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Wednesday, 29 September 2010

The American Secret to PR Success: Toastmasters

Toastmasters logo - the international not-for-profit public speaking and leadership skills training in Edinburgh
Toastmasters public speaking and leadership skills training in Edinburgh

Came third in an impromptu speech contest last night.

Doesn't sound much, but two Americans were ahead of me.

And not just any old Americans. One has come third in the world's largest public speaking competition. Not just once, but twice. And he's built a career out of public speaking and training. The other is a very competent speaker.

So I reckon third is still pretty decent and I'll continue to take every impromptu speaking opportunity I get, along with other speaking opportunities, because practise really does boost communications skills. And communications skills are fundamental to PR. Clients are buying our ability to sell them into the media and to help them achieve communications excellence through good copy-writing and presentations/speech writing.

But just why are Americans so good at public speaking? People like to cite a more can-do confident culture, and that may be true. To an extent. The honest truth is: they work at it.

I know of one city in the US with roughly the same population as Edinburgh: Portland, Oregon. They have 125 Toastmasters International (TI) clubs there. Edinburgh has two: Capital Communicators and Waverley Communicators. They meet fortnightly on alternate weeks so you can join both for weekly training and practise.

TI is the world's largest public speaking training organisation. they have over 12,500 clubs in 102 countries and once you join, you can attend most of the other clubs. It's a great way to meet locals when on holiday.

The clubs are run by the members using the TI training manuals and a meeting agenda that maximises the speaking practice opportunities. They've been training people since the 1920s, so they've had time to suss out what works and to date, have trained over 4 million people.

As TI is a not-for-profit organisation, it offers a brilliant low cost solution to improving and practising communications and leadership skills. You can download free tips and find your local club on the site.

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Monday, 20 September 2010

Nailing Your Colours Online

screen shot of a complex info-graphic showing the most popular colours for corporate logos
logo colours

Really clever info-graph shows the colours favoured by the top 100 brands online and how they split into types.

Great inspiration when thinking about creating a new corporate identity.

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