Monday, 28 October 2013

Marmite musicians, local exhibitions and gaining a business advantage

Marmite musicians, local exhibitions and gaining a business advantage

Dean Friedman is marmite.  If ever a musician could be described as that revolting yeast extract, it must definitely be him.  I’ve seen him perform live twice – once in 1986 at Ronnie Scott’s, then again a few years ago at Dingwall’s in Camden, and both times I loved him.  Went off him a bit when he didn’t want to kiss me though.  (“I don’t kiss fans…”) But I do know people who can’t stand his whiney tone and physically cringe if Lucky Stars comes on the radio.

So it was quite lovely to have lunch with someone this week who quoted his lyrics before we’d even ordered cocktails!  Happily, I have never been to a business meeting, lunch or networking event where I’ve struggled to make conversation; and my favourite has to be when the chat starts with common musical tastes.  When people say they have nothing in common, I simply don’t believe it – there is always a shared thread. And once you find it, the thread unravels and suddenly the moon’s smiling down and you’re running in stilettos to catch the last train.  Or something like that anyway,

Imaginative Training | Social media blogMy lunch date cast his eye quickly over the menu then slowly scrolled through my iPhone music collection.  Yes, we like a lot of the same things.  No, he doesn’t want to take me diving.  Yes, we know a few of the same business contacts.  No, he’s not going to dance in the restaurant to entertain me.

I had to be up early the next day to attend a local business exhibition, where I made some very interesting new contacts.  Someone asked me to present a LinkedIn workshop at a national conference in January, I met an energy harnessing hypnotherapist whom I’ve linked up to the angel funded project I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, and I was given a lot of free chocolates.  Result, result, result.
A charming man approached me as I wandered around the hall.  Having spoken a few times previously on LinkedIn and Twitter, we’d arranged to say hello during the afternoon.  Being a regular reader of this blog (thank you!), he recognised me straight away.  He also knew an awful lot about me, and laughingly confirmed that he’s not a stalker.  I guess this does put me at a disadvantage. Does that mean I’m offering an unfair advantage?  Anyway, it certainly speeds up common thread conversations when meeting someone for the first time and we had a lovely chat, drawing in passers-by to join in the fun – that’s networking!!  (I can also give you a fair advantage in business – click here to find out more!)

By the way, I don’t usually drink cocktails at lunchtime – tap water with a bit of ice will do.  So if you’re thinking about meeting up to discuss your social media needs, don’t worry about getting even a teeny bit drunk – that won’t happen.  An evening meeting in Liverpool Street…? Well, that might be another story for another day.

You may be expecting some of Dean Friedman’s words of wisdom here, but I’m more in the mood for Jim Kerr today.  ‘Will you recognise me? Call my name or walk on by – rain keeps falling, rain keeps falling down, down, down, down.’

I’m actually writing this on Saturday morning with the garden doors open and sun shining brightly, but the three-day forecast for London shows storms ahead.  So if the rain is indeed falling as you read this, cuddle up and stay warm and dry.  And…‘Don’t you forget about me, I’ll be alone, dancing, you know it baby.’  Maybe not alone, but always dancing.  Join me? @WeekendWitch.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Joint ventures, laughing out loud & special rate LinkedIn training

Joint ventures, laughing out loud & special rate LinkedIn training

I did something last week that is still making me laugh when I think about it.  I have to face facts: I need reading glasses. I had a meeting with someone with whom I may be embarking on a joint venture, and I asked to see examples of projects he’s created.  He named one as he flashed me the Internet on his phone.  Being a visual person, I focused on the image in front of me rather that the spoken word and was delighted to see it was, as he said, to do with Christmas.  I smiled at the illuminated reindeer pictured galloping in the header.

Returning home, I tried to find the website on my laptop, but with no luck.  I attempted many variations of the company name (including, of course, the keyword ‘Christmas’) but with no luck.  Eventually I gave up and emailed him.

Imaginative Training | Social media blog | Plain English trainingHow he laughed!  He hadn’t said ‘Christmas’ at all; he’d said ‘Chrysalis!’  I was so focused on the excitement of upcoming festivities that my brain heard what it wanted to hear.  Or, more technically, it selected the most closely associated word to the sound that matched the picture.  That was no Rudolph on the screen, but an outlined person glowing with the aura of a metaphorical rebirth; hence the chrysalis!  When he emailed me back I actually laughed out loud, and I’m still laughing.  No doubt he was so impressed with me he’s rushing to set up our proposed joint venture right now… Well why wouldn’t he?!!

Now I’m wondering what other pictures I may have misinterpreted lately.  If you’ve sent me one it might be a good time to resend it, and I’ll view it with my purple reading glasses on!  I suppose it’s akin to proofreading – and I definitely wear glasses for that. Whenever I’m copywriting anything or creating a website to tie in with a social media package, I obviously ensure it’s word perfect before emailing over to clients.

People need documents proofread by someone else, that’s a fact.  Our brain knows what it expects to see, so completely misses little mistakes.  I include a section on proofreading in my Plain English Business Writing training, so people love to tell me the worst example they’ve seen.  The best has to be a council in Essex where a woman sent a mailshot to 30,000 residents with the title: ‘You can count on us.’  No one proofread it.  No one saw it before she pinged the send button.  Lots of people saw the replies though…  There should be three ‘O’s in that sentence.  There were only two.  (You can work it out…)  That made me laugh too, even though it’s very rude.

imaginative Training | Social media blogLuckily I could see perfectly well on Tuesday when I trained two companies to use LinkedIn more effectively in their businesses.  So many people register on LinkedIn, set up a basic profile and connect with others they know, but completely miss the huge array of possibilities that this fantastic social network opens up to them.  Just like in the ‘outside world’ where businesses thrive on referrals, introductions and networking – so the same is true of this amazing platform.  You can source and target the people you need without leaving your chair, whenever it suits you and wherever they are in the world.

It’s a hotbed of opportunity that’s there for the taking if you just know how.  As I feel so passionate about this, between now and Chrysalis I’m offering six REDUCED PRICED one-to-one LinkedIn training sessions – completely focused on helping you achieve your business goals.  If you’re based in London (or happy to travel here) and you’d like to take advantage of this short-term offer, sign-up here and I’ll contact you within 24 hours to arrange a convenient date and time.

As Bananarama said (not the one time I sat with them in a cafĂ© in Carnaby Street): “It ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it; that’s what gets results!”  Want results?  Book here for starters.  And, as always, it’s lovely if you follow me here: @WeekendWitch.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Confidence building, angel funding and where there be dragons

Dropping off my son at Cambridge University last week was expected to be a major turning point in my life.  But what counts as a turning point?  Being asked to provide social media training was the key turning point in my business – an opportunity arose, I grabbed it and suddenly everything changed.  When I was studying for the first year of my degree I took an introductory course in humanities, and one of the assignments was to identify turning points in literature.  I don’t suppose I’d considered it as a defined term before that: it’s a life changing event after which nothing is ever the same.  There have been six in my life.  This wasn’t one.

The day made me smile.  To watch your child walk away with confidence to start a new life as an independent person is really quite amazing. Within hours he had a new home, new bunch of friends, new interests. New new new!  I felt so proud of what he has achieved, and quite pleased with myself too.  I believe that confidence is one of the greatest gifts you can give to anyone, so I think I’ve done my job reasonably well!

Imaginative Training | Social media blog
Actually, nothing much has changed.  The house is quieter, the cat looks confused, I cook a little less than I did before, but that’s about it. I’m still busy in the office creating social media plans and writing blogs for my clients.  This week I also built a website for a new Thai Restaurant – and I did it without the background noise of Xbox, three TVs, eight guitars, an electric drum kit and a piano.  So yeah, something’s changed.

The extra time I thought I’d have to indulge in a new hobby hasn’t emerged – well, if that hobby is scuba diving there’s not much point doing it at home anyway; the bath is big but not that deep and I don’t usually wear a bikini in it.  (By the way, thank you to the few people who have offered to take me on diving holidays to Egypt!!)  I’m still thinking about joining an art class though.  Working with Martyn makes me want to paint naked people floating around the moon.  Or perhaps that should be underwater.

Did I tell you that our collaborative artwork is going on display in north London in a couple of weeks?  His paintings including my poetry. I’ll be emailing about that this week so please don’t junk me!!  I have been reliably informed that there will be wine and nibbles at the opening so surely that makes it worth adding me to your email safe list. It will be fantastic if you can call in.

Imaginative Training | Social media blog
Angel Investor, fairy godmother… pretty much the same thing

I’ll be avoiding the wine that day – even the pink sparkly stuff that makes me giggle at networking events.  I had a bit too much this week at a launch party for a new investment venture organised by Dragons’ Den dragon Rachel Elnaugh.  The venture’s known as angel funding – the opposite of fire-breathing dragon scariness, but I guess without the delicacy of angel dust; after all, the propositions requiring this type of crowd funding investment are hardcore business ventures.

I didn’t do much networking; I split most of the evening between just two men who may create my next turning point…  One has already approached me about social media work and the other is an investor in various businesses, some of which made me laugh – but I can’t say what they are as he told me about them in confidence.  Still, he’s buying me coffee soon, or maybe pink wine – and a cream cake – so I’ll know more about his antics after that.

In the meantime, ‘I sit and wait – does an angel contemplate my fate?  And do they know the places where we go?’   You know where I go – what are you waiting for?  Follow me there: @WeekendWitch.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Motivational words, growing old gracefully and flowing streams of silk

Filling the O2 for the last leg of their world tour, Fleetwood Mac had 20,000 people on their feet belting out the lyrics to The Chain.  I own a lot of music – including a couple of hundred original albums on vinyl, but Rumours remains my all-time favourite.  And I can remember very clearly the first time I heard it.  It was 1986, in a tiny hotel in a quiet and uninspired corner of Minorca.  We’d booked last minute and my boyfriend had taken a huge cassette player – but forgotten the cassettes! (Some of my younger followers are confused by this prehistoric language…)  So all we had was the one tape already in the machine – Rumours!  We played it continuously for the whole week and it firmly established itself as key in the soundtrack to my life.

Imaginative Training | Social media blog
But even more than her music, Stevie Nicks’ style blew me away.  Watching her twirling around the stage on Tuesday like a girl on the edge of seventeen, it was very hard to believe she’s actually a woman of 65.  I am determined that the next 20 years will see me grow old as gracefully as she has. (But without the cocaine addiction, of course.)

I always choose nice clothes when I’m working. At the last networking event I attended, several people commented that I looked glamorous and brought colour to an early morning business meeting.  That was nice.  But outside of work my wardrobe is crammed full of chiffon layered skirts and floaty gypsy-type dresses, with dangling lace and delicate beading.  There’s a Jewish word that describes the flowing streams of silk and braiding that surround Stevie Nicks – and, often, me – shlorums!!

Stevie’s black net skirt and trademark platform boots could have come straight from my bedroom, I’m actually wearing something almost identical today.  The black satin ribbons bouncing around her tambourine also resembled something I like to stick in my hair. (Not on training days!)

So, a quarter of a century after Dale first introduced me to Mick Fleetwood and co, the mystical female lead is still hugely influential on me.  Although I can confirm that I’ve never been tempted to go blonde.  You may not know this, but rumours abound that Stevie Nicks is a witch, something she vehemently denies.  Her record label is Welsh Witch, which isn’t far off Weekend Witch, so maybe we have more in common that simply a love of shlorums!

It’s rare that I wake up sad but something had upset me on the morning of the concert.  I was very happy by the evening though; and her words are good advice to anyone who sometimes needs a bit of motivation. “If you wake up and don’t want to smile, if it takes just a little while; open your eyes and look at the day – you’ll see things in a different way.  Don’t stop, thinking about tomorrow, don’t stop, it’ll soon be here!  It’ll be better than before – yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.”

What are you doing tomorrow?  Forward planning is invaluable in business.  If you need help planning your social media strategy, marketing or simply planning to manage your time better, come and chat: @WeekendWitch

Thanks to for sharing the lovely pic.