On Thursday morning I pressed the buzzer at Faber & Faber in Bloomsbury (the hugely famous publishing house of T.S. Eliot, William Golding etc) and headed in to take part in a two-day training event run by the London Strategy Unit.
The course intention was to offer a strong foothold in commercial strategy – and it certainly delivered.
The first day was jam-packed with interesting talks and workshops from the guys at LSU, along with industry luminaries including Russell Davies and Andy Nairn.
Imposing a ‘no powerpoint’ rule on the speakers sounded a little avant garde, but actually delivered a huge step change in the way you interact with what’s being said.
No longer can you blank out the guy/girl speaking, copy down the bullet points on screen and then let your mind wander.
Instead – you’re forced to listen to every last word.
And by forcing you to listen to every word, you have to sift through all the information yourself and self-select what all the important points are.
I’ve never scribbled on a pad so fast – and by the end of the day I felt so mentally drained I went to bed at 8.30pm.
(On that – Russell Davies did use powerpoint. But he also had us making free-standing spaghetti towers and drawing 30-second ads.)
The second day was a little different.
We were set a client brief in the morning and given half an hour to crack it.
Each group presented their solutions to the room, and were then critiqued on content & presentation style.
We were then given several hours to work on the same client brief – with the feedback from the first go fresh in our minds.
Group work can sometimes feel like the long way to an answer (depending upon the dynamic) – but I was lucky to be working with three really bright, interesting planners from Proximity and the whole process was light and fun.
After everyone had presented – we received another round of feedback before heading down to the pub.
Brilliant training course & highly, highly recommended.