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How to make your quotes quotable

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2017 is not over yet but there are already two strong contenders for Clear Europe’s ‘worst quote of the year’ prize. And they both come from the same person.

The unquotable quotes above were cobbled together for European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and tweeted within minutes of each other at a summit of EU leaders in Gothenburg on November 17.

So why are these soundbites so terrible? Because:

  • They are crammed with incomprehensible EU jargon – #EuropeanSemester sounds like a study abroad programme, while #PillarOfSocialRights has to be one of the weirdest, wonkiest hashtags in history.
  • They are obsessed with the tedious process of EU decision-making – #EURoad2Sibiu sounds like an EU-sponsored Romanian motorway rather than the latest plan for reforming the Union.
  • They are full of stuffy technocratic language like ‘social dimension’ and ‘country specific recommendations.’

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Can You Write A Good Press Release?

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Are you a PR guru? Take the test and see the results!

Always send press releases as attachments to emails.

Opening attachments takes time. Always send press releases in the body of the email.

Quotes in press releases should contain opinions, not facts.

Quotes should be quotable. Strong opinions in colourful language please.

Jargon in press releases shows you are an expert in the field.

Avoid jargon because your audience may not know and care about the issue as much as you do. #curseofknowledge

October Newsletter 2017

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IMPRESSING WITH PRESS RELEASES

Press releases are still a major source of news for journalists. However, as Brussels-based correspondent James Crisp points out, many press releases contain no news whatsoever. And even when there is news, it is often buried, the quotes are unquotable and the text stuffed with technocratic jargon.

On November 7, our MD Gareth Harding will offer his tips and tricks on how to write sparkling press releases drawn from over 25 years as a journalist, political communicator and media coach. Among them:

  • Only send press releases if you have real news for journalists.
  • Trumpet your news in the headline or first sentence. Don’t bury it at the bottom.
  • Craft quotes that voice strong opinions in vivid language.
  • Axe all jargon, make your messages punchy and provide plenty of context.
We have a limited number of places left for this course so sign up today!

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September Newsletter 2017

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SKILL UP THIS AUTUMN

“What we have here is failure to communicate.” Remember that famous line from Cool Hand Luke? We think about it all the time at Clear Europe because so often we see organisations failing to communicate clearly and concisely. So this autumn we are offering 10 media and communication masterclasses that are open to everyone, affordably priced and taught by our experienced comms pros. We still have some places for our October courses, so book a place now:

                          October 5                    How to Write Clearly 

                          October 10                  Effective Public Speaking 

                          October 19                  Mastering Media Interviews 

                          October 25                  Social Media Campaigning 

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July Newsletter

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SKILL UP THIS AUTUMN

Over the past year we’ve had a lot of enquiries from people looking to join open training courses as opposed to the tailor-made ones we usually provide. So we have decided to lay on 10 media and communication courses in the autumn, which are open to everyone, affordably priced and taught by experienced practitioners.

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Trainer Profile: Steffen Thejll-Moller

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A dual Danish and Italian citizen, Steffen Thejll-Moller is a graduate of Oxford University. He has for the past decade advised organisations and individuals in London, Brussels and beyond on how best to use digital and social media in corporate, internal, and political communications, public affairs and campaigning.

At agencies large and small, he has worked across an array of industries, including pharma, tech, food, transport and energy, and has advised and trained international organisations, politicians and government officials.

Steffen appreciates that the internet is a game-changer, but he remembers the analogue age, is allergic to shiny new toy syndrome, and loathes being termed a guru (or ninja). He advocates a sensible use of digital and social media to help communicators understand, reach, and influence target audiences, built on solid (non-digital) foundations, like genuine audience understanding, and integrated and measurable communications strategies.

Steffen’s musings on digital, communications, and public affairs may be found at www.steffenmoller.com

Autumn courses offer

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BOOK BY SEPTEMBER 20 AND GET 20% OFF

This autumn we’re offering ten masterclasses on how to communicate better in our Brussels training centre. Our one-day open courses are interactive, affordably-priced and led by experienced communication pros.

                                     October 5                     How to Write Clearly
                                     October 10                  Effective Public Speaking
                                     October 19                  Mastering Media Interviews
                                     October 25                  Social Media Campaigning
                                     November 7                Perfecting Press Releases
                                     November 14             Crafting Messages
                                     November 22-23     Shooting & Editing Videos
                                     November 29             Presentation Skills
                                     December 5                Mastering Social Media
                                     December 12             Working with Journalists

Check out our new open course catalogue and take advantage of our Back to School Deal – 20% off the regular price if you book by September 20. 

If you are interested in three or more courses, we will knock 30% off the normal price. Please contact us to make multiple bookings.

How to write a killer CV – 15 dos and don’ts

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Reading CVs and cover letters is like smoking cigarettes – one or two won’t harm you but constant exposure will.

Unfortunately, in my line of work – managing a small communication company and finding internships for American students in Brussels – I am exposed to more CVs than most would consider healthy.

This is not a dig at the quality of the candidates, who are often more skilled, more educated and more motivated than I am with their double masters, four to five languages and experience working in nine countries. It stems more from an honest desire to help talented people get the jobs they want without making basic mistakes. So here are 15 tips for writing a better CV, with apologies to all those anonymously quoted:

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