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6 tips to help you be your own copywriter - from Fiona Mocatta

(by Elisa Woolley)

Recently, Keren and I attended a Networking Meeting for WIBN (Women In Business Networking).

Fiona Mocatta did a really good speech on Copywriting and gave us “Six tips to help you be your own copywriter” and help with every day communications. So, I thought I would share them with you!


So why are you going to that networking event?

Sometimes it’s because it’s in your calendar. You thought to yourself “I should do some networking” or even more likely, you saw an invitation to an event that looked good enough for you to spend your valuable time. Factors that may have affected your decision to choose this one:

  • You can write this off as an expense
  • A colleague of yours suggested you go along
  • You know people who are going and you want to catchup with them
  • There should be some good people there
  • It’s at a venue you wanted to go to or that looks good anyway
  • There are free drinks or food
  • You see there is a speaker there who you think you can learn from
  • Or, my favourite (and the main reason I go to networking events nowadays): You are the speaker at the event.

So, what can you do to prepare?

Take an hour. Go on, take an extra hour. Not to choose the best clothes (or do makeup and hair) but an extra hour. Where is this hour going to come from – I hear you cry! – I don’t know, wake up at 5am like Robin Sharma says!

Ok, I have fought for you to do this hour, not here’s how we are going to fill it.

Let’s prepare for this event, I promise you it will be worth it. Want to be even more time efficient? Do this for the next 3 networking events you are attending, I bet you can still use the same hour!

Your 6 point researching a networking event checklist:

  • See who the speaker is, and look them up on Twitter and LinkedIn
  • Check the event page online and see whether you can see anything about the other attendees. For example, events which have been put onto Eventbrite or Meetup actually show the people who are attending (with Eventbrite it’s just people you are friends with on Facebook who happen to say they are coming)
  • Check out the profiles of anything else interesting on LinkedIn
  • See if there is a LinkedIn group for the event and if it’s an open one, join it, if you like!
  • Tell your online network you are going! Yes, use Twitter and include the hashtag for the event, and the organiser’s Twitter handle – for example “I am really excited to be going to the #EpicNetworking event at the @LondonENC next Thursday. If you’re coming too, tweet me!”


Now you are ready, and I promise this event will mean so much more to you. Because you have put the time in to preparing, you will have the right mindset, you will bring the right energy to the event, and you will do your follow up!

Follow up – even more important than preparation

I find that for every networking event I go to, even those which aren’t “the best use of my time” and which I attended for the wrong reason (my friend was going and asked me along) still meet people who are valuable to me. The people you end up having a meaningful conversation with.

If you can hold a conversation with someone for 20 minutes at an event, then you have SOMEthings in common. And, you’d be surprised, we are more alike than youd think. So, this new connection you have, or these few new connections you have – what do you do with them?

Time for the follow up checklist!

  • You can immediately connect with them on LinkedIn – and write a personalised connection message.
  • If you promised them at the event you would send them a link to a book/event/more information/an introduction to someone, then do this too – it will make you seem thoughtful and reliable (and people like those qualities)
  • If you use Twitter, as a quick follow up, send a group tweet to the people you met who you know also use Twitter
  • You can also add them to a Twitter list (eg – “People I met while networking” or similar)
  • Check out their LinkedIn profile and if they are on Twitter, their tweets (and follow them and say hi there)
  • Once you have done this – decide – are they someone you want to meet again in the next 3 months? 6 months? Decide, and either ask them for a coffee/lunch/drinks/another event now, or make a note to do so in future.
  • My advice though – strike while the iron is hot – after all – why did you go to that event if it wasn’t to meet new people?
  • You can ask yourself if you think there is potential there for a fruitful business relationship – and hopefully friendship. If you are on the same wavelength, then why not add them to your life? I have many friends now who started out as people I met at networking events, or who I initially met on Twitter.

It is so much easier if you can say you are friends with someone as well. If you enjoy their company, you make more of an effort with meeting up with them, and that’s what makes business fun!

So, that’s it. Useful tips so you make the most of your networking time. Waste less time networking, spend more time connecting, and let me know how it goes!

On the 28th of September, 2012, JP and I (pictured below) went to spend a day learning new skills and trends at The Designer’s Fiesta – a “celebration of design and digital”, brought to London by the UK’s leading Adobe Authorised Training Centre – Academy Class. We went check out the latest trends in design and development and to hone our skills. Keren asked us to blog about it, and thought interview style would be the way to go. Read her Qs and our As below!

Chris and JP

What was the event you went to?

JP: We went to Designer’s Fiesta 3

Who was it aimed at?

JP: It was aimed at web designers and developers looking to learn something new and expand their skillset.
Chris: The Designer’s Fiesta was aimed at designers and developers to share tips and tricks from some of London’s top creatives.

Who ran the event?

JP: The event was run by Academy Class, a training centre for web developers and designers.

Was it well attended?

JP: Yes very well attended, all the rooms were full. At some of the talks people were sitting on the floors because they ran out of space.
Chris: The event was well attended with maybe around 150 people – a lot of bum’s on seats and even a few on the floor.

Did you meet any new people? Who?

Chris: Tony Harmer- Expert in Print, Academy Class. Tony spoke about Illustrator’s Colour Tools and enlightened the crowd about Adobe Bridge.

Were there speakers?

JP: There were loads of speakers there, from designers, typographers, mobile developers and industry experts.
Chris: The speakers were well prepared for hour long talks reviewing new tools and actions in Adobe Creative Suite and answering questions from the crowd.

What were they like as speakers?

JP: The speakers were really well prepared, well most of them. They gave good presentations and kept their talks interesting. My favourite speakers of the day had to be Leon Baird and Andrew Dobson. Leon’s talk on mobile development sparked an all new interest on mobile app development, and even got me think what it would be like to develop and use a Mac.

Who was the best speaker?

JP: While I really enjoyed Leon’s talk on mobile development I have to say my favourite talker was Andrew Dobson. He gave a really good talk about the industry and how it’s been developing over the years. He spoke with over 15 years experience and has been in the industry when there wasn’t standards and the job description was just figuring stuff out. He also spoke about how designers and developers should work more closely together and not as separate work stations.
Chris: The speaker who stood out for me would have to be Tony Harmer, his extensive knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite was incredible. From his knowledge of Adobe CS6 he utilises and manipulates elements over all Adobe programs to create exciting and interesting design.

What did they talk about?

JP: Most of the talks that I attended were about mobile development and responsive design. While a lot of the focus was introducing you to the basics and the concept behind the technology and what we should do to move forward in this exciting merging market.
Chris: The majority of the Designers Fiesta talks were based around the Adobe Creative Suite CS6 introducing new tools that have been added. Each presentation was funnelled into specific areas for hour long talks about : Sexy Texty – Typography, Illustrator colour tools, CSS for Photoshop fans and loads more interesting talks.

What did you learn?

JP: My answer below hopefully answers this question.
Chris: As a fan of Illustrator I found the colour tools talk by Tony Harmer very informing he spoke about colour pallets how to manipulate colour harmonies and apply them to designs. Also his talk on Adobe Bridge was very good.

What will you do now differently?

JP: I will try to break stuff more. What??? Yes I said I will break stuff more, here I will explain.
In Leon’s talk he spoke about when he worked at huge corporate company’s developers and designers were told to sit in the corner when they broke something. But when at agency’s or app/development company’s you got a pat on the shoulder. You see when you do something you know how to do the chances are you will succeed and everything will work perfectly. But when you do something you don’t know, or experiment with a new method of coding you’re bound to break something and by doing so you have to fix it and learn. In short if you’re not breaking anything you’re not learning.

What are you itching to try now that you learned about it?

JP: Oooo I am itching to try and make an app, it’s completely different to what I am used to developing but I am sure I can learn.
Chris: I really want to have a go at using bridge to utilise its tools to speed up the ‘in-between’ time between changing through programs, designing and searching for files.
Bridge provides a platform where you can organize files and create categories for speeding up design time and making the most of your time.

Would you recommend this event to others?

Chris: Yes I think the event was well worth going to, they had some very knowledgeable speakers and some good information to share.

“At one point, 50% of the CD’s produced worldwide had an AOL logo on it.”

Ahhh those were the days… Remember when an AOL CD came free with everything from a newspaper to a loaf of bread? You wouldn’t be able to get out of your house in the morning due to the pile of pointless shiny discs underneath your letterbox. On occasion, you had to take days off school or work whilst digging your way out. Our postman would feed us Mars bars through the letterbox. Digital snow days were such a nuisance in the 90s.

I think everyone knows what I’m talking about. It cost over $300 million to produce these CDs, and to what end? There were the obvious “green” issues, which are hard to ignore when you’re wasting that amount of plastic (and card packaging). I can honestly say that I never once actually used an AOL CD for it’s intended purpose – and I wasn’t alone – gaze upon the AOL Throne, or these alternate 61 uses for the spam CDs.

That's why I do BNI

I have been a member of BNI since the summer of 2002 and I am now at BNI Mayfair. During that time I have learned many skills, and I think it would be useful for anyone running their own business. BNI doesnt suit every one, as there are several rules to follow, it’s a big commitment, and the meetings occur very early in the morning. But a recent thread on Twitter inspired me to write this post.

For those who don’t know, BNI is a professional networking organisations where members meet weekly for breakfast and help each other by finding new business for each other and making referrals. These are tracked and statistics are carefully kept for attendance, participation and the amount of business passed.

I posted a Tweet with the hashtag (which is a clickable topic on Twitter) #ThatsWhyIDoBNI after doing some quick calculations.

But it’s important to note the other benefits of BNI so I have written a list of 11 things people will get out of membership.


BNI is great – Keren has been an active member for 7 years, and has seen all sorts of people from all sorts of businesses come through the system. Many left without seeing the benefits, but there always seemed to be a correlation of INPUT and OUTPUT. Our business here at Top Left Design is built on referral and we still can track a majority of our incoming enquiries back to people we wouldnt have met if it werent for Keren’s membership at BNI.

The best members of BNI have a good attitude. This means they HONESTLY believe in BNI and understand that nurturing relationships takes time, effort and good intentions! Givers gain and all that!

My top eleven tips to make your BNI membership a sure-fire success!
(Important – these tips work for ANY breakfast group of a similar nature to BNI!)

  1. Come every week
  2. Have a clear speaking voice and a clear message when you do your 60 seconds
  3. Be specific in asking for referrals
  4. Consider who your introducers would be in your business – parallel companies who can partner up with you – and ask for those as well as direct referrals.
  5. Make an effort to help their fellow BNI Members – by making introductions, giving advice, giving feedback – and avoid conflicts if you can!
  6. Spend time helping the running of the chapter itself – by taking on roles like visitor hosts/commitee members or leadership team roles.
  7. Be welcoming to visitors and follow up on them – you may be the only one in your group who does so, and they may come back to visit again because of you – or become a good contact for you.
  8. When receiving a referral, no matter how small it is, make an effort to follow it up.
  9. Have regular 1-2-1s with other members.
  10. Spending time preparing your 10minute speeches, and doing a good job with this opportunity.
  11. Attend training, at least until you feel you are comfortable – there are plenty of great ideas given at the BNI training days, plus great networking with members of other chapters.
  12. Try subbing and seeing how other BNI groups run – it really helps to expand your network and make the most of your membership.

And even with all this, you have to have a good attitude and believe in BNI. Then it works wonders!

As a bonus for reading to this point, here are some 60 second specific tips for you – FREE!

BNI 60 second tips:

  1. Don’t sell TO the group – you are asking for introductions to THEIR contacts
  2. Stand up to do your 60 seconds and also for the rererral/contributions part of the meeting too
  3. Remember – the referral part of the meeting another chance to market yourself, so make an effort to speak clearly and be specific there too!
  4. If you are doing your 10 minutes that day, the worst thing is to say “I wont bore you with my 60 seconds” – the 60 seconds part is another time to promote yourself and you need to make the most of it! A very common mistake.
  5. Use your memory hook (also known as a tagline!)
  6. Be specific when asking who you need to meet and why – as for specific companies or sectors

Related links

Hook Line and Sinker – secrets to a great memory hook
Networking – combining online and offline
BNI Mayfair chapter website