Wednesday, June 30, 2010

CCI Resource Conference: WA's Resource Landscape - Projects on the Horizon 24th June 2010 Burswood Perth

It was great to MC this event with 375 delegates.

Key take aways:

1. There is a huge volume of resource projects on the horizon in WA
2. This will lead to skills shortages
3. The impact of these projects will happen November 2010

Pictured with keynote speaker Feisal Ahmed, Executive Vice President - project development, Woodside Energy.

Need an MC for your next event? Make an enquiry here.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Praise for Media Writing Master Class June 29th 2010 Subiaco

Public relations, public relations training, public relations campaign, public relations writing, public relations strategy, public relations plan, public relations tips, public relations resources, public relations courses, and media relations is all hard work unless you have the skills.

Here's praise from my Media Writing Master Class held in Perth on June 29th 2010.

"Content rich in a succinct format. Work book good to go back and highlight key points. Liked that there wasn't many (PowerPoint) slides!" Sarah Grove, Publications and Education Officer, REBA - Department of Commerce, St George's Tce, Perth.

"Interaction" David Shelton, Transition Capital

"Comprehensive and addressed my own goals, e-Commerce very informative" Sandra Doick, Director Community Relations, Trinity College, East Perth

Please consider our next course on September 7th 2010. Book here.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Tension Between Lawyers and PR During a Crisis

During a crisis there is always going to be tension between lawyers and PR people.

For PR people during a crisis the strategy is:

1. Tell the facts
2. Tell it early
3. Tell it all

For Lawyers it is:

1. Don't say anything
2. Deny everything
3. Don't admit anything

So you can see the natural tension on communications.

Both should be striving for the same goal - protecting the brand and reputation.

In the BP Gulf of Mexico Oil spill we can see this being played out.

Here's a link to a full article.

Want help in crisis training and crisis communications advice? Visit our website.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Analysis of Julia Gillard's First Speech As Prime Minister

How did Julia Gillard (pictured - source go in her first speech as prime minister after Kevin Rudd was forced to step aside?

Well, pretty impressive. Most of us have a fear of public speaking and public speaking doesn't come easily.

What are the public speaking tips, public speaking training, and public speaking ideas we can learn from with Julia Gillard's First speech as Prime Minister.

This is a case study on how to give a speech because you may not be able to go to any public speaking training Perth based courses of mine.

She has some solid speechwriters and advisers behind her.

At some time in your career you may have to make a speech when you take over a new role.

This could be to staff when you get a new job, it could be to a committee if you get elected to a new role for a not for profit or it could be to shareholders as a new Chairman or CEO.

We can all learn from others. So I wanted to analyse this speech not from a political perspective but from a methodology and content point of view.

Here is my analysis.

1. Hair and Make Up

Ok, if you are Kevin Rudd this is pretty simple. But for women it is more complex because women are judged by their appearance more by both men and women.

She has obviously employed a great stylist who has worked wonders.

If you look at archival photos and footage hair has always been an issue for the redhead. Her style works and has just been done for the big moment. She realises this is an important part of the image and package.

2. Wardrobe

Conservative, powerful and understated. This wins many votes as her wardrobe gives her personal power but doesn't detract from her message. Again, you can see the value in having a good stylist. The dark suit works well. The jewellery is subtle and classy. With the gold and metal theme there is a subtle message of support and empathy with the mining industry.

3. Opening

Sensational opening - really worked some magic in terms of language and the understated sense of history and occasion.

Humble and authentic in the words. Folksy, passionate and down to earth in the delivery style. Good match of content with context.

"Thank you for joining me in this jam packed room and can I say Australians one and all, it's with the greatest humility, resolve and enthusiasm that I sought the endorsement of my colleagues to be the Labor leader and to be the Prime Minister of this country. I have accepted that endorsement. I am truly honoured to lead this country which I love."

4. The Power of the Personal Story

The reflection back to South Australia and values was really impressive.

"I'm utterly committed to the service of our people. I grew up in the great state of South Australia. I grew up in a home of hardworking parents. They taught me the value of hard work. They taught me the value of respect. They taught me the value of doing your bit for the community and it is these values that will guide me as Australia's Prime Minister. I believe in a government that rewards those who work the hardest, not those who complain the loudest. I believe in a government that rewards those that day in, day out, work in our factories and on our farms, in our mines and in our mills, in our classrooms and in our hospitals, that rewards that hard work, decency and effort. The people that play by the rules, set their alarms early, get their kids off to school, stand by their neighbours and love their country."

5. The Key Theme - Leadership

Simple, compelling theme about leadership.

"I also believe that leadership is about the authority that grows from mutual respect shared by colleagues, from teamwork and from hard work, team work and spirit.

It is these beliefs that have been my compass during the 3.5 years of the most loyal service I could offer to my colleague, Kevin Rudd. I asked my colleagues to make a leadership change because I believed that a good government was losing its way. And because I believed, fundamentally, that the basic education and health services that Australians rely on and their decent treatment at work is at risk at the next election."

6. The Second Key Point - Taking Action

The second theme in the speech is about taking action. Also passion comes through.

"I love this country and I was not going to sit idly by and watch an incoming opposition cut education, cut health and smash rights at work. My values and my beliefs have driven me to step forward to take this position as Prime Minister. Today I want to make some commitments to the Australian people. I want to make firstly a commitment that I will lead a strong and responsible government that will take control of our future. A strong and responsible government improving and protecting the essential public services and basic rights our people depend on, including so importantly, their rights at work."

7. The Third Key Point - Acknowledgement

When taking over a new role - new management role, new leadership role, always acknowledge others. Even those you are competing against. All class in this area.

"I wish to make two acknowledgments. I take my full share of responsibility for the Rudd Government's record, for our important achievements, and for the errors made. I also certainly acknowledge I have not been elected Prime Minister by the Australian people. And in the coming months, I will ask the Governor General to call a general election so that the Australian people can exercise their birth right and choose their prime minister. Between now and this election, I seek their consideration and their support. And I seek that consideration and support as we emerge from the biggest financial crisis the world has faced since the Great Depression, with the lowest debt, amongst the lowest unemployment rates and the highest growth of the world's economies. This is an achievement we should be proud of. The working people, the employers, the employees, the trade unions, the small and big businesses, the employer associations who all made this possible. I give credit to every hard working Australian for what has been achieved during these difficult economic days. I give credit to the Labour giants, Bob Hawke and Paul Keating, as the architects of today's modern prosperity. I give credit to John Howard and Peter Costello for continuing these reforms and I particularly give credit to Kevin Rudd for leading the nation in such difficult times and keeping people in work. And today, I can assure every Australian that their budget will be back in surplus in 2013."

8. The Opportunity

It is always good to be positive about the future.

"So, having seen the global financial crisis and how our nation has responded, it has reinforced my belief that when this nation pulls together, we can do great things.

It's my intention to lead a government that uses that spirit and that will to do even more to harness the talents of all of our people. To do even more to make sure that every child gets a fair go in life and a great education. It's my intention to lead a government that does more to harness the wind and the sun and the new emerging technologies. I will do this because I believe in climate change. I believe human beings contribute to climate change and it is most disappointing to me, as it is to millions of Australians, that we do not have a price on carbon, and in the future we will need one. If elected as Prime Minister, I will re-prosecute the case for a carbon price at home and abroad. I will do that as global economic conditions improve and as our economy continues to strengthen."

9. The Elephant in The Room

It is always good to address the big issue in a speech. In this case it is the Resources Super Profits Tax.

"There's another question on which I will seek consensus and that is the proposed resources super profits tax. Australians are entitled to a fairer share of our inheritance, the mineral wealth that lies in our ground. They are entitled to that fairer share. But to reach a consensus, we need to do more than consult, we need to negotiate. And we must end this uncertainty which is not good for this nation. That's why today I am throwing open the government's door to the mining industry and I ask that in return, the mining industry throws opens its mind. And today, I will ensure that the mining advertisements paid for by the government are cancelled. And in return for this, I ask the mining industry to cease their advertising campaign as a show of good faith and mutual respect. Negotiations will occur with the mining industry, they will be led by the Treasurer and new Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister Martin Ferguson."

10. The Emotional Hook

Always build in an emotional hook - in this case war.

"Can I say as well as dealing with these issues, I want to say something to our troops. To our men and women at home and abroad, we're a grateful country and we acknowledge your sacrifice. Our country relies on you to keep us safe, to keep the peace and to honour the United States and the other alliances that are so important for our nation. The most recent loss of lives of brave Australian soldiers in Afghanistan and the injuries that have befallen our troops remind us all of the depth of the sacrifice that our serving men and women are called on to make. Our thoughts are certainly with the grieving families."

11. The Tribute

Always thank those you are taking over from.

"Finally, I want to pay a tribute to Kevin Rudd. Ultimately Kevin Rudd and I disagreed about the direction of the government. I believed that we needed to do better. But Kevin Rudd is a man of remarkable achievement. He made wonderful history for this nation by saying sorry to indigenous Australians, wonderful history. He was the leader who withdrew our troops from Iraq and had the foresight to reinforce our commitment in Afghanistan. He was the leader who saw us through the global financial crisis, the leader who turned his intelligence and determination to health reform, combating homelessness and closing the gap between indigenous Australians.And he came within a breath of brokering an international agreement on climate change, truly remarkable. Of course, I will be talking to Kevin Rudd about his future in the parliamentary Labor Party. I am also delighted to be standing here with the new Deputy Prime Minister, Wayne Swan. Wayne guided us through the very difficult waters of the global financial crisis, now he's guiding us back into surplus, getting the budget back into black. Wayne is an outstanding Treasurer of this country and I know he will make an outstanding Deputy Prime Minister. Of course there will need to be some consequential changes in our cabinet ministerial arrangements and I will announce them at an appropriate time."

12. The Call to Action

Always end a speech with a call to action.

"In conclusion can I say to my colleagues assembled, to the men and women of the press, I will dedicate my abilities to what I believe in: a nation where hard work is rewarded and where the dignity of work is respected; a nation that prides itself on the excellence of its education system; where the government can be relied on to provide high quality services for all Australians; an Australia that can achieve even greater things in the future.We should not be afraid of the future: a strong Australia, respected as a global force for progress, for peace and for tolerance; bright democracy for the world to admire and a sanctuary for all of our people.

Can I say to the Australian people — there will be some days I delight you, there may be some days I disappoint you, on every day I will be working my absolute hardest for you."

In summary, experience, practice, good advice and a love of language honed as a lawyer came through.

Want help building, writing and delivering a speech. Come to our next course on August 17th or join our mentor program. More details here.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Analysis of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's Last Speech

What a day in Australian politics.

An historic moment as Kevin Rudd steps down (picture AAP). It was the equivalent of having to deliver your own eulogy at your own funeral. Very difficult.

What can we learn about his last speech?

1. Wardrobe and the Blue tie

Dark suit, white shirt, blue tie. The blue tie is significant and planned.
Why? Pure blue is the color of inspiration, sincerity and spirituality. Blue is the calming color for soothing, moderation and listening. Totally opposite to red.

2. Rudd the List Maker

His list of achievements - was it 28 in all? Shows him as the process driven policy maker and not the orator.

4. Control the Environment

Everything was controlled - who was there, how long, setting. For example having his family behind him and exit door. Flanked by family and Australian flags.

5. Some Spin

"Unfinished business, beginning of new business" - sounded good as a sound bite but meant nothing.

6. Emotion

Big impact - cancer, personal story about aorta and organ donations going up.

7. Personal story

Saying sorry to indigenous people - recounting exact place, time and feelings. Very powerful and highlight of speech.

8. Humour Circuit Breaker

Admission of not blubbering made everyone laugh. Genuine, warm, authentic, vulnerable not the spin Rudd.

9. Family

Support from wife Therese - powerful in the background.

10. Rudd the Geek

Poor ending "we've got to zip" just reinforced the complex, corny and geeky character that reminds of George out of the Jetson's cartoon character. Well meaning but always a bit dorky.

In the end, the downfall was swift, a product of his own Spin.

Want help with speeches? Our next course is August 17th or try our mentor program. More details here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Words That Hurt

There's been a lot in the media in Australia about racist comments recently - all with very negative consequences. Here's three examples:

1. In Rugby League, coach, TV presenter and former great Andrew Johns, described a Queensland player as a "black c---". Dropped from coaching position and public apology.

2. Former AFL player and West Australian, Mal Brown has been hounded by the media for giving a joking speech in which he referred to Aborigines he once played with as "cannibals". Forced to publicly apologise.

3. Robert DiPierdomenico, Hawthorn AFL Legend and popular ambassador for the AFL's Auskick program in an admiring reference to Gavin Wanganeen, in which he detailed the fellow Brownlow winner's honours, he added: "Not bad for an Abo." Now dumped from the job.

So what went wrong and why are their reputations of these sporting legends now tarnished for their public comments?

Well in a media statement today, the head of one of sport’s premier ‘fair play’ programs is concerned the problem runs far deeper than a few wisecracks.

Steve Rossingh, Executive Director of the Northern Territory Department of Natural Resources, Environment, The Arts and Sport and co-chair of Play by the Rules, a national initiative to encourage fair play in sport, says racism in any form is just that: racism.

“Any comment that is derogatory, insulting or offensive is disrespectful and saying it as a joke is no defence. I fear that racist comments like those we’ve heard recently are really symptoms of an underlying prejudice.”

But Rossingh was quick to point out that racism isn’t just evident in elite sport and that everyone in sport has a responsibility to see that their sport is welcoming and inclusive..

“Club sport lies at the heart of our communities and, although the elite sports stars can provide important role models, it’s the parents, coaches, players and administrators in clubs all over the country who must also play a role in addressing racism.

“Racism is hurtful and damaging and pointless – it can also be unlawful. There’s no place for it in sport. In fact, sport offers a wonderful opportunity to put our differences aside and engage in friendly and sometimes fierce competition with people regardless of their backgrounds, skin colours or the language they speak. Sport can be a great leveller.”

Rossingh believes the current debate provides an opportunity for all sports to consider the culture of their clubs and what they can do to promote fair and inclusive environments for participation.

“It’s disappointing to hear people we respect using racist language but, if we can acknowledge that racism exists, rather than laughing it off, we can start to actually do something about it.”

Play By The Rules offers online training, information and resources for clubs and sporting organisations to ensure everyone involved in sport can do so in enjoyable, safe environments, free from discrimination or harassment.

Play by the Rules is a unique partnership between the Australian Sports Commission, Australian Human Rights Commission and all state and territory sport and recreation and anti-discrimination agencies.

Want to avoid this happening to you in a speech.

Here are some options:

1. Never swear in a speech or near a microphone
2. Never make racist comments

Please consider our next Speechwriter and Speech building seminar in Perth on August 17th 2010 or our personal mentor program. More details here.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Name Change for BP?

By Thomas Murrell MBA, CSP International Business Speaker

Imagine you are the CEO of BP.

At the outset of the crisis you say "it's just a drop in the ocean" and will cause “minimal damage”.

Later you say to reporters "I want my life back", forgetting about the 11 people who were killed.

BP's reputation in the oil and gas world and the wider community is now damaged forever and the once proud British company becomes the butt of jokes:

"British Petroleum said that if this spill gets worse, they may soon have to start drilling for water." -- Jay Leno.

“When I went to lunch and ordered the sea bass, they asked if I wanted it regular or unleaded," David Letterman quipped recently on his CBS show.

How do we know when a crisis is a crisis? When the media tell us it is a crisis.

On Twitter the tweets for “What does BP stand for?” come back – “Bad PR”, “Bloody Pathetic” and “Bad People”.

Reputations take years to build through carefully crafted marketing campaigns but they can be lost in seconds during a crisis like the one BP has experienced.

ExxonMobil has revealed at a hearing in Washington its emergency response plan includes 40 pages on dealing with the media and only nine on dealing with an oil spill.

What message does this send about their priorities?

There's even speculation BP might be bought by a rival such as ExxonMobil or Shell.

As a strategy, should BP change it's name following the US Gulf of Mexico oil spill?

BP's name now is inextricably linked with the worst man-made environmental disaster in U.S. history.

No amount of PR spin can change that reality.

A name change for companies facing negative public opinion is nothing new.

In the US, ValuJet, never recovered from a 1996 air crash. It is now AirTran.

Philip Morris tobacco became Altria in 2003.

In 1991, Kentucky Fried chicken announced that it was officially changing its name to "KFC".

The public relations reason given for the name change was that health-conscious consumers associated the word "fried" with "unhealthy" and "high cholesterol," but it was actually the trade marking of the name Kentucky that forced the name change plus a general trend towards a shortening of names.

Myths surround name changes and there is a misconception that the name change from Andersen Consulting to Accenture was the consulting firm's attempt to "hide" from the Enron scandal. This is not accurate given the timing of events.

Besides a name change, what else should BP do now from a PR perspective?

Here's some suggestions from various media articles:

**1. Set up a compensation fund.**

This needs to be a quick process to compensate those whose lives and livelihoods the oil spill has damaged and this is already being talked about in Washington and implemented.

**2. Go ultra-green.**

Some argue BP should become the oil industry's pro-environment leader with a number of substantive, concrete actions.

**3. Offer free product**

Free offers always work in trying to placate unhappy customers. Free BP product could go to churches, schools and charities in affected areas, and steep discounts could go to area residents for a specific time period.

**4. Assemble a panel.**

An independent panel of experts should take the long view of the crisis although this is happening as the heads of some of the world's biggest oil companies are being currently grilled in Washington.

**5. Listen to residents.**

The best way to build credibility is by listening instead of talking. BP should host regular town meetings with community members.

**6. Personalize BP.**

We saw this tactic implemented by Western Power after a power crisis on a hot, sticky February 2003 day in Western Australia.

This was a classic case of what can go wrong when a public utility fails to communicate with the community. Known as “Black Wednesday” the problems started when Perth residents and businesses were asked to swelter out forty-plus degree heat without their air conditioners and fridges or risk fines of up to $10,000.

Western Power apologised for its “inadequate and incomplete communication” over the power crisis and then spent millions on expensive TV commercials in an attempt to rebuild its reputation, trust and goodwill with the community of Perth.

It tried to make public heroes of community members and Western Power workers. BP could try the same although I doubt a cynical public would believe the ads.

**7. Fire the culprit.**

Certainly President Obama is mad and wants to sack the person judged ultimately responsible for the leak, whether it's the head of deepwater drilling or the CEO.

**8. Poll the public.**

Regular, in-depth public polling should take place now and for months to come to find out what actions the public supports and what actions it doesn't.

**9. Share the data.**

All that BP learns should be shared with government officials, academics and rivals.

Although this could backfire as ExxonMobil in particular was ridiculed at a hearing in Washington recently for including plans to deal with walruses - an animal whose range is confined to the Arctic - in its plans for a Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

**10. Be humble.**

After the oil leak stops, don't brag.

Here are 5 lessons all leaders should be aware of when dealing with the community over a public issue:

1. Plan for a crisis in advance.
2. Clarify your communication objectives.
3. Determine your spokesperson and road test their skills prior to a crisis.
4. Stick to the facts. Show empathy with those affected.
5. Develop an open and honest relationship with the media, avoid "No Comment" and be proactive.

Please consider:
Tuesday August 3rd 2010, Subiaco Arts Centre, Perth, Australia
Winning the Media Game

Numbers are strictly limited so book here].

Monday, June 21, 2010

More PR Problems With Perceptions for BP Boss

In PR, perception is reality. So how do you deal with the media during a crisis? How do you test a crisis plan? How improtant is crisis communications? What to do in a crisis?

So what is the perception of the BP boss Tony Hayward sailing at the weekend in a $600,000 plus luxury yacht off the Isle of Wight as the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster continued?

It is not a good look.

BP'S boss was blasted yesterday for going sailing - as it emerged the firm is even being sued by a STRIP CLUB.

President Barack Obama's chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said it was another in a "long line of PR gaffes" by Mr Hayward.

Referring to Mr Hayward's earlier moan that he wanted "his life back", he said: "He's got his life back, as he would say."

BP is believed to have approved a scheme last week to raise $60 billion to cover damages - and has already received 64,000 claims.

In a crisis the rules are communicate the news early, communicate all of it and be the one to tell it.

In this case actions speak louder than words. Arrogance is a word many disgruntled stakeholders would be using.

Need help roadtesting your crisis plan to deal with the media and avoid PR gaffes like this? Need strategic advice. Contact us now.

Friday, June 18, 2010

CEOs Behaving Badly - DJ's Share Price Falls 4% After Inappropriate Behaviour Towards Female Staff Member

What happens when the CEO of ASX publicly listed upmarket department store David Jones resigns after a female staff member makes allegations about inappropriate behaviour towards her?

The termination of the contract of Mark McInnes as CEO and board member would be effective immediately, Sydney-based David Jones said in a statement to the ASX.

Mr McInnes admitted to behaving "in a manner unbecoming of a chief executive to a female staff member" at two recent company functions.

Under the circumstances, the board and Mr McInnes agreed that it was in the best interest of shareholders and the company for his employment to be mutually terminated, the company statement said.

Mr McInnes's settlement payment will be less than his contractual entitlement after working for 13 years at David Jones and seven as CEO.

Well, the retailer's shares fell 3.76 per cent to $4.34 at 1027 AEST, against a 0.16 per cent in the benchmark index.

Appointed CEO on December 10, 2002, Mr McInnes oversaw a significant rise in the company's share price.

From $1.06 shortly before his appointment, the share price peaked at $5.91 during his tenure and was $4.51 when the market closed on Thursday.

Mr McInnes has succeeded in improving the profitability of David Jones. In the last full year of his tenure, David Jones reported profit after tax of $156.5 million and sales of $1.99 billion. That was an increase from the $25.5 million net loss from sales of $1.71 billion for the 52 weeks to July 27, 2002.

So by any standards his performance as CEO has been good for shareholders.

What went wrong?

Well, CEOs are the custodians of culture and an organisation is driven by its vision, mission and values. The values are an organisation's moral compass and the CEO is the custodian and visible and tangible walking talking embodiment of these values.

When the CEO behaves badly it reflects of the whole company. This is especially important for a retailer where customer service is critical.

The Board acted correctly in the interests of shareholders and acted quickly. In a case like this swift action is needed and it is important to be proactive and make a public statement and hold a media conference.

The lessons here for leaders and CEOs, when you are in a leadership role your behaviour is under the spotlight 24/7. You are in public life 24/7. There is no off switch. If you can't handle this you are not up to becoming CEO of a listed company and the responsibilities that this involves.

Want more help on how values impact on leadership and the share performance of your publicly listed company? Book Tom for a Boardroom presentation for your Directors. Enquire here.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Can You Predict the Stockmarket?

Predicting future movements in the stock market is the holy grail for any investor or investor relations professional.

Investor relations advice, investor relations training, investor relations courses and investor relations consultants are all good ways to get a better understanding of how share investors behave.

But a new report in journal New Scientist (19th June) argues that analysing blogs and tweets can provide insights into how the stock market may move.

Google has discovered how the volume of searches for certain products such as homes, cars and other products fell in line with monthly sales figures.

They believe this is a better and instantaneous forecasting tool compared to analysing past sales figures.

Other researchers according to the article have found terms like "job search engine" are a good indicator of coming changes in the unemployment rate.

My good friend Charlie Gunningham at always said their real estate portal was always three months ahead of any residential sales trends.

The bottom line is that blogs provide a sample of what is going on in society and especially for capturing the economic mood of society.

I predict we will see more research in this area and this will relate to investor relations advice, investor relations training, investor relations courses and investor relations consultants.

Looking for help in investor relations advice, investor relations training, investor relations courses and investor relations consultants?

Please contact us through our website.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Wesfarmers Warns Super Tax Woeful

Wesfarmers has played the dividend card in its criticism of the federal government's resources super profits tax

It told shareholders the tax could dent dividends paid to shareholders.

Wesfarmers, a top 100 ASX listed diversified conglomerate warns its shareholders the tax could have significant flow-on effects for the broader economy and society.

It is concerned about the impact on its retail chains including Coles that is being paid off by the cash generated by it's coal division.

"This (coal) division has been very important to Wesfarmers since we first acquired the now Premier Coal business in 1989," Wesfarmers said in a letter to shareholders.

"Cashflows from the division during periods of high export coal prices have enabled us to undertake expansions at group level (much of the acquisition of Coles Group in 2007) with confidence.

"They have also supported Wesfarmers paying a significant component of our after-tax profits in dividends to our shareholders.

"Any threat to earnings is clearly a threat to the level of dividend we can pay you, our shareholders."

"That flow-on effect on a broadly based conglomerate like ours might be seen as analogous to the potential impact of the tax, not just on the resources industry, but on the wider national economy."

Wesfarmers said its resources division paid an effective tax rate of 41 per cent last year, comprising state royalties plus company tax.

This is a great example of effective shareholder communications.

Want to learn more about investor relations and stakeholder communications? Enquire now about how we can help.

Monday, June 14, 2010

What Makes A Good Annual Report?

It's coming up to the end of the financial year. So it's Annual report writing season.

Whether you are a not for profit or a large multi-national, writing annual reports is a specialised skill.

So how do you write a good annual report?

Here are three tips and a case study.

1. Write clearly - remember clear writing is a sign of clear thinking.

2. Write for your specific audience - is it investors, volunteers or staff?

3. Good structure - this is the key to a good report - an outstanding and logical structure.

Case Study: Gladstone Ports Receives Report of the Year Award in Australasian Reporting Awards (ARA) 60th Anniversary

Gladstone Ports Corporation was the clear-cut winner of the 2010 Report of the Year Award in a year highlighted by very high standards of reporting.

The ARA judges commented that the Gladstone Ports annual report is an excellent example of reporting. “It skilfully accommodates the information needs of its various readers: government ministers, industry and business groups, port users, employees and the local community.”

“From high-level overviews through to the details, the report links Gladstone Ports’ activities and outcomes with its commitment to pursuing its mission and upholding its values. The tone strongly underpins the organisation’s dedication to achieving its commercial aims while providing best practice outcomes for the local community and the environment.”

The Awards were presented at the 60th Anniversary ARA Awards Presentation Dinner held at the Hilton Sydney on Thursday, 11 June attended by senior executives of major corporate, government and not-for-profit organisations from around Australia, and from New Zealand.

The ARA Awards are essentially a benchmarking activity - not a competition. They were introduced 60 years ago to help improve the quality of annual reports. Reports are assessed against the ARA criteria which are based on world best practice and updated regularly as statutory requirements and stakeholder expectations change. Organisations that satisfy the ARA criteria to different extents receive a Gold, Silver or Bronze Award.

The ARA also presents Special Awards for reporting in areas that are critical to the performance and accountability of an organisation. These include Electronic (Online) Reporting, Communication, Governance, Knowledge Capital, Occupational Health and Safety, and Sustainability.

ARA Chairman Tim Sheehy said, “That 40 organisations received Gold Awards and 84 others received Silver Awards indicates many organisations in Australia and New Zealand are very concerned about the quality of their reporting, and that the quality of the best reports in Australia and New Zealand is very high by world standards.”

“It also indicates the ARA and its strong supporters, such as the professional associations CPA Australia and Chartered Secretaries Australia, have been very effective in promoting the need for high quality reporting and in helping organisations to improve their performance.”

The ARA sets criteria to guide report preparation (and adjudication); holds an annual seminar on how to prepare an effective annual report; reviews reports and rewards the organisations that satisfy the Criteria with an Award. The ARA also offers constructive feedback to the people responsible for preparing reports entered in the Awards on what was done well, what could be done better and how to do it in their next report.

Interested in writing more clearly for specific audiences? Come to our Media Writing Masterclass on Tuesday June 29th at the Subiaco Arts Centre in Perth from 9am to 12.30pm. Book here.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Why Kevin Wore A Blue Tie in Perth?

PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd (pictured photo source ABC News) wore a blue tie when he addressed the Perth Press Club this week to defend his resource super-profits tax.


Because blue is the colour of conciliation. Of compromise. It sends the subtle message - I'm listening, I'm with you, I'm not battling against you.

The mining tax is dominating the media in the resource rich and wild West.

During the speech and in media interviews afterwards he was right on message with his words matching his blue tie.

His message; he was in Perth to listen, to consult, and to consider, but all the same, he believed the tax was “about right”.

Pictures are compelling because a photo of Australia’s billionaire, mining magnate Andrew Forrest, in warm embrace with Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop, on the front page of The West Australian and Australian Financial Review newspapers was a telling example of how the mood is changing.

There is a very strong perception that Mr Rudd has miscalculated public opinion over the mining industry tax and is working really hard to change that public opinion.

The master of spin and his advisors understand the subtle power of colour.

What colours do you wear during an important presentation? What subtle message do you want to send to your audience? Think carefully about your personal brand matching your message when you appear on television or in front of an audience.

Pay attention to the small details to make a big impression.

Learn more at our speech writing and speech building seminar in Perth on Tuesday 15th June 2010. Book here.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

How's Business?

How's Business? This is the most common question I get asked by friends, family and colleagues?

So how do you answer?

Do you remain positive and smile?

Or do you open up and pour your heart out about how tough business conditions are?

Or do you pass off the question with a pleasantry?

Well how about answering with some facts! That will blow away your competitors and embed you in the mind of your prospects.

So what are the facts on business at the moment? Well, do some research for your country, geographical area or industry niche.

For those in Australia here are the facts according to the latest survey:

Record slump in Australian business confidence

Australia has experienced a record fall in business confidence during the quarter, surpassing the declines experienced during the height of the Global Financial Crisis, according to the Sensis® Business Index released today.

The quarterly survey began in 1993 and provides the latest snapshot of small and medium enterprise (up to 199 employees) business activity in Australia. It is based on a sample size of approximately 1,800 from metropolitan and regional areas, interviewed between 6 May and 3 June 2010.

Report author Ms Christena Singh said business confidence had plummeted on the back of soft demand, low profitability and weakening economic conditions.

“The substantial fall in business confidence this quarter has negated the healthy results we had been seeing during the last half of 2009.

“We now have more businesses worried about their prospects than we had this time last year.

“Nevertheless, business confidence, overall, remains much stronger than the record low level seen in March 2009,” Ms Singh explained.

The report shows businesses are also expecting trading and economic conditions to deteriorate further during the next 12 months.

Sales fell strongly during the quarter and the indicator is now trending near the low levels experienced 12 months ago.

“Businesses are not expecting demand to improve in either the coming quarter or in the year ahead,” she said.

Profitability also declined sharply, although remains stronger than it was 12 months ago.

Employment by small businesses did improve during the quarter, but from last quarter’s low level. “We are still seeing a landscape where more businesses are shedding staff than hiring, and lack of work remains the key barrier to employment.”

To add to business’ woes, Ms Singh said there had been a further tightening in the availability of credit during the quarter.

Business support for the government also fell strongly during the quarter, taking it to the lowest level since August 2008.

Key reasons for disapproval include perceptions the government does not provide incentives for small businesses, that taxation is too high, and there is too much bureaucracy and government interference.

Want help getting out of a slump? Consider our 3-month small business mentor package. Visit our website for contact details.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Reaching the Unreachable Customer Through Social Media With Tom Abbott

Reaching the Unreachable Customer Through Social Media with Tom Abbott

Pictured with Tom Abbott, fellow speaker at the Optimise Your Online Performance ST701 Seminar on Digital Marketing Strategies held at the Singapore Press Holdings Auditorium, SPH News Centre, Singapore on Tuesday 25th May 2010.

Listen to this podcast of an interview with Tom.

Download the link.
Click here to download…

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

DBS Leadership and Learn Lunch Presentation Singapore May 2010

Pictured with delegates and Keith Sng, DBS Learning & Development, Group HR - Talent Management, DBS Bank, Singapore.

Topic: Reputational Capital – How to Build, Brand and Sustain Your Corporate, Professional or Personal Reputation

How to Attract, Win and Retain Even More Profitable Customers through the gravity effect of a Strong Reputation

Like financial capital – reputational capital flows to where it’s wanted and stays where it’s well looked after. Reputations take years to build and you can be lost in seconds. You can buy a logo or an image, but you have to earn a reputation. Those organizations with the strongest internal values have the most powerful external reputations. Organizations with the strongest reputations are the most profitable. Reputations are forged during difficult times. There has never been a better time to invest in your corporate, professional or personal reputation.

Explore how to use reputation building strategies to make you and your organization more profitable. Learn the powerful secrets of the new concept of “Reputational Capital”

Key Takeaways:

Understand the simple yet powerful formula for building reputation: VISIBILITY + CREDIBILITY = PROFITABILITY
Learn techniques to harness the “Gravity Effect” of a strong reputation
Gain insights into the differences between core, built and perceived reputations
Define your unique reputational point of difference (RPOD)

About The Presenter:

Thomas Murrell MBA CSP is a multi-award winning broadcaster, international business speaker, author and advisor who is recognised globally as the number one authority on how to build, brand and sustain reputational capital. Described by the Australian Institute of Management as "one of Australia’s leading management thinkers and practitioners" he has more than 26 years experience in media, marketing and management. His latest book, Understanding Influence for Leaders at All Levels (co-author McGraw-Hill) is published in seven countries including the USA and UK.

Book Tom to speak at your next event. Make an enquiry here.