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  • Girl reading attentively

    Letting Your Values Shine Through

    I was at a networking meeting the other day where I heard Mike Jennings of Jennings Property give an excellent talk about values and purpose. He made the point that, at Jennings, they have been developing their core values over several years.

    These values underpin what they do, how they do it and why. Their values have helped create the company’s ethos, so that they’ve evolved from being ‘just another property company’ to one that appreciates the people around them as their greatest friends and allies. Their ethos informs the way they behave with their tenants, suppliers, contractors, networking contacts, associates, partners and professionals. 

    As a consequence, they have created a place where people feel valued and safe, a place where everyone has opportunity and can flourish.

    To do what Jennings have done takes time, but there is one way in which we can let our values shine through more readily. How you communicate with your audience will show people whether you care, whether you’re saying what you really mean, whether you’re someone they feel they can relate to and trust, and whether you’re taking account of their needs.

    It shows when you’re simply tossing something off without bothering to check what you’ve written. The tone of what you’re saying will reveal whether you’ve taken much care in writing it – not to mention the errors that can creep in if the text wasn’t properly checked! If you can’t be bothered to get it right, why should your prospect, customer, supplier or colleague bother to continue reading and develop their relationship with you?  

    As we say here, what you say speaks volumes about you so it pays to take the trouble to say things in the right way. By doing this, you will command greater respect and build more rapport with others.

  • Today is National Writing Day

    National Writing Day is being celebrated on Wednesday 27th June. It aims to inspire people across the UK to discover the pleasure and power of writing.

    It’s organised by First Story , the national literacy charity led by Monica Parle. They’ve been working for 10 years to show that writing can transform lives, improving people’s ability to express themselves. Amongst other activities, they bring professional writers into schools to work with students and teachers and foster creativity and communication skills.

    According to a recent report by the National Literacy Trust  fewer than 1 in 5 children write for non-school related reasons. Monica Parle says that society undervalues writing, under-investing in it for decades, so it’s time to redress the imbalance. We write every day – filling in forms, writing emails or making lists – so why don’t we promote the importance of writing as a way of connecting us with ourselves, encouraging creativity and building confidence?

    I’d go further still. We spend a lot of time gazing at screens, from TV to smartphone. But how much creative input does this require from us? Screen-gazing is mostly passive. It’s much more of an active adventure to sit and think of something to write about (it can be as simple as a diary entry) and then put pen to paper, creating something that’s entirely yours. When you go through this process, you’re engaging your thoughts and imagination, using words to express yourself in your own way. That’s incredibly fulfilling and you feel better for having done it – it’s actually cathartic. Whether you have ambitions to be a writer or just write for business or pleasure – you’ll add a dimension to your experience of life by finding a notebook, taking up a pen, and writing about whatever occurs to you! Do it often!

  • Writing creatively

    Writing doesn’t have to be a hairy experience

    A lot of people find writing a hairy experience. They look at a blank sheet of paper as though somebody suggested they jump off a cliff edge into space. The truth is that anybody can write, once they get connected with their thoughts.

    To start with, type any thoughts you have relevant to a particular subject, then you’re underway! It doesn’t matter if it makes complete sense, the point is, you’ve broken the ice and have got started. I firmly believe that anybody can write, and there are a lot of latent and undiscovered writers out there, with fascinating stories to tell. I was so pleased last week, when visiting the hairdressers, to hear that Nurgish Watkins, who has been looking after my hair for a long time, has decided to leave her ‘day job’ after 20 years and become a full-time writer. She has been writing in her spare time for many years, and has been the recipient of one or two awards along the way. More recently, she has been writing a novel collaboratively with a partner who is based in Israel. They are writing as J C Linden, and the first fruit of their partnership, No Grave for the Orchids, has now found a publisher and is selling well online and in the local bookshop. You can sample some of the book here.  There are a couple more books in the pipeline and, thrilled with the success of the first book, J C Linden hope to develop a following and become established authors. I think it was very brave of Nurgish to leave a secure job for unknown territory, but she has found a writing voice and people like what she writes. The fulfilment that writing is giving her makes up for the uncertainty of a writer’s life. It’s a bit like jumping off that cliff edge I referred to earlier, in some ways, but Nurgish has made a safe landing and I wish her every success with many more great books that achieve publication and grow J C Linden’s readership in the next few years.