Happy International Women’s Day!
I‘m taking the chance, on a day that celebrates the strength, qualities and brilliance of women, to stand proud and not be shy and hesitant about letting people know about the great things I do. You see, in my work I teach clear communication, the importance of using simple language and being honest and direct about what you want. But I realise, I don’t always practice what I preach.
So ….. This is me. a woman running a small business with another fabulous woman, my business partner, Linda. It’s a training and consultancy business. We help people use creative skills to achieve amazing things with their teams and businesses. In the last year we have helped the BBC win millions of pounds of business with our pitching training and coaching. We’ve guided teams through creative sessions, which have produced ideas that were so strong and firmly linked to a real opportunity they were commissioned or actioned immediately. We’ve given the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport the skills and expertise to start up and run a truly useful creative network across the organisation. We’ve helped The Royal British Legion imagine another great campaign for the Poppy Appeal. We’ve gone glam in Paris with L’Oreal, inspired kids in schools to be proud of their creative superpowers and we had the most mellow training day ever, sitting on cushions and helping a Bhuddist order find and tell stories to help them form an even stronger, wiser network. I’m not very good at telling people these things. Is it a particularly female fault that I usually start a sentence with “I just …..” when asked what I do?
Over recent years, my business partner and I have been happy to let work drift to us through recommendations and word of mouth. We love our clients and I’m going to dare to say they love us back, because we see a lot of them and they pass our names on to others. But along with hard work, I quite enjoy setting aside a bit of time in my life for mooching around Wimbledon Village with my dog, imagining I live there (it’s very lovely). A male colleague said to me once;
“You’re not a businesswoman at heart, you’re a wannabe lady who lunches”
Why do I put up with comments like that? Does liking a bit of headspace mean I can’t be a gold-standard professional? No. I’d say taking time to see friends and drink lattes in chi-chi coffee houses makes me even BETTER at my work. But that one comment did make Linda and I pause and think about what we really wanted this year and we decided we want more.
I was asked on Monday by a PR professional, “if you want more business, why don’t you just ask for it?” Seemed so simple, so here I am saying what I really want to say:
• If want your team to feel more confident and united, I KNOW we can help you. Get in touch.
• If you’re feeling held back by niggly problems or lack of inspiration about where to go next, we can give you the kick and the skills to get out of your rut. You’ve nothing to lose, honestly – give us a call.
• If you know innovation and creativity is important in your business but you just don’t feel you’re ‘doing it right’ – we really do make it simple – the benefits are huge, it’s really worth giving us a try.
• And if you need to pitch to win business or you’ve got an important presentation to give – we can make people really pay attention to you and believe in what you say. Ask us how.
If you’ve got to the end, thanks for reading. And thanks to all the fabulous women I work with for making work such a genuine joy. Tonight I’m hosting a storytelling evening with 10 brilliant women sharing the tales of things they got wrong in life. What more inspiring and supportive way could there be to celebrate International Women’s Day? Have a great one all and don’t forget to get in touch. This could be the start of a beautiful friendship.