|Posted on March 24, 2017 at 1:05 PM||comments (0)|
21 March 2017 –
Poetry gives us hope, the United Nations cultural agency today said, lauding verse's ability to shake us from everyday life and remind us of the surrounding beauty and the resilience of the shared human spirit.
In her message for World Poetry Day, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UESCO) Director-General Irina Bokova quoted from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
We have not wings, we cannot soar;
But we have feet to scale and climb
By slow degrees, by more and more,
The cloudy summits of our time.
“As old as language itself, poetry remains more vital than ever, in a time of turbulence, as a source of hope, as a way to share what it means to live in this world,” Ms. Bokova said.
“By celebrating poetry today, we celebrate our ability to join together, in a spirit of solidarity, to scale and climb 'the cloudy summits of our time',” she noted, in reference to Mr. Longfellow's poem.
UNESCO proclaimed 21 March as World Poetry Day in 1999, calling poetry a “a social need” which anchors people to their roots.
One of the main objectives of the Day is to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities.
UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity includes dozens of forms of oral expression and poetry, from the Tsiattista poetic duelling of Cyprus, the Ca trù sung poetry of Viet Nam and Al-Taghrooda to the traditional Bedouin chanted poetry of Oman and the United Arab Emirates.
World Poetry Day also celebrates poetry's power to aid peace. UNESCO's new Goodwill Ambassador for Artistic Freedom and Creativity, Deeyah Khan, has said, all art, including poetry, “has the extraordinary capacity to express resistance and rebellion, protest and hope.”
In her message today, the Director-General said that the spirit of solidarity created by poetry is essential to reaching the goals set by the international community to fight inequality, poverty and climate change.
“We need this to take forward the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to implement the Paris Climate Agreement, to ensure no woman or man is left behind,” said Ms. Bokova.
|Posted on March 24, 2017 at 11:55 AM||comments (0)|
In our series of letters from African journalists, Yousra Elbagir looks at how Sudan's young poets are reviving the nation's tradition of lyrical resistance.
President Omar al-Bashir's government likes to keep a tight rein over Sudan's media and cultural institutions, with state-endorsed competitions and publications trying to replace a once-thriving poetry scene.
A heavy police presence in the capital has discouraged the spontaneous poetic outbursts that were once commonplace on the streets of central Khartoum or the tree-lined pathways of its historic university campus.
But in typical Sudanese fashion, coercion has only spurred resistance. Intimate gatherings and online forums have sprung like roses from the concrete.
NWN is one group that has successfully carved out a space.
Founded five years ago, the spoken-word poetry event has relied on mailing-list invites and donated venues to escape censorship and police intervention.
A platform for free expression, where Arabic and English-speaking poets enjoy what my friend Sara Elhassan describes as an open mic that is actually "open".
A luxury in the heavily guarded city, the event has survived raids, threats and scrutiny from National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), which reserves the right to disband public gatherings.
It has even resonated around the world when a video of a poetic performance in Arabic and English by Ms Elhassan went viral in 2014.
'More than a pretty face'
The poem, a response to a Sudanese professor's comment on television that he was unhappy about the unsatisfying levels of beauty exhibited by his country's women, put fresh air into the stale public arena of discussion and expression.
"Apparently, we're nothing but… pretty faces put on display, to be bought and sold, and later stored as after-thoughts. Pretty faces mounted and hung on the wall like deer heads. Prizes prized, till the novelty dies - then later casually thrown into conversations," reads an excerpt from the piece.
Each time these words were shared on Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter, social commentary, usually monopolised by politicians and academics, was broadened.
The performance not only represented a new era of debate but inadvertently paid homage to Sudan's history of oral poetry as a battle cry and assertion of identity.
In World War Two, famous poet and praise-singer Aisha Al-Falatiya took to the battlefield to support Sudanese soldiers fighting Axis powers under British rule, motivated by the prospect of independence.
The troops were cheered on by her lyrics, which likened the power of fascist leaders Hitler and Mussolini to "a foreign coin with no value in our market".
Once used to provoke national feeling, poetry is now used by contemporary Sudanese poets to wrestle with a conflicted national identity.
The Arabisation campaign under President Bashir has shaped the social landscape, leading popular culture in the East African nation towards the Arab world.
Grappling with African, Arabic and Islamic identities, many poets like Al-Saddig Al-Raddi turn to the nuances of their own heritage in resistance.
His political voice saw him censored and thrown in prison in Sudan. He now lives in London and is considered one of Africa's best contemporary poets.
Award-winning Sudanese-American poet Safia Elhillo tours the US, inviting audience members to ponder her complex concept of "home", weaving images of her grandparent's home in Khartoum with her childhood home in Maryland in both Arabic and English.
In 2015, Darfur-born Yale poet Emitihal Mahmoud won the Individual World Poetry Slam with a poem called "Mama". A tribute to her mother and striking recount of how she led their escape from their burning village in Sudan.
Similar to how olden spoken poetry transformed into folk songs, a whole genre of classic mainstream Sudanese music - known as al-Haqeeba - is rooted in the landmark poems of Wad Al-Rabi, Omar Al-Bana, Khalil Farah and Sayed Abdelaziz.
Spurred on by revolutions against British colonial powers, Al-Haqeeba took off in the 1920s and was the soundtrack for popular uprisings and cultured resistance in the capital.
In what can only be described as a modern renaissance, Haqeeba songs have recently been remixed by young Sudanese producer Sammany.
The collection, called Briefcase, has been played more than 250,000 times on Soundcloud.
It samples classic songs that borrow lyrics from love poems or poems on national pride.
The collection, blends reggae, electro and house beats with Sudanese music in a way that epitomises how many young people in the country feel: connected to their nation's rich culture but also mainstream global trends, sounds and tastes.
Just as its soldiers historically marched to lyrics of resistance, empowerment and heritage against foreign ruling powers, Sudan's youth now sing along to their own tune to fight censorship and control, with the world as their stage.
|Posted on March 2, 2017 at 7:55 AM||comments (0)|
The Camden Roundhouse’s popular The Last Word festival returns for a fourth year this Spring, with shows set to tackle the political and social climate in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidency and Brexit.
From May 28 until June 10, performers, actors and artists are set to address issues including diversity, immigration, post-truth politics, mental health and even threats to London nightlife.
Highlights include a revival of South Londoner Sabrina Mahfouz’s critically acclaimed play, With a Little Bit of Luck, which travels back to a hot summer night when old-school UK Garage was king.
The British Egyptian poet and playwright is also set to address perceptions around British Muslim women in an evening called The Things I Would Tell You.
Identity will too be a theme in Coat, a show from British Nigerian spoken word artist Yomi, while Caleb Femi, the first young people's laureate for London, will present a show addressing migration, assimilation and London gang culture.
Elsewhere, Rizzle Kicks rapper Jordan Stephens will present his first spoken word show Rats with Wings. Details are presently being kept under wraps, but the show will offer Stephens' take on his experiences of moving from a life of excesses to one of simplicity. Last year, Stephens worked with the YMCA to launch a campaign to raise awareness of mental health issues in young people.
The Roundhouse’s artist-in-residence, Erin Bolen, will also present a piece about mental fragility, What We Leave Behind, themed around grief and loss.
Rachel Nelken, The Last Word Producer said, “I’m incredibly excited about this year’s The Last Word festival, fast becoming a key event in the UK arts calendar. The festival this year sees spoken word in all its forms; everything from one person stand up theatre shows, to a full on garage music rave in the Roundhouse’s iconic Main Space!
"The 2017 festival explores some really topical and important themes - migration, identity, gentrification, truth in a post-truth world, grief, loss and mental health issues. An annual highlight is our established Poetry Slam featuring the most amazing new poets in the UK. Also this year, we’ll be featuring some great new ‘gig theatre’ – for those who like their gigs with a theatre twist!”
Other established acts on the bill include hysterical surrealist John Hegley.
For more information, visit roundhouse.org.uk
|Posted on March 2, 2017 at 7:45 AM||comments (0)|
In paralyzing times, art can shake off the stalemate and set new wheels in motion. That's the hope of Chicago poet Kevin Coval, who will publish a new collection of poems this April, which features a foreword by Chance The Rapper. Titled A People's History of Chicago, the book chronicles "the history of Chicago through 77 poems, from before white folks arrived to the Cubs winning the world series."
One of the poems — "Baby Come On: An Ode to Footwork" — has been brought to life in a thrilling meeting of three hyper-lucid art forms: music, dance, and poetry. In the video above, Chicago footwork dancer Litebulb makes thunderbolt shapes in a corner-store over an impassioned reading of the poem by Coval, all of which is set to the final minutes of Chance The Rapper's brightly-hued “Everything’s Good (Good Ass Outro)." Coval's words seem to bounce off Litebulb's limbs — "Tip toe kung fu kick/ Then drag the foot in molasses" — as Chance's chipmunked ad-libs of "juke, juke, juke" circle them both.
"I am continually amazed at the ingenuity and genius of young people," Kevin Coval told The FADER over email. "Footwork is an extension of House, sped up in the rich and constantly evolving tradition of Black Diasporic movements. I wanted to tribute a dance culture I have witnessed in small and large spaces in the city that creates so much style and so much heartbreak."
"My initial thoughts on the poem were curious ones, interested in hearing how someone else's perspective from another part of Chicago would be like interpreting our culture," Litebulb told The FADER. "I was really impressed on how Kevin gave thanks to some important figures throughout the poem, and gave notion to certain signature moves only done inside of our culture. The overall video works well and gives a taste of what's it's like walking to the store for me, a Footworker, in Chicago."
|Posted on February 22, 2017 at 7:55 AM||comments (0)|
‘Black Man with the Black Hands’ is a poem by Tiana Marie Ford, and has been doing the rounds across social media
BLACK MAN with the Black Hands is a moving response to police brutality in America.
The four-minute video serves as a medium to celebrate and honour our black men from the past, present, and future, as spoke word artist Tiana Marie Ford performs the poem.
|Posted on October 21, 2016 at 4:05 PM||comments (3)|
The past few weeks the news has been focused on women and the issue of sexual assault. Presidential Nominee Donald Trump began a wave of outrage and speaking out with a video tape from several years ago. Donald was caught on tape bragging to Billy Bush about what amounts to sexually assaulting women because he is famous. Since that tape was released, numerous women have come forward about stories about being assaulted by Donald Trump. And on a larger scale, women have come forward with their stories of assault to offer a clearer picture of how common some of these instances are.
We are so empowered by all of the incredible women coming forward with their brave stories, and we hope this will create a positive and powerful dialogue.
But it’s important to note that men need to join the discussion too. It can start with pieces like this one by Steve Connell. He wrote and performs this powerful spoken word about men’s place and responsibility in the conversation about abuse.
We are the Lions
This is such a powerful piece, and what we love about it is that it takes responsibility. It encourages people to see and speak and act in order to stop violence against women, and that is such an important message. Steve starts saying that he doesn’t have a problem with talk and the occasional crude joke between friends.
“However, I do have a problem with violence and cruelty and rape and abuse. And even if we know it’s just me, it’s just you, it’s just a few harmless jokes between me and my dudes that still perpetuates culture where it’s easy to confuse the link between the jokes and the bruise.”
Steve uses the metaphorical story of a village where lions keep killing women and girls in the night. The men try to wait it out and protect women, but it doesn’t work. Finally, they realize the men are turning into lions and killing the women and girls.
“And if we aren’t the lions, we are on their side. Too often standing proudly in defense of the pride perhaps afraid that if we stand with women against the lion we will be devoured, and so ironically to prove we aren’t cowards we become cowards, to prove we aren’t weak, we become weak, to prove we are still lions, we become sheep.”
We appreciate this powerful message, and we hope everyone takes Steve’s message to heart. This is a problem that men need to speak up for as well as women.
If we’re going to fix this, it’s going to be together!
|Posted on October 21, 2016 at 3:35 PM||comments (0)|
ART CAN OCCUPY a space in society where it reaches out and engages people, inspiring those on the fringes to raise their voices for social justice and to become involved with prominent issues in the world around them.
That’s what the organisers of the Lingo spoken word festival believe, and they’re putting socially engaged poetry at the forefront of their festival this year.
Spoken word and performance poetry has grown in popularity in Ireland over the past number of years, with open mic nights, spoken word gigs, and poetry slams a common feature in cities across the country.
Lingo Festival was started two years ago to try to bring these disparate elements of the spoken word scene together in one place for a weekend, and to raise awareness of the role of art (in this case, spoken word poetry) in Irish society.
It will take place this weekend in Dublin city across multiple venues. The festival – now in its third year – hosts homegrown and international spoken word acts in a wide range of events.
Art for change
This year, one the central themes is focusing on art (in this case, spoken word poetry) and how it can be used as a vehicle for bringing about social engagement and change.
“The theme is to show how this artform and others can be used to affect real social change,” Linda Devlin, one of the festival organisers, told TheJournal.ie.
Linda is the only person of the festival founders who is not a poet in her own regard. Her background is in community involvement.
“At the start I think we all saw the transformative effect poetry could have on people and were thinking there was more we could do with this,” she said.
This year the festival will feature the likes of Blindboy Boatclub from the Rubberbandits and Panti Bliss, as well as other performers and poets who have used artistic expression to highlight prominent social issues.
Questioning the status quo
Sarah Clancy, a poet and community activist from Galway, will feature as this year’s festival poet laureate.
“They had this idea of the theme of this festival being about the power of poetry or the power of raising your voice for social justice this year,” Clancy told TheJournal.ie.
And I suppose that’s something that I’ve spoken up about on various different occasions in the past.
Clancy said that her poetry is “political”, not in the sense of party politics, but more in always questioning how things are.
“Art’s job – if it has a job – is to question the status quo, not to ever accept it,” she said.
She said that since the economic collapse, social movements – like the water charges protests, the marriage equality referendum or the recent Repeal the Eighth campaign – have had a strong artistic element to them.
“In some ways poetry is the perfect vehicle because it can deliver a message in ways that really affect people,” she said.
There’s a reason why people who have no use for poetry in their daily lives suddenly find themselves using it at funerals, or using it to mark ceremonies or quoting it.
Clancy said poetry can stand among other forms of expression in that it can be used effectively to inspire or mobilise people.
“People borrow messages in poetry all the time, even without realising it,” she said.
Last year, the festival played host to top international acts like Saul Williams and Holly McNish as well as a wealth of homegrown talent.
This year will be no different, and will see acts like US hip hop and spoken word artist Sage Francis (supported by Ballymun rappers 5th Element) and Canadian-Palestinian spoken word artist and activist Rafeef Ziadah take to the stage.
For Clancy, the poetry of Rafeef Ziadah encapsulates what she says about poetry being able to highlight social wrongs and inspire change.
“Probably one of the most powerful pieces of spoken word poetry ever heard is her We Speak Life Sir,” said Clancy.
The poem focusses on Ziadah’s experience in Palestine and the anger and sense of injustice she feels about the state of her homeland and the world’s reaction to it.
“It’s been seen close to a million times so it’s probably better than any news article,” said Clancy.
“You can read all the news reports you want but I think when you see a young woman reacting like that you can’t help but be touched by it.
It changes you somehow. And I think at its best that’s what powerful poetry can do, it can leave you a little bit changed.
Ziadah will be performing at an event on Saturday with Clancy herself. The event will also feature an extended original piece of work by Irish poet Sorcha Fox.
The festival features a range of events across Friday, Saturday and Sunday – some will be free and some will be pay-in.
Four top poets from the four corners of Ireland will be speaking tomorrow night at the Workman’s Club, followed by a poetry slam featuring the best artists in the country; there will be a workshop specifically for young children on Sunday; and there will be open mics for anyone willing to stand up and say a few words.
“This festival is about bringing together all the elements of spoken word in the country and the talent on offer,” said Devlin.
We want to get as many people as we can to come down and enjoy it.
|Posted on July 29, 2016 at 12:40 PM||comments (0)|
“Hera Lindsay Bird has attracted the biggest hoo-ha with a poetry book I can recall,” wrote one reviewer of the New Zealand-born poet, whose recently released debut collection has become a cult bestseller in her home country. And rightly so: Bird’s frank, outrageous writing – see, for example “Keats is Dead so Fuck Me From Behind” – is in turns bleakly hilarious and peppered with pitch-perfect similes (“the days burn off like leopard print”; “Love like Windows 95”). It has made me, like many others, more excited about poetry than I have been in a long time.
She may be half a world away, but her voice seems to speak to women of my generation regardless of geography. “I love it when people who don’t usually like poetry like my poetry,” she told an interviewer recently. “It’s a mean joke, like tricking someone into joining an improv troupe.” One poem, entitled Monica after the character from the 90s sitcom Friends, has been so popular that the website that published it, The Spinoff, received more hits than it has had in its history.
That her poetry is creating such excitement isn’t just about Bird’s talent and the way she speaks to a younger audience, although those are of course major factors. As Bryan Appleyard noted in a piece for the Sunday Times, the medium is seeing a significant revival of interest that has the potential to reach a level not seen since the Victorian era, and much of it thanks to internet culture and the 24-hour news cycle.
I don’t need to tell you that we are living in strange, interesting, and often horrifying times. Rev Dr Jane Leach’s Radio 4 Thought for the Day last week reflected on how people turn to poetry in times of crisis. Through our screens and news feeds, we increasingly witness acts of violence and horror that defy straight analysis. It’s no wonder that poetry is providing emotional succour where the bleak language of news reports so often fails. And in the process, it is going viral.
It’s an amazing development, considering that poetry sells so little – though this may be changing with the revival this year of the Penguin Modern Poets series – and is often seen as rarefied, opaque and elitist, the province of small readings and dusty corners of bookshops, the hobby of pretentious white men with hefty qualifications and little beards. As an art form, it is not just met with bafflement but often with disdain and even loathing, as Ben Lerner’s new essay The Hatred of Poetry discusses at length.
Poetry has long been viewed as inaccessible. There was a sense that you had to be privileged, educated, and “in the know” in order to discover it. Not so now, in these turbulent times. After the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Good Bones by Maggie Smith went viral (“Life is short, though I keep this from my children”), and then again in the wake of Orlando.
The killing of black men by police officers in the US saw Twitter users turning to Clint Smith’s what the cicada said to the brown boy, a poem that sums up structural racism with a gut punch (“but every time they swarm you shoot / get you some wings, son / get you some wings”); the fightback against rape culture has been reflected in the flocking of millions of readers to Patricia Lockwood’s Rape Joke.
Indeed, to hear the words spoken by the poet herself is an experience in itself, one that lends itself well to what you might call “virality”. It packs an emotional punch, but also allows us to hear voices and see faces that have long been excluded from the canon of what is considered “good poetry”, whether for reasons of race, or class, or gender, or sexuality. And so Hi, I’m a Slut by Savannah Brown has over 1m YouTube hits, as does Dominique Christina’s The Period Poem, Javon Johnson’s cuz he’s black and Hollie McNish’s moving poem about breastfeeding, Embarrassed. Shrinking Women by Lily Myers has over 5m views, Dear Straight People by Denice Frohman over 2m.
It is gratifying that so many of these writers and performers are women. Women have always written poetry, of course, as have people from all kinds of backgrounds, but only since the birth of the internet has there been the potential for historically excluded voices to reach so many people. Around 20 years ago a feminist poet might have performed for around 10 women in a half-empty café; now, her words can reach millions of women and girls across the world. With it comes the relief that someone is speaking your language. Kate Tempest and Hera Lindsay Bird speak mine. No doubt you have your own favourites, and if you don’t, it’s easier than ever to go forth and find them.
|Posted on June 2, 2016 at 1:25 PM||comments (0)|
Spoken word (or performance poetry as it’s also known) has been creeping into the public consciousness of late. Thanks to sites such as YouTube and SoundCloud, artists have found a digital platform on which to share their voice and their work. Performers such as Kate Tempest, George the Poet and Jess Green, and festivals such as Glastonbury and The Last Word, have also helped. Performance poetry is fast becoming a staple of the entertainment circuit.
Aside from the obvious entertainment spin that spoken word puts on this traditional form of literature, it’s now being (rightly) recognised for its positive impact on the mental wellbeing of performers. I often hear about new and inspiring ways that the poetic voice is being used to achieve this, engaging with people from all walks of life, across a range of sectors.
I lecture at Bath Spa University. In 2005 we introduced the first ever performance poetry module in the UK. We’ve seen a pattern emerge in terms of the reasons why students choose to study with us – and it’s not simply to further their poetry careers.
In many cases it’s to relieve stress, boost confidence or deal with a variety of mental health problems. One of my students, Kate Jeanes, credits performance poetry for helping her cope with her extreme anxiety disorder. Performing under the name Kathryn O’Driscoll, she tackles her issues head on with her poem,
Don’t look at my legs.
There are other great examples of this. The Spoken Word Education Programme, run by Goldsmiths University and leading performance poetry organisation, Apples and Snakes, uses poetry to raise children’s confidence, self-expression and leadership skills. The spoken word educators – a group of established performance poets – have been running the programme across six London schools for three years. Increased confidence has been noted as one of the key changes among participants. Perhaps, rather than for just a few chosen schools, the practice could be rolled out on a national level.
We’re now seeing many performance poets openly advocating spoken word and how it has helped to transform their lives. As Robert Garnham writes on his personal blog, in a post entitled, How Spoken Word Changed My Life:
I feel incredibly confident now with who I am as a person and how I conduct myself in life, because the experience of going on the stage and performing has seemingly validated the person I am.
As recognition of this value spreads, so does the range of sectors embracing the idea. Complementing conventional medical practices, Brighton Health and Wellbeing Centre now offers performance arts therapy. It’s one of the first NHS practices in the UK to integrate complementary therapies and healing arts.
Spoken word is expressive and free, enabling performers to speak openly and honestly about issues in a controlled and safe environment. The link between the arts and mental wellbeing is by no means a new phenomenon; it has long been recognised. But that’s why it’s so encouraging to see a rise in popularity of spoken word – opening up opportunities for many more people to benefit.
Other universities have followed in our footsteps by setting up performance poetry modules, so together we’re reaching a greater number of young people and helping them to overcome anxieties, fears and barriers.
Long may this growth continue, because if performance poetry continues to heal souls as well as entertain, it will always be a success.
Lucy English is reader in creative writing at Bath Spa University
|Posted on May 31, 2016 at 2:35 PM||comments (0)|
20 APR 2015 POSTED BY NU PEOPLE MAGAZINE
In order to attract the right customers to your business, you need to build on the know, like and trust factor. This requires you to build your brand authority and become an expert within your field. I want to share 10 ways you can step up and start to build your brand authority today. What do you want people to say about you when you’re not in the room?
Identify what you want to be known for. We can’t know everything. Pick a maximum of three topics you love, have knowledge on and showcase your expertise. Focus on your brilliance (strengths, gifts and talents). Whatever topics you decide on, need to tie in with your brand and what you’re about. If your message says one thing, and your topics say another, you’ll find it difficult to attract the right customers to your business.
Here are three questions to help you with this process:
What can you educate and teach others about?
How do you want to be of service?
If you could share a message to a large group of people. What would your message be?
Create content on a regular basis. The content you create allows you to showcase you know what you’re talking about and builds trust. This could be through blogs (personal and guest ones), videos, a podcast, e-books, training audios… and the list goes on! Your content and what you put out into the world, needs to reflect what you base your authority on. What ever you start, be consistent. Once you set a level of expectation, deliver and follow through.
Get Personal. Create a Meetup group where you host monthly events, a Facebook group filled with your ideal customers. It presents a fantastic opportunity to generate leads through building relationships and giving value, value and more value. Think back to the know, like and trust factor.
Be visible. You are your brand and need to get out there and show your target audience what you have to offer and what it would be like to work with you. Network on a regular basis and speak at events that are relevant to the space you’re in and where your customers hangout. Deliver workshops or host webinars on specific topics to give value and grow your list and audience. Through these options, you can also present an offer at the end for people to work with you.
Be present. Engage with your audience through social media and comment on posts. Find articles that are relevant to your business and create conversations around them. Find three Facebook groups you can contribute to and provide value to members. People will start to get to know your name, remember your face and will probably check out what you are all about.
“…Ensure your message and branding is consistent across all the platforms you are on. Be recognisable where ever you go and give consistent value”
Be authentic. Don’t compare yourself to others or watch what other people are doing. Be who you were designed to be. Run your brand on your own terms and no one else’s. Let your personality shine through. This is so important, because if you try to be something or someone your not, people will pick up on it and it won’t feel great. Don’t be afraid to share the things that represent you and what you believe in.
Develop partnerships. Find other entrepreneurs or companies you can build a partnership with. This is a relationship where there are benefits to both parties, monetary or otherwise. For example, one where they tap into your audience and you tap into theirs. Or one where you refer customers to each other.
The power of Facebook. If this is where your target audience hangout, set a monthly ads budget to reach a new audience and showcase what you do. You don’t always have to be selling something. It’s a great way to expand your audience, build your list, attract people to find out more about you, generate page likes, new leads and so much more!
Your online social presence You don’t have to be everywhere, pick the social media platforms where your target audience actually hang out. Ensure your message and branding is consistent across all the platforms you are on. Be recognisable where ever you go and give consistent value.
Get others speaking about you Finally, if the only person telling the world how great you are.. is you, you’ve got it wrong. You want people talking about you and singing your praises. Make an effort to get testimonials and case studies based on the transformation and results you or your product delivers on. When you speak at events, host webinars and deliver workshops etc. encourage people to share the things they learnt on social media. Screenshot posts or embed tweets on your website and share on other platforms. This is part of your social proof and essential to building your brand authority.
Like a challenge? Take one or two of the above to implement and be consistent with for a 30 day period. Reflect and assess at the end of the 30 days, the difference it made to your business. For example an increase in likes, followers, shares comments, leads, actual clients.
– Danielle Mcdonald
Danielle McDonald is The Clarity Architect. She helps ambitious entrepreneurs get super clear about their brand so they know what to focus on and when to achieve their desired goals.
|Posted on May 31, 2016 at 2:10 PM||comments (0)|
Serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com
It’s been said that your most valuable form of capital is your mind. Entrepreneurial Personality Types (or EPTs), discovered by Alex Charfen, are naturally capable of widespread success -- but what happens when you’re pushed off track? These eight methods will help you to regain laser focus and use those extra-special personality traits to succeed.
Finances need to be tracked. Ideas need to be fleshed out on paper. Goals must be clearly stated. Spontaneous projects may be fun, but you'll panic as soon as you realize you don't know where your time and money are going. Take advantage of spreadsheets to track your progress as you build upon a founding idea. Keep a compact journal on hand to scribble down concepts and contacts as you go; then you'll have a reference to turn to when you veer off track. A clean, organized mindset is one upon which you can build something great.
Your never-ending to-do list will become a bit less intimidating once its contents are prioritized. What is the one task you must complete before the day is over? Circle it, draw a star next to it, write a “#1” in the margin -- whatever you need to do to indicate its importance. Then designate two tasks you’d like to complete, but that aren’t necessarily urgent. The leftover items on the list should be long-term: tasks that can be completed within the next week or so. By prioritizing your to-do list, not only have you outlined what you need to do, but you’ve figured out how you’re going to accomplish it.
Related: 6 Personality Traits That Are Perfect for Entrepreneurship
3. Get excited for the day.
Don’t treat your day like any other workday. You’re a business owner, making your dreams a reality -- get excited. Entrepreneurship is mentally draining, but if you point out one task you’re actually looking forward to each day, your work will turn into fun. Bonus points if your top-priority task matches up with this one!
4. Don’t do it for the money.
Sure, your big idea may someday result in a large house, a nice car, and endless luxury vacations, but don’t let finances become your biggest motivator. Launching a long-term project mainly for the money will result in early burnout. The beginning of any business is going to be tough on your wallet, and you’ll only make it through if you have another drive to continue. What makes you want to own a business over landing a successful job someplace else? Is it the desire to become a household name, or a wish to help those in need? Remember the reason you became an entrepreneur and keep it close -- in your conscience, on your phone or on a piece of paper in your pocket.
Related: 6 Personality Traits That Can Make You a More Trusted Entrepreneur
5. Make a habit of working toward your goal.
Old habits die hard. Imagine how much you’d accomplish once working on your business became a mere habit. Successful entrepreneurs take a step forward daily, whether it’s by marketing, networking, seeking funding, or researching. The more you work at something, the easier it becomes. If you have a hard time creating positive habits for yourself, print out a habit calendar and try to check off a box every day.
6. Develop a reward system.
It’s an element of classical conditioning: rewards shape long-term positive behavior. It can take a while to reap the rewards from a small business, so take care to reward yourself as you progress. Outwardly acknowledging your achievements will make you feel good and motivate you to succeed even more in the future. If you accomplish a tough task, allow yourself a small reward, like a nice meal or a quiet moment of relaxation. Eventually, you’ll be able to kick procrastination and finish things quickly by celebrating positive behavior.
7. Maintain faith in your motives and ideas.
Even when you have a stack of market research supporting your business idea, it’s easy to lose faith and second-guess your plans moving forward. Give yourself a boost of confidence by listing out your strengths and focusing on how to improve your weaknesses. What inspired you to start your business? How is that inspiration still relevant today? Why are you the best person possible to help your business succeed? Remember not everyone possesses the patience, emotional strength, and creativity needed to start a business -- you’re a certain kind of special already.
Related: 4 Personality Traits That Make You an Effective Leader
8. Develop a thick skin.
No one’s work is perfect, especially at the beginning. Learn to accept constructive criticism from your peers and block out emotionally-driven comments. Develop a network of people you trust to provide valuable feedback. This can dramatically improve the quality of your work while also creating an emotional support system. No matter how well your business is performing, someone will always be there to offer both constructive criticism and empty, negative comments. Create a filter that weeds out the latter and places a healthy amount of objective focus on the former.
It’s normal for even the best entrepreneurs to experience a blur of focus every now and then. EPTs lose momentum when society tells them their methods, thought processes, and personalities are somehow in the wrong. But as Alex Charfen puts it, you’re not alone. Learn more about EPTs and uncover your own greatness by downloading Alex Charfen’s free e-book here.
|Posted on April 27, 2016 at 1:55 PM||comments (0)|
She writes of places where many Beyoncé fans rarely go, the portions of London where the faces are black and brown, where men huddle outside shop-front mosques and veiled women are trailed by long chains of children. Warsan Shire, the Somali-British poet whose words are featured in Beyoncé’s new globe-shaking Lemonade album, is a bard of these marginalised areas – she was even named the first Young Poet Laureate for London at 25.
Beyoncé reads parts of Shire’s poems, including For Women Who Are Difficult To Love, The Unbearable Weight of Staying (the End of the Relationship) and Nail Technician as Palm Reader in interludes between songs in her 12-track, hour-long video album that premiered this week. Truly, Shire was a brilliant choice for Beyoncé’s unapologetically black and female album: like the people and places from which they are woven, Shire’s poems – published in a volume titled Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth – are laden with longing for other lands and complicated by the contradictions of belonging in new ones. In Conversations about Home, she writes: “I tore up and ate my own passport in an airport hotel. I’m bloated with language I can’t afford to forget”, and: “They ask me how did you get here? Can’t you see it on my body? The Libyan desert red with immigrant bodies, the Gulf of Aden bloated, the city of Rome with no jacket.”
Finally, here is the migrant talking back, trolling the absurdities of documentation that have such unquestioned legitimacy in the Western architecture of border and boundary, admission and exclusion. Nationality rests in the passport: the Somali government, long embattled, no longer issues them. Via Shire’s poetic rendition, the two are paired and a question posed: Is reducing a person’s right to refuge to a piece of paper more or less bizarre than the act of eating one? Isn’t the body a better bearer of the story of a journey than a pamphlet made of paper? In verse, Shire recalibrates the distance between the documentary details of belonging and the human experience of it, revealing them to be two vastly different things, fragile and futile foundations for justice.
In Conversations About Home (at the Deportation Centre), Shire’s retort to being told “go home” and “fucking immigrants” is similarly prescient if ominous: “All I can say is: I was once like you, the apathy, the pity...” She ends on her now much-quoted line: “My home is the mouth of a shark, now my home is the barrel of a gun. I’ll see you on the other side.”
If the otherness of migrant communities is one iteration of a no-go area, the sexuality of Muslim women is another. Shire’s verse explores this realm with equal ardour and originality, taking on faith, men and culture in a wild war of verse. Sometimes the dominance of men is countered via treachery. Birds is the story of Sofia, who “used pigeon blood on her wedding night” to fool her virginity-obsessed husband, who, easily fooled, “smiled when he saw the sheets”. At other times, the erotic and the transgressive intersect, as in Beauty, in which her older sister, returning from a tryst with her lover, “smiles, pops her gum before saying boys are haram (forbidden) don’t ever forget that.” Together the poems reveal the distance between rules and reality, what is believed and what is lived. In The Kitchen, food and sex become weapons, as a woman narrates the sensuous seduction of a cheating husband: “sweet mangoes and sugared lemon, he had forgotten the way you taste / Sour dough and cumin: but she cannot make him eat like you.” In Grandfather’s Hands, Shire imagines the lovemaking of her grandparents, their passion “claiming whole countries with their mouths”, a genealogy of passion, a foretelling of the literal journeys of the future. Sexual pleasure, like sexual violence, Shire seems to be saying, belongs to everyone; it is not learned or located in the west.
The migrant and the Muslim woman may be the most marginal figures of our divided and suspicious present, their realities dulled into the monochrome of submission and desperation, to elicit pity or polemic. In Warsan Shire’s poetry they speak for themselves, its vivid literary exploration of their inner lives adding the depth and complexity that grants them a full and realised humanity. Here is rebellion in verse, an act of literary guerrilla warfare against “the lines, the forms, the people at the desks, the calling cards, the immigration officer”, against a stodgy western literary sphere that too often relegates poetry like hers to the peripheries of acclaim. It is also a revolt against the constrictions of faith and femininity, a refusal to “sit like a girl”, to permit her own mutilation at the behest of tradition, to pretend at being “pure chaste and untouched”.
The last poem in Shire’s collection, titled In Love and War, is a bare two lines: “To my daughter I will say: when the men come set yourself on fire.” It is an apt conclusion; the poetic equivalent of self-immolation is self-exposition. Shire has done it, giving all of herself to us, so that we may read, feel and rebel. She’s one to watch, even after the social media frenzy around Beyoncé’s latest dies down.
|Posted on April 15, 2016 at 1:35 PM||comments (0)|
1. Imagine yourself as a creative person. When you think of creative people, who comes to mind? Maybe Lady Gaga, J.J. Abrams, Steve Jobs or Beyoncé? Well, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Maryland, if you just think of yourself as a very creative person, you will start thinking more creatively! The study, published at online journal PLOS One, finds that it can be very useful for people to identify “stereotypes that can inhibit or enhance creativity… especially in domains where improving the creative performance of individuals is an important goal.”
2. Think less. Well, this sounds great. But seriously: Clear your mind. This means no texting or phone games, or even reading a silly article. Step away from the screens and go for a walk — just stop thinking. Then come back, and the creative juices will start flowing.
3. Give yourself more brainstorming time. Give yourself more time to just think. Maybe tack on 10 extra minutes to a meeting, or just take a little time on your commute.
4. Make a list of things that make you more creative. What really stimulates you? Is it when you are in a beautiful environment? Maybe you need to be by the sea or just in a place for great people-watching. Or maybe it’s when you’re reading a favorite book? Write down all the situations that help you be more creative, and soon you will find yourself thinking more creatively.
5. Do a boring task. This sounds a little odd, but in a 2014 study, Dr. Sandi Mann from the University of Central Lancashire asked students to find creative uses for two polystyrene cups to test their levels of creativity. Before the test she asked one group to carry out the very boring task of copying phone numbers from a telephone directly. But it turned out that doing that super mundane task made that group come up with way more ways to use the cups than the control group. So maybe delete emails, or clean up your desktop or anything that bores the hell out of you! “Boredom is a fascinating emotion because it is seen as so negative yet it is such a motivating force,” Mann told The Telegraph.
6. Be around more creative people. Who is the most creative person in the office? Try to sit by them in a meeting, and their creativity may literally rub off on you. Why do you think so many great comedy teams work in pairs?
7. Steal ideas. Not from your coworker, but take a cue from how other creative masterminds have worked, and then leverage it. Peter Benchley was inspired to write Jaws because he loved the book Moby Dick. He took an idea that spoke to him but made it his own (and added more teeth.) Just add your own teeth to an already great idea.
What’s your quick solution for being more creative? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know!
This post was previously published on Levo League by Meredith Lepore.