The Power of Learning – What Type of Learner are You?

The following article was written thanks to Charlotte Chase, our newest GOFISH volunteer.

I think we all remember a time where we’ve struggled to take in information, and then we’ve glanced across to someone else in the room who has stormed ahead in whatever task or lesson we’ve participated in (looking at you Rebecca in my Year 9 science class!) It can be disheartening when you feel like nothing is going in but it’s really important to understand that learning is different for everyone; different in pace, method and environment.

Understanding what type of learner you are and how best to go about learning can really boost your confidence in your ability, whilst also ensuring that you know what revision or practice is going to help you past that exam or assessment you’ve been dreading. Today, I’m going to share with some ways of not only finding out what type of learner you are, but also how to effectively make the most out of your learning time.

There’s a simple test on the Education Planner website that can tell you what your learning style is which I found to be the most straight forward and informative test out there. I’m going to break down the types of learner that you could possibly be.

Firstly we have Auditory Learners. Hearing the information helps you remember it and spoken instructions are much clearer and concise than if you were to read them. Listening to an educational podcast about whatever you are investing your learning into are perfect for an Auditory Learner.

Next we have Visual Learners. Seeing a picture, a video demonstration or data in a graph is the best way to learn new things for these types of learners. Visualising images in your mind improves the clarity of information and watching an engaging video that captures your attention maximises the effectiveness of your learning.

Lastly we have Tactile Learners. As toddlers, touch and interaction are the ways that we are introduced to the world and for these types of learners, this carries on later in life. Finding out how things work, tinkering with what you find interesting and getting “hands-on” is the best way to understand. Instead of simply watching or having something explained, getting involved and interacting can cause a lightbulb moment.

I found out that I am a “Visual Learner”, which is scarily accurate. If I need to take in a lot of information, you best believe I’ll have a collection of confusing mind maps (that only make sense to me) on the go! This particular test also gives you percentages of your auditory, visual and tactile learning styles. For example, whilst I learn best from pictures and reading, I also find listening to be helpful in my learning. We all have a bit of each of these learning styles as humans, it’s just a case of finding which one helps you the most.

The test also provides you with some tips on how to learn more effectively, anything from introducing colour coding to your notes to chewing gum whilst you’re learning to concentrate. Building on from your strengths and implementing them into your learning routine can greatly improve how effective it is.

If you’re in school, college or university, it may also be beneficial to know how best you learn in an environment where your teachers may push you to learn in particular way that just doesn’t work for you. Coming to an understanding with your teacher, tutor or mentor about how best you learn is a two-way benefit as they can also adapt their teaching to help you make the most out of your time with them.

You may not even need to take a test to know how best you learn. If something works for you, then it works for you. All you need to do is keep at it to ensure that you produce the amazing results that you’re capable of!

Bored in Lockdown? Here’s what you can do!

The following article was written thanks to Charlotte Chase, our newest GOFISH volunteer.

With the slow easing of lockdown, it seems like classes and seminars (that actually take place indoors!) are on the horizon. But did you know that there is still plenty of time to take advantage of the skill and development courses available online? I’m going to run through a few websites and social media platforms that can help you to learn new skills, develop the ones you already have and build a network of people to show those skills off to!

LinkedIn

What’s cooler than your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? You may not have thought it, but the answer is actually LinkedIn. It’s the hotspot for professionals, collaborators and employers and is one of the most helpful platforms you can get on if you want to market yourself as the person to hire. Creating a profile on LinkedIn is easy and free and gives recruiters an idea of what you can offer and likewise what they can offer you.

But that’s not all! LinkedIn also provides additional services to quench your thirst for knowledge. LinkedIn Learning is a platform where you can sign up for courses to gain and improve a variety of different skills. What’s so special about LinkedIn Learning as opposed to other online courses? After building your profile to include your employment experience and skills, the courses available are tailored specifically to you. In a position where you have to supervise employees? There’s the course “Building Resilience as Leader” that might be right up your street! Working from home? Learn how to “Organise Your Home Office for Maximum Productivity” so you’ll no longer get distracted by the telly. There’s something for everyone whether you’re business savvy, creative-led or just looking to learn how to finally use Excel!

LinkedIn Premium and LinkedIn Learning both offer a free month trial so don’t worry if you’re unsure about what’s on offer and if it’s worth it. Give it a try and see what you can learn (remember to cancel it if you think it’s not for you. I’ve made that costly mistake before!)

Skillshare

YouTube likes to bombard me with ads for Skillshare and honestly, it’s grabbed my attention. Skillshare offers a free week to check out what they have to offer in their in-depth online classes, categorised as “Create”, “Build” and “Thrive”.

“Create” courses are for the potential tinkerers in art, music and design. If you want to learn how to draw something other than a stickman, taking an illustration course will get you there! After becoming this generation’s next Picasso, you can share your projects with other students to like, comment and celebrate what you have achieved.

“Build” courses are for the entrepreneurs, marketers and leaders. Learning skills such as budgeting, SEO techniques and team management, you will learn how to build a business from the ground-up (maybe put some of those creative skills to use, as well!) and how to make the most out of your business potential.

“Thrive” courses are for anything from learning how maximise use of your wardrobe to learning Spanish! These are for those who want to change-up their lifestyle and productivity for the better. Feeling the stress? Introduce yourself to meditation. I personally want to know to how stop my plants from dying; maybe I should take “Gardening 101”.

These courses are led by experts in their industry in concise, step-by-step lessons. If you have a business, you can also opt in for a team plan. Some of the biggest companies are using Skillshare so you know that the knowledge is top-tier, but remember that you can read the reviews from like-minded individuals who have taken the course to get their opinion before you take the plunge yourself.

FutureLearn

World-class universities are now taking their courses to the internet with FutureLearn. Course providers include educational institutions such as the University of Bath and Cardiff University, and various organisations within the NHS, Samsung, and the British Library have partnered with FutureLearn so you are spoilt for choice!

There is a spectrum of different subjects you take lessons in, or you have the option to take a short and flexible course to add something new to your skillset. Then, after you’ve done that, you can take that new skill to the next level in a specialist ExpertTracks course so you can tell to your friends (and employers!) what an expert you are.

FutureLearn is unique because it’s biggest providers are worldwide universities and so learners have the opportunity to earn a degree in a flexible home-studying environment. Free taster courses are available so you can try out the course before opting in for its entirety which is great especially when the same subject can be taught so differently between providers. It’s also a good idea to look into what the qualification can do for you and what companies recognise it beforehand. Find the right course for you!

There are different plan options depending on what you are looking for. If you want to take one course, the option is there to take it for free for a limited time. Otherwise, you can pay a monthly fee for access to all of them for an unlimited time.

Now that I’ve told you what’s out there… What are you waiting for?

PRESENTATION “PICKS” & “TOP TIPS”… PART 3

“You dont have to be great to start but you have to start to be great.”
– Zig Ziglar
Jon Amies, from apetito, presenting at a GOFISH Speaker’s Evening

DELIVERING AN ONLINE PRESENTATION
We’ve discussed the ‘Tech Basics’ to deliver online presentations and our top tips for virtual job interviews (click here if you missed it), and we’ve talked about how to prepare, (click here for a re-cap). Now, in the last of this “Presentation “Picks” & Top Tips” series we take a look at how to deliver your presentation, gain audience interaction and how to make your presentation memorable.

Smile, smile and smile some more:
Like it or not, we can’t hide our emotions – we’re human. People can hear your mood in your voice and see it with your body language. If you’re not feeling happy, you will project that, so try boosting your mood. Make yourself smile and laugh, watch a funny video, talk to someone who makes you happy and will support you. Sounding confident and happy is key to success, so make it count.

Show your face:
We love to see faces, and yours is no exception. Many video call programs such as Zoom or Skype allow you to share your screen while also showing your face, it’s a huge boost to your likability factor by seeing you!

…Better still, show more of you:
If you can, and have the space, move your webcam further back from you (remember to test the location beforehand!) so they can see your face and upper body. By pushing the camera back, your audience can see your body language better. In fact, one of the most important nonverbal cues are your hand gestures – that’s really powerful body language.

It’s all in the posture:
You can even go one step further by standing to deliver your presentation rather than sitting! You’ll be able to project your voice louder and deeper and it helps you naturally convey a confident posture if your chest is up and your back is straight. Use your kitchen counter or another higher position to place your laptop or webcam. Remember though, if you have to sit, keep your back straight throughout.

GAINING AUDIENCE INTERACTION 
A downside to online presentations is that it’s harder to engage your audience, so alongside your great visuals, adding an element of interaction for your audience will keep their interest. Here are a couple of ideas on how to add some interaction…

Use physical props:
Props are great when you’re explaining an idea, demonstrating a product, or just creating a memorable moment. Just like your visuals (that we talked about in last month’s edition – click here in case you missed it), they should always support your presentation, and not distract from it. Don’t show the prop until it’s actually needed and make sure they can actually see the prop, so avoid using small objects that are difficult for the audience to focus on.

Become a quizmaster:
Including your audience’s opinions using surveys is a good way to get people interacting. Insert a little quiz with a list of possible answers which the audience can vote on – there are lots of free online quiz makers available that can do this. Even giving them a question slide followed by a list of answers will make them think – of course follow it up with the right answer, and think about putting the answer at the end of your presentation.

Q&A’s:
The most simple idea (but simplicity is often the best) for great audience interaction is to simply ask questions. Get your audience to talk to you by posing them a question and letting them come back to you with an answer – why not combine this with the tip above?

Practice, practice, practice:
With delivery and interaction, the great thing about online presentations is that you can practice everything in the comfort of your own home. You can practice in the same room you’ll present in, with the same lighting, with the same computer setup, and everything just as it will be on the day. If you can, screen record yourself while you’re practicing and review afterwards for areas to improve, even send it to family or friends for their suggestions.

No matter what, just remember Practice Makes Perfect and you’ve got this! Whether you’re a beginner, or expert, we hope you found these tips useful and if you have any tips you’d like to share, why not email us at info@gofishteam.co.uk and we’ll include them in our next edition.

PRESENTATION “PICKS” & “TOP TIPS” … PART 2

“The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.”
– Nolan Bushnell
Emma Roberts, Board Member of the David Baker Foundation

STRUCTURING ONLINE PRESENTATIONS

In the January edition of FISHSTICKS, Emma Roberts, Board Member of The David Baker Foundation, took us through the ‘Tech Basics’ of online presentations and recapped on the ‘top tips’ for virtual job interviews (click hereif you missed it). In the second part of our PRESENTATION ‘PICKS’ & ‘TOP TIPS’ series, she continues to take us through the all-important structure of an online presentation.

What is an online presentation?
Where an online interview is a ‘two-way’ discussion; an online presentation is often a talk that is prepare beforehand where a person (or group) – usually in a business setting – delivers information, pitches a new idea, or introduces a new product or service to an online audience. Although not ‘two-way’; a great presentation does include audience interaction, but more as input than discussion. Often these talks will be accompanied by supporting documentation such as a PowerPoint or Keynote slides that emphasise points being made.

Online presentations are like a good TV show, the start and end of the show are important, the middle is a bit of a blur, so when preparing, it is vital to put the majority of your energy in the first and last few minutes of the presentation.

Start with momentum
The beginning of your presentation is critical as it sets the tone – a good first impression makes you feel confident and your audience feel relaxed and engaged. So, make it as error-free and as smooth as possible. This includes being prepared and removing potential roadblocks; REMEMBER your TECH BASICS (Click here for a re-cap).

Open with an IASQ:
Illustration: Setting the scene relevant to your topic will help the audience to connect to you and your topic. For example, if you were delivering a presentation on reducing plastic waste in the ocean, you could say “Imagine this…a world without single use plastic hurting the oceans wildlife” – BINGO! Your audience is right there with you and you’ve got your connection.

Statistic or Surprise Fact: A good statistic can challenge people’s perspective. Relate these to your topic and you’ll have a powerful introduction to your presentation.

Analogy: An analogy is used when you compare one thing to another, typically for the purpose of explanation or clarification. For example, “Life is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you are going to get”. Using an analogy can help break more complex ideas into simple ones, making it easier for the audience to stay engaged.

Question or Quote: Similarly to starting with a statistic; an engaging question can add a great amount of audience engagement. Asking a rhetorical question can get them thinking outside the box, for example “What would the world look like without single use plastic?” A quote is another great way to get people thinking, but for maximum affect it should be related to your presentation and from a credible source.

End with a Bang:
By now your audience hopefully feels inspired or has learnt something new, but it’s important that your presentation stays at the front of people’s minds long after it has ended.

Clear and easy:
The last part of your presentation should not be too information heavy, so keep the last few slides visual and easy to understand. Have a clear ending with a simple re-cap and summary.

Digital goodies:
Everyone loves getting things, especially for free – so why not include one in your presentation at the end. I could be a downloadable PDF of your slides or document supporting your presentation – what better way to get your audience to remember the content.

Call for action:
What do you want the outcome of your presentation to be? A Call To Action will prompt your audience to react to your presentation in a certain way. Tell them what you want them to do, for example, “call me to discuss how you can reduce your use of single use plastic” or “visit my website to learn more”.

Online presentations can differ widely from those delivered in-person. In our next edition, we will discuss how to deliver your presentation and interact with your audience, learning about the importance of mood and body language.

Whether you are a beginner or expert, we hope you have found these tips useful and if you have any tips you would like to share, why not email us at info@gofishteam.co.uk and we will include them in our next edition.

PRESENTATION “PICKS” & TOP TIPS… PART 1

“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go.
They merely determine where you start.”
– Nido Qubein
George Daulman, GOFISH Ambassador, speaking at a GOFISH event.

From job interviews, to a way to enter higher education; from a project overview to win new business, to delivering your business plan to obtain funding – throughout life you will need to give many different types of presentations to different audiences for different reasons. Most people find this daunting – young and old.

Online presentations using Skype, Zoom, or Go-To-My-Meeting for example have been popular in specific industries, for quite a while and with coronavirus pushing many more of us to embrace technology; it is now more important than ever to deliver your “best online self”.

Over the coming editions of FISHSTICKS, we will be looking at tips and tricks to help you shine in this digital world and make sure you are not “one of the rest”, but “one of the best”.

Firstly, we’ll look at some of those “tech basics” and recap on Colin Kay’s “Top Tips on Virtual Job Interviews” with a couple of extra tips suggested by our readers and in next months’ edition – nailing that online presentation.

THE “TECH BASICS”
Unless you’re the latest vlogger on the scene, or a seasoned online veteran – more often that not being on camera makes you nervous. It can also be tricky because mistakes can easily be made. You need to be comfortable with the technology and be able to recover if there is a tech glitch during the session. That is much easier said than done; so here are a few tech basics for you to consider:

What’s the script? Ask in advance for all the details about the format of your online presentation – how long will the presentation be and what online service they will be using. By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail – your career may depend on it.

Lights… Pay particular attention to your background and lighting. Your background should be quiet, plain, uncluttered and without distractions – you want them to focus on you, not what’s happening outside your window. Check the lighting to see how you look at the time of day you will do your presentation. The perfect lighting will show your face without shadows, so you may need to add a lamp to one side or in front of your face but out of camera view. 

Camera… Where possible; use your desktop or laptop rather than your phone. Phone connections can more easily drop the call and you may not have great reception when you want it most. Think about what it looks like to the viewer – holding your mobile, which will shake or move around as you hold it and can be annoying. Your desktop computer or laptop with static cameras are the better options, but if you have to use your phone, create a makeshift stand to keep it steady.

Action… Practice, practice, practice – you won’t be able to eliminate all of those tech gremlins; but you can minimise the risk of something going wrong. YouTube has plenty of “how-to” videos on using the meeting software, whether it’s Skype or others and practice several times using it, so you know how to connect, reconnect, adjust the volume, and of course, look great on camera.

Always have a stand-in… Technology is notorious for malfunctioning at inconvenient times. Before your presentation, contact your viewer and agree a backup plan in case of glitches. Transitioning to a phone call or rescheduling for a later time are both possible solutions for technical difficulties. Do not panic if your software or hardware experiences an issue. If the problem is outside your control, the viewer will understand – it’s happened to them too!

ONLINE JOB INTERVIEW

Our board member, Colin Kay, wrote a great blog for us on his “Top Tips on Virtual Job Interviews” which can be read here, and we’ve got another couple of tips to add from our readers:

Practice makes perfect… This is a real presentation with real consequences – this can land the job or lose it, get you that business funding or not, so give yourself the best chances you can. Write down the answers to the questions that are likely to be asked – the best response is often crafted when you’re not on the spot. Use Skype with a friend to role-play the session, practice your pitch and get them to question you, then work through the examples and pick the best ones that will make you shine.

Relax… Your worst enemy during an online presentation may be your own nerves. Take a deep breath before the call, and try to remain calm and collected during the session. If you can communicate confidently with the interviewer and listen carefully, you are far more likely to leave a lasting positive impression than if you seem nervous. Remember, one of the best solutions for interview anxiety is practicing your answers ahead of time – the more you practice, the more confident you will be during the actual call.

It’s all in the movements… Your movements are exaggerated on video, so getting used to the camera, focussing totally on the interviewer and forgetting it’s there is important. Look into that camera, so the viewer can see your eyes and not you looking down, slow your speech and movements and embrace that self-confidence – your enthusiasm will then come naturally.

Whether it’s your first online presentation or you’re a veteran of tech in a presentation world, it’s great to share tips and tricks that work both digitally and (when we can get back there), face-to-face, so why not share yours with our readers – email your “best online self” tips to us at info@gofishteam.co.uk and we’ll include them in our next edition when we talk about “nailing that online presentation”.

Five tips to Safeguard your Mental Wellbeing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week’s GOFISH blog is brought to you by our David Baker Foundation Board Member, Emma Roberts

Five tips to safeguard your mental wellbeing

Although the lockdown is beginning to ease in some parts of the country with positive images of grandparents being able to hold their grandchildren for the first time in many weeks; in these unprecedented times, it’s sometimes hard to retain perspective. For some isolation has taken, and continues to, take its toll – it is more important than ever to safeguard our mental wellbeing.
There are five small things I’ve tried to adopt during these times that I believe have helped me to feel more positive and get the most out of this period of uncertainty:

– STAY ACTIVE – maintaining a healthy lifestyle, with a proper diet, sleep and exercise is not only great for your physical health but by setting yourself small challenges and achieving them can be a valuable boost for your mental wellbeing. Find free activities that you enjoy such as walking around your local area, taking in the sights and make them part of your daily life. It’s a lot easier to be active when you enjoy it and this all goes to raising your self-esteem.
– STAY CONNECTED – maintaining those positive social relationships, no matter the medium, are important. They provide emotional support when you need it the most, allowing you to support others too. They build a sense of belonging and give the opportunity to share experiences, so take time out each day to reach out to your family and friends – a simple “how are you?” can mean the world to someone.
– BE MINDFUL – paying attention to the present moment – including your thoughts, feelings, body, and the world, otherwise known as mindfulness, is important to a person’s mental wellbeing. By taking stock of what is around you and focussing on the little “wins”, practicing mindfulness can help you understand yourself better and get more out of life. It can positively change the way you feel about situations and how you overcome challenges. There are a number of activities that you can undertake to be mindful – see https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mindfulness/ for hints and tips.
– KEEP LEARNING – even if you feel you don’t have enough time, there are plenty of ways to bring learning into your day. From learning to cook something new or working on a DIY project to rekindling the love you had for a past hobby. Similarly, to keeping active, find activities that you enjoy and bring them into your life. Helping you build a sense of purpose – intellectual stimulation does wonders.
– BE KIND – kindness and the power of giving, no matter how little, goes a long way. By creating positive feelings and a sense of reward; small acts of kindness towards other people, or larger ones like volunteering in the community are invaluable.
How do you keep your mental wellbeing? Share your tips and tricks with us.

For more information on how to safeguard your mental health visit Mind: https://www.mind.org.uk/

5 Things to Remember when Speaking to a Customer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eye contact – You must always remember to maintain eye contact with customers to show you are engaged in the conversation.
Listen – When selling to a customer, it is crucial that you listen to what they are asking for. Let the customer do the talking as much as possible!
Knowledge – Ensure you have the best knowledge of your products as possible. If you have made your product yourself then this shouldn’t be an issue, but always make sure you can answer any questions the customer may have.
Body language – Your body language can be the difference between a customer who wants to buy and one who doesn’t. Make sure to have open body language with no folded arms or slouching, but most importantly make sure you smile!
Confidence – This is your product, be proud and confident in what you are selling! If the customer buys into you as a person, you will make sales!

Being a Toastmaster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In these unprecedented times, it’s important to look on the bright side of things. We have been in touch with Ian who made us understand that there are many jobs people don’t even consider when searching for a new career path such as a Toastmaster. Ian has shared some information about his role as well as some of his experiences. Every job brings a lot of new skills and experiences- diversity of things you might have to undertake! Have a look at what Ian had to say:

My name is Ian Pugh, and if you have been to any of the Gofish presentation nights you will have seen me standing in the red tail coat officiating over the proceedings. But have you ever wondered if that is all Toastmasters do?

Toastmaster do not just make announcements. They are experts in procedure and etiquette for each and every occasion. My role is to control any function from start to finish. Be it a cocktail party, a business function, a Civic Event, a Show or one of the biggest days of your life, your Wedding. The Toastmaster is there to choreograph and then run the day through to its successful conclusion. Toastmasters are the “Go to” person as they stand there in their Red Tail Coat that was first worn by one of the great toastmasters of the late 19th and early 20th Century, William Knightsmith. It is a typically British tradition and will add a dignity and control to any event.

Well, that’s the advert taken care of, so let me tell you of an occasion when, despite my best efforts, things did not go exactly to plan.

Weddings are the most joyous events, but also the most emotional. One still has me wake in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. And it started two days before the big event. In one of the many meetings and telephone calls the bride will make with the Toastmaster she told that firstly they were providing a “free bar”. To any organiser this is not great news as many will drink more than they should. The most common results are rowdiness for a few and a general reluctance by the many to be moved for photos, cake cuttings, first dances etc. They just want to chill out. This is not a major problem for any skilled organiser so to be made aware was good warning. However, the second piece of information sent a shiver of fear down my spine.

The Brides mother and father had parted two weeks before!

I could say this was not the best news I had ever received, but I had hopes that they would remain dignified for their daughters sake, even though there was a free bar! Well come the big day, I arrived very early, as usual to welcome all of the guests, who started to arrive at about 1 O’clock. The first to arrive was the bride’s mother, elegantly dressed and unescorted. Ten minutes after the father of the bride arrived suited and booted, with his new girlfriend! To say the atmosphere was tense, would have been the understatement of the year. At 1.30 the Registrars arrived ready to interview the Bride and Groom. One hour later I was leading the Bridal Party into the wedding ceremony. 30 minutes later I opened the doors to

receive the latest married couple. The guests then filed out of the celebration room and, with an hour to go before the Wedding Breakfast, the newly married couple went to receive their guests. The bride first went to see her mother, and of course

there were hugs and tears of joy. The bride then moved to greet her father, who then hugged her with a kiss as any father would. She then moved to shake hands with his girlfriend, who leaned forward to greet her with a kiss on the cheek. The Bride was taken aback and moved just very slightly backwards causing the girlfriend to overstretch, when — “Splash” — some of her red wine was spilt over the pristine white bridal gown.

There came a moment of total silence in the room when all conversation stopped. Without hesitation, I took hold of the brides hand and marched her towards the ladies toilets, stopping momentarily to pick up a bottle of white wine and two glasses. Now to this day, I am still not sure why I picked up two glasses? Maybe out of habit as you are always presenting the married couple with glasses of wine for toasts and cake cutting etc. etc. We then marched into the toilets and I told her to go into one of the cubicles, remove the dress and pass it out to me. I hadn’t quite worked out how she was going to remove the dress on her own, but that was the least of my problems. Fortunately, at this moment one of the bridesmaids arrived and assisted. She passed the dress to me and I held the stained area over one of the wash basins and poured about half a bottle of white wine over the mark. I the rinsed it through with cold water until only the slightest shadow of the accident remained. It was then dried over a hot air hand dryer and passed back to the waiting bridesmaid. When the bride came out you could see that the stain was now hidden in one of the folds of the dress. If you hadn’t known it was there you would never have seen it. When the bride left the room to be welcomed back by her guests, I realised that I still had half a bottle of wine and two glasses, so I filled them both and passed one to the bridesmaid and we both simultaneously breathed a sigh of relief. It was at this point that she posed this question to me,

“What would you have done had it not been me entering the toilet but the bridegroom, only to find his new wife already stripped out of her wedding dress down to her underwear while you stood there with a bottle of white wine and two glasses?”

I still have nightmares over that!

COVID-19, Is it all bad?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have recently been in touch with Jack, one of our GOFISH students who has been involved with the programme in the past. Since leaving college, Jack has been working to save up for what he always wanted to do; Travelling!

Due to COVID-19, Jack had to unwillingly shorten his travels in Australia and reflected on what has been going on in the world. He has shared the following thoughts with us:

“COVID-19, is it all bad?”

Yes and No, it is of course a very catastrophic disaster that we did not see coming which is having a huge impact on everybody’s lives all around the world. However, we need to see some of the good things that are occurring because of the pandemic:

That is nature!

The human species and their daily activities have been put on hold due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and this has meant that a lot of daily leisure activities and industrial operations have been put on pause. This has already resulted in a CO2 and other harmful gases drop being released into the atmosphere which was slowly killing the planet and contributing to long term problems of Global Warming. Pollution levels all around the world have been seen to be at their all time lowest because of the event at hand. Isn’t this a good thing?

Animals are getting their chance to take back what we have taken away from them. The human race is one of the most advanced species when it comes to using resources from the earth to create things like buildings and technology which has unfortunately led to us taking over most of the world and the natural areas that once belonged to animals. Dolphins in the Italian rivers, deer’s in Chinese gardens! People and animals can live in tranquillity if we just change our ways slightly which has been proven exceptionally well by this lockdown. Not saying this is the solution, but it’s a start.

The outbreak is not a good thing and it will affect billions around the world but look, nature is thriving and that is a positive and can really lift the mood of some people because at the end of the day there is nothing more beautiful than nature.

It’s very saddening that it takes a disaster like this for us to notice and realise that we are doing things wrong but hopefully we will see the other side when everything starts to improve!’

How do you sell when you don’t have a shop window?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week’s GOFISH blog is brought to you by our GOFISH supporter, Deborah Betteridge:

How do you sell when you don’t have a shop window?

So, you’ve got an idea to bring to market. You know you can make, or source it. Suppliers are on board. You have researched your target market. You have a Business Plan in place. With all this sorted, now it’s time to take it to your potential customers, but without your own shop, or market stall, what are your marketing options?

You will know yourself, as you walk through a town centre, market or mall your attention is drawn by eye catching shop windows and the products placed there – whether you enter the shop, or not, is known as the capture rate, the percentage of passers-by that are lured into the shop, and one of the biggest factors is the window display. These windows are not accidentally put together – there is an art, or practice, to window display. The number of customers entering the shop is recorded as footfall. And without a shop to enter, we need to engage this number by other means.

Today, we are talking about what to do if you don’t have access to a shop window, so we’ll park display for another time – although if you want to find out more here is a good infographic from Retail Next – The Art of Window Displays. Now, you have your product, you decided (when constructing your business and marketing plan against multichannel retailing) to sell direct to consumers, you don’t have an offline outlet (bricks and mortar shop), so what channels remain open to you?

Direct to Consumer

Once you have decided to market via Direct to Consumer (DTC) sites, you will need to ensure you have the back-end functionality to support both the customer and your business needs.

The right solutions for finance (banking, invoicing and payment), inventory (stock storage and supply), logistics (timings, packaging, postage or collection) and marketing (communication and engagement) will be essential to ensure the customer experience is the best it can possibly be during their journey with you. Get your back-end operations and front-end customer experience aligned and test them throughout to ensure they are robust.

You need to sell – where your customer buys, do your homework and select what is right for all parties. It’s no longer a case of building e-commerce into your own website or setting up an Amazon shop. There are plenty of solutions available to you, Mobile Apps and other online channels are constantly evolving and expanding across new social media platforms. Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram all now offer consumers the option to purchase.

Research from McKinsey has shown that consumers use up to 12 different channels and devices when shopping before they ‘add to cart’ or basket.

Google has also identified that the majority of the buying process takes place before customers even discover your brand or visit your website – they call this the “Zero moment of truth” (ZMOT) referring to the timeframe a potential customer researches a product before deciding to purchase.

If you decide on multiple online channels, you will need to consider inventory controls – the last thing you need is for three customers to order the last item of stock at the same time, resulting in a poor customer experience. Remember the old adage – a satisfied customer tells three friends; a dissatisfied customer tells 10? Well, that has changed with social media and reviews, a 2008 book by Pete Blackshaw recalculates this somewhat! (A satisfied customer tells three friends, an angry customer tells 3,000!)

An inventory management system (IMS) will help you to:
1. Streamline fulfilment processes to procure, organise, ship, and arrive promptly at a customer’s preferred delivery address.
2. Help you prepare for any unexpected spikes in sales or seasonality.
3. Avoid inventory shortages when products are sold simultaneously across multiple channels.
Check out Capterra for a view of the best IMS software packages suitable for your needs. Many organisations integrate inventory management with an order management system (OMS) to pull all sales data together so you can manage it all in one place. Some software combines the two, for example NetSuite, Sage and OrderWise to name but a few.

The online approach

OK, so product, plans and back-end functionality sorted, it’s on the front-end. As said before you need to be where your customers can find you. Whether you go for one main ecommerce site or more, you will still need to promote where your customer can buy across multiple touchpoints. Think about their journey, how many handoffs, or click throughs they will complete to make that purchase – keep it as simple and straightforward as possible.

Here are a few examples to consider:

E-commerce website – add e-commerce functionality to your website – build your own shop now page and manage it via your website provider. Wix, Shopify, WordPress Squarespace and WooCommerce all have templates and themes amongst their self-build offerings. Personally, I like WordPress and find them easy to use.

Mobile Apps – There are numerous apps where you can sell your products, here is The Balances top selection. This article provides information on the top eight selling apps for 2020, including, Letgo, eBay, Facebook, and Nextdoor for local sales.

Seller Profiles on other Retail sites – You can set up a seller profile by following the simple steps on your chosen platform(s). For example on Amazon, there are 20 product categories to select from, different price plans (yes, there is a monthly or per product sold cost), then you need your contact information, bank details, verification and away you go.

An eBay Shop is a central shopping destination where customers can learn about you and your business and browse your products through a customisable shopfront. Setting yourself up as a business on eBay, may be your preference – here is a link to all the information you need. https://sellercentre.ebay.co.uk/business/getting-started

On Facebook, you can now add a shop page, but there are terms and conditions you need to agree to called Merchant Terms when you add a shop. Your shop will appear on your Facebook Page for your customers to see after you’ve added at least one product and it gets approved. Make sure you read and understand all terms and conditions for any of the platforms or software you select. As you can see there are various options, and you need to make sure it is the right choice for you – and your customers.

The next step, regardless of platforms chosen, is promotion.

With any promotion and communication be sure to adhere to the latest data protection and communication guidelines – Data Protection Act 2018 and the Privacy and Electronic Communication Regulations (PECR).

Depending on your marketing plan, which should include a communication calendar/plan, you will know where your need to promote your business and products to reach your potential and existing customers.

For your customer engagement you should include a series of posts via social media (organic or paid for ads), emails, both service and marketing (which must be separate under PECR), product instructions (if applicable), reorder leaflets (included in packaging), flyers, promotional videos, instruction videos, offers, newsletters, blogs/vlogs, and product or service updates.

If you go down the sponsored or paid for social media posts, be sure to target them to your audience correctly. Select your area (if you only offer local collection or delivery), customer demographics (age, gender and interests), set your budget and timescales at the beginning. Start small as you can always extend the budget and timescales to suit – and edit the ad/post if you feel it is going well.

And remember, with your ecommerce pages and your communications (your virtual shop windows if you will) you have the same timescale to get your customer attention, just as if they were walking past your shop window. So about 30 seconds to a minute to really reel them in. So, make sure you follow the AIDA model for customer journeys.

Awareness – Make sure they are aware of who you are or what you do/sell/produce
Interest – Get them interested, be eye catching, have value for money, fulfil a need
Desire – Leave them wanting to buy your product or do business with you, have good offers
Action – make sure there is always a way to complete the engagement with a call to action – whether it’s a sale, upgrade, re purchase, cross sell, contact you or sign up to newsletter.

So not having a bricks and mortar shop – or shop window, really shouldn’t slow you down in this digital age. And in the unprecedented times we find ourselves in under the Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown, you should have time to set yourselves up online. Bearing in mind that potential customers are also spending longer online at the moment and visiting shops outside of the essentials is limited until further notice.

I hope you found this interesting and informative, stay safe, stay well and good luck with your online selling!