Finding the right words

SAY WHAT? Amanda Westgate wants to help people communicate more effectively
SAY WHAT? Amanda Westgate wants to help people communicate more effectively
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Businesswoman Amanda Westgate thinks many people have lost the art of conversation.

She feels we are all now so reliant on communicating through technology – email, text messages and social media – we find it difficult to just talk.

And she says lacking in this skill is causing – particularly younger – people to experience difficulties with a whole range of scenarios, including those in business, such as job interviews.

The mum-of-three, from St Annes, is so concerned about the fact some people are struggling to find their voices, she is launching a new service from her business Big Impact Communications.

She already offers a service for other businesses, but will now be offering communications coaching for individuals.

Whether it be a report they are struggling with, or they have difficulty expressing themselves in job interviews, or finding it hard to write and deliver a wedding speech, Amanda is confident her service will be able to help.

She said: “There are so many communications tools out there these days, but also a lot of ‘white noise’. Getting yourself heard is harder than ever. And I think to some degree we have lost the art of communication.

“Text-speak, the pressures of every day living, these things are leaving people struggling to develop clear, written and sometimes spoken, communications.

“You might be able to Snapchat, tweet, iMessage or BBM, but can you write a job application covering letter, or draft a report which will impress your boss?

“The tendency for young people to spend more time on isolated activities, like computers and smart phones, sending information across the ether, can also actually leave them deficient in being able to stand up and talk to a group of people or to an interview panel. I think we are falling a bit short for some of our young people.

“There are some young people who are fine sitting in front of the computer or on their phone texting – ‘chatting’ to people online, but they would find standing up and talking in front of a room full of people an ordeal.

“Having those skills and having that confidence can be very important in life and in business. The coaching isn’t about assertiveness or anything like that, it’s helping people unlock what they want to say and how to say it.

“How to market themselves really.”

Former newspaper journalist – she worked for the Burnley Express – Amanda has been in the communications industry for 25 years.

She said: “I have spent many years helping executives, directors and managers to communicate effectively, including providing training in presentation skills.

“I will still be doing that work too, but also want to help individuals.

“I have taken some of the basic principles of that work to create affordable coaching services for individuals who want to find their voice.”

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