The greatest gift you can give

This was one of my first blog posts on my Big Lottery blog I came across it recently and wanted to share it with you all on here…

You know that feeling you get when you’ve missed your train by a minute? A touch of frustration sets in when you realise you have to wait another half hour…

Have you ever had time to squander before a meeting? Or perhaps you arrived too early when meeting a friend? I’m sure many of us have been in a situation when we couldn’t wait for time to pass quick enough.

A couple of weeks ago I attended the Glasgow Disability Sport Open day. Arriving earlier than expected I began having ‘that feeling’.

A lovely gentleman in a wheelchair started chatting to me. He was waiting on his friend for a game of tennis. Considering we both had some time to spare, I suggested we go to the canteen for a coffee.a-cup-of-coffee

I was fascinated to find out what got him into tennis… He told me he started playing a few years after he was involved in a car accident. The accident left him with a spinal injury resulting in him being in a wheelchair ever since. He tragically lost his wife in the accident and was left to bring up his young son. I was completely taken aback. Little did I know, this positive man full of vitality and warmth had experienced such a tragic incident.

As we chatted I was made aware of just how appreciative and happy he was in the present time. I couldn’t help but admire his exuberance and passion for life.

Isn’t it amazing how a simple conversation with a stranger can really open your eyes? You can learn so much by just giving a little piece of your time to listen to someone. And you’ll never realise how you impacted or added value to their own life.  We all live in such a fast paced environment where we can’t wait to move onto our next task. Maybe sometimes if we slowed down a little we would appreciate things a little more.

For everything that man cherished, I valued a moment of his time.

Scottish Sun editor shares his thoughts

This week I attended a Gorkana Media briefing with Gordon Smart- ediFullSizeRendertor from the Scottish Sun.

Gordon was interviewed in front of an audience of about 20 of us.  It was a great opportunity to find out about his personal experiences, challenges and thoughts about his career in journalism and working for the Scottish Sun.

Here are my top tips from the night for PR folk

  • Relationships are key.  The more journos you know- the more likely you will get something in the paper. The best time to approach a journalist at the Scottish Sun is first thing in the morning or after work for a drink.  I thought this sounded very old school and relevant to the PR – journalist relationship before social media made an appearance.  However the key is still connecting and building relationships. Interesting to know this route is still valued by some journalists. 
  • Strong headlines grab attention. When emailing the Scottish sun treat the email subject heading as if you’re writing a breaking story.
  • Ptich your story within 27 seconds.  Get to the point! Attention spans are getting shorter due to social media.
  • Some PR professionals believe Friday’s are not a good day to pitch your story.  However Friday is still a good day to pitch.  There are days when certain stories work. Don’t underestimate a Friday

Check out Gorkana’s write up of the night:


What kind of communicator are you? Part 2/3

Ever find there are people you just instantly click with and others you don’t?  The people you instanly click with at work will more than likely be the same type as you.

Today’s blog focusses on the Dominant (D) and Influence (I) types from the DISC communication styles.

DONALDThe ‘D’ type celebrity

Donald Trump
David Letterman
Hilary Clinton
Robert DeNiro

                            The ‘I’ type celebrityBILL

Bill Clinton
Andre Agassi
Will Smith
Oprah Winfrey

The table below breaks down the characteristics, includes tips on how to communicate with these types and how to give feedback.  I’ve split the ‘D’ and ‘I’ types into a table to make it easier to compare and easier to digest…


Do you recognise any qualities in yourself in the D and I types? You may notice you have some qualities in different DISC types but everyone will naturally have a primary type they belong to.

disc.When you learn about all four types you’ll start noticing the traits in your colleagues or people you are networking with. It has been acknowledged that a successful team will include a mixture of the different types of people.

In recognising the ways people communicate you can adapt your own communication style in order to be more effective.

The third and final part of this blog series will be uploaded soon, looking at the Conscientious and Steadiness communication types. Stay tuned!

Blog sources

This is where I got the information.  Incredible wee podcasts!  Give them a listen! Worthwhile (especially if you prefer listening rather than reading) 🙂

Dominant type –
Influence type –

Celebrity types-

Are you communicating effectively? Part 1/3

I’ve learned over the years communication is the most important skill in both your personal and professional life.  You could be the most intelligent and capable person in your profession, but if you don’t communicate effectively you run the risk of being underestimated and misunderstood.

When it comes down to it we are all a bunch of complex creatures with differing farm-animalspersonalities. Our minds process things in different ways and at varying speeds. We all communicate in a way that we feel is most effective.

Although what you believe is the most effective way of communicating may not be the best way for someone else. In any given situation, the message could mean the same thing but people can be express it in different ways. This can result in misinterpretation and confusion. In fact, you could say miscommunication results in the beginnings paperbagheadsof office politics. This is usually prominent in an open plan office with more than 50 people- all on different roles, at varying levels and all having their own unique expectations.
Some of us are people focussed, others are task focussed. None of us are exactly the same.

DISC (Dominance, Influence, Conscientious, Steadiness) suggests there are four styles of communication, we all at some point touch on these types depending on the situation. However it is suggested we all have a primary and a secondary type.
DISC gives you the opportunity to spot people’s style indisc. a professional setting through particular behaviours- verbal, vocal and body language. If you recognise the signs you will be able

to identify the style of communication they use. As a result you can modify your own communication style to suit.  Communication is something that can always be improved.

My next couple of blogs will break down the characteristics of the DISC types and how you can adapt your communication to effectively interact with them. This can be considered from all different levels whether you are a manager or not.

My Top 6 PR blogs

The PR world is fast moving and constantly changing.  It’s always a good idea to keep up to speed on what’s happening.

I’ve came across some interesting blogs over the past few months. Here’s a list of my Top 6 blogs:

Simon Wakeman    Simon is an Agency Director at Deeson, his blog focuses on all things digital.  He offers a refreshing take on PR based on his own experience and includes some personal contributions. 

Stephen Waddington    Stephen sheds some light on PR happenings and also some quirky posts. Including his recent ‘Art and the importance of making things’ 

Brian Solis    Brian shares his experiences on how social media has reinvented PR.  I read one of his books for my PR course ‘Putting the Public back in PR’  I would highly recommend it

Behind the Spin   a blog for students and young professionals.

PR Conversations   a look into real life PR examples within a community of PR enthusiasts.

And finally….SocialMediaTipsBusiness

Buffer   Buffer gives you jam packed tips on social media. The blog has several contributors and covers a whole range of topics from top tips to social media measurement.  If you subscribe to the blog you receive regular updates. The blog content is top notch and easy to read. 

Happy reading!

I’ve finished the CIPR PR diploma… I’m freeeee!!

I’ve finally completed my CIPR PR diploma! Yayyyyyy!  Happy-dogIt’s amazing just how much time has been spent working on it. Work… eat… work… sleep. .. repeat. Now I’m freeee!  This pic pretty much sums up how I’m feeling…..

My final research project was on ‘How to improve social media effectiveness in a public sector communications team: Using Big Lottery Fund as a case study.  I’ll share some findings with you over the next few blogs.
Last week I returned to work after a fortnight of studying. I attended an ITV film shoot at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow. ITV are creating short commercials for the National Lottery to showcase projects that have benefited from Lottery funding. Big Lottery funded Dates N Mates is one of the groups to feature. A fantastic wee project that helps adults with learning disabilities find friendships and potential romantic partners. Check them out!

When I arrived I was taken through to a wee room at the back. Everything was ready for filming, cameras… music… andddd disco lights!! It amazes me just how much time, resources and effort can go into a short 30 second film! Sometimes I think audiences don’t realise just how long it can take to bring a clip together, particularly the editing process.  As the Dates N Mates group arrived they were welcomed to a game of musical bingo… shortly followed by some karaoke and dancing. The atmosphere was electric! I’m sure ITV captured some epic moments. Stay tuned for the adverts on ITV in mid August 2015. I’ll also post the link up here when they are ready.

18/08/2015- updated-  As promised here’s the advert:

CIPR Critical Reasoning Test answers

I’ve had a busy couple of weeks typing up my literature review for my final project.  The deadline for the draft was today.  Another hurdle over!

Last week the results came out for the PR planning project and I was over the moon to find out my assignment was graded a Distinction!!! Yayyyyy!  It was a hefty piece of work- I was tasked with coming up with a Corporate PR plan for the Bitcoin Foundation.  More about that in a future blog.

When studying the CIPR PR Diploma – It’s always beneficial to have a look at others past answers to assignments so today I provide you with mine.

The Critical Reasoning Test is the first assignment you get when you study the diploma. I would also have to say it’s the most challenging because if you’ve been out of Uni for a while your brain takes a bit of time shifting back into academic writing.  You also have to contend with learning PR theories you’ve never heard of before.  Once you get over this assignment you’ll find the next ones a little less daunting as the theories you learn in the first will more than likely be relevant for the next two.

I received a merit on both papers:

1) ‘Mass media constitute the key components in a nation’s public- information system, a system in which public relations practitioners play an increasingly important role as sources for expanding proportion of content. (Broom and Sha). Examine whether this remains an accurate reflection of PR practice.

2) Evaluate the role that public relations can play in enabling exchange and communal relationships.

I’m happy to share the feedback I received for the essays.  If you’re keen to find out the feedback please drop me an email and I’ll send it over. 🙂