Retro microphone and notebook computer, live webcast on air concept

Podcasting for beginners: What I learned last week

I was treated to a behind the scenes look into the podcasting process with my old friend Barry Lee Cummings last week. I was invited to join him as a guest on his well-established podcast, Swenglanese, as well as being given invaluable advice and guidance on the editing and production process, for which I am eternally grateful.

You can watch the episode here, and I would also highly recommend subscribing to his podcast to hear interesting stories and advice from a wide variety of entrepreneurs and business professionals across the UAE.

Following his expert insight and my first experience in the world of podcasting last week, I thought I’d share some of my learnings, a lot of which I have talked about before on this blog in terms of other forms of communications, such as videos and interviews, as well as a couple more focussed on podcasts themselves:

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Security concept with icons on wooden blocks on turquoise background flat lay.

Our six point checklist for safe social media

We’ve been delighted to be supporting Beat The CyberBully again this month to help support and educate children, parents and teachers about online safety and digital wellbeing.

For anyone unfamiliar with the initiative, Beat The CyberBully aims to promote safe, responsible and inspiring online communications for children and young people, and to bridge the digital knowledge gap for teachers, parents and carers, and is run here in the Middle East by my dear friend Barry Lee Cummings.

This morning, we’ve launched Beat The CyberBully’s mobile app to media in the region, and in talking to press about the virtues of the programme and the importance of cyber safety and security, it had us thinking about some of the basic elements of safe social media and whether we might perhaps all need a refresher:

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Simple fixes for reading (and writing) online

This week it is National Read a Book Day in the UK, and International Literacy Day around the world. I’m a keen reader and a purist, who much prefers a real book to read, however I’m conscious that I’m probably in the minority now as the world continues to evolve. The COVD-19 pandemic has only intensified this shift online, as schools (here in the UAE at least) ask children to bring laptops and iPads in order to reduce the number of touchpoint from shared books and papers.

For anyone writing content that they want others to see, it is therefore becoming increasingly important to understand how reading changes online, and how we therefore have to adapt our writing to suit these new reading habits.

I’ve shared three simple fixes for your writing, to address the following changes in reading habits online:

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elevator pitch

Four simple ingredients for a good elevator pitch

The three day workshop I ran for the Higher Colleges of Technology recently was around Employability and Industry Engagement. Last week I had to review all of the independent assignments I had requested from the group, and was delighted to see that they had really taken on board all the different areas we had talked about, from the entrepreneurial mindset, and networking on and offline, to communicating clearly, and using social media.

The assignment that had the greatest response rate was where I had tasked them to work on an elevator pitch and send me a recording of them delivering it on their phones. Obviously an elevator pitch is something that needs to be practiced many times in order to become completely smooth, however I was really impressed to see some of the results, which for a lot of the course attendees, were their first attempts at ever delivering an elevator pitch.

After I had reviewed them all, I thought it might be useful to share four key factors that really make an elevator pitch work, no matter who you are and what you do:

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Top tips for hosting Zoom workshops and events

Wow, I have even more respect for teachers than I did this time last week!

A true sign of the times, I hosted my first Zoom training course last week, and – not to do things by halves – it was an intense three day long training session for 20 people.

I have to say that it was one of the most challenging, and yet bizarrely one of the most straight forward, things I have ever done – I can also confirm that it was one of the most exhausting, and rewarding projects!

The key to an effective and enjoyable training session is genuine engagement with the audience – being able to gauge their understanding and belief in what you are saying,as well as assessing real time the subjects that particularly interest them or turn them off. This is a difficult enough endeavour when face to face in a classroom, particularly with larger groups, let alone taking the session online and removing all of the critical body language.

However after surviving the week, and receiving lots of lovely feedback from my students, I thought I would share my learnings:

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Unknown copy 2

The 7 golden rules of writing business copy

How to write a professional bio? What tips for writing good business copy? What does a press release look like?

These were some of the questions I was asked to answer when delivering my workshop on Business Copywriting for Female Fusion on Thursday. It was great to see a lot of the same ladies that had joined me the week previously taking their PR knowledge to the next level – maybe we’ll look at doing a few more!

During the morning, we looked at company boilerplates and web copy, biographies, press releases, media features and opeds (opinion editorials), as well as blogs and social media content. The session went down well and as a result, I thought I’d share a brief summary of the golden rules for writing effective business copy that works on and off-line. Obviously there are additional rules for the specific writing formats we’ve mentioned, however the seven below apply across the board, no matter what you are writing.

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Group of casually dressed business people discussing ideas in th

What does a PR plan look like?

Do you need to download specific software or apps for PR plans? What information goes in a PR plan? What are the most user-friendly, simple PR plans we should be using?

I was delighted to run a PR Planning workshop for Female Fusion on Thursday, and the lovely ladies I met were really enthusiastic – so much so they’ve requested another session in a few weeks to allow them to develop their plans on their own and then come back to me to review them and hold them accountable! It was so inspiring and refreshing to have them suggest such a great initiative – I can’t wait to see what their plans will look like!

For now though, I thought it might be interesting to explore what a PR plan should actually look like, and what format should be used, as this was probably the most pressing question of the day.

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Online communication

8 tips for video interviews and live streaming

I’m going live!

If you’ve been following my content or reading these blogs, you may be aware that I am running a workshop for the ladies of Female Fusion UAE on Thursday morning. As part of the build up for this session, I have been asked to take part in a Facebook Live session with the group’s founder.

Kellie and I work in similar fields and have known each other for a long time, so I had no hesitation in accepting her invitation to chat, knowing we would have no shortage of things to say! The familiarity also helped to ensure that it wasn’t a stressful experience – that being said, I think you have to be superhuman not to experience a few nerves when it comes to doing anything live!

In preparing for the session, I realised it might be useful to share some of the little tips that might be useful for anyone wanting to do live broadcasts or interviews, and who hasn’t had much experience and may therefore be a bit daunted by the task…

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Close-up of male executive reading sticky notes

How to create a PR plan: Four simple steps

As you may have seen from last week’s post, I will be taking my first face-to-face workshop next week for the gorgeous ladies at Female Fusion. Over the course of a morning, we’ll be exploring how to create an effective PR plan – a topic which is particularly popular right now as everyone has had to review and realign their business operations and communications.

For anyone who is not sure what constitutes an effective PR plan, I thought it might be helpful to outline the four main steps to be taken. These will be explored further during our session next weekend, so if you’ve like to know more, please do sign up to join us here.

The most important part of any PR plan is the strategy behind it – this is the key foundation on which everything else should be built:

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Face to face workshops resume with Female Fusion Summer School!

As we take the next steps towards business rebuild post-lockdown, it seems that collectively we are ready to tentatively start face to face business meetings and events again – with the necessary distancing measures in place of course. In the last two weeks, we’ve had a number of enquiries for face to face PR and social media training and workshops in Dubai – something which hasn’t happened for the last five months.

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