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My one piece of advice… Part II

More pearls of wisdom from the team with our second ‘My One Piece of Advice…’.

Check out Part I here


It took me several years to learn the need in meetings to stop taking detailed notes, put down my pen and actually listen.

In my very first job I worked on the implementation of complex legislation and attended many meetings where my role was to write up the meeting notes. At first, I used to write down verbatim as much as I could hear, capturing maybe 70% of the words that were spoken but probably no more than 40% of the important meaning. 

My old boss at the time soon realised my trouble and introduced me to the importance of listening, and to the two colour pen trick. He gave me a new blue pen and a new red one. The blue was to be used to capture a few key words after a specific discussion simply to act as a prompt when I came to write the note. It worked. The red one was to make a short note of any areas of discussion I didn’t understand, which I could then clarify with people afterwards. 

The real value though was that I was liberated – able for the first time to really listen and then understand what was going on.  A basic lesson, but transformational for me at that time.


Emma Lewis Griffiths



Always be positive. No matter what happens, look for the lesson you’ve learned and appreciate those you learn from.




When you are starting out in comms, it can be daunting approaching the higher-profile journalists – especially those on the national news desks with a reputation for being a bit cynical.

My advice: look at the story as if you were writing for their title and formulate your pitch around that.  Studies have shown that between 30-75% of stories you see in the press originate from press releases so think of it as a reciprocal relationship. If what you are pitching is relevant and the information is accurate, then the journo needs you as much as you need them!


My one piece of advice? Well if I could give a heads-up to a fresh out of university me, it would look something like this….

Dear younger me,

We both know you spent the first year of your career petrified that someone would notice you didn’t know everything (anything?) and didn’t have any experience. Guess what? Everyone knew you didn’t know everything and you didn’t have any experience.

There you were, mortified about the idea of asking a simple question when the whole point of your first year is to learn and ask questions, especially the stupid ones you can’t get away with later on. Colleagues want and expect you to have questions – it shows you’re interested and curious (beyond your ability to Google).

While we’re chatting I should point out that saying no to the fifth Tequila shot at your first work Christmas party is the right thing to do.

With warmest regards,

Older me