Tag: professional life

Bird by bird

May 4th, 2017   •   no comments   
Bird by bird

6 ways to write like a writer

Few people are writers but everyone has to write, even if it’s only an email to accompany their CV. Whether you are writing a social media post, a project report or a cover letter to a prospective employer, you need to get your message across in a way that is clear, comprehensible and letter-perfect.

I write for a living, which means I can’t afford to get it wrong. My clients come to me for copywriting and editorial support on documents that need drafting or ‘doctoring’ after rounds of revisions. Also, I write as a hobby. In addition to my corporate communications blog, I blog about life in France, am currently completing a memoir and starting work on a novel. When I’m not writing, I’m usually reading.

One of the most treasured tomes on my bookshelf is ‘Bird by Bird’ by writer and humorist Anne Lamott. Offering ‘some instructions on writing and life’, it wraps up nuggets of wisdom in simple, down-to-earth stories from the author’s own life. The title was inspired by one such tale about Lamott’s little brother, and how he became immobilized by the enormity of the task at hand: completing a class report on birds that he’d had three months to write and was due the next day. Her father sat him down and gave his son the best advice any writer could ask for: ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.’

Breaking any big job into smaller, more manageable pieces can help move it forward. The important thing is to get it out of the starting blocks. Because let’s face it: even for those of us who do it for a living, writing can sometimes feel like pulling teeth.

Here are 6 tried-and-true tips to get that job written quickly and professionally. read more

Distraction-free mode

May 3rd, 2016   •   no comments   
Distraction-free mode

Something beeped.

It wasn’t my phone: no calls, no messages. Nor was it a desktop notification from my Mac – they’re mostly disabled anyway, and I’ve also muted all sound from my keyboard so as to enable distraction-free work.

It could have been one of the smoke detectors, advising me that the battery needs replacing. Or the dishwasher, letting me know that it has completed its cycle. It may even have been my husband’s sports watch, notifying him of a complete charge.

I wander around my home office, looking for the culprit. In my mind, composing a letter of complaint to the Chief Engineer of beep technology. Surely, in this age of the internet of things, there must be a better way? read more

#JeSuisCharlie: What communicators can learn

January 14th, 2015   •   no comments   
#JeSuisCharlie: What communicators can learn

What can communicators learn from last week’s terror attacks in Paris?

No matter what your position on the issue – whether or not the satirists at Charlie Hebdo were right in publishing caricatures of the Muslim prophet – the outcome of their editorial choices cannot be ignored. Extremism and satire make strange bedfellows.

In my view there are 5 key thoughts for communicators to take away:

  1. Freedom of expression is a powerful shared value. Free speech as a value overrides nation, religion and politics in the western world. People are united by this value in ways that run deeper than previously imagined. This is both a freedom and a burden, as it puts the onus on communicators to respect that freedom, and its limits, in the context of their business.
  1. It takes courage to live that value, both as individuals and communication professionals. Religious extremists and zealots of all persuasions will go to unimaginable lengths to avenge their gods. Sometimes there is a cost associated with speaking our minds or sharing certain truths. We need to be aware – and sometimes beware – of the consequences of our communications.

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The Crossroads of Should and Must

April 15th, 2014   •   no comments   

Which path has your career taken?
An inspiring story about the choices we make and how they impact our lives.
Reblogged from Medium.

The Crossroads of Should and Must

Harness the power of ‘no’

March 28th, 2014   •   no comments   
Harness the power of ‘no’

Reports from early childhood indicate that ‘no’ was my first word.

Maybe that’s why I’ve never hesitated to say no in my professional life. Not because I’m a negative person. Rather the opposite: I’m quite positive about what I want.

It’s been my experience that really positive things can come out of a negative. They are two sides of the same coin. But here’s the tricky part: you have to say yes to harness the power of no.

Let me give you an example.

I said no to a new job opportunity not long ago because I really believed I could do great things as a consultant. I needed to close one door to open the other.

That was my ‘yes’ – starting a new business. Saying no allowed me to focus on what I really wanted to achieve in my career.

And recently, I turned down a potentially exciting project that would have brought me a lot of exposure. Not because I don’t need it, but because it would have prevented me from saying yes to a lot of other work for clients I value.

In a culture that reveres the yes, here are 3 reasons to just say no: read more