Category Archives: Business

Inspirational quotes – are they anything to shout about?

Inspirational quotes seem to be everywhere in the workplace. We’ve even got a selection of motivational academic quotes as screensavers here at the school and our learners are discussing some of the most famous ones in Spoken Performance Workshop this week.

But do they really inspire? Do they serve a purpose? Isn’t it the case that we tend to choose quotes based on the author rather than the content?

Clearly, for an inspirational quote to be effective it needs context and not to state the obvious. Overuse of quotes (e.g. at the end of emails or in presentations) is to be avoided as they lose their impact very quickly and can therefore have the opposite effect on the target audience.

Pithy – yes; vacuous– no!

Click on the quote below and get ready to be inspired (or not as the case may be!)


We really were enlightened, and they really did make it quick!

Ignite Bristol

20 slides. 

15 seconds a slide.

Timed, so there’s no stopping.

Not quite a Pecha Kucha as we know it at school, but I experienced a great evening of funny, passionate, wacky and inspiring talks at Bristol Ignite yesterday.

From the intricacies of beer and coffee making to the rise and fall of British superheroes and low-cost travel from your armchair or into space, particularly inspiring was Jake Johnson’s presentation about his Bristol52 project in which Bristol is represented by one person at a time for each week of the year on one Twitter account.

First started in Sweden and since spread to a number of other countries, the idea of ‘rotation curation’ is to give a taste of the diverse cultures, attitudes and lifestyles that make up a city/country. Ingenious!

Click on the image below to find out more about how Twitter rotation curation works.


Going Native

We are not all digital natives, but we need to at least understand them. A handwritten letter received in the post may still be a welcome surprise, but the reality is most people are online.

The online world provides a Smörgåsbord of choice and the digital native expects an experience. Not just cold hard facts or company speak. They want to be intrigued, engaged and valued.

Click on the image below to read an interesting article about this.

Going native

Becoming great requires time and effort

I am always interested to read new articles about how to deliver engaging presentations. There are still too many occasions when we all have to sit through life-sapping talks given by people who have either spent too little time planning, or given too little thought to their audience.

Good presenters learn their craft, put in the time to become experts, plus continue to learn and improve. Some of the best ways to do this are to accept advice and watch other speakers.With the availability online now of TED Talks, for example, there is no excuse for not knowing what a good talk looks, sounds and feels like.

Click on the image below for some more top tips and think about which ones you use already and which ones you could start to work with.

Time and Effort


We x, so you can y

If you are in business, what do you do?

Now imagine you are with a potential customer. How would you explain this in a  way that interests them?

Remember nobody really cares what you do. They care what you can do for them.

Click on the image below for an article that may help you to develop your ‘value story’.



Not for the first time, and I doubt for the last, I am talking about Generation Y.

The generation that I don’t belong to, but will work alongside and one that every business needs to be aware of. This is a generation  that will soon start to take control (if it hasn’t already).

I read an interesting article not so long ago about some of the ways they will change the world of work and several of them I think we can see even now.

For example, the blurred work-life balance I believe is already  part of many lives, with the easy access to e-mails and the mobile nature of tablets, smartphones and social media.

Click on the image below to read about the six different points and see what you think. Which ones are already happening and which do you think are unrealistic?

How would being employed in a ‘ROWE’ environment alter the way you work do you think?

Y at work


They may forget what you said…

…but they will never forget how you made them feel.

What you say is important, but don’t underestimate how you say it as well.

It doesn’t matter if you know your subject inside out and can quote every fact and figure. If the goal is to engage people, provide them with knowledge and ensure they remember it, then simply telling them is insufficient. In fact, even if you are not providing key data and only speaking to them in quite broad terms, it is still not enough to just talk.

You have to think about your audience, think about your topic and then think about your delivery. If the message is sombre or sad, then adjust your voice and mannerisms accordingly, if the message is upbeat and happy, then raise your game to match the theme with your enthusiasm and passion.

Consider what you want to provide your audience with and what you want them to take away from the presentation or speech. That doesn’t just mean raw data – how do you want them to feel?

Click on the image below to watch someone speaking with passion. Did you smile?