Get off Your Damn Phone!


Are you someone who talks on your phone during checkout at the supermarket? Do you sit in restaurants yapping away? Or how about on the train, the tube, a bus or a plane (before takeoff or when landed)? During a concert? In the back of a taxi? How about at a funeral?

We’ve all seen, or heard, people do it, haven’t we? Maybe we’ve been guilty of doing things like that ourselves. I am not completely faultless when it comes to mobile phone rudeness, (I am sure my friends would be the first to tell you that…)

But I like to think I have some amount of awareness when it comes to being on the phone in public places. To me it seems like it’s becoming far too common an issue at the larger, modern, societal level.

Call Kaye Show on BBC Radio ScotlandOn Friday, last week, I made my first appearance on the Call Kaye show on BBC Radio Scotland. It was an absolute delight to do the show and the topic was inspired by the woman, Jo Clarke, who made such a stick about having to hang up her call before the Sainsbury’s cashier would put through her groceries. [NOTE: If you don’t know what I am talking about, here’s a BBC report about this somewhat controversial subject.]

Now-me, I tend to see both sides to every story. It’s one of the things I actually LIKE about myself…and frankly, I thought both women were RUDE in this particular case. If I had to side with one of them though, it would be the clerk not the Chatty Cathy, I mean Jabbering Jo.

According to one report I read, the woman, Jo, was allegedly just calling her brother to say she was leaving the store. Really? Was it that important you had to do it then? Could it have not waited until after you got through the checkout?

I, myself, was at a superstore in Greenock a few weeks ago. I chatted to my best buddy in SF the whole way around the store, and when I got to the checkout line I said to him, “Hey I’m at the checkout, I’ll you back when I am through” and that’s just what I did.

No phone call is that important. If it is, then don’t make it in a supermarket, or wait until it’s a convenient time to break the call, and then join the line.

Or, heck, stick the mobile in your pocket until you’ve handed over your cash and bagged your groceries and hopefully greeted the clerk doing the tedious, thankless job.

Then, resume your oh-so-important call.

Before and after the radio show appearance, I posted a few posts (mostly on my Google+ page) about this very subject. The feedback from my peers was in line with my own opinions. One comment that really highlights the issue for me was from Garry, who will hopefully not mind me sharing this,…(as it was made on a public post, I am going to assume it’s OK):

The worst place for me was when I was at funeral. A woman in front of me in the Church proceeded to take a call in which included giving her kid instructions on how to use the microwave!! Astonishing!

Weirdly…There are currently 82m handsets in use in Britain with one in six people admitting using their phone at a funeral.


Anyway, if nothing else, this whole incident has sparked quite a debate on Mobile phone etiquette here in the UK.

Sure, we can all be guilty of being anti-social when it comes to mobile phone usage…As I said before, myself included. But taking it back to the checkout at Sainsburys, if it had been me who was told to get off the phone, I’d have been annoyed, sure, but more so embarrassed.

Having customers hang up their phones at checkout isn’t Sainsbury’s policy, but maybe it should be?! To me they were a bit spineless, and sure, go ahead offer the vouchers to Jabber Jo, but maybe they could have also said “it’s an unwritten policy” and then offered her the vouchers,…Then it’s up to her if she wants to trundle off to Waitrose in the future.


These days we’re so used to being connected anytime, anywhere that we have come to believe that we’re entitled to be on mobiles – texting or talking – whenever we want wherever we want. When we are riding public transport, in a line at the bank, supermarkets, post offices, airports, on planes, in taxis – wherever….

Is it getting better or is it getting worse? I don’t know. Depends on who you talk to, I guess. I was out with a guy recently who seemed to have his phone surgically attached to his hand. If he wasn’t texting or IM-ing on it, he was talking to this person or that. I found it so distracting (and a little insulting) – so much so that it’s really made me consider my own usage when in company of friends or indeed with the general public.

Sometimes, I’m sad to say that I honestly feel that we’ve lost the art of communicating in person – I have friends, close friends, near by whom I almost never see anymore. All we do now is instant message on WhatsApp, Facebook or text. And when we do get together those phones often still take center-stage. I’m now trying to make a conscious effort to switch mine to silent or off altogether. (Shock horror).

When was the last time you sat around a table and there were no phones out at all? Well, if this has become an issue with your family or friends in the future, I’ll leave this video – by way of a a solution with you. It’s worth a try! Enjoy! 🙂


  1. “Phone Stack (Don’t Be A Di*k During Meals) by Lil b | Funk’d Up Films” · shitasiangirlssay · Jan. 12, 2012 · YouTube

Microsoft PowerPoint is Pointless – Use Prezi

Well, before I begin, this is just an opinion piece on presentations. I’ve been to quite a few conferences/events this year (both in Scotland and in Silicon Valley) and was quite frankly startled that 99% of the talks that I saw given still use PowerPoint. Frankly is just feels so 90s to use Powerpoint still. (Remember I said this is just an opinion piece – you may love PowerPoint…to each their own and all that.)

Over the last three years in working with NSDesign, I’ve seen what really good presentations can look like. Oh and they’re done in Prezi. They’re slick, attractive and engaging – if done right. Yes, it’s true that if you over do it on Prezi you can make people a bit quesy, but nine times out of ten when I’ve delivered my Business Gateway Training or Google Plus talks, people have asked me what the software I used was – because they loved it. Well, as much as anyone can “love” presentation software that is. . .

So if you’re a presentation maker who’s getting a bit fed up with PowerPoint, and wondering what Prezi is, then take two minutes and check this out.

If you’re interested in some training in Prezi – NSDesign is one of the only companies I’ve ever heard of who deliver it around here. They can do it one-to-one or train one-to-many (your whole staff) – the choice is yours. Find more information on their website on this Training and Consultancy page. Note: there may be some funding available to help cover some of the costs too!

Now, if you 1) loathe PowerPoint as much as me and 2) love to laugh – then you have to grab a tea or coffee (or beverage of your choice) and get a load of this. It did make me laugh so at least PowerPoint is good for something….

Hilarious or what?


  1. “Life After Death by Powerpoint 2010 by Don McMillan” · Yvo Wueest · June 26, 2013 · YouTube
  2. “What is Prezi” · howtechweb · June 29, 2013 · YouTube

5 Social Media Tips for Business (Plus Training Opportunities)

Because my NS colleague Colin Kelly was out of town, he recommended me for a visit BBC Radio Scotland’s morning show Mac & Co with Fred MacAulay on Monday. I’ve said it often, but I’ve just loved doing Fred’s fab show for years now – especially when these days it’s not about breakups but rather social media (much less depressing).

This particular topic was inspired by an email to one of the producers for a job as Social Media Manager for Man United. So I went in to discuss that role, and the role in general, as it might relate to SMEs (not just big brands).

Here are a few tips  that I never really  managed to give on the show, but I thought may be useful to someone out there who’s dabbling in Social Media or simply considering it…


Knowing where your customers are is paramount. Is it a visual business pertaining to weddings? Then maybe Pinterest might be the best place for you. Are your customers CEOs of companies then a LinkedIn business page might work best. Are they young and on Facebook or Twitter? Then that’s where to be.

You may want to be on one, two, or three channels or you might just choose the best one to focus your efforts on, and do that one really well. It’s ok. Try and see what works best for you but be sure you…


Know why you’re on there, what it is you’re trying to do/achieve – be it inform customers, get them to buy your product, or book your service, have them download your album or ebook,…Simply know what you’re hoping to achieve before diving in.

Make sure you’re managing your time and measuring your progress, but don’t always assume that it’s a big numbers game. Better to have 100 actively engaged followers (who actually care what you have to say) than 100,000 who don’t – (in my opinion).

So don’t rate your value just on how many followers, likes, circles you have – base it on any conversions you may have from them or engagement with them!


Social Media Management on Different DevicesUse tools that can help you monitor your name, your company name or relevant keywords (using geo tags if you’re a local business). There are far too many tools to list here but try out a few and see which ones work best for you. Personally I the ones I use (or have used in the past) include things like HootSuite, TweetDeck, Sprout Social – all which will help you immensely….on this next tip….


It’s a total turn off to just be sold to all the time. If all you’re doing is some sort of broadcasting of salesy messages, asking people to like this, or download that, then all you will do is put people off.

So make sure you’re engaging with your audience amidst the “calls to action” that you may be posting/tweeting. Be authentic. Have a personality. Mix a bit of personal stuff in there amongst all the business stuff so people can connect with a real person. Remember that people do business with people they like.

Respond to questions, and especially criticism, as soon as possible. Be shown to be there and care. Take it off line as soon as possible.

Be consistent. You don’t have to post every single day though you’ll likely fair better if you do. At least aim for posting/tweeting – a few times a week if possible. Nothing worse than, as a customer we land on a page and the last update or tweet was months ago.


If you don’t know what to do with regards to social media, then ask some professionals. Take training from certified trainers on the subject. There are a lot of FREE courses out there, and there are even grants to cover paid ones – (courtesy of the Scottish government) so do some research. There is no reason to not be learning about this stuff. If you don’t – you’ll likely be left behind.

FINAL TIPS: Why a business might be on Social Media

If you’re working on a social media strategy – here are a few reasons why you might consider going social:

– To get more sales

– To engage/respond/listen to customers (and find more by targeting through “GEO Location”)

– To drive traffic to a website (or channel: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter etc)

– To see what competitors are up to

– To build brand awareness

– For data capture – email addresses for newsletters or what have you

– To promote your business

– To find suppliers

– To network with other businesses

– To get advice/recommendations

– To get endorsements from customers


It might be some of these, all of these, or completely different reasons altogether.

Just work out what your own reason is – that’s what’s most important here.

If you’re interested in some one-to-one training then please get in touch with me. Or I can highly recommend NSDesign’s Embrace the Space all day masterclass. I myself will be attending their Advanced HootSuite half day course so I can learn more about this popular tool. We can all use a brush up on our skills right? Right.

Tomorrow I’ll jot down an update about the Scottish Business Awards – last Friday. (Former) President Bill Clinton was the keynote so as you can imagine that was a pretty “hot ticket”.


4 Friday Social Media Shares to End the Week

 Happy Friday – boy has this week has flown by or what? Since the last time I wrote, I’ve delivered training for the first time in Greenock (on behalf of NSDesign for Business Gateway Renfrewshire), attended Scotland’s Technology Show, took on a new accountant, had meetings with some associates, delivered some one-to-one training and all the while am having my bedroom completely refurbished! Chaos, I tell you.

Anyway in my travels across the blogoshpere I’ve come across a few rather share-worthy links. First up was The 80 Rules of Social Media. Some of these are hilarious. Some of them I think he nicked from other people, but many of which I’d 100% agree with.

Share #1 The 80 Rules of Social Media

The 80 Rules of Social MediaJune 13, 2013 · · The 80 Rules of Social Media The inventor of the web as we know it, Sir Tim Berners-Lee said recently that his next mission was “to bring about world peace”. Seriously. He believes that if people talk to each other, listen and understand each others problems, then they are less likely to shoot each other. So in order to guide you around the messy world of social media, and bring about world peace in the process, I have compiled this… Open this article

As everyone who’s anyone knows that to get noticed in blogs these days you need to have a number in the title (did you see mine today?) – so from the “80 Rules” we go down to just “29”.

Share # 2: 29 Ways to Stay Creative

 Wasn’t that a great, inspirational, little video? I think so! Now some more numbers…

Share # 3 Four Minutes of Radio Four

The final share of today (also has numbers in its title) is a pictorial shared by my friend Hamish on Facebook. Some of it made me smile (even snigger just a little). Hope you enjoy it….

Share # 4: 25 Reasons Why We Love Scotland

And I do love Scotland! Next week marks my 21st anniversary here. My how time flies when you’re having fun!

That’s it for today. If you come across anything that you think I might have missed, or should feature on the blog, then by all means catch me wherever you are on social media on the links above. HINT: Up where it says “Connect with Thea”…

This weekend I will try to work more on the page that details the types of training I can offer. I am really starting to discover the love of one-to-one training. It was an interest I don’t think I ever realised until recently. I think it is synergistic with my desire to empower others. That is my life’s mission I believe. How can I help you? Let me know!

1) The 80 Rules of Social Media · June 13, 2013
2) “29 WAYS TO STAY CREATIVE” · TO-FU Vimeo May 27, 2011
3) Radio Four in Four Minutes – Jake Yapp
4) 25 Reasons Why We Love Scotland – the poke

Some Social Media Links to Start Your Week

Hello friends, family, snoopers, I’m sorry I have been rather remiss at posting blogs here of late. After spending three weeks in sunny Northern California, a week to recover, my bedroom being remodeled (stuck on the sofa since I’ve come back), I am finally getting back into the swing of work things. My apologies.

First up let’s start with something super practical to help anyone who posts any photos on social media. This infographic will help you get it right every time!

The Most Thorough Social Media Dimensions Cheat Sheet Ever [INFOGRAPHIC]

The Most Thorough Social Media Dimensions Cheat Sheet Ever [INFOGRAPHIC]June 7, 2013 · · Like it? 13 comments 0 Posted June 5, 2013 Keywords: Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Platforms, Twitter, Social Customer, Social Media, Social Networks, cheat sheet Did you know that if you want your display picture on Facebook to show up exactly as you see it as a file on your computer, you have to upload a 180 pixel by 180 pixel copy of it to Facebook?The cover photo, on the other hand, displays at 851 pixels by 315 pixels.Or did you…Open this article

And next up is a piece called Eight Inspiring Themes From the Future of Digital Marketing.

In it there is a video called Jijack from Meat Pack…which seems a little dangerous to me. I have visions of people running madly about malls and high streets – that just seems a law suit waiting to happen, to me, but then I am American and we can be a litigious breed…

Eight Inspiring themes from the Future of Digital Marketing

Eight Inspiring themes from the Future of Digital MarketingJune 10, 2013 · Econsultancy · by Ben Davis 10 June 2013 10:08 0 comments Print Tweet I can promise you only inspiring case studies, titbits and mantras in this post. All taken from our future gazing conference, Future of Digital Marketing, which we held last week. Twitter Interesting stat: There are 10m Twitter users in the UK and 80% access the site on their mobiles. Bruce Daisley, Twitter, gave a massively entertaining talk about brands capturing the moment on Twitter. You can read Twitter’s whitepaper…Open this article

Well that’s all I have time for today (after all, Rome wasn’t built in a day)…

Will aim to be better at keeping the blog up to date – once or twice a week. Next time, I’ll also write a bit more about what bespoke training I can offer in terms of one-to-one which is the area I am concentrating on in my own business. Added to my “To Do” list are the need for new business cards and to get out there networking more…See ya around!