How to practice active mindfulness

How to practice active mindfulness

by Guest Contributor

28 September, 2017

By Paul Joseph, Director and co-founder
Health and Fitness Travel

When we think of mindfulness and the process of becoming self-aware of our emotions, thoughts, feelings and senses, most of us envision a method of passive meditation.

Although this may ring true when practiced by its founding Buddhists, the reality is, we do not need to be physically still and shut away from the world to find our inner-calmness. In today’s fast-paced society, where finding a spare hour (or six) is nigh on impossible, this is most certainly a good thing! Active mindfulness is concerned with maintaining an introspective state of consciousness whilst engaging in everyday activities. Still a bit confused? In the following guide, Health and Fitness Travel, the wellness holiday specialists, turn the spotlight on mindfulness, complete with key tips on how to practice and apply it to your life.

Silence is golden

In the age of communications, the power of silence is wholly underestimated, underused and often even feared. Dedicating time for solitude, even if it’s just five minutes on the train with your eyes shut and earplugs in, can be immensely beneficial to your mental health. It encourages self-reflection, and nourishes and heals the mind. Research has also shown silence to relieve stress and amplify sensitivity to sensations, sounds, emotions and thoughts; an essential principle of mindfulness.

Challenge core beliefs

Often our barriers to success, whether personal or business related, are due to a (sometimes unconscious) stubbornness to challenge our beliefs. Using a ‘thought diary’ identifies destructive thoughts by allowing you to be mindful and aware of how you would feel if these were, in fact, not your beliefs. This technique is especially helpful in challenging how we perceive ourselves, others and the world around us.

Mind(ful) of what you eat

No, this does not mean starving yourself! Take a delicious fresh orange. Eat it slowly and deliberately, paying attention to the sweet citrus taste. Notice how the segment bursts with flavour and spreads over your taste buds, and how your jaw moves as it masticates. Mindful eating not only helps us enjoy what we are consuming optimally, but also recognises our emotional and non-hunger related triggers which inevitably cause us to overeat and feel guilty.

Mindfulness meditation

To take time away from the world and reflect in peace is truly the pinnacle of mindfulness exercises. While meditation is beneficial for our well-being, the magic of this deep relaxation practice lies in how it encourages awareness of our present. Try to maintain a narrow focus to start with i.e. the air as it moves into and out of your lungs, then begin to acknowledge thoughts, feelings, senses, form and emotions. If your mind wanders return to a focus on your breath.

Be accepting

Working on acceptance helps with patience and trust that life will unfold as it’s meant to. It also supports an innate tolerance of life’s rollercoaster, allowing us to remain at peace despite emotional turbulence. Practice by naming emotions: ‘anger’, ‘elation’, ‘sadness’, feeling them and letting them pass without judgement. Understanding that our emotions are fleeting, helps limit the anxiety and worry that tends to pull us out of our present.

Listen to be heard

We have all been in that situation where, no matter what you say, you are just not being understood. Next time you feel this way, take a step back, don’t just focus on the words being said. Pay attention to the tone, examine facial expressions and body language, and no matter what, remain present in the conversation. Mindful listening exists on the premise that listening is the key to real communication.

Be mindful when exercising

Combining the tranquillity of mindfulness with the increased cognitive and physical activity of exercise seems counterproductive, yet they are inextricably linked by the associations of health and wellbeing. Pay attention to the positioning and feel of your body and its individual muscles, notice the environment, your posture and breath with each movement and physical advances will follow suit. Being mindful during exercise will aid proprioception and help you find your form.

Remember, mindfulness is a journey and if you fall off track, simply take a breath, re-centre yourself and the rest will follow. However, if you feel in need of some added motivation why not learn to practice active mindfulness in a beautiful location at one of our healthy holidays.

→ For advice, guidance and booking visit or call 0203 397 8891

About Paul Joseph:

Wellness Travel Specialist and Entrepreneur, Paul Joseph, is the co-founder of Health and Fitness Travel, a global leader in wellness holidays worldwide. Always ahead of the curve in pioneering new health programmes that revive the soul, boost fitness or address serious health issues, the worldwide wellness tourism industry has now become a multi-billion sector, growing faster than travel in general. Paul has a wealth of PR, Marketing, Sales and Management experience in the health and tourism industry, consulting leading hotels on their wellness strategy and contributing regularly to broadcast and media interviews.

About Health and Fitness Travel:

Health and Fitness Travel is a global luxury wellness travel company that originated in the UK in 2010 and is committed to providing healthy holidays that enhance and change lives. Created by Paul Joseph and Adam Heathcote as a result of their passion for health and fitness travel and offering bespoke holidays to improve people’s well-being to lead happier and healthier lives.

Health and Fitness Travel offers clients a tailor-made seamless service with the very best health and fitness holidays, handpicked by its expert team, together with exclusive and added value packages with the best deals. As leading specialists, Health and Fitness Travel has also created their own collection of trademark healthy holidays in various destinations which include Fusion Fitness™ BodyBreaks™ and Discover Recover™, offering clients the best value and holiday experience.

For more information visit:

Moving from home with a chronic illness

Moving from home with a chronic illness

by Guest Contributor

27 September, 2017

By Liam Richards

Moving away from home can be hard enough for a normal person but it can be even harder for someone suffering from a chronic illness such as chronic fatigue syndrome (this link will help you learn more about the illness).

I personally moved from home for university whilst suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome and come back in the summers, I was worried prior to this what it would do to my health so spoke to my hospital to gain advice. The tips I am going to give are both recommendations I received and things I have discovered living away from home. I am in no way a health expert and these tips may not work for you as everyone is different.

Social /

My first tip is one that helps you when you are suffering from low spells or relapses, build a support network. A support network consists of people who will be there in your time of need to give you the boost you need, advice or just someone to talk to. They could be family, friends, medical professionals, colleagues/tutors if you are at university or online such as forums. By building a support network you will know who you can talk to whilst experiencing certain issues from your health or just moving away from home in general. If you feel uncomfortable talking to those close to you, an alternative could be to use forums with other CFS sufferers such as Phoenix Rising which is one that I have used in the past.

Food /

My next tip focuses on saving your precious energy and that is to do online shopping. By doing this will be able to save your energy and be able to have a great selection of food rather than just a local corner shop. This leads onto my next tip which is to eat healthily which is easier to do online as you don’t have to worry about carrying it all home and have the option to a wide healthy range of foods.

By eating healthily, it can help to improve your some symptoms, avoiding processed foods can help your body lose less energy as it will be breaking down more natural foods. Some may find it hard to prepare healthy food so it helps to do meal preparation when you have spare time, saving precious energy when you need to cook in the evening after a long day when you will lack motivation and possibly end up ordering an unhealthy takeaway or ready meal. When the meals are prepared in advance it makes it a lot easier when you might lack the motivation as you just need to heat it up and possibly add some fresh ingredients to add variation.

Rest /

Rest is vital when you suffer from a chronic illness and the outside world can interfere with this so it is worth making purchases that can help to limit this. Earplugs or noise cancelling headphones are great if you live by a busy street or with noisy house mates/neighbours. If you suffer from photosensitivity, it helps to have black-out curtains or an eye mask to limit the light. This should help reduce the provocation of migraines, in turn allowing you to relax to the best of your ability.

Software /

There are multiple types of software that can help with both studying and working. The most helpful one I have used is Claroread, it reads highlighted text from your screen helping to reduce the fatigue on your eyes as well as helping with proofreading as you can hear what your text sounds like. This helps you to spot errors when checking over emails, assignments, or essays. Another helpful piece of software for writing on the computer is Dragon Naturally Speaking, which allows the user to talk into a microphone and it will type the words for you. This allows the user to rest but still work from the comfort of their bed if they need to. It might also be of help to use a calendar that syncs on your multiple platforms, this will help function like a second brain and help to remind you of upcoming events or create to-do lists for each day.

Hopefully, these tips can be of some help to those with a chronic illness for when they are moving or deciding whether to move from home. Most of these tips come from my experience of my first year at university but can be applied to those who are working as well.

How to stay fit and healthy while travelling for business

How to stay fit and healthy while travelling for business

by Guest Contributor

27 September, 2017

By Paul Joseph, Director and co-founder
Health and Fitness Travel

It’s relatively easy to maintain your fitness whilst you’re in the comfort of your own surroundings, with the local gym just down the road and a schedule of weekly fitness classes. Yet, when travelling for business, the disruption of your daily routine can leave many neglecting their health and fitness whilst away.

With studies revealing the benefits of exercise for increased concentration and productivity, together with reduced stress levels and insomnia, maintaining your fitness can offer great perks when on a business trip or corporate wellness retreat. Here, Health and Fitness Travel, the wellness holiday specialists, share some helpful hints on how you can stay fit and healthy on a wellness holiday, so that you can perform at your peak whilst travelling for business.

Pack your active wear

It may seem obvious, but this is rule number one, so that you don’t use the fact that you don’t have your trainers or swimsuit as an excuse not to exercise.

Get your body and brain active

Make the most of high-tech gym facilities and on-hand personal trainers on our wellness retreats. Exercise will not only improve your fitness but it’ll also increase your energy levels and reduce stress, meaning that you’ll be able to concentrate more and perform better in meetings.

Swim for success

Swimming is full of health benefits and is a holiday staple when in a hot country, so make the most of this activity and fit in a few swift lengths in the pool or ocean before breakfast. Get your heart pumping and benefit from the relaxing effects of being in the water.

Add variety with fitness classes

Try something new to keep your body and your mind alert, with a wide range of complimentary fitness classes available. Experience everything from spinning and kickboxing to yoga and Tai Chi on one of our fitness holidays, for a physical and mental health boost.

Explore on a run or a walk

When free from business meetings, the easiest way to explore the surroundings and maintain your fitness, is to go for a jog or a walk around the area. Ask the concierge for the most picturesque route and discover the beautiful scenery whilst upping your heart rate.

Try an outdoor activity

If you have a free evening or afternoon, why not try out an outdoor activity to improve your fitness and unwind from stress. Play a game of tennis with work colleagues on an activity holiday or go for a bike ride, which will also benefit your mind with fresh air and give you time to think.

Eat healthily

Where better to embrace healthy eating than at a wellness retreat, where trained chefs can whip up both delicious and nutritious culinary delights. By fuelling your body and mind with the right nutrition, you’ll be able to perform to your best in important meetings.

Make day-to-day changes

These range from using the stairs rather than the elevator, to swapping a business meeting at the bar for a business meeting over a game of golf or tennis.

→ For advice, guidance and booking visit or call 0203 397 8891

About Paul Joseph:

Wellness Travel Specialist and Entrepreneur, Paul Joseph, is the co-founder of Health and Fitness Travel, a global leader in wellness holidays worldwide. Always ahead of the curve in pioneering new health programmes that revive the soul, boost fitness or address serious health issues, the worldwide wellness tourism industry has now become a multi-billion sector, growing faster than travel in general. Paul has a wealth of PR, Marketing, Sales and Management experience in the health and tourism industry, consulting leading hotels on their wellness strategy and contributing regularly to broadcast and media interviews.

About Health and Fitness Travel:

Health and Fitness Travel is a global luxury wellness travel company that originated in the UK in 2010 and is committed to providing healthy holidays that enhance and change lives. Created by Paul Joseph and Adam Heathcote as a result of their passion for health and fitness travel and offering bespoke holidays to improve people’s well-being to lead happier and healthier lives.

Health and Fitness Travel offers clients a tailor-made seamless service with the very best health and fitness holidays, handpicked by its expert team, together with exclusive and added value packages with the best deals. As leading specialists, Health and Fitness Travel has also created their own collection of trademark healthy holidays in various destinations which include Fusion Fitness™ BodyBreaks™ and Discover Recover™, offering clients the best value and holiday experience.

For more information visit:

How to avoid falling out with your business partner

How to avoid falling out with your business partner

by Guest Contributor

26 September, 2017

By Anthony Bennett

Myself and Robin Hay co-founded the bespoke hospitality business Bennett Hay back in 2010. We now employ just over 200 people. Robin and I have worked together for the last 20 years, which is one of the main reasons we decided to set up Bennett Hay.

We found we had very complimentary skills, which I’d argue is an extremely important factor in a successful partnership. At the beginning we spent a great deal of time independently capturing what’s important to each of us before sharing our thoughts, just to double check we had the same drivers and passions – which, thankfully, we did!

Photography on behalf of Bennett Hay © Daniel Lewis.

Here are my top tips to avoid falling out:

Rather like any relationship, you have to keep the communication open and honest. Be up front with any issues and make time for debate.

Agree decision-making processes, allowing both autonomy and combined thinking. Pre-agreeing structures and processes lessens the likelihood of a fall out at a later stage.

Plan for growth and recognise the need to adjust behaviours and job roles as the company grows. Co-founders must be prepared to adapt to the changing business landscape; pre-empting eventualities from the very outset, and meeting up monthly to discuss the proposition, can help pave the way in future.

Sleep on a big decision before making it. Jointly agree to give each other plenty of time to reach an outcome; that way, you reduce unnecessary stress.

Hear each other out. You’ve entered into business together and both partners will possess different skills and experience; tap into and use it at all times. You never know what you’ll learn and discover from each other. A business can only ever grow if it’s challenged after all.

Stay true to your vision and business integrity. Continually believe in what you are here to do and where you want to take the business.

How to buy your first DSLR

How to buy your first DSLR

by Guest Contributor

25 September, 2017

By Kalina Petkova, student

So as already mentioned I like doing a bit of photography and invest a fair amount of time in it.

Add to that the fact that I am studying Media Production, which focuses a lot on video, and it really became frustrating not owning a DSLR and having to go through the tedious process of filling out risk assessments in order to borrow university equipment, if I wanted to do the tiniest of projects. At the same time, as advanced as phones are nowadays, they don’t quite hit the mark with the quality and freedom I am after. So if you’re considering buying your first DSLR, here are a couple of tips + my personal experience and opinions.

Look for an ENTRY level

If this is your very first DSLR, chances are you are not as experienced as you think you are. Even if you have the funds, don’t splash out on very pricy professional equipment, that you’ll soon feel overwhelmed with and more confused and frustrated rather than excited. Knowing what you’re doing and being in control + an entry level camera almost always leads to much better results than the latest, most amazing model with 128324 features + you not knowing what button to press. Here‘s a good list of beginner DSLR’s and a buying guide, to serve as a starting point.

Do a bit of digging

If you want a bargain, buy & sell groups on Facebook, Gumtree and similar options are your best friend. A year ago, I got a camera kit that was going for £400 on Amazon for £100 on Facebook, and it had been used no more than 10 times – you could tell it’s practically new. The guy that sold it to me was also kind enough to give me his bag, SD card and other stuff that didn’t come with the kit, for free. Important to mention here – do go and check the camera out yourself before you buy, as sometimes “too good to be true” is indeed just that.

Research and compare

If you found a bargain piece don’t just chance it because “it’s a DSLR and it’s cheap”. Go and read as many reviews as you can. Read the specifications and look at photos taken with the same model to be as sure as you can the camera suits your needs and experience. Doing a bit of research might also lead you to possibly finding a better deal for the same model.

Kalina Petkova is a media production student at Bournemouth University

How to get started with property crowdfunding

How to get started with property crowdfunding

by Guest Contributor

21 September, 2017

By Kim Collier, founder of The Resort Crowd

The property investment sector has been a very exclusive industry for a long time. Only a select group of people have been able to invest and successfully make money from it.

Why is this so? Some may argue that there is a certain level of eliteness within the investment sector. A common belief exists that the finance industry is plagued with language that excludes outsiders. For most people, there is very little education on investment, and how to get started.

But things are changing, and we’re here to talk you through how to get started with property crowdfunding.

How is it changing?

With the development of digital, alternative finance sources online have been revolutionising the way people invest. Since crowdfunding platforms hit the scene, the sector has been opened up considerably.

There are a few reasons for this. Not only does crowdfunding provide a platform for first time investors to get started, the internet is also home to free and readily available information on how to start investing. Example one, this article.

Who is crowdfunding for?

Anyone. The beauty of crowdfunding is that the platforms do not discriminate or exclude; any Joe Bloggs with an internet connection is able to invest. It removes so much of the jargon and complication. Today, you could search for something you’re interested in and make an investment within a couple of minutes. It’s worth noting that some investment platforms will require tests and questionnaires in order to invest, so look out for that on your hunt for investment opportunities.

Why property?

Your first step is choosing something that you want to invest in. A quick google will tell you that you can invest in a broad range, from things such as education, new apps, crazy new startups to overseas property.

The long term benefits of property investment have been observed for years. It’s been said that property doubles in value every ten years, and whilst this might not be strictly true in all circumstances, capital growth still runs parallel with property investment. So, with that in mind, let’s look at where to start.

Step 1 / Do your research

Your first step is finding a platform online that provides what you’re looking for. One of the benefits of online crowdfunding platforms is that there’s a lot more transparency. Since crowdfunding generally works on a peer-to-peer basis, you can read reviews from other investors and be sure that you are putting your money somewhere legitimate.

Step 2 / Shop around

Many crowdfunding platforms and individual campaigns will offer their own benefits should you wish to invest. Make sure the investment you choose will guarantee the return you’re looking for in your own time scale. Overseas property investment is an attractive option, offering fixed returns rates for up to five years. Consider your own needs and look at the different options available before settling on the right deal for you.

Step 3 / Make an investment

Once you’ve committed to the platform and level of investment, making the payment is as easy as filling in an online form. Depending on the platform of investment, often you can purchase property shares for as little as £10.

On platforms that specialises in overseas property investment, such as The Resort Crowd, it’s easy to browse the range of resort properties in holiday hotspots. If a property is not fully funded, your investment will be refunded, leaving you to invest it elsewhere.

Step 4 / Sit back and relax

Once you’ve made your investment, you just sit back and wait for the returns to come rolling in. It’s really as simple as that!

How to Improve Your Social Media

How to Improve Your Social Media

by Guest Contributor

19 September, 2017

By Lizzie Benton, Content manager at Datify

It doesn’t matter if you’re a business, a wannabe blogger, or simply a lover of social media; having an impactful social media presence can help you to gain customers, followers, and even help you to secure your dream job.

But as with any form of marketing, social media needs a well thought out strategy to take you to these places. Even those you think have ‘gone viral’ have had a strategy in place all along.

So, if you’re serious about upping your game and becoming a social influencer, follow these tricks and master your medium.

Pick your platform

There are more social platforms than I can shake a stick at now; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Reddit, YouTube, Snapchat, and many others attempting to emerge on a yearly basis.

But rather than spread yourself thin, pick a platform that is preferred by your target audience. I’ve detailed below the 2017 user statistics of each platform to give you a head start;


Female 83%
Male 75%

Aged between 18 – 49 year olds – The best place to reach millennials and Generation X


Female 45%
Male 55%

Aged between 18 – 49 year olds
Watched most in the USA than any other TV network


Female 38%
Male 26%

90% of users are under the age of 35


Female 15%
Male 22%

Aged between 18 – 29 year olds


Female 45%
Male 17%

Evenly distributed between 18 – 64 year olds


From this you can pick-out the platforms that means the most to you and have an audience just waiting to enjoy all the content you’re going to share.

This is by far the most important start to improving your social media. Once you know where you want to be, you can then begin investigating these platforms in more depth.

Find your niche

Whatever you want to be known for, make it the focus of your social media strategy.


Whether it’s foodie pics, cat memes or beauty tutorials; become the person to follow in that area.

While many are reluctant to select a niche, this can be a driving strategy in increasing followers who are interested in that subject matter, and dramatically improve the reach of your posts.

With this tip, there is no ball and chain saying that you must do it, but if you are attempting to increase followers, drive sales or just get a new job in a particular industry, this can be a winning tactic.

Profile picture – it has to be you

It is a very simple tip, but surprisingly people can forget how important their profile picture is.

Having a photograph of yourself is important across all your social platforms, because people relate to people; if they can’t see your face, how can people know it’s really you that’s putting this content out there.

If you have a stock image, a picture of your pet or a cartoon character, people can become instantly suspicious of your profile and may not follow or engage with you.

Remember that your profile image needs to represent YOU. It’s your identity in the modern online world.

Bio - who are you?

A common area that people often bypass is the bio.

Admittedly it is the most awkward thing to write about yourself, and we’re often not very good at it because we hate talking about our achievements. But your bio enables people to understand who you are, and what to expect from your profile.

These are the top things to include in your social media bio;

  1. Name
  2. Location
  3. Website / Blog
  4. What you do
  5. What you like

Remember again that people need to relate to you and what you’re doing, so have fun with it, and if you really struggle, get a friend to write about you instead. You may be surprised that they can often see the highlights about yourself that you can’t see.

Be consistent

Consistency is key for any social platform, which is why you need to be in it for the long game.

Success won’t happen overnight, and you need to be prepared to put time and energy into consistently keeping the platforms you’ve selected up-to-date.

A neglected profile won’t encourage any followers or engagement, as inactivity will signify it’s a dead profile.

Publishing content consistently not only keeps your profile looking relevant, but will encourage followers and increase engagement.

While you may be thinking, “But how do I keep it fresh without being on it ALL the time?” … well that is where scheduling tools can help.

There are a number of scheduling tools available so that you can organise all of your posts and tweets to be published at specific times.

Unfortunately, the only platform that doesn’t have this capacity at the moment is Instagram. So, if this is a significant platform for your audience, you may need to be a little more proactive with this.

The following scheduling tools are great for getting on top of your social media strategy;

  • Hootsuite
  • Tweetdeck
  • Sprout Social

You only need to spend a few hours a week organising your posts, so dedicate some time to it, and you will dramatically see the increase your profiles gain.

Be relevant

While consistency is key, don’t forget that each of your posts will always need to be relevant to your target audience.

Simply discussing what you had for lunch or what you’re doing, is probably not of interest to people. Always ask yourself before posting – would my audience be interested in this?

If it’s a no, it’s time to rethink your strategy.

Posting about significant events, sharing relevant articles and even your opinions on a subject matter will all be far more of interest than your day-to-day shenanigans.

As an example below I’ve listed some the type of posts I created for a local independent pub;

  • Funny pub quotes
  • Updates on events and live music
  • Questions – what events do you want to see us putting on
  • Feedback – what was everyone’s thought on tapas Tuesday
  • Offers
  • Updates on new breweries in the area

Analyse your niche and come-up with a list for your own social profiles. What can you post that will be of interest to your audience and engage them in a conversation?

After all, it’s called ‘social’ media for a reason.

Find your hashtags

Hashtags are essential for being found by those interested in the subject you’re posting about.

Only essential for Instagram and Twitter; without hashtags, your posts will not be seen by your target audience.

Finding hashtags isn’t hard, but again takes a little time and research.

Start by thinking about all the relevant words that might be used in your niche. Let’s take food as an example.

Words that people may use, include;

  • Yummy
  • Delish
  • Foodie
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Breakfast
  • Nom Nom

Now let’s use Instagram as a start.

Go into the Instagram search option, select Tags and start typing in food. Instagram will immediately start giving you a list with the most popular hashtags.
Select which ones are the most relevant to your post and add them in. Simple!

Embrace a theme

You can be forgiven for thinking a theme is the same as a niche, but it’s very different.

Your theme is the filter and style of your images and is most commonly used on image heavy platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest.

While many people don’t use a filter to define their profile, it can significantly help in areas where image and branding are important. For example, in blogging, fashion photography or interior design.

Learning which filter defines your brand and the composition of how your images should be photographed are all elements which need to be considered when taking your profile to the next level.

There are many image editing apps available that can enable you to improve your images without being an expert in Photoshop. This includes;

  • VSCO
  • Snapseed
  • Filterstorm
  • Enlight

When selecting a theme, think about the mood and feeling you’re looking to convey to your audience. Is it fresh and modern, or artistic?

These tips and tricks can all be done by anyone without any prior experience of social media or marketing, and once you’ve got into a routine of posting and updating your profile, followers and engagement will begin to trickle in.

How to nail public speaking… in four steps

How to nail public speaking… in four steps

by Guest Contributor

15 September, 2017

By Liz Kentish, MD Kentish and Co

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past year, you will have no doubt watched at least one of the Obama’s, Trump’s or Meryl’s speeches. All of the aforementioned took centre stage recently to speak to hundreds upon thousands of people, from all pockets of the globe. The pressure to get their personal messages across to such large audiences would’ve been no easy feat.

In light of this eclectic mix of speeches, here’s some advice on how to deliver a memorable and captivating presentation while maintaining poise, grace and respect:

Lead with stories

Martin Luther King Day also happened to fall in the days following these momentous speeches. Supreme public speaker and activist, he is no doubt remembered by most for his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech, which he gave in 1963.


Perhaps one of the reasons this speech is imprinted so strongly on the minds of citizens is because he made it so relatable and human. Drawing on the dream analogy, King made his speech accessible to everyone and immediately captured attention, and hearts. Using anecdotes and real life examples in your speeches or presentations shows people that you’re on the same level, giving them real reason to believe in what you’re saying.

Know your audience

Whether you’re speaking in front of a collection of colleagues, a conference hall full of strangers, a room full of award winning actors or in front of the entire nation and then some, you need to know your audience. Think about why your audience is there and why they should be listening to you. What is it that they are hoping to learn, what do you want to teach them and how can you connect with them in the best way possible. Being confident in the fact that you are going to deliver something that is useful to your audience will in turn boost your own confidence and conviction.

Get your body language down to a T

The power of public speaking is immeasurable and goes way beyond just the words printed upon your cue card. Most experts agree that over 50 per cent of our communication is made up of body language. With this in mind, it pays to make sure that you stand up straight, keep eye contact with your audience and, either adopt an open stance or keep moving around the stage. If you’re nervous, this can be obvious and come across in how you present yourself. Have a glass of water at the ready, remember to breathe and take your time.

Allow emotion

Don’t be afraid to use emotive language to communicate your message and your passion; public speaking after all is about informing, persuading and entertaining. Conversely, letting your audience see your own emotion is equally as effective. Permit your passion and enthusiasm to show through, either in your tone of voice or in your demeanor and you’ll find that people connect with you and your mission, making your speech memorable and compelling.

Your first 100 days in a new job

Your first 100 days in a new job

by Guest Contributor

12 September, 2017

By David Kentish

7 steps to making the best first impression and most useful connections.

Anyone who’s ever been the new boy or girl at school will remember that feeling of fear and dread as you walk into a class of upturned curious faces and the teacher introduces you as the ‘new pupil’ urging everyone to be nice.

So while starting a new job usually comes with less dread and more excitement – increased money, responsibility and new challenges – there is still a feeling of nervousness about meeting your new colleagues for the first time. And the pressure is on because you only get one shot at making a good first impression. Most people will judge you within the first minute of meeting you and their opinion is unlikely to change.

The good news is that there’s plenty you can do to create a good first impression before you even arrive in the office on your first day, which will set you up to hit the ground running and encourage people to think of you favourably before they’ve even met you in person.

1 Once you’ve accepted a new role, start to look at who works in your new organisation, at all levels, and create connections with them through LinkedIn. Explain that you are joining the organisation on x date, doing x role, and look forward to meeting them.

2 If possible, and it feels natural, arrange to meet informally with people within the organisation in advance of officially joining the business. Creating good connections with people before you join will make the first day much smoother and mean you will already have established relationships. It also allows you to find out more about the culture and any office politics, along with some of its idiosyncrasies – things that won’t have been apparent at the interview.

3 Research as much as you can about the organisation before you join. Ask your new line manager if they can send you any background information which may not have been available to ‘outsiders’. Your boss may also be happy to send you information about specific projects being planned or undertaken so you can do the necessary research in advance.

4 In order to create the right impression in a role, it’s important to know what’s expected of you – and which matches other people’s expectations. Ensure you have a detailed job description, which has been signed off by the necessary people, an organisational chart so you can see where you fit in with the rest of the organisation, and the job descriptions of anyone who reports into you.

5 Listen and learn should be the mantra of all newbies in organisations. Pay attention to the different dynamics, ask people what they consider to be the key challenges, issues and the appropriate solutions, and listen carefully to their answers. Not only will people appreciate you taking the time to consult and listen to them, but, you will learn a great deal of useful information, and probably gain some great ideas.

6 It’s important to treat others how you would like to be treated. If you’re coming in as a boss, don’t start ordering people around and acting like ‘the big I am’. You’re far more likely to gain respect and support by offering to make someone a cup of tea, or helping them out in some way.

7 It’s important to assimilate yourself into the team quickly. Most workplaces are team environments where lone wolves stand out for all the wrong reasons. Run with the pack for a while until you understand the different dynamics, pack leaders and the pressures and challenges. Only then can you start steering it in your direction – if that’s your aim, and you are a leader within your particular team or department. How you change things will be dependent on the nature and culture of the business. You will instinctively know when you have the measure of the place, and people, and can then start to introduce change. You should by then, have won the respect and support of your team, and created a support network throughout the organisation which will ensure any changes you wish to make, happen more smoothly.

By following this advice, you can make the most of your first 100 days in your new job, ensuring that people forget you were ever a newbie.

How To Write The Best Film Review

How To Write The Best Film Review

by Guest Contributor

5 September, 2017

By Emefa Setranah English and Film student

Writing a review for anything can be extremely tricky. It is sometimes difficult to have your opinions heard over the noise of online bloggers, trolls and super fans rapidly typing away their opinions online. These days everyone's a critic and this means you’ll have to work a little harder to secure a strong readership. To create content worth clicking on, it isn’t simply about stating whether a film is good or bad. Your reader may not yet have seen the film, therefore adding as much detail (without giving away spoilers) is your best bet of writing a great review.


Before you step foot into the cinema or start scrolling through your Netflix account it is vital to learn everything you can about the film. Researching the plot may ruin the element of surprise but being one step ahead will be beneficial during the screening. If you already know where the story is going then this frees you up to focus more on the visuals and sounds, rather than on the dialogue and narrative trajectory.

Knowing extra details such as the running time, the names of the actors and the year of release will all add meat to the bones of your review and help make it as informative as possible for your reader. Always try to see the film on the day of release or soon after. If you leave it too late your review will become old news and therefore less likely to be read.

During the screening:

Try to avoid taking notes during the screening, I know this sounds unusual but if you do your research beforehand then you won’t need to jot anything down.
Taking notes is a problem because as you look down to your notepad your eyes and attention are diverted away from the screen. This is counter-productive because you might be missing key visual elements. Not to mention the darkness of the auditorium will mean you won’t be able to see what you’re writing, so just sit back and enjoy the film.

During the screening, pay close attention to the stylistic elements, can you spot anything that is iconic of this director’s style? For example, if there is lots of swearing, excessive violence, and blood then we know its classic Quentin Tarantino. When judging the performance of the actors, compare their role in the film you’re watching to their previous work. Are they performing better or worse? Is this role a risk for them, and has it paid off? How is the chemistry between the lead characters? All these questions will help you scrutinise the performances in detail.


Once the film has ended you should note a few things down if you need to. Try and recall all the stand out moments whether they were good or bad. Staying for the end credits may also teach you a few unexpected facts that can be added to your review to make it unique. Sometimes films have a blooper reel or hint towards the next sequel.

Writing your review:

Before writing anything decide what your opinion is and stick to it, nothing is more confusing for a reader than when a writer sits on the fence and tries to be diplomatic. You might find it easiest to begin by deciding how many stars you’d give the film out of five. Reading other people’s reviews can also be helpful when writing your own, however, be careful not to be influenced by someone else’s opinions.

Once you’ve written your piece have a friend or relative proofread your review. Writers tend to get too close to their work and become blind to its errors.
You may need to edit it several times before you’re happy, but that’s all part of the process. Once your review is ready and polished posting it on social media can be one of the most effective ways to get your work read.
If you have social medias that have a bio section then sharing a link to your blog or previous work can also be a great way of self-promotion.

Practice makes perfect so the more films you review the better you’ll become. However, going to the cinema for every new release can really put a strain on the purse strings. You could look into getting a membership card at your local cinema or ask for vouchers as gifts from family and friends. And who knows, one day the right person may read your reviews and offer to pay for your services.