Author Archives: Kate Mahoney

Help! I can’t write

We have been asking friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances for their top tips for getting words on the paper. Whether you are writing a novel, a thesis or just an essay, take a look at the tips below for inspiration and then get writing.

Academic Writing Tipswriting happening

  • Break down the writing in to chapters, main points and key arguments. Each point has to be introduced, delivered, examined, challenged and connected to next point
  • Be inspired by a key quote – start off with a sentence/quote from a respected academic or researcher whatever, and then tear it to shreds!
  • Read papers and articles from outside of your subject area –  be inspired.

General Writing Tips Write now

  • Start with a key scene, theme or event. Work towards that, how can that happen? What’s the fallout? What is the effect?
  • Your starting point won’t necessarily make the final cut
  • You can be amazed by what a deadline can produce – know what motivates you to write and use it
  • Silence your inner critic – tell the voice in your head this isn’t the final cut, this is work progress
  • Never finish a writing session at the end of a sentence – put your pen down mid-sentence, it will give you a good place to start the next time.

writing something


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Katy joins the International Coach Federation (ICF)

Katy, our very own  personal performance coach, joins the International Coach Federation.

Katy has recently joined the International Coach Federation (ICF) the leading global organisation of 27,000-plus professional personal and business coaches and offers the only independent and internationally recognised coach credentialing program.

ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Coaching is a distinct service and differs greatly from therapy, consulting, mentoring or training. Individuals who engage in a coaching relationship can expect to experience fresh perspectives on personal challenges and opportunities, enhanced thinking and decision-making skills, enhanced interpersonal effectiveness, and increased confidence in carrying out their chosen work and life roles.

Katy offers coaching on all aspect of personal performance including career change, overcoming procrastination, presentation and performance anxiety and time management.

If you would like to learn more about working with Katy please email kate.mahoney@communicationandme.com.

What other people are saying about coaching with Katy?

“I think the real benefits for me were that I was able to reconnect with myself, start building my self-esteem and self-confidence enough to see a good opportunity, to take it, and be successful!”

 “I approached Katy for help to get out of a long-standing work situation. Katy is very calm and supportive, asking measured questions and really getting me to think about the options available.”

“Katy’s manner is a well-balanced mixture of consistent professionalism and genuine friendliness, which made me feel at ease, focused and confident in the process of working through my goals. Calm, relaxed and very present – a powerful combo!”

 Find out more – Kate.mahoney@communicationandme.com , +44 (0) 7919280541

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The Interview presentation and how to avoid things going wrong

You have practised your presentation and you are ready to roll, but you still have that nagging worry. We have all sat in a presentation whilst the presenter desperately tries to find their slides, or get the screen to display. The audience feels uncomfortable and sorry for the presenter, who only makes things  worse by saying things like

 I didn’t expect this to happen, it all worked fine this morning

You can’t mitigate against everything but you can go in prepared and have back up plans. Here are a few top tips to get you going

1. Email your presentation or Prezi link to the interview administrator a day or two before and ask them to check that it works on their system

2. Find out what versions of Microsoft Office they use, if the presentation room will have access to the internet and how big the screen is. This helps you to prepare and shows that you are prepared. You earn credit points with your new potential boss before you even enter the interview room

3. Scan your presentation for virus/corruptions

4. Take your presentation on a USB stick. Check it in another machine and not just the one you wrote your presentation on. Also, check that links work and that images display properly

5. Print a copy of your slides on A4 which you could use instead of a screen if there really is a major technical problem

6. Finally, make sure you have practised enough to be able to give your presentation without a computer. Remember, a candidate who can can overcome adversity and deliver their presentation despite technical difficulties is going to score high on the interview bonus points.

Good Luck!

 


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Further to your application, I am pleased to…

So, you’ve received the email. You know the one…pexels-photo-70292

Further to your application for the above post, I am pleased to advise you that we would like to progress you to the next stage.  I am therefore now writing to invite you to attend for interview on X Y Z. Please report to reception at Head Office. Your formal interview will commence at 14:00 hours.

 

Great news, you are delighted. You read on..

As a part of the selection process you will be required to prepare and deliver a presentation on BLAH, followed by a 10 minute discussion with the interview panel.

What are your thoughts? If this fills you with fear and dread you are not the only one. Try these top tips to help overcome nerves and give your best performance.

  1. Break down the title of the presentation.

Generally, employers will give you a broad title to allow candidates to demonstrate their own area of expertise. Remember, potential employees could be coming from different sectors. Think about how the presentation title relates to your experience and the duties and responsibilities of the position you have applied for. Ask yourself – what are they really asking?

  1. This is not an hour lecture

If you are tempted to push your presentation time to the limit – don’t. If the suggested time is 10 minutes aim for 8. The panel will appreciate your ability to keep to time. If you are the last candidate of the morning you really don’t want to be the one keeping the panel from their lunch. Have a structure and keep to it. I recommend a simple Beginning – Middle – End structure. End confidently, with 2 or 3 memorable points or take home messages.

  1. Ask yourself – do you need to use PowerPoint?

Think about the purpose of your presentation. If you just want to demonstrate that you can write lots on a slide then why not consider writing a supporting paper to leave with the panel at the end of the interview instead. There are lots of website, youtube videos and blogs on utilising PowerPoint, my favourite is Death by PowerPoint. My top tip is, if you are going to use PowerPoint, slides are for headlines, pictures and key phrases. Anything more and your slides distract from you.

  1. Make sure your presentation is a presentation of YOU

The presentation is an opportunity for the interview panel to assess your presenting abilities in front of an audience. This gives them the chance to see how you come across to potential stakeholders, clients or customers. Make sure your presentation is representative of your style. Use your usual style, Whether it’s using a metaphor to explain a problem, pictures to give impact or Prezi rather than PowerPoint, then give the panel a flavour of this in the interview. This isn’t the time to change your delivery style. If they like it then you will be a good fit. If they hate it, then perhaps they weren’t the organisation for you.

  1. Smile

When you smile – the whole world smiles with you. The same is true for smiling in an interview. Your interview panel will smile back. A smile helps keep you calm, it induces all the right endorphins to help with confidence, posture and general wellbeing. Research shows that just the physical act of smiling to yourself for 10 minutes triggers these organic processes.

  1. Practise

Although I have listed this last, it really is the most important. Practise your presentation OUT LOUD. Preferably in front of an audience. LOTS. From the beginning to the end – even if you go wrong. If you don’t have an audience, everyone has a camera on their phone. Film yourself giving your presentation. Do you have a nervous twitch? Do you fiddle with your hair? Do you start off strong and tail off ending with a weak thank you? The more you practise the easier it gets. If you have a habit of twiddling with your watch, take it off and put it on the desk before your presentation. Your interview panel will think it’s about keeping to time and you won’t distract them with your nervous tell. Don’t sabotage your presentation with poor body language. Stand tall, breathe and look your panel in the eye.

Good Luck!


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