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Right now the UK is gripped by the result of the referendum.

 

For some there is jubilation, while for others there is much gnashing of teeth & wailing. Whichever way you voted, we are all now in a period of uncertainty.

 

It’s at times like this that we need to reach for the ‘sod all’ box.

 

Allow me to explain…

 

There are some things in life you can control. This is about you. You can control what actions you take, what you say and, with awareness, what you think and how you react to events.

 

There are also some things you can influence. Casting your vote on Thursday 23rd June was a way of influencing the outcome of the referendum. You can also influence others and their behaviour through your own, but, as anyone with children will tell you, you can’t control anyone else, however much you might like to!

 

Sod-all Box

Finally there’s the ‘sod all’ box, which contains all those things you can’t do anything about.

Once you have cast your vote, and the result was announced, the referendum fell into the ‘sod all’ box. In fact, anything in the past, such as what you chose to eat for breakfast or whether you had a cookie or a banana at break time now fall into this box. The weather and the traffic are other, somethings frustrating, factors that generally fall into the ‘sod all’ box.

 

 

 

The concerns we all feel about the changes which lie ahead are very natural. While we can no longer influence the vote, we may be able to influence the brexit negotiations. However, for many of us the best use of our time and energy is to focus on what we can control and what is within our immediate sphere of influence.

Use your time and energy wisely

 

Complaining about something you can no longer do anything about isn’t a wise use of these finite resources.

Focus on the things you can control and influence and try to accept calmly the contents of the ‘sod all’ box to lessen the stress of change.

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Kate Atkin

Have you ever said yes to something which seemed a good idea, but when the time came you started to view it differently?

A year ago I missed the entry deadline into the Corporate Speaking Challenge run by the School of Public Speaking. So I gaily said “put me down for next year”. Well those twelve months passed and I forgot all about it until a few weeks ago when I got an invitation to attend the heats and prepare a 6-minute speech on the theme of “everything needs to change, so that everything can remain the same”.

THE day arrives. The nerves start to kick in, even though I had prepared and practiced my speech. “Why am I doing this?” I wonder to myself…

Two days before the contest I decided to set myself an evening reminder for something unconnected, by way of a daily alarm on my phone. I chose to use a song rather than an alarm sound thinking this would be a good idea, and then promptly forgot about it. After all that’s the point of a reminder!

Back to yesterday evening… at Mintel’s offices in the City of London.  Phones are on silent, check! And double check! Ten participants, and I was speaking fourth. It comes to my turn to speak. As I am part way through the second of three points in my speech, a story about change in the British mining industry, strains of Enya are heard in the room, gradually getting louder. Yes, you’ve guessed it my alarm was interrupting my speech. What would you do?

The chap sitting near my handbag realised where the offending noise was coming from, so I had a choice. Do I carry on and ignore the noise, do I ask him to turn it off, or do I turn it off myself? Well carrying on wasn’t going to work, I was distracted and had lost my thread and my audience were distracted.  Asking a stranger to rummage in my handbag didn’t appeal, so I opted to have the bag passed to me and turned it off myself.

Interruptions happen all the time; speeches don’t always go to plan. It’s how you deal with the matter that is important. I have never interrupted myself before, and said as much to the audience, with an apology. I then paused, regrouped my thoughts, ditched a good chunk of my speech as I had lost valuable time during the incident, quickly finished my third point and jumped to my conclusion. Finishing just on the allotted 6 minutes.

So often in business we need to deal with the unexpected. Things don’t go to plan. You need to change course or miss something out. How do you deal with it?

If no-one had noticed I could have ignored the alarm and carried on. But it was obvious to others that there was something going on, and it had also put me off my flow, so I needed to “call it out”. Once named, and dealt with using a little bit of humour, the big task was to pick up where I had left off. The only reason I could do this was because of the upfront planning I had put in to writing, preparing and practising my speech.

The old adage of know your beginning and your ending held fast for me yesterday. I was able to jump to my conclusion… And still finish on time, just.

So was it a good idea? It seemed so at the time, and I am through to the finals.  Hopefully next time I’ll be able to deliver my speech without interruption!