President’s Blog – The Art of Communication

Hello Members,

Communication is critically important for Sligo Chamber.  Communicating with our member firms and their employees is a core objective I, as President, have committed to undertake in 2019.  In today’s modern environment, there are many communication platforms, one such being Media.  The Team at Sligo Chamber believe in the importance of the President having a strong appreciation and understanding of the modern media environment.  My assertion that I did not need media training falling on deaf ears, I was duly booked in for a day’s training at Ocean FM.  And so it was that last week, I made the short journey to the Ocean FM studios at Collooney.  Training started with an introduction to the print, radio, TV and outdoor media in the North West moving on to the digital, social and guerilla, (yes guerilla), media platforms.  It was then that the real business of the day started where I was challenged by Daniel Browne of Ocean FM as to what the Chamber message was, drilling down and peeling back the layers to finally arrive at a coherent meaningful message I could stand over and defend in the face of continued scrutiny from Daniel.

It was then time for the mock radio interview.  The previously pleasant and helpful Daniel turned into the artful polished interviewer, skillfully catching me off guard and “off message”.  The playback was difficult to listen to, but I learned a lot from it.  Following an engaging session with the professional and most knowledgeable Niall Delaney, it was time for the mock TV interview.  How many times in business do we hear the need for “Lessons Learned”.  Well I had learned my lessons from the radio interview.  The TV interview went well.  I stayed “on message” carefully navigating the traps Daniel continually tried to set.

As a business owner of many years experience, I naively thought I understood the media and could handle myself in an interview situation.  How wrong was I.  For all our businesses, communications, how we communicate and who we communicate with is key.  Based on my day at Ocean FM, I would really encourage member firms to consider media training.  There is a lot to learn, and although challenging, it is interesting and I would have to say, it is fun.

Moving on to Thursday night, I was invited as President of Sligo Chamber to the launch by the Sligo Park Hotel of the Green Suite and the splendid new hotel facilities tastefully remodelled as part of an overall 4 million euro investment.  Over two hundred invited guests mainly drawn from the business community and many of whom were Sligo Chamber members, were hosted by the hotel.  The highlight of the evening was a conversational style interview with former Ireland and Lyons rugby captain Brian O’Driscoll.  Brian discussed his transition from rugby career to business life and how he has drawn on the leadership skills from his playing career in the move to the business environment.  The audience was held captivated on every word as Brian glided effortlessly mixing stories and insights from the rugby world and business world.  I started on the theme of communications.  Here in Brian was a real communicator, a natural communicator, guided through his conversation by another true professional in Sligo’s own RTE North West correspondent, Eileen Magnier.

Yes, real lessons this week in the critically important Art of Communication.

Until next time.

Life is for living.

Life is Sligo.