Monday, 29 April 2013

Facebook invitations, personal rebranding and fun on the farm

Facebook invitations, personal rebranding and fun on the farm:

I’ve been working with a graphic designer and artist named Martyn – he does the pictures, I do the words. On Tuesday, Martyn invited me to venture out for the day into deepest darkest Essex to visit a potential client together. It was a glorious day – the sun shone brightly as we wasted time sharing secrets on a bench overlooking the estuary, the water sparkling and gulls swooping overhead. I like to think that at this point I looked professional yet maybe a little pre-Raphaelitic in my long purple silk dress and very high stilettos. (Martyn hates the pre-Raphaelites by the way, it’s one thing we disagree on.) So wandering off to our business meeting, I wasn’t quite prepared for what was to follow…

Imaginative Training | Social media blog
To catch a star
Martyn Royce

It was a farm! Marsh Farm is a super children’s day out that’s being redeveloped into a mini adventure park, complete with tractor rides and indoor skating. So I traipsed through muddy fields and cow sheds, viewing piglets and the cutest baby goats, dress trailing in pools of slop and a smell that overwhelmed even Dior. We had such fun. The farm will be promoting itself via social media, so you might see Twitter updates from them coming soon.

In stark contrast, the following night was a more conventional evening of professionalism, wine and canap├ęs, yet full of the buzz and excitement of a day trip out. IF! Britain is an annual writing competition for young people to submit ideas for improving the country, and this was the award ceremony to celebrate its winners. So a fresh generation gave their take on social, economic and environmental improvements, with the winners receiving cash prizes and a five star holiday. For the business community attending the event in the high tech RBS offices in London, it was a chance to engage with enthusiastic, lovely young people hell bent on fast tracking change. The winner was a university student named Rebecca who hopes to work in social media, so we had a long chat and are now connected on LinkedIn, the ever-increasing portal to business success. 
Funnily, my invitation to IF! Britain came via my personal Facebook page. My scrabble friend Bonny (NOT naked scrabble buddy!) noticed that I shared a Facebook friend with her daughter Yasmin, and Yasmin was arranging the event. Would I like to go? Of course I would. Networking, meeting rising business and social talent, and bubbly drinks accompanying little sun dried tomato treats and battered king prawns – no question!!

This highlights (yet again) the potency of social media. Bonny would never have connected me to her daughter’s colleague in everyday life – yet, through Facebook, our contacts are glaringly visible for people to capitalise on when making business introductions. Until now, Facebook has been the medium I use least for increasing business visibility, but this proves its worth. I met some fantastic people at IF! that I am now connected to via all manner of social media and I’m sure I’ll see again on the London business networking circuit. 
I hope they’ll recognise me… You may have noticed my personal rebranding. I finally decided to update my five-year-old photo, and thank you for the many complimentary messages received about the new pic!! It was snapped by Caitlin Anderson, a gorgeous photographer who has a selection of wildlife and creative water photos for you to see on Pinterest. My new cover pic is actually a paint drop in water – it reflects how we can make a splash using social media, and even a small drop creates ripples that spread far, reaching people who wouldn’t otherwise have known we are there.

So, picture this: a sky full of thunder, picture this: my telephone number. One and one is what I’m telling you – got a pocket computer, try to do what you used to do, yeah…. If you don’t already know it, my telephone number is 0208 551 7077. Or you can find me here, as usual: @WeekendWitch

Monday, 22 April 2013

Fashion recruitment, videodoodles and meeting the Dalai Lama

Fashion recruitment, videodoodles and meeting the Dalai Lama:

As much as I would have loved to meet him, it wasn’t me who met the Dalai Lama this week. My friend saw him when he visited Cambridge and he wished her peace. This reminded me of my trip to the Tibetan Monastery with Maz, where, again, I didn’t meet him. His Holiness promotes values such as forgiveness, tolerance and contentment. Well, we all want happiness and a world free from suffering so I can relate to most of that, but I’m probably destined never to meet such an icon of forgiveness. It’s a shame because being unforgiving is definitely one of my biggest faults.

I really can’t understand the families of victims who publicly forgive murderers, rapists, terrorists… I completely get that these people have to establish a way to stop the anger and pain eating away at them and ruining more lives, but I personally can’t imagine it. I don’t want to get into that here, but moving on and rebuilding lives can surely stem from finding new challenges to focus on, or calming techniques such as meditation to create an inner peace. (Actually I do forgive – but I never forget…)

Imaginative Training social media blog
Fashions the Dalai Lama might like

Something else I haven’t forgotten is the joy of changing people’s lives for the better. I’ve mentioned before how I love introducing people who can help each other in business and it’s one of the wonderful things about networking. In a way, it’s a bit like my days working in recruitment (five years, actually): matching up people who can benefit each other, selecting a trusted contact to meet someone else’s needs. So my mind started whirling when I visited an independent fashion company recently at Oxford Circus to help them devise a social media marketing plan, and we decided it would be beneficial for them to recruit someone to handle the social media, blogging, photography and website uploads on a daily basis.

Recruitment can be a costly business, but of course I knew someone to introduce! A few months ago a young girl contacted me on-line to read through and comment on her dissertation proposal, so I emailed to see if she’d be interested in this position. She was – and, to cut to the chase, they’ve employed her!! I received the most gorgeous flowers on Saturday as a thank you, and now I’m looking forward to a lovely working relationship with the fashion team as we create and maximise their social media presence.

Also, during this busy week, I had a lot of fun working with a fantastic designer named Andy A to create two videodoodles – one for social media and the other for plain English. They’ll be on my website soon, but you can see them now on YouTube – I’d love to know what you think!! Warning, the music will either get on your nerves or make you so cheerful you’ll get on everyone else’s nerves.
“They took the credit for your second symphony, rewritten by machine and new technology. And now I understand the problems you can see.” If you’ve got problems in your business, particularly with your social media marketing, planning or communications, I definitely do understand! Get in touch for a chat – by phone or here: @WeekendWitch.

Monday, 15 April 2013

No politics, disgraceful behaviour and an incident in the 80s too rude to mention

No politics, disgraceful behaviour and an incident in the 80's too rude to mention:

Love her or hate her, Margaret Thatcher was a leader of strength and personal integrity, and she spearheaded a country that was in turmoil before she entered number 10. I don’t usually write from any political standpoint, but I have mentioned before that I class her as an inspirational woman, although that’s not the reason I’m writing this today.

Imaginative training blog | Social Media | Plain English

The eighties shaped me: music, big hair, shoulder pads, Diana, parties, riots, the lot. Margaret Thatcher showed girls of my generation that it was no longer a man’s world and we could achieve anything. I’m not commenting on her political strategies, the miners, the Falklands or anything contentious – I’m simply saying that, throughout a tumultuous decade, she conducted herself with more dignity than some I could name today.

But I really have to say how disgraceful the public celebrations have been, and how appalling of the press to endorse the views of people who weren’t even born when she was in charge. All this does is highlight the general ignorance of a large section of the population. The man who proclaimed it’s her fault he hasn’t worked for 30 years is clearly unemployable by anyone’s standards. He claims to live on the breadline, yet this poverty-stricken person can still manage to buy 30 pints of beer in celebration…

Enough said, apart from my favourite thing about the late Baroness – she invented Mr Whippy ice cream!! One Twitter friend’s retort was “…with the milk she stole from schoolchildren?” which did make me laugh. Then I went and ate a bowl of ice cream.

The impending funeral arrangements are forecast to bring the city to a standstill on Wednesday, so I have cancelled a lecture I was attending at Postman’s Park. If you’ve never heard of this beautiful garden close by the Barbican, I can tell you that there’s some true inspiration there. Built on the site of a former burial ground, it houses the Victorian ‘Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice’: dedicated to the memories to ordinary people who died saving the lives of others and who might otherwise have been forgotten. An understated shelter is decorated with beautiful art nouveau ceramic tablets, each one recounting the dreadful fate of people who drowned or burnt to death a hundred-odd years ago, saving the lives of others. Community spirit – something I hope emerges again in the city on Wednesday.
Imaginative training blog | Social Media | Plain English

Some people think Postman’s Park is a bit morbid. But, as I’ve told you before, I do love graveyards. Witchiness comments aside, I love the tranquility and beauty of crumbling Victorian stones overrun with ivy and moss concealing the swirly engravings. Marion and I have spent many happy afternoons wandering through the damp grass, somewhat removed from our afternoon activities of 1983, when we first met and created havoc up and down Regent Street. If you’ve been reading this blog for the 18 months it’s been running, you will know a little of our naughtiness (and – by the way – thank you!). If not (you can get it here), Marion is my crazy friend from Hamleys, now ensconced in the Scottish wilderness. Thirty years of friendship is something worth celebrating, plus a big birthday (hers, not mine). Have a wonderful day, GKYDI.

And for a week celebrating a woman’s life, this reminds me of our nights dancing in Carnaby Street, in the pub where our policewoman friend broke the loo bonking the toy shop security guard… (This story is too rude to add to the blog title now, but people were less professional back then…!) “Anything you want done, baby, I’ll do it naturally… I’m every woman, it’s all in me, I can read your thoughts right now – every one from A to Z.”

And while we’re on that subject – I’m offering a free copy of my guide “Words that Work: an A-Z guide of plain English words and phrases.” Sign up here for your free copy!

Monday, 8 April 2013

Social media friends, the Bedroom Bar and being a mistress

Social media friends, the Bedroom Bar and being a mistress: So...three years of hardish work, concentrating, analysing, a hell of a lot of reading and yellow highlighting - and finally I've graduated with my Masters Degree! Someone asked whether they should call me Master now !! of course not, I'm a woman!! Mistress...?? I know that makes some of you laugh.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Plain English goddesses, chicken soup and being caught with

Plain English goddesses, chicken soup and being caught with: What does Easter actually mean? Goddesses, witches and chocolate? Its history stems way beyond the religious elements – as intertwined as they may be. I wanted to tell you about the beautiful goddess Eostre in whose memory we actually celebrate the world’s rebirth – and to my delight, when I researched her, it turns out she was a witch! A