BWI Video: The EU Vote

Beach Walk Insights - Volume 3, Issue 01 - Play time 5m 09s

This special edition of Beach Walk Insights was recorded on Tuesday 07 June 2016 and is dedicated to the forthcoming referendum on the UK’s continued membership of the European Union.

The debate is becoming progressively heated and detailed, as each side seek new lines of argument. I believe it’s time to stand back and look at the wider picture, rather than attempt the impossible and predict the future with a degree of certainly to which neither side can possibly lay claim.

I’ve been very fortunate during my career to lead an international life and see much more of the world than many of my compatriots. In this short video I briefly explain how this has affected my view of the world and why I’ll be voting to “remain” on 23rd June.

I’m lucky to live in a free country and you’re welcome to disagree with me. I respect your right to do that. If you agree with me, please share this video far and wide.

Posted on June 8, 2016 and filed under BWI.

BWI Video: What a Week in Business is Worth

Beach Walk Insights - Volume 2, Issue 20 - Play time 2m 47s

Harold Wilson, a politician from the 1960's and past Prime Minister of the UK, is attributed with saying, 

"A week is a long time in politics."

This is one of my more favourite quotes. A week - seven days - is a long time in business too. When faced with challenging situations I often ask, "what will have changed by this time next week?"

This is a really useful question to ask your colleagues because you only have to do that 50 times and you've (near enough) covered a year. Do that a 100 times and you've covered two years. You can achieve an awful lot in two years. Businesses grow because people consistently make progress, week after week.

Posted on July 3, 2015 and filed under BWI.

BWI Video: 7 Words and The Philae Lander

Beach Walk Insights - Volume 2, Issue 19 - Play time 2m

Last week I left you pondering the final three words from my popular keynote 'Seven Words that Make You More Money'. To quickly reprise the first four words, they are: "practice daily" and "be courageous". 

Before I unveil the final three words, I'd like to remind you of a video we did a few months ago about the success of the Rosetta mission. I'm sure you've heard the recent news that the Philae lander, that was launched from Rosetta spacecraft, has 'woken-up'.

The recent news about the Philae lander beautifully articulates the final three words, and they are: "never give up". Seven months after the Philae lander touched down on the comet 67P, and soon after lost power, it has regained power and is once again collecting and transmitting important data. 

Posted on June 26, 2015 .

BWI Video: 7 Words That Make You More Money

Beach Walk Insights - Volume 2, Issue 18 - Play time 1m 38s

This week I'd like to talk about a keynote presentation I deliver called: 'Seven Words That Make You More Money'. 

The first two of those seven words are: 'practice daily'. Whatever it is you are good at, you ought to be practising it every day. From great musicians to successful business owners, they all achieved their potential because they did it each and every day.

The next two words: 'be courageous'. How many people do you know who achieved their true potential by playing it safe?

Want to know the next three words? Well I'm afraid you'll have to wait until the next Beach Walk Insights to find out!

BWI Video: The 'EU Referendum'

Beach Walk Insights - Volume 2, Issue 17 - Play time 3m 45s

It's been a month since the General Election here in the UK and now that the right wing party, the Conservatives, have taken office, the current topic is the EU 'In/Out Referendum'.

I want to make my views on this clear:

The UK's membership (or not) of the EU is a party political issue. The Conservative party has some strong, right wing members who don't want the UK to be a member of the EU. The Conservative party is offering a referendum to appease these out-dated trouble makers. It's a simple as that.

So I ask those of you living in other EU countries not give up on us - those Brits who want us to leave the EU are, in my opinion, a bunch of 'out-dated nutters'. I ask all business owners in the UK to make their voices heard on this issue.

Interestingly, during the General Election campaign, the CEO of Siemens UK was one of the few business people to speak out and make his voice clearly heard on the whole immigration/EU referendum issue. He was clearly in favour of the UK remaining part of the EU.

What do you think?

Posted on June 5, 2015 and filed under BWI.

Design Principles: Relevance

Beach Walk Insights - Volume 2, Issue 16 - Play time 1m 49s

In the seventh and final episode of this mini-series I take a closer look at the seventh multimedia design principle, which came from the excellent research conducted by Prof. RE Mayer, J Sweller et al. 

This final principle is all about being relevant, for example by using everyday language. Resist the temptation of using big, impressive words in an attempt to 'big up' your own ego - it'll  reduce the likelihood of you being remembered.

If your audience needs a dictionary to translate your presentation, they're more likely to disengage and your message will be forgotten - and the only reason you are on the stage in the first place is to be remembered.

This principle applies to all forms of communication, whether you're writing a proposal or an email, or you are being interviewed on the radio.  Making your material relevant to your audience will make you more memorable. 

Posted on May 15, 2015 and filed under BWI, Seven Design Principles.

Design Principles: Redundancy

Beach Walk Insights - Volume 2, Issue 15 - Play time 1m 38s

In the sixth episode of this mini-series I take a closer look at the sixth multimedia design principle, which came from the excellent research conducted by Prof. RE Mayer, J Sweller et al. 

If you are explaining a particular point to your audience, then don't have the very same explanation on the screen. This forces them to make a choice between listening to you, or reading your slides. Whichever they choose, they will be distracted by the other - making it less likely your message will be remembered. 

Likewise, if you want them to read a customer testimonial, for example, then allow them to do just that. Turn towards your slide to direct your audience's attention to the slide and away from you, read the slide silently yourself, count to ten, and then face your audience and re-engage them.

The rule of thumb is: "If you show it, don't say it, and if you say it, don't show it".

Posted on May 1, 2015 and filed under BWI, Seven Design Principles.

Design Principles: Choosing The Right Mode (5/7)

Beach Walk Insights - Volume 2, Issue 14 - Play time 1m 30s

In the fifth episode of this mini-series I take a closer look at the fifth multimedia design principle, which came from the excellent research conducted by Prof. RE Mayer, J Sweller et al. 

This principle is all about choosing the best mode for communicating your message. This principle simply says people prefer to listen to a well illustrated presentation over reading a well illustrated text. 

Going back to a point that I've stressed before, presentation slides should be used as a visual aid and not as your script. If your slides are text heavy your audience is naturally going to attempt to read them - and if they're reading then they can't be listening.

Using illustrations that support your message will increase the likelihood of your audience remembering your message in their long term memory. 

Posted on April 24, 2015 and filed under BWI, Seven Design Principles.

Design Principles: Coherence (4/7)

Beach Walk Insights - Volume 2, Issue 13 - Play time 49s

In the fourth episode of this mini-series I take a closer look at the fourth multimedia design principle, which came from the excellent research conducted by Prof. RE Mayer, J Sweller et al. 

This principle is as simple as it is important - and yet it's frequently overlooked. When applied well, the 'coherence' principle ensures that there is a consistent message running through your argument/presentation - and that all your associated material is linked to supporting your case.

All too often people 'over-present' - they deliver way too much material, in the hope that if they throw enough mud at the wall, some of it will stick. This is very inefficient, not to mention confusing. Audiences quite simply 'lose the thread'.

Create a more successful presentation by focusing on a key message. If your information supports this message, there's a far greater chance of your audience (a) being convinced by your point of view and (b) remembering your message.

Posted on April 17, 2015 and filed under BWI, Seven Design Principles.

Design Principles: Temporal Contiguity (3/7)

Beach Walk Insights - Volume 2, Issue 12 - Play time 1m 38s

In the third episode of this mini-series I take a closer look at the third multimedia design principle, which came from the excellent research conducted by Prof. RE Mayer, J Sweller et al. 

This principle says that the tighter the synchronicity between narration and supporting graphics, the easier it is for the audience to follow the line of argument.

All to often I see presenters display huge amounts of information on their slides, while they rabbit on explaining it all. This forces members of the audience to choose between digesting the large amount information on the slide, or listening to the presenter. This approach can overload an audience to the extent that they remember little of the presentation.

Tight synchronisation between the narration and supporting graphics maximises audience engagement and retention. 

Posted on April 10, 2015 and filed under Seven Design Principles, BWI.

Design Principles: Spacial Contiguity (2/7)

Beach Walk Insights - Volume 2, Issue 11 - Play time 1m 25s

In the second episode of this mini-series I take a closer look at the second multimedia design principle, which came from the excellent research conducted by Prof. RE Mayer, J Sweller et al. 

This principle, known as Spacial Contiguity, simply says that words and pictures relating to one another are better understood if positioned close together. Simple enough, but how often are you faced with confusing documents and presentations where this isn't the case?

For example, If you're designing a company Annual Report the notes describing balance sheet should be positioned in sight of the figures, not on the next page. As straightforward and common sense as this sounds, it's amazing how many poorly designed forms, documents and presentations once you're attuned to this simple logic. Here's another example, if you're annotating a group photograph, position names as close to the people to whom they belong - something Facebook manages do quite well.

Posted on April 2, 2015 and filed under BWI, Seven Design Principles.

Design Principles: Use Multi-Media (1/7)

Beach Walk Insights - Volume 2, Issue 10 - Play time 1m 09s

In this new mini-series I take a closer look at the seven design principles, which came from the excellent research conducted by RE Mayer, J Sweller et al. 

The first principle is quite simple - you should use multi-media. Illustrations combined with narration work far better than narration on its own.  Quite simple, but how often do people actually do this? I have witnessed countless presentations where there was inadequate use of supporting graphics. 

When creating a presentation you ought to create your slides whilst crafting your script. Your slides shouldn't make sense on their own, and they shouldn't be an after thought. By developing them at the same time as your script, it ensures they work together - increasing the chance of your audience remembering your message long after your presentation.

Posted on March 27, 2015 and filed under Seven Design Principles, BWI.

BWI Video: Why You Should be More Relevant than Politicians

Beach Walk Insights - Volume 2, Issue 9 - Play time 2m 34s

We are fast approaching the UK General Election. It takes place in May and politicians are spending huge amounts of time trying to win people's votes.

In the build up to an election many of the main political parties get together to have a televised public debate. And, one by one, they have all laid out their terms - who they want to be there, who they don't want to be there, etc.

For me, and many other people, the televised debates are irrelevant.  People may watch for general interest or entertainment, but the idea that these debates will influence how people vote is misguided. In this sense the politicians involved view the whole endeavour as being more relevant than it actually is in the minds of the voting public.To me, the politicians have committed the sin of believing their own advertising.

Being truly relevant to your customers and the marketplace you serve is critical. So make sure you do a better job than the politicians currently are in the UK. 


Posted on March 20, 2015 and filed under BWI.

BWI Video: Three Reasons Why Companies Fail

Beach Walk Insights - Volume 2, Issue 8 - Play time 2m 9s

Throughout my career I've seen many companies succeed bit-by-bit, step-by-careful-step. Sadly, I have also seen companies that simply didn't make it. After some thought, I believe there are three identifiable reasons why companies fail. They are: greed, stubbornness and fear.

Greed: Put simply, the owners get too impatient, too greedy. Once they taste success they become like a bloodhound in a hunt. They over-expand the business, rapidly hunting greater results and more profit. Eventually the over-expansion leads to a level of debt the business just can't support. The banks call time and the business goes 'pop'. Not good. A slower approach to the market, with less debt would probably have kept the company in business - at least for a while longer. 

Stubbornness: How many times have you seen the warning signs that a project is about to fail? "Don't worry, it'll be okay" you'll hear people say. "We've been here before". If something isn't working, it's time to cut your losses and move on. Learn the lesson and apply it to the next venture. No point in throwing good money after bad.

Fear: Is this fear of failure or fear of success? I've seen people fail because they didn't believe they could succeed. "What if too many people buy our product? We'll be over-run. We won't be able to keep up with demand". What a lovely problem to have. 

Posted on February 27, 2015 and filed under BWI.

BWI Video: How Your Customers Keep You In Business

Beach Walk Insights - Volume 2, Issue 7 - Play time 2m 9s

Peter Drucker said "The purpose of a business is to create and keep a  customer" and I couldn't agree more. This got me thinking about Greece and the European Union, and the current situation between the two entities.

It seems that each party is speaking and neither party is listening. Those representing the EU would do well to recall Drucker's simple statement. The Greek people voted in their new government precisely because they were tired of the austerity measures impacting their every day lives. The only reason this government is in power is because because the people put them there.

You're probably wondering what this has to do with your business. Well, the only reason your business is still going is because your customers keep you going. 

A friend of mine recently told me a story about a small, independent car service station he knew, where he used to buy the petrol he needed. The prices at this station were always higher than the larger chains. Despite this, local people still bought their fuel there, as they wanted to support a local business.

However, all this changed when the UK suffered a fuel shortage (as a result of industrial action). This particular station saw an opportunity to make more money, and increased their prices by an unreasonable degree. 

Once the strikes were over and the country had returned to its normal state, all the locals took their custom elsewhere and the station went under not long thereafter. The owner failed to understand that his customer had it in their gift to both keep his business open - and to close it down. They chose the latter - as have the Greeks. 

It'll be interesting to see how "Greece v EU" plays out. In the meantime, keep your eye on the ball.

Posted on February 20, 2015 and filed under BWI.

BWI Video: What Type of Company Are You?

Beach Walk Insights - Volume 2, Issue 6 - Play time 3m 10s

This week I'm going to ask you a very simple question - is your company 'disruptive' or 'additive'? There is no good or bad answer to this question, but you ought to know and understand the answer because it defines the way you do business. 

Disruptive companies change the shape of industries. Amazon, for example, permanently changed the book publishing industry. Microwave ovens were a disruptive technology in our kitchens as they changed the way we consume food, and as a result the food industry - the 'ready-meal' section in your local supermarket never used to be so full.

Additive companies complement the industry they serve. They make the process more efficient or simpler for the consumer. This type of company will find it easier to sell their product or service as it is already a familiar concept. 

Disruptive companies can find it harder to make headway, as by their very nature they are disrupting the industry they serve. If a disruptive company becomes well established in their market place, there is a greater chance of them becoming market leaders -  as there won't be much competition.

So what type of company are you? Disruptive or additive?

I'll leave you with that thought.

Posted on February 13, 2015 and filed under BWI.

BWI Video: Why You Need a Good CRM System

Beach Walk Insights - Volume 2, Issue 5 - Play time 3m 18s

In a previous BWI video I explained how the balance of power has recently shifted from the supplier to the customer. Following on from that video, this week I'm going to discuss the importance of having a good CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system that integrates with social media. 

Many CRM systems were developed on the old relationship model - in which the supplier was the primary source of information. This is no longer the case. Now, customers are actively seeking information through other various sources, including social media. 

With this change in 'customer-supplier' relationships, you ought to engage your customers through the various social channels they use. It is beneficial for your CRM system monitors and records this engagement as it forms the core of the relationship with your customer.

If you currently use, or are looking to use, a CRM system, I urge you to find one that offers social media integration. If the relationship with your customer is fully recorded you can optimise your sales funnel and win more business. 

Posted on February 6, 2015 and filed under BWI.

BWI Video: The Customer-Supplier Power Shift

Beach Walk Insights - Volume 2, Issue 4 - Play time 2m 35s

For a long time, suppliers had an advantage over their customers in that they were the primary source for information on what they were selling. Nowadays, information on almost any company's products and services can be found at the touch of a button, from some web based service or another (e.g. Trip adviser, Twitter, Facebook). This development has rebalanced the power in 'supplier-customer' relationships - now the customer is in charge. 

With the ball now very much in the customer's court, it's better that you develop a strong online presence and actively engage with your customer through the social channels they use - sharing relevant content that you and other people have created.

By helping your customer better understand your marketplace you will develop a stronger relationship with them and become the go-to source of information.

Posted on January 30, 2015 and filed under BWI.

Great Communicators: Mahatma Ghandi

Beach Walk Insights - Volume 2, Issue 3 - Play time 2m 34s

This edition of Great Communicators is inspired by another piece of family history I discovered when rummaging around in my garage. This old, wooden chest belonged to my father and dates back to his service in the Royal Army Medical Corps towards the end of the Second World War Two.

This box reminds me of story Dad told me - being his view on a piece of world history.

Around 67 years ago my father was on a troop ship, returning to the UK from a tour of duty in the far east. They had just docked in Port Said, Egypt when news broke that Mahatma Ghandi had sadly been assassinated. Dad related how they weren't allowed ashore during that particular stop-over.

Ghandi demonstrated how one person with a strong, simple vision can galvanise an entire nation. Although your ambition for your business might not involve you in global politics, as it did Ghandi, it's just as important that you have a simple, clear vision that can be easily communicated. 


Posted on January 23, 2015 and filed under Great Communicators.

BWI Video: Why You Should Research Your Market Place

Beach Walk Insights - Volume 2, Issue 2 - Play time 4m 37s

In a recent garage 'clear out' I came across a rather unusual item from my childhood - a plastic jellyfish. Its original purpose reminded me about the importance of truly understanding your market place.

Scientists released many of these plastic jellyfish into the ocean as they wanted measure the specific nature of the currents. My dad and I would often go searching for them along the beach, as there was a reasonable monetary reward for posting their unique markers back to the scientists. 

Why does this matter to you and your business? Most people have a good idea about what happens in their market place, but like the ocean, there are underlying currents you might want to take into consideration.

The scientists knew the tide came in twice a day, but they sought a deeper, more intimate understanding of the local, coastal currents. To truly understand your market place, it is crucial you interact and analyse it regularly. You'r efforts will be well rewarded, as were mine when I went searching for those plastic jellyfish all those years ago.

Posted on January 16, 2015 and filed under BWI.