Monday, 12 February 2018

Blink and 15 years go by, just like that!


It all started at the Hotel Seattle, Brighton, in February 2003. I was having dinner with a very good friend, colleague, mentor, future client and future team member. My small but perfectly formed PR and marketing consultancy was about to arrive on Planet Earth.

I had just taken voluntary redundancy from a wonderful job I had been in for 10 years. I was a head of department running PR, Communications and Corporate Services across nine group companies in the South-East. I had a great team behind me and unquestioning support from my immediate director.

It’s possible I would have been there still today, had it not been for rafts of mergers and acquisitions, the last of which resulted in horrendous internal politics, self-preservation tricks and ego-related shenanigans. This was the sort of situation that showed people up in their worst light. It became the sort of place in which I didn’t fit, so I was off.

What next?

So many people said to me, upon hearing of my impending departure: “If you’re going to set up a PR company, I’ve got some work for you.” Goodness no, I retorted, that’s really not what I want to do! No, no, never. My plan was to take a few months out and consider what to do next, calmly and rationally.

Back to the Hotel Seattle on that fateful night. “If you’re going to set up a PR company, I’ve got some work for you.” Now it was my friend’s turn. “Go on,” she countered, “what’s the worst that can happen?” I pondered for a moment and responded, “If it all goes wrong, I’ll have to go and get another job… oh, alright then. I’ll call it Chimera Communications.”

And that was it. The next day I designed the logo, set up a bank account, got an accountant and bought a new laptop.


And now …

Fast forward 15 years and, of course, it was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. 

That’s not to say there haven’t been times when stacking shelves in Tesco seemed a desirable alternative. But overall, I really can’t believe it’s been 15 years. And several hundred clients later.

Here are some observations, as I sit back with my coffee vat and contemplate what’s turned out to be the very quirky world of Chimera Communications:
  • Few people understand what PR is (public relations, that is, not proportional representation … which no-one understands anyway)
  • When they do get it, they think they can do it themselves (sometimes you can, sometimes you really do need to be concentrating on the business you set up and leave the professionals to do it properly)
  • Even fewer people realise how important it is to know your customer inside out and what makes them buy into your brand, products or services
  • Only about 5% of SMEs have a business plan when they come to us (that’s an estimate, by the way, based on my experience; we’re not talking Ipsos MORI here)
  • PR is not necessarily a quick win. You must be patient and allow time for the professionals to do it right (no, I’m not going to tell you how, you’ll have to employ us for that!)
  • Some clients ambush themselves by not giving us what we need. This has been one of the most surprising client attributes. By not giving us what we need, to deadline and in the right format, we’re unable to do our job
  • Another surprising client attribute is that some think we should work for nothing, which I always think is quite weird. Would they? I, for one, have spent decades honing my skills, experience and professionalism, and that comes at a price as a business consultant, just like a lawyer or accountant
  • Social media has revolutionised communications. It’s fascinating to watch what happens next in the world of PR and comms. Will robots take over our jobs? Wouldn’t it be fun to see how they tackle organising an event on the beach, or train people to go live on TV or radio?!
  • The explosion in real-time news availability has been, overall, fantastic. How interesting is it to watch news happening in front of your eyes?
  • Crisis PR management, though, has changed immensely. Not the theory, just the speed at which responses are expected. Not a bad thing, but organisation and prior preparation for such an event is key

  • Everyone’s expectations have changed dramatically too. Remember when we used to send letters by post and – yes - actually waited days for a reply?! 
  • Now most of us look online for reviews before we consider buying a product or service
  • Whole new industries have arrived to tell us how to do things: digital everything; Data Protection; GDPR and so on
  • Technology has certainly made life much easier in so many respects, but the burden of legislation and political correctness in communications has escalated, more so for some sectors, so the small print is not so small any more
  • Where would we be without YouTube videos to show us how to do things properly (invaluable in many cases)?; or squintillions of apps (how did we ever live without them?), so much so that we don’t need to go outside our homes or offices unless we really want to (sunshine and fresh air, anyone?)
  • Keeping up with the pace of change is either exhausting or exhilarating, depending on your frame of mind. I think a combination of the two, as I love learning new things daily
  • And I have learned so much over the years. I’ve improved. I’m confident in my views and advice. I can share successful techniques across my client base. I mentor others in business. I give back

Some more observations
  • It’s been interesting to see the revival of vinyl - and that the specialist record shop on the corner opposite Brighton Station is still trading, despite everything!
  • People’s love of reading books is still alive and kicking. It’s been dismal seeing libraries disappear
  • It seems social media is losing some of its lustre. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more about this in the weeks, months and years ahead. Life is cyclical (as any woman who realises something she wears is so old, it’s now back in fashion will tell you). Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose
  • As someone who started her career on newspapers in London, I’ve been saddened by the decline in the quality of journalism over the years. Governed by the decrease in advertisers and the subsequent decrease in journalists, content has been lost and quality content at that. Coupled with the lack of experience of cub reporters and sometimes the lack of experienced chief/senior reporters and editors to teach them on the job, as well as sub-editors who don’t seem to know how to correct bad grammar or spot bad spelling - plus the proliferation of non-stories and fake news - is it any wonder people these days have little faith in what they read or see on screen?

Overall, though 

Don’t let the above make you think it hasn’t been fun. I’ve experienced so much I never thought I would, done so much, seen so much, been so many places, met so many people, laughed so much.

It’s been a real ride, and I still have the ticket to go around again.

One of the highlights was being invited to become a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations for services to PR. A real accolade.

Most of my clients have been a delight and a pleasure to work with. We’ve had some great results and some lovely testimonials. We’ve had some talented, skilled, creative professionals on the team over the years, who have been real assets to the company. And I have a clever hairdresser who hides all the grey hairs which have arrived over the years under this nutty blonde halo (of hair, not the celestial kind).

So, to start celebrating 15 years of Chimera Communications with you, we’re offering 15% off PR and marketing services, as well as mentoring, for 15 days from 15 February 2018.

There are some Ts & Cs, so do contact me for details.

Thank you to everyone involved in or with Chimera Communications over the years, and here’s to the future.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Top 5 customer service fails of 2017


Yes, I know this is slightly tardy but I have had over a month’s-worth of poor health due to some version of the infamous flu bug, for which my flu jab wasn’t ‘person’ enough for the job [Note: proper PC word use].

There are few things that set my temperature valves to breaking point than the truly awful examples of bad customer service that I am destined to experience, and last year was no exception.

It has to be said that the bigger the company or organisation, the worse the customer service. Usually. I have worked in and for organisations of all sizes over the years, and it doesn’t need to be so. It comes down to management and communications.

Consider the effect that poor customer service has on me. It ranges from:

·         Mild irritation. The problem gets sorted, I tut and then get on with something else
·         Simple frustration. It takes longer to get sorted but it’s ok, we get there in the end
·         Some short, sharp words of advice from me. Often about a training need
·         I ask to speak with a manager. It gets worse when they refuse to put me through
·         Some tweets ending with #fail
·         Emailing the Chief Executive. “Dear [xx], I’m not normally prone to writing directly to the top honcho, but on this occasion …”
·         A formal complaint. If I have the energy to fill in copious forms. It depends on the incident
·         Advising the Ombudsman. Must have been a bad incident
·         Contacting Watchdog. Must have been a very, very bad incident. Don’t they know they’re dealing with a PR person?!
·         Considering sending the boys round (I jest. Really.)

During the course of the above, my blood pressure rises along with the volume of my voice. 

Especially if I’m getting scripted responses from an overseas call centre where the very nice people have not trained their very nice people to veer off-script to actually help customers. Sometimes, if I’m in a very good mood, I’ll play along with the idiocy of it all and tie the poor person up in such knots that they may need psychiatric support after my bout of mischief. I apologise unreservedly to them all.

What these companies and organisations seem incapable of understanding is that there are real ramifications of ignoring the bad customer service practices they operate. Be aware:

·         It’s bad PR, folks
·         Customers will go elsewhere to buy goods or services
·         They will tell everyone they know about their bad experience (and less frequently about their good one)
·         They will leave bad reviews; as we all know now, reviews are increasingly used as online testaments for potential customers
·         You don’t know who you’re dealing with – who customers really are and who they know (they might be the one person instrumental in getting your next huge contract)
·         Your profits will suffer
·         Your shares will suffer, and your shareholders will ask questions
·         Your brand will suffer – you’ve spent a lot of money and effort getting it right and one or two bad experiences can have a significantly negative effect
·         You may be fired



Top 5 fails of 2017 – according to my own experiences during last year

  • NHS
    • GP surgeries with rude receptionists who don’t allow you to see your own GP unless you wait a month, by which time you’re either better or dead
    • GP surgeries which don’t offer an effective online booking service. Or one at all
    • NHS area appointment booking services which on the face of it seem like a good idea until in practice, they’re totally rubbish
    • No emailing allowed. Come on, it’s 2018
  • BT – truly awful customer service and accounts. Yes, both personal and business accounts were moved to other providers
  • A certain mobility bathroom installer – young business owners/fitters working on our neighbours’ place; showed no respect and were rude when asked to move their van from across our drive. Repeatedly. They might have gained work from the whole road if they’d been more accommodating. Much lack of foresight shown
  • Port of Tilbury – normally the most courteous and helpful assistance but one individual being offensive lets the whole side down. Considering giving him a Jobsworth Award
  • DPD UK – ringing the doorbell, not waiting and taking a parcel away immediately. Twice. Perhaps it’s a corporate game of Knock Down Ginger
Also: O2, Vodafone, Royal Mail, Lloyds Bank, HSBC – the list goes on.

As I said, it doesn’t need to be this way. No matter what size or sector, organisations should be offering the best customer service they can, through proper training and management. Managers should be trained to manage – not simply be called a manager because they’ve been there the longest.

It’s not always the size of your budget, but the way in which you manage it. 

Managers/business owners shouldn’t be afraid to bring in change and not do something ‘because it’s always been done that way’. Life has moved on and you don’t need to be afraid of, for example, automating a process and retraining your team to work in a different way. As long as you communicate change effectively with all your audiences in the way in which they need to be communicated with, and in a language they’ll understand, they’ll come along with you.

Our clients are used to me asking why something’s being done a particular way when it doesn’t seem logical to me. Most of the time there’s a rational reason but now and then, I can suggest a different way of doing something which involves less cost, resource or duplication of work, and I love it when it works. Our smartest clients are those who are open-minded and listen, then participate in the process. Quite often, it will enable them to work smarter too. Plus I get to learn plenty from my clients, and I can pass this on to others to help in their businesses.

You see, PR with Chimera  is not only about communicating effectively, promoting and selling more, it’s about the whole in terms of business strategy – and that’s because we’re experienced, skilled people who have worked with a wide variety of companies and organisations across the years.

And every now and then, if you stand outside my office, you can hear the gentle ripples, caustic comments, or volcanic eruptions caused by poor customer service. 

One thing though – I always compliment people and say ‘Thank you’ when someone gets it right or goes above and beyond! I hope you do too.




Thursday, 21 September 2017

12 tips for effective pre-Christmas business communications. And a partridge in a pear tree!

Let’s be thankful we’ve made it this far through the year, although some people believe the world will end on 23rd September. Assuming we get through the latest apocalyptic prophesy, businesses should be looking at how to best communicate with their customers, now ... before it's too late!


Here are some tips to ensure as stress-free a time as possible for you in the run-up to the festive season:
  1.       Publish your opening hours on your website, social media and wherever else is appropriate, well in advance
  2.       Ensure you give an emergency contact name and number if appropriate
  3.       Remind customers about special offers or seasonal services
  4.       Give special offers to existing customers as a thank you for their loyalty
  5.       Do seasonal competitions to increase your database for New Year promotions
  6.       Offer free delivery before Christmas if appropriate
  7.       If you have a small business and giving anything free is difficult, give something extra by way of great service or a very small free gift to make people feel good (like a coffee and mince pie if they’re coming into your shop) – or team up with another company and do something together to share the cost
  8.       If you have a food, clothing or other appropriate business, give some left-over products to a local charity
  9.      Take on seasonal staff – you might need extra help to cope with the extra business 
  10.      Product returns usually increase after Christmas; make sure your customers and your staff know your policy so everything runs seamlessly (especially if you've taken on seasonal staff or part-timers)
  11.      Make sure you train new staff as well as refreshing the skills of existing ones who might be under pressure if you get really busy, and explain your seasonal offers to your team so everyone is up to speed
  12.     Reward your team with a bonus to say thanks for working hard – if times are tough financially, you’ll be amazed how much a kind word, a smile and a few extra hours off can help!

I'm off to buy some Easter eggs now. I believe they're already on sale in M&S!


Monday, 11 September 2017

He’s behind you! Oh no he’s not. Well, he could be …

And before I start, no messages with comments about using ‘he’ instead of ‘she’. No slurs intended. It was simply the first thing that came to mind. Nothing to do with feminism. I’m normally a meritocrat but in this case, it was first typed, first kept.

OK, moving on … what’s the PR and marketing slant of this post?

The panto connotation in the title relates to The Amazing Adventures of Pinocchio being produced by my wonderful clients, JW Productions. No, it’s not me although the initials are the same. 

JW Productions have been bringing traditional theatre pantomime back to the Brighton & Hove area for the last five years. They specialise in superbly acted productions all year round aimed mainly at the children and family community audience, as well as producing some wonderful thrillers, drama and avant-garde stuff. It’s a small, local, independent company which receives no funding.


The thrust of PR is to influence, educate, communicate and persuade. Marketing is all about finding a niche in the market and selling something profitably.

I have therefore educated and communicated about this year’s panto production, Pinocchio, which will be at The Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts on the University of Sussex Campus at Falmer from 20th December 2017 to 6th January 2018.
And now I’d like to persuade you to consider how you can be involved. Casting is already well under way but if you really wanted to, I guess I can arrange an audition! But what I really mean is: how your business could be involved from a PR and marketing perspective.

Here’s how … get your company’s name behind Pinocchio and these will be the benefits:

Raised brand awareness

Put your brand literally in the spotlight. You’ll get positive PR, credibility and expose your brand to all those people going to the shows who could buy your products or services.

Emotional connection

People often spend with their heart. Seeing your brand connected to a Christmas panto shows you care enough to get involved at the community level so it becomes instantly more appealing.

Media Exposure

We’re hoping for lots of coverage from our media partners in the area (print, online, TV and radio) so it’ll be extra positive exposure for your brand too.

We’re working on collaborating with a number of iconic companies and venues in the city with some exciting promotional events using Pinocchio and his chums.

Merchandising

You can have your promotional materials at the event to promote what you do, and give-aways will ensure an additional shelf life for branded items. You could, for example, test the market with a product before investing in a larger marketing campaign or simply use the exercise to get your logo ‘out there’ with an existing target audience.

Marketing

Through the panto website and extensive print and online advertising, social media messaging and, of course, word of mouth.

Use the event as a corporate hospitality opportunity, or to reward your staff. Have it as an end or extension to a conference or your own event.

The Charity Champion package is particularly useful for a large-scale CSR push, and photo potential galore, particularly if you end up on stage in costume!

Here are more details:

Pinocchio Package - £7.5k
Headline Sponsor (3 required)
You get:
Logo on all print media (30k flyers and 1k posters)
Full page advert in the souvenir programme
200 tickets
10 mentions on each of their social media platforms
6 VIP tickets to press night and the post-show reception with the cast
Foyer presence
2 mentions in the MailChimp mailer (database of 8k)

Geppetto Package - £6.5k
Sponsor (5 packages available)
You get:
Logo on all print media
Half-page advert in souvenir programme
50 tickets
5 mentions on each of our social media platforms Foyer presence
4 VIP tickets to press night and the post show reception with cast

Figaro Package - £6.5k – Charity Champion
(2 packages available)
You buy a WHOLE performance (320 seats) and get:
Full page advert in souvenir programme
10 mentions on each of their social media platforms
2 mentions in the Mail Chimp (8k)
Foyer presence on the night of the performance
A pre- or post-show reception can be arranged for your guests

Jiminy Cricket - £2.5k
Ambassador (10 packages available)
Would suit smaller businesses looking to gain local recognition
Quarter-page advert in souvenir programme
25 tickets
3 mentions on each of our social media platforms
2 VIP tickets to press night and the post-show reception with the cast

If you’re interested – and I do hope you are – please contact me on jill@chimeracomms.co.uk or on 01903 812275.


I’m all ears. Or should that be nose? Well, it is Pinocchio!


Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Cruising out of your comfort zone

I’m lucky enough to be able to go on many cruises. If you follow realchimeracomms on Instagram, you’ll be able to see a selection of photos from our working adventures around the world.

Recently it struck me that there is some correlation between being on the high seas and our working lives ...

Stepping out of your comfort zone

I’m claustrophobic. I never wanted to go on a cruise. I couldn’t bear the thought of being encased in a large metal box on the high seas. Being over thousands of feet of potentially treacherous water, miles from anywhere, also frightened me. I’d always said I’d never do it.

Something life-altering happened, after which I decided to live for the moment. I decided to try a cruise. I started with a short one. And the miraculous thing was ... as soon as I stepped on the ship, I felt at home. I’ve since done plenty of cruises as it’s part work, part holiday. It’s a marvellous life and I love it.

I’ve been on many ships now including one where we were in the middle of a ‘weather phenomenon’ and another with Force 10 gales. Of course, it’s challenging and the sea can be kind to you or very brutal. Being at the heart of Mother Nature is incredibly invigorating and you just have to put your faith in fate.

If I hadn’t been determined to try it the first time, I would never have known that I would come to love going on cruises, travelling the world while working with clients, and seeing places I never thought I would.

This has shown me how to take unchartered waters when it comes to work situations. Just because it looks frightening, it doesn’t need to be so. It’s amazing how good you feel after doing something you really didn’t think you could.


The many benefits of being reticent but doing it anyway

Business survival depends sometimes on taking that risk. Being nimble, flexible and agile, and diversifying if necessary. If I’d carried on doing exactly what I’d always done, I wouldn’t have discovered a whole world of delight and wonder.

If you’re stuck in a rut, the courageous thing to do is ‘something different’. If you’re scared of speaking in public, for example, the more you practise and the more prepared you are, you really can step of your comfort zone and do it anyway.

Take your blinkers away and upskill. Challenge yourself to learn something new to benefit yourself and your business. Keep up-to-date with new technology (which can be very scary) and open up new horizons.

Having a great crew around you

Every efficient ship needs a great crew, working together as a team. Seeing how every crew member on cruise ships is part of the whole, believing in the very best customer service to look after their guests, as well as how intricately the organisation of each ship works, is truly inspiring.

Getting the very best people around you for the benefit of your business (team members, suppliers, contractors etc) goes a very long way to ensuring you will be ship-shape and sea-worthy.

Happy sailing!

Friday, 21 April 2017

Business survival : getting the best from yourself

“I feel so lonely as a freelancer” and “I’m the boss but it’s really lonely at the top” – these are two phrases I hear frequently from clients and networking colleagues alike.

Even very successful business people feel isolated and there are all sorts of reasons why. 

One of the best remedies is to get yourself a mentor; one you trust, can engage with, and is experienced and skilled enough to be able to be a real support to you as you go on your journey. And yes, I hate that word too. Let’s say ‘ride’ instead.

I’m a mentor for Entrepreneurial Spark in Brighton, an organisation powered by NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Ulster Bank, KPMG Enterprise and Dell Technologies across the UK. In England and Wales, they also work with Pinsent Masons and in Scotland, Harper Macleod. E-Spark is “a people accelerator and work with you as the entrepreneurial leader to develop your mindsets and behaviours.”

I’ve been doing this for nearly two years and find it very interesting and rewarding. Here’s what I get out of mentoring:
  •         I meet lots of businesses, both start-ups and those which are in the growth stage
  •         I’m able to help these business people based on my 35+ years of experience working in and for a variety of different organisations, both commercial and not-for-profit
  •         I’m delighted when my advice, support and contacts have helped businesses develop and grow
  •         I’m also delighted when I see the faces of those business people when they learn something new from me; when my suggestions are taken on board and prove themselves as relevant and useful, and provide solutions to problems
  •         I love hearing “I couldn’t have done this without your advice”, “You’ve completely changed my perspective” or “I would never have believed I could have done this so quickly and easily”
  •        This is another hideous phrase, but I do love ‘giving something back’

I’ve done mentoring in various guises throughout the years, from being the first mentor in the Women in Housing scheme to Ride the Wave from Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce over the last couple of years. 

Sometimes through mentoring, people find the right thing for them is to move on from their jobs because they’re in the wrong place. That sounds negative, but it’s actually incredibly powerful and positive because often they’ve been stuck in a rut or just stuck generally, and they realise why.


I find I'm mentoring clients frequently too. It's part of helping their businesses be successful. As PR and communications should be core to every business, taking a strategic look as we do for our clients means sometimes mentoring is a useful by-product.

Mentoring isn’t about me doing it for you. It’s about empowering you to make the changes yourself, opening up your mind to other possibilities, and generally being there so you don’t feel so isolated.

I offer mentoring generally on an hourly basis, so if you think I can help you or one of your team in whom you wish to invest, just contact me on jill@chimeracomms.co.uk

Thursday, 23 March 2017

How the challenges of the newsroom create effective business learning

Interview with John Young - local TV journalist, news presenter and business owner of John Young Media

Chimera Communications' Managing Director, Jill Woolf, met up with John just after his first Newsroom Business Bootcamp in the city, and chatted to him about how and why his business John Young Media came about. 

John Young on TV
Jill: Great to see you, John. Tell me more about how your career has developed and how your Newsroom Bootcamps came about.

Like so many people, I found that after many years working for the same employer (a quarter of a century at the BBC, in my case!), I wanted to step outside of my own comfort zone. My Editor at BBC South East Today knew I was interested in schools and educational stories — so when teachers sometimes asked if he could send anybody in to talk to pupils, he would send me in. I would go to a lot of trouble to make the talks fun and interactive — the kids loved it — and I spotted a business opportunity: for a fair price that state schools could pay, create workshops that used the buzz of live TV news reporting to give pupils an in-your-face experience of deadlines, decision-making and getting things done. 

Jill: What prompted you to bring your already well-established Newsroom Bootcamp into the business arena?

Word spread — and I found business-owners and team-leaders asking if I could run the same sort of workshop for them. They, too, wanted to test themselves (and their teams) with the pressures all employees face: confidence in a meeting, dealing with change, trying things differently. After three successful pilots, I’m now finding it a wonderfully rewarding experience to bring the same sense of energy and humour to an adult audience. 

Jill: How do you feel the first one went in terms of translating from a school and college environment to working with business people?

It was a joy. Young people can be great fun to work with, but part of the challenge can be getting them to trust you at all. They may all enjoy it, but half of them may be silent, the other half boisterous. Adults are more giving and trusting from the word go! (And the coffee from an office is generally much, much better than from a staff room …).

Jill: What specific skills areas do you bring to the Bootcamp, and how did the business delegates’ responses differ from those the students?

I bring energy. I don’t use jargon. The games we play are in-your-face, sometimes challenging, but I make sure there’s a lot of laughter, too. Business delegates are often more confident and prepared to ask more questions as we go along, which gives me a chance to constantly refine the sessions to ensure it’s achieving the goals business owners want. 

Jill: What were the important take-aways for delegates to put into practice when they returned to their offices?

If you think you’re the only one in the room believing something, you’re probably not. If you’re worried you’ve been too succinct in a report you’ve written, your report is probably spot on. If you think you’d never dare to do something you’ve not done before (like reading off an autocue in front of strangers), you’re probably wrong. If you hate change, you may find it’s not as painful as you think. 

Jill: Having worked with you on the first one, I know we’re hoping this will be the start of a series of Bootcamps. What key messages would you like to get across to those who might be thinking of joining us for the next one?

We can all learn from each other. My 25 years in live broadcasting don't give me a single academic qualification in team dynamics — but that’s probably a good thing, because it means I’m not going to drown you in a PowerPoint riddled with industry jargon. But those 25 years do give me a lot of hugely exciting experiences to share with other people, giving us all new ideas about how to be effective in the workplace. 

Jill: What inspires you, John? What makes you get up in the morning and look forward to the day?

A ‘thank you’ letter I received last month sums it up for me — from a 15-year-old girl who struggled at school. She had actually sat down to write it to thank me for giving her confidence during my Employability Express workshop. Here’s what Georgia wrote: 

"You taught me so much, such as getting out of my comfort zone, how to talk in meetings and how to present yourself and you kept on pushing us to work harder and to challenge ourselves. The part I found the most challenging was getting chosen to read off the auto-cue when I didn’t want to. It freaked me out as I don’t like standing up in front of everyone and reading aloud. Although I found it hard to do that, it really helped me and now I feel more confident in myself.”

Jill: What are the best and worst things about your news presenting job, and have these influenced the way you put together the Bootcamps?

Worst thing? There are very few — I’m lucky enough to love the whole process. What we call a ‘quiet news day’ can be frustrating — we like to go on air with compelling news stories, and let’s face it … not all days are as busy as others! The best thing? Knowing that reporting people’s stories can often help them … and knowing that, even if the day hasn’t gone the way you’d hoped, tomorrow is an entirely new news day … 

John Young in front of the camera


Jill: Do you have three top tips for those who didn’t attend the first Newsroom Business Bootcamp?

Less is more — when you’re writing a report, think about a ‘headline’ for it first … because that may be the only bit anyone remembers. 

Don’t be afraid of changing something at the last minute — it can be easier than you think, and nobody’s going to know what you didn’t do or say anyway. 

You have a right to believe what you believe — and you may be surprised how many other people are thinking what you’re thinking, even if you’re the only one that says it out loud.

Jill: I’m inspired! Thanks so much, John.

John: My pleasure.

This piece was originally published on the Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce website. Jill Woolf is Lead Ambassador and a Vice-President of the Chamber www.businessinbrighton.org.uk