January Newsletter

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We hope you had a sparkling festive season and wish you the best of health and much happiness for 2018.

At Clear Europe we started the year by taking a long, hard look at the training courses we offer to make them even more focused, practical and relevant to your needs as communicators. But we can’t do this without you. So if you have a couple of minutes to spare, we’d love to hear what you think of our current courses and which new ones you’d like to see in future.




If you’ve ever struggled to keep your calm while being heckled, watch this clip of Canadian premier Justin Trudeau and follow these five rules for dealing with hostile audience members:

1. Wait for the heckler to let off steam. “Are you done?” asks Trudeau as the ranter wraps.
2. Acknowledge the anger felt. “I share that anger and frustration.”
3. Explain your position calmly and cogently without humiliating the person yelling at you.
4. Be polite but passionate. “I want you to continue to be angry.”
5. Channel the audience’s anger into promises of change. “Take it as a lesson that in the future, no Canadian government should ever think it’s OK to allow a Canadian, no matter how unpopular they may be, to be tortured. That is not how we do things in Canada.”

Despite deep divisions over the issue at hand – government payouts to a tortured alleged terrorist – Trudeau’s reply won a standing ovation from the 1,900-strong crowd.



We’re looking for a marketing and digital communication intern to help promote our growing company. If you know any Belgium-based university students who are passionate about communication issues and have strong digital skills, perfect English and some marketing experience, please encourage them to apply here.




EU communication has a reputation for being boring, stuffed with jargon, obsessed with process and hardly cutting edge. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

One EU official who seems to be on a personal mission to shake up the way Europe communicates is Dan Sobovitz, speechwriter and digital communication strategist for European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič.

Dan was the guest speaker at our latest News and Booze meet-up for NGO communicators we co-host with Jo Sullivan and Julia Ravenscroft. Among his ideas for spicing up EU communication: setting up a Facebook Live, building a strong LinkedIn presence and creating 360° videos. Missed his presentation? We got you covered.




  • Publishers can expect web traffic to drop by about 35% as a result of Facebook’s decision to favour personal interactions over news stories.
  • Over two billion minutes were spent reading and listening to podcasts in 2017 – an 18% increase over the year before.
  • General trust in the media is down but trust in journalism has gone up, according to the latest Edelman Trust Barometer. Our friends at PAC are organising a Trust Summit on March 28 to discuss the report’s findings.
  • ”While 90% of future jobs require some level of digital literacy, 44% of Europeans lack basic digital skills,’’ according to EU digital Commissioner Mariya Gabriel. At Clear Europe, we’re happy to help bridge the gap 🙂
  • We’re often critical of the European Commission’s clunky comms efforts but it completely owned the debate on cutting plastic waste when it launched its#PlasticsStrategy.
  • Why Brexit is a bad idea: a masterclass on how to make a speech personal and relevant by Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.
  • 58% of Americans believe the proliferation of news sources makes it harder to stay informed, according to a Knight Foundation study on trust, media and democracy.
  • Blogging is fun but the blank space syndrome isn’t. Check these essential tips on how to blog in the EU bubble by Jacques Foul from Fleishmann Hillard.
  • And the award goes to… The Committee to Protect Journalists names and shames world leaders who have gone out of their way to attack the press.
  • Lots of paper and lots of women handing lots of paper to lots of men. That’s how the European Commission communicated almost 30 years ago.



About Gareth Harding

Gareth is the Managing Director of Clear Europe and head of the Missouri School of Journalism's Brussels Programme. He is a former journalist, speechwriter and political advisor.

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