Archive for the ‘Caring’ Category

A very simple gesture of a handshake to diffuse a hostile situation

June 20, 2022

I was standing at the ATM on the South Mall in Cork and suddenly from behind me I heard a booming voice “Excuse me, excuse me”.

When I turned around it was a guy on a bike shouting at people to get out out of his way as he sped through.

One of the pedestrians quite rightly had an issue with this speeding cyclist who should have kept his racing for the road and suddenly the two of them were arguing.

The cyclist was way out of order so I jumped to the pedestrians defence.

He’s right, what are you doing racing on the footpath?” I said.

Suddenly he’s in my face, a tall guy, one of these triathlon types, dressed in black from head to toe.

What’s your problem, tell me, tell me-I was being polite, I said excuse me

I responded “You were roaring, and besides, you shouldn’t have been cycling on the footpath

He came closer to me and repeated what he already said. I repeated what I said and he repeated what he said, getting closer again. This was only going to escalate.

I looked at him and told him it was a waste of time talking to him if he couldn’t get the point about cycling on the footpath and I turned to walk away.

He came after me and once again he was repeating what he had already said “What’s your problem, I was being polite

This was pointless …I looked at this tall guy, all fired up and from nowhere I found myself offering my hand to shake his. This could go either way, but it was one way of breaking the cycle (pardon the pun!)

He looked puzzled for a second and then met me in a handshake. I said “hey man, calm down, it’s a Friday

He smiled and said “you are right, that’s what I call great conflict resolution!

He then hugged me and said he probably shouldn’t have been on the footpath and we both wished each other a good weekend and parted ways.

My spontaneous gesture surprised even me, and I was amazed at how quickly it diffused something that could have easily turned ugly.

It turns out a handshake is hard to resist as we are programmed to treat it like a gesture of kindness or friendship – try it !!

Greg

Greg is a partner at Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing and PR agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Gratitude..

March 14, 2022

I was 57 last Friday and I was determined to do a few very simple things on the day.

I walked the dogs first thing as I always do with Dee – they love getting out!

The intention was to not work at all but I was busy with some client commitments, but I like what I do so that was more than ok.

I met mum for lunch – nothing fancy but it was great to see her.

Ellen my daughter popped by to say hello, which was great.

I popped in next store to say hello to our fantastic neighbours and their two kids – such special people.

And we popped down to the local, The White Horse with friends for dinner and drinks and while I was there Brendan, my son rang and we chatted briefly and I got to see little Hazel, my granddaughter over WhatsApp – they will be back from New Zealand in the next two weeks.

After dinner we came back to the house for a night cap – everyone was tired so it was just the one.

Before going to bed I checked my phone and returned the many messages with birthday wishes from friends and family.

That was it, another birthday spent with Dee and some of the other special people in my life and the two dogs of course.

While it is easy to get a little bit down with each passing year (and those numbers getting bigger!!) all I could feel this year was huge gratitude for being around to see another one and for spending it in a relatively safe country.

(God love the poor woman pictured above as she left her home and belongings in Mariupol in Ukraine – it makes no sense)

Thank you….

Greg

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

The great unmasked..

February 28, 2022

What an incredible day and one that took such a long time to arrive!

From the moment I heard the announcement about some of the final Covid restrictions being lifted and in particular the end of the requirement to wear masks in indoor settings I was counting down the days and here it is.

It’s a pity it didn’t happen on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday even, so you could really enjoy it, but even so it is here and it really does mark some sort of an end to a horrible time, but one that has changed how we live (and work) forever.

While I did think I would make the most of the momentous day by shopping without a mask or going for a drink after work without a mask, the best I could manage was going to mass this morning (it’s a very rare occurrence for me) – mum had a mass said for Dee’s brother who very sadly passed recently.

It’s clear that the transition to normal will take a while and mass today was a reflection of that with half the very small congregation still opting for mask wearing including the priest and my mum!

Ironically as we left the church mum bumped into a pal of hers who was expressing pure joy about the end of mask wearing and being able to see real faces again – in her enthusiasm she said all of this to my mother who was still wearing her mask as we stood outside the church door!

I must admit that I found mask wearing really difficult and oppressive and I hated to see people wearing them outdoors – for me it was bad enough what we were going through without being reminded of it every time you had to pass someone wearing one.

Of course, social media had a field day with this topic and it was guaranteed to spark a frenzy at the slightest mention of it…..yep, I did and it wasn’t pretty!! (someone accused me of being me a Trump fan – clearly they don’t know me).

Reflecting back at this time, it has been very difficult for almost everyone and we all dealt with it in very different ways, often due to our personal circumstances and at other times down to our outlook, anything from extreme fear to “I don’t give a toss about anyone else“….it’s been challenging to say the least!

So as we do hopefully close this unusual chapter of our collective histories, let us be patient and conscious of others as we decompress and readjust and get back to something resembling normal and something that we are comfortable with, but all at our own speed.

When people are ready to let us see their smiles again, be ready to smile back.

Before I close off on this blog post (I’m writing this to diary my own feelings as I know I will in time forget what it was like) I’d like to sincerely thank anyone and everyone who had the misfortune of having to wear a mask all day long in work or in school – it can’t have been easy.

Compared to them I had it incredibly easy.

Goodbye mask..

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Love and sadness

February 14, 2022

It doesn’t feel like a very romantic day with all of that love in the air.

Dee’s brother Liam, a very special man passed this day last week after an illness which cruelly took his life at the young age of 64.

She adored her brother who she says at times was like a dad to them when they were growing up, the person they would call if they were sad, scared, upset or when they fell down.

The sadness is heavy, really heavy not just for Dee but for all of the family – it’s awful watching heart’s breaking and there is really nothing you can do but just be there.

So today doesn’t feel like the day for cards, roses and gestures but then again is that the whole point of love?

I always say that the best of fun is the worst of tears – the deep sadness ultimately comes from that deep love and at some point those two will travel together.

So while I’m not making a great case for cards, roses, romantic gestures and candlelit dinners on this special day, I do want to make a case for the love that does not necessarily go with those things but is just as important. I could see that real love from friends and family over the last few really hard weeks.

So today tell your friends, your family, your neighbours, your pets and anyone who plays a special part in your life that you love them and say a prayer or raise a glass to those who aren’t physically here anymore but live on in our hearts.

It doesn’t have to be a candlelit dinner to be love (…if it is treasure it!)

RIP Liam Waldron.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

It’s all over…but it will be stressful!

January 23, 2022

So that’s it?

This weekend we read the headlines in the newspapers after the speech on Friday night by An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin more or less declaring that “the Covid pandemic is over” and that pretty much all restrictions will be lifted except for the mask wearing indoors and on public transport.

Even though case numbers are still high in the country the ultra conservative and very cautious NPHET (that caution probably saved many lives) have recommended this course of action so they must believe that the current version of what is infecting people is relatively harmless and we are all quite protected against it through either the vaccination programme or actually contracting the virus – we have herd immunity!

While this is a huge relief you would wonder how easy will it be for society to walk back all of our learned cautious behaviour from nearly two years of strangeness and how much of what life was like before will return?

I had a pint in a local as I waited for my takeaway last night (didn’t home eating escalate to enormous proportions in the last two years?) and it was interesting watching the different people and the behaviours – the general atmosphere was upbeat but there was definitely a divide between the cautious and the not so cautious. One of the bar staff was wearing no mask and another was wearing one and the same applied to customers as they came into the pub.

I asked the barman what the new rules were about mask wearing and he was quite sure that this was up to each individual to decide – that’s not my understanding of what I heard but there you go! This decompressing and roll back time will cause it’s own confusion and stress.

How will we respond to these changed circumstances?

Where will all the mask/anti mask and the vax/anti vax anger move to?

Will a cohort of society continue to wear masks even when this is done?

Will we forever stand back from those we meet with caution or will we go back to shaking hands and dare I say it…. can we hug again?!!

What happens when I’m asked to come back to working from the office because I have no intention of commuting two hours a day ever again!

How much damage has all of the “un”socialising and home working really done to us as individuals and to our collective psyche?

It will be stressful, there will be unforeseen and unexpected problems and at times it will feel upsetting as we do now have to unlearn and return to being normal people again making our way in the world.

To make the most of this very positive time we do need is to appreciate that this is another change and with change comes stress and as much as we can, let’s be tolerant of each other as we all have different lived experiences and changes will be processed at different speeds.

While I write this I am thinking back to the regrettable shouting match that I had with a woman on a bus at the beginning of the pandemic who was insulted that my friends were uncomfortable when she sat right behind them and then accused me of not wearing my mask properly!

I have no idea who she was but we both let ourselves down badly and yes it was really upsetting.

Let’s be tolerant and empathetic as this is a good time for all of and let’s work hard to make sure it is great.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Time to talk to the unvaccinated?

November 23, 2021

We are reading about the need for taking more care, not going back to the workplace, socialising less and the need for possible regular antigen tests to keep us safe. Fancy a stick up your nose three times a week?

We are reading about Covid sweeping through our schools with students and teachers alike falling with the disease.

We are reading about how the hospitals are under severe pressure with over half of the serious Covid cases being unvaccinated people who have fallen seriously ill and the other half being vaccinated people with underlying conditions. (92% of the adult population are vaccinated – the numbers are clear).

We know 100% that the hospitals are rammed with Covid patients and as a result normal procedures are being postponed and god love anyone who goes there with an emergency case.

We are also reading that the unvaccinated are a big part of the problem, allowing the disease to spread more and possibly mutate.

A restaurant or venue owner is obliged to ask customers for their Vaccine passport and proof of ID but they are not permitted to ask their own team members if they are vaccinated ..”invasion of privacy“.

Do we not have a duty of care towards our employees?

We are reading about huge protests in Rotterdam and Vienna as people are freaking out about the necessary restrictions that have been introduced – angry with the wrong people?

If more severe restrictions are introduced here, no doubt people and businesses will be freaking out and all of this will be aimed at NPHET and the government, who will only be doing this to keep people safe and our hospitals functioning.

Maybe it is time to stop pussyfooting around, enough of the “PC” stuff and if we want to get out of this Covid mess and keep our loved ones safe and our businesses open it is time to focus our messaging on those who have so far been unwilling to vaccinate.

Maybe not quite “boot in” but it is time to apply some real peer pressure because it is needed.

Instead of the various lobby groups pressurising the government, maybe it is time to start focusing on those members of the general public who are not playing ball and putting everyone at risk and our lives on hold and livelihoods at risk.

Instead of being angry at the government, maybe it is time for us to start talking to family, friends and colleagues and encourage them to keep us safe. (instead we are all dancing around them gently- it’s their right)

If the unvaccinated are the biggest part of the problem, let’s tackle this head on and stop trying to solve it by tinkering with other measures that won’t deliver a solution.

We’ve all seen the advert about wearing a seatbelt..

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design Podcast Production and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

And how was your day?

November 11, 2021

I was casually chatting with my daughter Ellen today and as part of our usual chit chat I asked her how her week was going.

A bit sad dad, one of the kids in the school passed away this week” she said to me.

While this is a conversation that would floor any of us, in Ellen’s world it is sadly one that gets repeated with an unbearable frequency.

Ellen works as a special needs assistant in a school in Cork, whereby they look after very special kids with all sorts of disabilities.

A very sad fact of life is that often they suffer from poor health and they don’t get to enjoy the full life that all of our kids have and on occasion their lives come to an end when they are still in that school going age.

Ellen says this boy was a loveable rogue and quite the character and was well known and loved by everyone in the school.

They put up a tribute wall for him with photos of him since his time in the school and while it is heart breaking hopefully he can feel their love as he makes his way to his mum who passed away a number of years before. (Ellen tells me he always asked people about how their mum was)

Those lucky enough who are blessed with health and healthy children might stop for a moment and think about these special children, their families and the people who devote their hearts and careers to minding them.

Rest in peace, the honorary Garda Sean Tyrell and thoughts and prayers for his family, friends, teachers and carers.

And thank you my daughter for that huge kind heart of yours – the world needs more of you.

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design Podcast Production and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

The slow and long road back to the office ..

July 13, 2021

Oh…you want me to deliver the session in person, in Dublin?

This was a simple enquiry to facilitate a social media strategy session to a group from an organisation and then provide some specific bespoke training on one of the social media platforms.

We were having the usual conversation except the only sticking point was that they wanted a full day session with their group and I was trying to discourage this.

I find that if you stay at training too long then people get tired and what they learn in the morning they end up forgetting in the afternoon. It’s best if they get a chance to slowly digest, process and try it out for themselves.

I normally suggest half day sessions, when everyone stays fresh and then allowing a week in between so that everyone can practice and then come back to progress further.

It must be on the one day because we have the hotel booked” she said.

It was only then that the penny dropped and I understood why she wanted it on the same day.

This threw me as I hadn’t been faced with this in a long time and I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it.

Ok, lets do it ..

As it turned out there was a mix up with the hotel booking on their end and the training was cancelled (after all that !!) and while I was disappointed a big part of me was delighted!

I wasn’t looking forward to the prospect and disruption of it.

Travelling and delivering training sessions in person was part and parcel of the last 10 years (pre Covid), but the truth of it is that I have been doing this from the comfort of my little home office (converted bedroom) for the last 16 months and it works really well.

It’s convenient for me and participants, I’ve tweaked my delivery for online and it works really well, it’s cost effective and it also means they get a fresh “Greg” who isn’t after driving for a few hours and all that goes with it.

The big conversation that I was having with myself was “how inconvenient and pointless” that travelling/in person/ hotel experience would be compared to the very convenient way that I have replaced it with, and with no negative impact on the learning experience.

However, I do love the face to face in person training and as a social creature I love the energy you get back from a “live” group and the special learning dynamic that can happen. This will always have it’s place but only when necessary.

I know my simple example of this in person training session will be replicated very soon with so many of those things we have all been doing in the course of our work while working from home.

People have had to take on board new work habits which are now deeply embedded and there are parts about these that are very convenient as well as being cost and life effective and they won’t want to give them up too easily.

We can all talk about hybrid but this could be a very slow and long road back to the office and we need to be really careful to preserve what is working because it is possible to get the job done and ….

Win Happy!

Greg

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

The very special Natasha Lynch

February 22, 2021

Natasha Lynch

At the end of a long work day we could be found trudging from the office weighed down by the usual stresses, challenges and issues, on the way to retrieving the car from the car park and heading home.

And there she would be, and regardless of the day that you have had it immediately would get better.

She was beautiful, inside and out.

When you would bump into Natasha at anytime you were 100% guaranteed to get a warm, friendly greeting, full of enthusiasm and positivity and she would always leave you with a hug and a feeling like your whole world had brightened up, at least for a while.

Of course she was a great business woman and of course she was a really lovely person, but that gift of making everyone that she met feel immediately better was really special and something that will be a huge loss.

Natasha, you were loved by many and will be missed by so many more and a sincere thanks for making me feel so good every time that we met.

Our thoughts and prayers are with her husband Wayne, her two boys, her dad Tony and the many friends, colleagues and students who all had the benefit of some of her precious time on this earth. Her greatest legacy is that her kindness and brightness will no doubt live on in all those she interacted with, even if just for a moment.

Natasha, they will be lucky to have you up there

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Art and the things we are missing..

January 30, 2021

White Horse Ballincollig

I was chatting to Brendan, my son who is in the middle of his 14 day “luxury” stay at the ‘Holiday Inn’ in Auckland in New Zealand as part of their two week mandatory quarantine period.

The one thing that really struck me from that conversation was him describing the very surprising sense of overwhelming relief of being away from Ireland, from being away from restrictions, from being away from constant thoughts about hand sanitising, keeping our distance, mask wearing, not hugging, walking past our favourite establishments which are all closed, inevitably chatting about it with everyone and listening to the incessant dark news feed, and living each day under a very dark Covid cloud. 

He thought he was managing the whole thing fine, getting on with things as we all do BUT … it has been non stop and it has been creeping into all of us incrementally in a way that we I’m not sure that we will fully appreciate until it’s all well and truly behind us.

(You can hear this conversation on the Win Happy Podcast by clicking this link).

In tandem with this conversation, I was reading a very interesting piece in the New York Times by Melissa Kirsch about the huge role that art plays in our lives.

She wrote about “how we are all waiting for things to open up so we can resume what we think of as normal life” and the fact that this simple idea suddenly feels daunting.

She wrote about “the promise of going to a play, hearing live music or standing awed before a painting that much more exciting to anticipate

We have been missing so much, it is hurting in ways that we haven’t been able to fully process and the sooner we get back to all of those simple pleasures we can start to heal and living again.

I’m imagining a fantastic meal with friends in The White Horse in Ballincollig, before heading upstairs to their beautiful, intimate and very special venue to watch a gig. Maybe it’s THE 4 Of US, Mark Geary, John Spillane,  Jack O’Rourke, David Syme, the White Horse Guitar Club or Allman Brown. Whoever it is I’m imagining being back there, standing at the bar chatting to the barman and waiting for another feast of music to top up my soul.

I miss it.. 

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland