend and why?

I’d recommend Not Now Bernard by David McKee, just because it's bloody brilliant. There are only a handful of words in the whole book, and yet it manages to question everything you ever thought about anything. It's profound, informative and darkly funny.

5 Minutes With... Allie Astell

Who are you and what do you do?

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My name's Allie Astell and I’m a Squarespace and social media marketing specialist. For those of you that don’t know, Squarespace is a cloud hosted web design platform, which enables millions of people to build their own websites or summon help from people like me to build it for them.

 I founded my digital marketing agency, 'Manage My Website'   back in 2009, and we're approved Squarespace specialists and trainers.

 

 

What makes you different?  

I would say it's my strong work ethic and high client service standards. Nothing is too much trouble because I genuinely enjoy what I do, and I rarely take a holiday. Does that make me a workaholic? Possibly!

I’m a real people person too, so many of my clients also become friends. 

 

If you could visit any time and place in history where/when would you go?

I'd love to have witnessed the Pyramids of Giza being built. I'd be intrigued to see exactly how they did it and what was involved. I share my time between the UK and Dahab, South Sinai, so Egypt has a place very close to my heart. 

 

What's your superpower?

 Multi-tasking to the extreme! I can be on a phone call, chatting to someone on Facebook Messenger, updating my Accounts, and Googling the best brand of hair oil while eating a Krispy Kreme donut, no problem. 

 I also once went to a Superhero fancy dress party as ‘Tena Lady’ but that’s a whole different story for another time.

 

What's the best piece of advice you have been given?

 My beloved Grandma Hilda, who sadly passed away last year at the age of 95 taught me:

”Never put off for tomorrow what you can do today.”

 and

 "You pass this life once. Enjoy yourself while you're passing.”

 Both of these are philosophies I try to remember and live by every single day. 

 

What book would you recommend and why?

 My favourite book is definitely ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ by Khaled Hosseini, based in Kabul under Taliban rule. . I’ll never forget the first time I read it as I literally couldn’t put it down. When I finished it I felt as though I’d lost a close friend. Highly recommended.

How does PR Fit in with.......Marketing Planning?

Who ate too many Terry's* Chocolate Oranges at Christmas - just me? 

Anyone who has been to one of my talks will have heard me equate your business marketing plan to a chocolate orange. The whole orange is your marketing plan and each of the segments is one of your marketing "aspects". PR can be one of these aspects. Your orange will be unique to you and your business. 

Let's use my business as an example. Much of my work comes from word of mouth so my orange is made up of marketing activities that support that:

  • Networking
  • Visiting industry events
  • Visiting trade shows
  • Social media
  • Blogging
  • Newsletters
  • And 2 PR segments - speaking at events and magazine columns 

If you want to run your "orange segments" past me then get in touch via the email or Tweet me @ASextonPR

*N.B. No one paid me to mention this brand - though they can if they like.....

5 Minutes With... Sarah Skillin

Who are you and what do you do?

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I'm Sarah Skillin, and I'm a business improvement, marketing, management and social media specialist.  My company, EquiConsulting, works with businesses and brands in the equestrian industry to optimise their customer experience by using a range of traditional and digital marketing techniques. Working with me, brands can not only enhance their customers' experience (which of course helps them to attract new customers and keep existing ones) but also become more efficient and profitable.

 

What makes you different?

I think what makes me stand out, in the equestrian world, is that I really do understand, and focus on, true customer experience. Before EquiConsulting I worked with a company called Oracle - a global leader in customer experience. That means I come armed with a lot of techniques and approaches from the corporate world, which are equally useful when applied on a smaller scale within my niche market.

 

If you could visit any time and place in history where/when would you go?

That's a hard one! I'm so fascinated with history; it's very difficult to choose. My university dissertation was on the history of crime and punishment so I think I'd most like to visit the Tudor times. Obviously I'd have to be a very rich lady, very much favoured by the rulers...for fear of losing my head!

 

What's your superpower?

It's got to be speed tweeting - it comes in very handy as part of the ERM social media team!

 

What's the best piece of advice you have been given?

Again, a hard one as there are so many. A previous boss once told me: 'remember tits and teeth, as sex sells.' That piece of advice always stands out; it's applicable to so many things. Well, ok, maybe not the 'sex sells' bit but 'tits and teeth' really does work. When you walk into a meeting for instance - put your shoulders back and smile... and even in dressage - stick your chest out and smile.

 

What book would you recommend and why?

I love a good dose of Jilly Cooper. I just lose myself completely in all the glitz and glamour. I think out of all her books, Polo is my favourite, so that's the one I'd recommend