Great internal communications – what does it look like?

Internal communications has the power to add value at different levels in organisations.

Tactically, great internal communication starts with the outcome, and aligned to achieving your organisations objectives. And if it’s not, you need to be ruthless and ask the question ‘why are we using our resources to do it?’

Most importantly on a strategic level, it’s about adding value through listening and understanding what is important to employees. Adding value as a trusted advisor to leaders by giving honest feedback with evidence-based conversations.

Adding value through empowering managers to become better communicators to create environments where open dialogue and constructive challenge are the norm. Adding value so leaders are as brilliant as they can be.

Continue reading “Great internal communications – what does it look like?”

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2016 Book Challenge in the bag!

So 2016 is up and I’ve managed to complete the 52 week book challenge. Overall I’ve enjoyed most of the books I have read this year – I discovered Bernard Cromwell – who is a compelling historical fiction writer and I have been utterly moved by the words of Alice Walker in the Color Purple. I finally got round to reading Harper Lee’s classic ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, and I’m glad I read it at this time in my life as I think I appreciated it more than I would have in my teenage years.

Here’s the 52 books I read this year:

  1. Rose of Sarajevo – Ayse Kulin
  2. Before I go to Sleep – S J Watson
  3. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry – Rachel Joyce
  4. The Dalai Lama’s Book of Wisdom – Dalai Lama XIV
  5. Mr Mercedes – Stephen King
  6. The Bees – Laline Paul
  7. The Color Purple – Alice Walker
  8. Katherine – Anya Seton
  9. Secrets of the Sea House – Elisabeth Gifford
  10. 1984 – George Orwell Continue reading “2016 Book Challenge in the bag!”

Unmentoring: How four simple conversations have changed my year

unmentoringFor the last five months I’ve been taking part in LocalGovDigital’s Unmentoring scheme, which is an unconventional approach to mentoring using Spark Collaboration technology. Every month I’ve been randomly matched to another person taking part and so far I’ve had many valuable conversations with colleagues from across the UK.

I’d like to give a summary of some of the amazing people I have crossed paths with and my key learning from the discussions we’ve had. It’s reminded me that every person – no matter who they are, or where they are from – offers a unique perspective on their area of work.

Carl Haggerty – February 2016
Key learning: Think, Share, Do

My first match was with Carl Haggerty, Digital Communications Manager at Devon County Council. As this was the first time I’d ever taken part in the scheme, I didn’t know what to expect, and what struck me most was Carl’s passion and conviction for using digital technology for the greater good.

Something we both found common ground around was that during periods of massive transformation it’s important to create systems and a culture for engagement to prevail and not be reliant on individuals.

A comment that Carl said that really resonated with me was: “It’s about the sweet spot between humanity, technology and democracy. Which is not being represented in the conversation?”

He also shared with me a campaign around 100 days of change which captured stories from across his organisation. It was incredibly successful as it appreciated change is complex, but can also be good.

Instead of over-thinking, just get stuck in and involved. Continue reading “Unmentoring: How four simple conversations have changed my year”

The TED talk I’ve enjoyed most in 2016

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I don’t know about you, but I love a TED talk. The chance to hear a new perspective and gain insight into areas I know about, and more often than not areas I don’t know about, excites me.

I was fascinated to know what TED stood for – technology, entertainment and design – and I’d listened to many talks and only recently learned this.

The talk I’ve enjoyed listening to the most in 2016 is Celeste Headlee’s: 10 ways to have a better conversation. It’s an obvious one for me that communication is important in my line of work and I’m always interested in having more impact and strengthening relationships around me.
Celeste explains that in a recent study of 10,000 people, it showed we are more than ever divided by polarised opinions, and less likely to listen to one another. She says somewhere we lost the way to balance speaking and listening, and this is partly down to technology – though it’s not entirely to blame.

The quote I loved the most from Celeste was “I listen to be amazed”, which means we have to truly listen to seek out what gems the other person has to offer.

Continue reading “The TED talk I’ve enjoyed most in 2016”

18 down, 34 to go …

“““image”””

I never tend to make New Years resolutions, as I’m generally rubbish at sticking to them. Why set yourself up to inevitably fail and kick yourself when you do?
However this year is different.

I had seen a number of 52 week challenges in 2015 and I loved how they broke down massive goals into bite sized chunks a week at a time. This to me sounded like people had hacked resolutions – how awesome is that!

So this year is my first ever I have set a New Years resolution, well the first ever stuck to for longer than a week, and my aim is to read 52 books, averaging one a week.

I use Goodreads as a way of tracking what I’ve read, and it beautifully lets you know how far off your yearly reading goal you are.

I’ve managed to read my way through 18 books – some older, some newer books – and it’s striking what I’ve found. I’ve been changed as a person by some of these books and namely by the ones written in the middle of the last century. A Town Like Alice was such a beautiful tale – it showed me that a good story is a good story no matter when it was told.

I came across The Color Purple as part of Emma Watson’s ‘Our Shared Shelf’ feminist book club and I was inspired that the human spirit can endure and overcome so much.

Here’s the entire list of what I’ve read so far in 2016 (as of 29 April):

Continue reading “18 down, 34 to go …”

PR Conference – What Journalists want, FE Sector

I’m excited to be attending the upcoming conference ‘What Journalists want, FE Sector’, organised by The Last Word Events & Training on 29 November held at Kings College, London.

The wide variety of guest speakers will make this an insightful and interesting event, in particular I am looking forward to hearing Jeevan Vasagar, former Education Editor for the Guardian session speak about the day in the life of a journalist and also Tracey Playle, of Pickle Jar Communications cover the role of social media in the FE Sector.

If this conference had taken place two months prior to the November date, it would have proved to have been even more useful to aid the completion of my CIPR Diploma final project which was consequently on the role of Social Media on Further Education!

All the same, it will be great to gather amongst like-minded PR’s attending the event and share best practice ideas.

CIPR Diploma CRT Assignment 1

After working non stop over the Easter holidays, I have received my mark back from the 2012 March CIPR Diploma Critical Reasoning Test and am so pleased to have gained a Distinction! One question I was given a merit and the other a distinction, so I’ve decided to post my answer to this one.

Question 4: Argue whether or not the advent of social media can assist public relations to act as a force for good in modern society. Continue reading “CIPR Diploma CRT Assignment 1”

Starting the CIPR Diploma

So it begins. Ten months of studying, writing assignments and scouring endless sources of information to gain the CIPR Diploma. It will be worth it in the end, knowing the theory behind what I do day-to-day will certainly make me feel more confiden in my PR role.

It was with a mixture of excitement and nerves that I entered Fitzwilliam House, thankfully I was put at complete ease by the great PR Academy staff.

I was really pleased to see the emphasis placed on critical thinking, which is something that has been instilled in me since University.

An interesting journey it will be and hopefully a successful one!