Lucid Thoughts

As I hurtled through space

"As I hurtled through space, one thought kept crossing my mind - every part of this rocket was supplied by the lowest bidder."

This wonderful quote, attributed to John Glenn came to mind the other day when a BT engineer turned up to sort out a mission-critical piece of kit in my office - my broadband connection. It turned out that they had been upgrading the box in the street and  cut me off but while the engineer was with me he volunteered to replace the router.

Continue reading

Troublemaker or Troubleshooter?

Time was when I was a troublemaker (Def: 'someone who disturbs the peace and incites others to do so'.)  I'm not talking about  the Occupy movement or rioters (remember them?) No, I used to cause trouble with a constructive purpose. I would help clients and agencies to get the best from their communications by asking troublesome questions - 'So what are the measurable objectives?' 'What do you really mean?' 'Do you think the audience is going to believe that?'  'Is that a compelling story?'

Continue reading

2012: into the unknown

What does 2012 look like? Will they finally stop the euro from diving over the precipice? Will the UK economy  bounce after The Games? Will heads finally bang together and reach agreement on tackling climate change? Well, you have to look on the bright side don't you! After all, we need to compensate for every news channel whose golden rule  is 'first seek out bad news.'

Continue reading

What matters more – The News Of The World or the news of the world?

Saturday, 16 July 2011 17:51

Over the past few weeks you could hardly switch on the TV, read a newspaper or listen to the radio without getting a regular update on the Murdoch/News of the World saga. Each day brought a new, horrifying revelation. And let's be honest – we loved it. Underpinning the story were serious questions about the power of the Press over our politicians, corruption of our Police and invasion of our privacy; all important questions. But what kept it going was two things – it was about the media and the media love nothing more than talking about themselves, especially if they can denigrate a competitor; and it had the ingredients of a good story – characters we love to hate, money, and a constant flow of fresh revelations.

So that's alright then. Or is it?

Continue reading

Making the message memorable (in Manila)

Thursday, 31 March 2011 1436

My recent trip to the Philippines was an eye-opener in all sorts of ways – the warmth and hospitality of the people (we were travelling and staying with Filippinos), the amazing fruits, the addiction to 'snacks' at all times of the day and the fact that so many people seem to make a living out of so little. The place is incredibly vibrant; everything bombards your senses – the crazy driving, the myriad of tiny roadside shops selling everything in any quantity, the fish markets with crabs bigger than dinner plates, tilapia still flipping on the slab, and everywhere beautiful, smiling, dark-haired children. You come across some of them in the middle of the road trying to sell you something as your driver swerves and dodges through the lunatic traffic. Everywhere the driving is crazy and ironically everyone wants the answer to the same question – 'how's my driving?'

Continue reading

Inspiration not information – how to transform dull facts into engaging presentations

Sunday, 23 January 2011 16:48

I've just completed my first event project since reading the brilliant 'Presentationzen' by Garr Reynolds. It was a real inspiration and it has been of practical help. But his book was designed for someone who is preparing a presentation from scratch. The challenge I had was something else: one client was already trying to pull together a 'deck' from multiple presenters – an evolving and (as happens increasingly these days) last minute jumble of information from around the corporate ether. I never actually met anyone in the flesh until we were on site, the night before the first event which happened at 9.00 the following morning!

Continue reading

How to stop the cuts…to your event budget

Friday, 10 December 2010 17:10

As I came out of the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre last night we were diverted away from Parliament Square for obvious reasons! But I couldn't help reflecting that here was a bunch of people whose budget had just been savagely cut and they didn't like it! It's an affliction not restricted to students. During difficult financial times event managers also find that their budgets are under threat. Neither they nor their agencies are too keen on the idea either. Something that could help event managers defend their budgets would be a way of demonstrating that their events are actually creating value for their organisations.

Continue reading

How agencies & clients can get better value from event pitches

Tuesday, 30 November 2010 11.32

Why do agencies do it?

Every day, somewhere in Britain, teams of creative people are responding feverishly to a highly competitive challenge. Almost always they face a very tight deadline – perhaps a week or if they are lucky two weeks in which to come up with a communication strategy, devise a creative concept, conceive and design a theme, write the outline for the event, select a venue, draw up plans, visualize the setting, research possible guest performers, plan the logistics, schedule and cost the whole thing, and then provide their agency's policies for health and safety, sustainability, ethnic diversity...

Continue reading