Posts Tagged ‘Dublin’

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

Saying “let’s do it” when most of us just wouldn’t dare!

February 18, 2021

Ciara O'Toole - Going Solo on Lake Como

I’m sure we have all been away on holidays in a special place and you pass an auctioneers window and gaze at the houses for sale and think “what if“?

While it’s a nice dream, quickly after 60 seconds you rationalise and the dream is gone.

For me that place would definitely be Siena in Italy, and while I have had this idea for a while I can think quickly for a bunch of very logical and rational reasons why it just couldn’t work …maybe when I retire (isn’t that the easy way of dodging the thought? )

If Covid has taught us anything, it is that you can get your work done from anywhere, hasn’t it? Of course, there are other reasons why I can’t and it doesn’t take me long to list them in my head.

Ciara O’Toole, our very special friend and her husband gazed at that window in Lake Como and decided “lets do it“!!

She was just married, without a word of Italian, a house in Dublin with a big mortgage and a great career as a marketer…crazy idea Ciara!

What I love about her is her adventurous spirit, that ability to “go for it” without a strong safety net and hey, let’s see what happens!

In Ciara’s case lots happened, including a few nasty bumps and wonderful experiences but it has been and continues to be a great adventure!

Did I tell you she learnt how to fly a sea plane and wrote a book about the experience?

If you get a chance at all you might read her book “Going Solo on Lake Como” and maybe tune into the episode of the Win Happy podcast with this intelligent, funny, adventurer, marketeer, entrepreneur, author and pilot who tells her incredible story that is full of many twists and turns!

Let’s celebrate those who say “Let’s do it”, and maybe think about that being you next time you look at that window. 

Check out Ciara’s website by clicking on this link

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 man at the window

January 17, 2021

Working from home

And there he is..

He must have been there all along, doing exactly the same thing as me, day in day out for months, but it took the leaves to fall from the trees and the evenings to get shorter for me to notice him.

Late in the afternoon, just like me he switches on the light in the upstairs bedroom or “lockdown office” and I spotted him for the first time.

He is working from his house, upstairs in one of the bedrooms in the housing estate opposite me.

When we walk the dogs in the morning and in the evening you can see all of the neighbouring “offices” , the many people at work early in the morning and late in the evening at their new workplaces in bedrooms and on kitchen tables.

It’s as if many of the city centre offices have moved out to the houses in the suburbs with the exception that we can’t take a breather and walk around the corner to the coffee shop or head to the canteen for a cuppa with a work colleague. Instead we just walk down the stairs, put the kettle on, say hello to the dog (if you have a dog!) and come back to the desk.

I don’t miss the commuting time and I certainly don’t miss the costs associated with that, but I do think there is a quiet grind to this extended period of working from home that is probably chipping away at us, in ways that we don’t even realise.

For all of the time saved commuting and the brutal efficiency of meeting the team and clients on Zoom, for some reason I don’t seem to be more productive and when Friday comes I am fairly wiped out.

I read with interest the new proposal by government about remote working which has just been published, ‘Making Remote Work’, Ireland’s National Remote Work Strategy. The Strategy’s stated objective is to ensure that remote working is a permanent feature in the Irish workplace in a way that maximises economic, social and environmental benefits.

Somehow the word “remote” is quite a negative one and it’s literal meaning might resonate with too many of us at the moment.

I know that I don’t want to return to the way it was before, but I’m not sure what exactly I will evolve to.

I don’t know my work neighbour in the window across the way, but maybe some day I will wave and we just might have a coffee at the wall!

Mind your mind..

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

 

 

Landing on the Zoom!

January 11, 2021

Landing on the moon

Happy New Year to you!!

As we start into a second full working week of the new year amidst a severe lockdown and an even more severe pandemic with outrageous Covid case numbers it looks like we need to remain on the Zoom for a while longer!

While we barely knew anything about this incredibly powerful communication tool this time last year and most likely had never used it, it’s amazing how quickly it has become a way of life.

Before this year I hated any visual meetings online, and part of that was the clunky software (I’m amazed how Skype never became more intuitive) and the unreliable performance.

I’m not sure if it was lucky timing, but when Covid sent us home in March it seemed to be Zoom or Microsoft Teams in pole position, and very quickly Zoom took a lead and became the standard, the easy one to use and before we knew it, the one most of us were using.

Even now, when I get an invite to a meeting or a webinar I find myself groaning when it is something other than Zoom, because now in this impatient age of ours we want to go click click click and we are in, 100% at ease and knowing what we are doing.

And since March, Zoom have been clever and we have seen better security and new features – I am now using it for meetings, and in Fuzion we have used it for events, training, webinars and workshops, complete with breakout rooms (another great feature), Q&A sessions and polls.

For training purposes alone it has been transformational – we quickly adapted and with a few little tricks of the trade (and humour) you can have a really engaging session with all participants.

I have also been using it for recording my podcasts and as long as the broadband is ok, it has been fantastic!

Making it work for you

Deirdre, the founder of Fuzion  wrote a really excellent blog post early on last year about online meeting etiquette, and it gives some great tips about how you present yourself online and since then I wanted to add a few more tips as we get into even more of the subtleties.

Your Name

When you join the online meeting make sure that your name is right (proper spelling, use capital first letter for first name and surname- even if you are using someone else’s account you can rename yourself on entry) and maybe even consider adding your company name.

If it is a meeting with people from a number of different organisations or departments then make it easy for the others.

Who is in the Spotlight?

When the numbers of participants are high during a meeting then “spotlight” the speaker/speakers as it makes it much easier to see who the speakers are and it makes the session more interesting – even when they are screen sharing you can see just them as they present, instead of everyone.

This is a great feature in Zoom.

Meeting Room message!

As part of the improved Zoom security measures most people will end up in a “meeting room” before being left into the session – there is a facility in your settings to customise the message people will see while waiting in your room. Why not customise and add a little humour!

Where are you on the screen?

My own team just throw their eyes up to heaven (or wherever they like to go!) when I start to ask them where I am on their screen, as part of a silly game we play to break the lockdown monotony. On a serious note I do believe that where you are on the screen can be important.

If you are on the top row (having followed all of the other tips about looking good etc) you are probably better off than being on the bottom row when it comes to being noticed and gaining attention.

The first on the Zoom call occupy that space, and as long as you don’t turn off your video during the session for some reason you will stay in pole position!

For all of the tips and tricks that we have spoken about, and for all of the Zoom learning that we should have on board at this stage I am still amazed how many presenters are still not set up properly and we end up looking up their nose for the duration of their presentation.

..make sure that’s not you!

If you do land on the Zoom make sure you make a great impression!

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

 

 

 

Who Rescues Who?

December 2, 2020
Honey and Bert

That’s Bert and Honey, two little rescue dogs who both came to us with a bunch of issues obviously because of what came before – we can only guess what that entailed, but like the rest of us their life experiences shape their behaviour and how they are today.

After our other poor fella, Bing, passed away five years ago there was a period of a few months when the house was empty when we missed his presence, but being practical we decided that our crazy lifestyles didn’t suit having a dog in the house, so maybe that was it.

A few months later Honey was found cowering under the wheel of a truck on Academy Street in Cork, she was photographed and this was shared on Twitter and of course she was spotted by Dee and on the 21st December she found a new home!

The poor pet was petrified and she pretty much spent the first year in between a few lengthy spells of running away (one lasted 2.5 months!!), hiding behind the shed or anything else she could hide behind.

To this day she is still really nervous – god knows what happened beforehand?

We brought Bert from a dog rescue place a few months later to keep the “nervous” Honey company when we were at work and realised very quickly that while he is naturally friendly he is also very nervous, so we need to be quite careful of him with people, as he has learnt the very hard way that he needs to protect himself.

There has been more than once (100 times at least!!) when we have said ….”rescue dogs, never again!

After nearly a year of Covid home working, it’s been pretty much the four of us, all day very day together and we have our little routines and our moments, and I’ve realised that this boy who never quite got what all the fuss was about having a dog, just adores both of them and I wonder..

Who actually rescues who?

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Sorry Michael..

October 6, 2020

Inniscarra Bar, Cork

Friday evening, after doing our grocery shopping we decided we would get a quick drink in our local before settling down for the night at home.

This beautiful little pub, the Inniscarra Bar is just outside Ballincollig – it’s your traditional “old mans” pub where there are a bunch of regulars and a few like us who pop in for one every now and then.

We were determined to pop in as the place had just opened that Monday after a cruel six months of “lockdown” to enjoy a drink, to say hello to the lovely owner Kay and to soak up some of the  much missed atmosphere.

All of the Covid signs were up, Kay and her fellow barmaid had their masks on and were busy cleaning the tables every few minutes and making sure that everyone was maintaining a safe distance. The old codgers who were normally perched at the bar on their favourite chairs weren’t for obvious reasons which was sad – there would have been even more opportunities to distance if that was possible, but there you go.

All of the usual faces were there and it was lovely to hear the banter, which pretty much was telling jokes about Covid and who looked funny wearing their mask, to make light of this shite situation and to “pretend” it was somehow a normal night, at least for a while.

We sat near Michael, a lovely, kind, welcoming regular, well known for his jokes who we were told was 88 the previous week – I told him we could now call him “two fat ladies” but he didn’t get it. He obviously never played bingo!

Michael was perched near the fire as always, and after he got a few jokes out of his system he started to tell us how lonely he had been since the lockdown. He lives alone.

With tears in his eyes he told us how he dreaded 6pm each night as that was the time that he would make his way to the pub – the nights were long and lonely and he was fed up of playing chess on the computer.

Someone needs to tell Michael that tonight will be his last night with friends for a while again..

Covid has been cruel, but if we are to shut down and inflict all types of hardship on so many people, we better make it a good shutdown, short and sharp with no cherry picking of different groups of society and no stupid messing around with borders.

We must get to Zero Covid and we absolutely can because what we are living through now just isn’t living.

Sorry Michael…

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

Zero Covid and the “Future Green List”

October 5, 2020

New Zealand lockdown

This is not working, this is not living and we shouldn’t accept any plan that doesn’t have us working towards a return to our normal lives – shopping without masks, having people to dinner from more than one household, having parties, going to gigs and the theatre… looking at others without judgement 24/7.

We need to go for Zero Covid just like they have managed it in New Zealand, but this can only happen if we do everything to starve the virus and ONLY do this if we have international cooperation with other countries that wish to be part of a “Future Green List“.

But it’s easy for them in New Zealand….they are different.” (Really?)

I hate when I hear people saying this is not possible “because of politics“.

When we think it’s not possible this is the first problem, because it is absolutely possible.

Which country in the world is sailing through this pandemic without people living in fear, getting sick, dying and their economies in free-fall?

We all have something in common, don’t we? – The prize for getting this right is big, it is GIGANTIC.

Background:

Please listen to some excellent podcasts hosted by Eamon Dunphy, The Stand with various guests who give some valuable perspectives to support this argument/approach: 

Dr. Niall Conroy, Consultant in Public Medicine in Queensland, talks to Eamon about how the combination of strong leadership and listening to the doctors suppressed Covid-19 across Australia.

Prof. Gerry Killeen, Chair of Applied Pathogen Ecology in UCC – Unless We Abandon Our Defeatist Strategy We’re Looking at 35,000 Deaths

Tomás Ryan, Associate Professor in the School of Biochemistry and Immunology and Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience – Get Real or Get Ready for a Terrible Winter

So…how do we do this?

  • We find out which countries want to be Covid free and want to restore normal life and their economies again – anyone interested?

Some strong common sense leadership is required for this part!

  • Then we agree a ‘Future Green List’ and put a target date for this to happen.
  • Let’s say 25th December, Christmas Day is the goal and at that point the objective is that countries in this ‘Future Green List’ are 100% back to normal: YEP – 100% BACK TO NORMAL!

Imagine living normally and being able to travel freely between these countries and doing all the things that we are dangerously close to forgetting?

For some stupid reason that idea seems preposterous right now, the most ridiculous, rubbish thinking by a mad man….right? It isn’t, listen to podcast with Dr. Niall Conroy, about a place with a population larger than Ireland. 

  • Once we agree who is in that ‘Future Green List’ each country closes their borders except for essential travel and a proper 14 day quarantine programme is put in place for other travellers.
  • Then each country goes about doing the hard yards to bring us to Zero Covid and try desperately to get everyone back to a “We are in this together” place, which has long since disappeared.

The 25th December, Christmas day, seeing friends and family normally might be a great motivator?

If we believe in the goal and witness the progress, people will hopefully stay the course.

I’ll gladly take that, if it is leading us towards a tangible worthwhile goal that we can all believe in, which certainly is nothing like where we are now, society is choking as we drift rudderless towards nowhere.

  • When Ireland hits Zero Covid we maintain our borders and start living again, fully living (not this current version)
  • When Spain hits Zero Covid we can open our borders to Spain and vice versa.
  • When the UK hits their Zero Covid we open to them and so on and so on

The countries outside the Green List will work hard to be on the list and will know how to get there from those who have got there – New Zealand have shown us what is possible.

If there are (inevitable) bumps along the way, just like in New Zealand you hunt them down and stamp them out just like they have done.

Are we in?

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Long hair and figuring out what “normal” should look like

July 5, 2020

Greg Canty - Long hair version

I had one of those rare, precious things in these very strange COVID19 times – an appointment at the hairdressers!

We are good friends with one of the owners so Dee made an appointment for me and being honest I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it.

I was sitting in the waiting area observing all of the safety procedure signage as the team looked after their clients, all carefully spread out in the salon and all with their face visors or masks on.

Since March, we were all forced to jump off our frantic never ending cycle of life and while we have been busy and have continued to work hard it’s been quite different.

There’s been no face to face meetings, there’s been no travelling and there’s been no wearing of blazers and constant work shirt ironing.

As we all know, simple things like haircuts have been impossible, so at this stage my hair has been longer and bigger (I’m a curly head!!) than it’s been since I was in secondary school. It’s been a bit of a joke with everyone how big it is and I must admit that there is something about it that’s been enjoyable as the circumstances have forced me to go back in time.

While this time has been so unusual, complete with so much worry, sadness and uncertainty it has forced a very different way of living on us and as the restrictions are lifting gradually step by step it starts to close a door on the enforced life and prise open a door to some return to normal, whatever that looks like.

In ways I feel many of the changes were great changes and it would be so good to hold onto the better parts as we move forward.

In my head my impending haircut was taking on some ridiculous and much bigger significance – it was closing the door to that strange time.

After a few moments they were ready for me and as part of their very careful process I had to put on a mask – this is the first time I’ve done this and I couldn’t believe how awful it felt having this covering over my face and nose. I totally get why it’s necessary in these close quarters where everyone must be extremely careful as we emerge from lockdown, but it really felt stifling.  They were saying how awful the masks were for sustained periods while working – god love our medical professionals!

So, what will we do with your hair?” was the question by Kelly.

In my head I just wanted to leave and postpone the haircut so I explained to her that there was something about the long hair that I had enjoyed.

After a chat with Darren they reckoned long was actually quite good, so a little “tidy up” was the order of the day and the big mop of hair will love on for another while at least.

I’m not quite ready to return to normal, at least not until I’ve figured out what I want that to look like.

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

Grrrrrr…..Great Presentation

May 31, 2020

Bert

This week in the middle of the Covid lockdown we found ourselves presenting to a really great prospect, one of those who was thankfully staying positive at this time and looking for ways to engage with their target audiences.

We had a briefing meeting with them before the lockdown, we got a really deep understanding of their business and the challenges, we brainstormed with the team and we had written a good solid plan with a mix of tactics and some new initiatives that would deliver their objectives.

As with all other meetings at this time we were presenting to the prospect via Zoom with me in my room (the kitchen!), Deirdre in hers (the music room), one of the other team members in their home and the prospect in theirs.

Little does anyone know, but when Dee starts work each day in this lockdown period the two dogs, Honey and Bert wait patiently and when she heads into the room to take her space on the couch, each of them follows suit and chooses a space at either side of her and relaxes for the day, not making a peep except for the intrusion of the postman or delivery man – little Bert lets them know in no uncertain terms that he is the “protector” of this house!

At this stage the two dogs have sat through numerous team meetings, webinars, client presentations and I believe they are the first dogs to attend the Cork Chamber board meeting – that took 200 years to happen!

Anyhow, we were presenting to this prospect and Dee with buckets of professionalism and enthusiasm led the charge through the very detailed proposal – the problem as we saw it, the tactics that we were recommending that should be employed and the “BIG Driving Idea” that we felt would really make this business stand out.

As Dee presented the “BIG idea” she was getting very enthusiastic and animated and as one does her hands were moving accordingly.

Just like the prospect, I and my other colleague were watching Dee on screen and listening to her but we could both hear a very definite “Grrrrrrrrr….. sound”, which was quite unusual.

It was Bert, our gorgeous rescue dog who without doubt was walloped badly in the early stages of his life and since then he gets very protective when he sees hands coming over him.

Dee, quite oblivious because she was lost in the presentation continued with her enthusiastic delivery and again we heard another very definite “Grrrrrr……“.

At this point I had to tell Dee to stop moving her hands around as poor Bert who was alongside her, out of screen shot, could be heard quite clearly pitching in!!

The prospect didn’t mind at all, and if anything it made everything a little more real and genuine.

This Covid lockdown time has been quite unusual and it has asked a lot from all of us. It has made us all very far apart, and in very strange ways it has also brought us very close together, maybe too close!

A big thanks to that prospect, to our team and to everyone else, who despite the awful circumstances made a decision to drive forward and still do positive things when the opposite could have been the easiest thing to do.

During the last recession I found myself using this word a lot….#Positivity

It’s time to get back to it!

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

Will cities survive the coronavirus?

May 20, 2020

Will cities survive the coronavirus?” was the headline that I read in a section of the New York Times called ‘Debatable‘, written by Spencer Bokat-Lindell.

In the article it mentioned that: “nearly 40 percent of adults living in cities have begun to consider moving to less populated areas because of the outbreak”

It went on to specifically mention how in some of the main cities in the U.S. that populations had already decreased, mainly due to lack of affordable accommodation, pre-Covid (New York, LA and Chicago were mentioned).

While the headline about the “demise of cities” might scare everyone and cast a dark cloud over city living, maybe it should be viewed in a positive light?

We should be living or commuting to our cities because we choose to or because it is absolutely necessary for our work or study – we shouldn’t be living or commuting to our cities to complete tasks that could just as easily be done anywhere else.

Is this the time for us to decompress our cities, allow them to breathe again, and allow us to really enjoy them, living and visiting, not because we have to, but because we choose to?

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland