When We Were Wonderful.


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No answers. No suggestions. No advice.

With the ongoing deadly attacks from ISIS, (the horror in Mali is unfolding as I type), today I offer only a few heart breaking observations and questions.

When did the men who are steering this barbarity become so filled with hate?  So cruel? As my seven-year-old daughter, Lulu, asked me, “Why do they like being mean?”

Over the weekend, she and I took the train to Dublin.  An early celebration for her birthday later this month.

We arrived at our hotel Friday evening and squeezed in a mommy-daughter swim before they closed the pool.  We were warm and dry in our fleece jammies when room service arrived – plus a special ice cream with a candle in it for the almost-birthday girl.  And then the news of the Paris attacks also arrived via the TV.

“Turn it off, Mammy,” Lulu said, using the sweet Irish version of my title. “I don’t want to spoil our dinner.”

She wasn’t being insensitive. She’s too young. Too in the moment of her own happiness.  Obviously, turning it off doesn’t make it go away.  Those precious innocent lives that were cut down have been gone a week now.  And they’re never coming back.  And neither are those from Beirut, from the Russian plane crash, from Syria, from the many other bombings, the beheadings. The grisly list goes on and on…

The next morning, when I came out from the shower, Lulu had drawn me a picture in pencil on the hotel stationery.  Along with the clouds and the lead grey rainbow were the following words of promise:

I love you Mammy, and I’ll try my best to be wonderful.”


Her endearing note and the dreadful attacks have nothing in common, really. And yet it made me pause.  When do young children whose hearts are naturally filled with joy and play and dreams – children who want to be wonderful – turn into angry, resentful, and terrible adults?

It may be younger than you think.  Some psychologists point to nine as the pivotal year for the onset of typical adolescent rebellion. Other studies show children may experience so-called “conduct disorders” exhibiting a severe lack of empathy or caring for others much younger.

And, according to reports, ISIS is capitalizing on this.  The Guardian, this week, excerpted from the ISIS manifesto or playbook stating,

Capture the rebelliousness of youth, their energy and idealism, and their readiness for self-sacrifice, while fools preach ‘moderation’ (wasatiyyah), security and avoidance of risk.”

National Public Radio, just yesterday, ran a story from Afghanistan which told of a school run by the Islamic State. There they were, teaching students words like Jihad, Kalashnikov and Infidel.  Doing show and tell with a machine gun. Watching videos of the atrocities they’ve committed. Indoctrinating children (only the little boys, actually) as young as three. Three?!?

I am saddened by the horrors ISIS is inflicting through its wanton attacks.

I am also saddened by the horror they are teaching and spreading. ISIS: Stealing children’s wonder. Their desire to be wonderful.   And replacing it with fervent hate for people they have never met.

Somebody cue Louis Armstrong please!


Copyright 2015 Gina London. All Rights Reserved. 





How (and why) you can start establishing your professional brand NOW!


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“Are you actively working on establishing your professional brand?”

Are you standing out from your pack?

Are you standing out from your pack?

This is a question I put to the business professionals I train and coach.  “How?” is typically the first response.

My are my quick top three:

1. Take ownership of your Social Media footprint. You need to be “Google-able.” Google yourself and what do you find?

  • Get on Linked In and get on it with power.  Google “LinkedIN experts” for tips on how to create super profiles.
  • Fire up Twitter. Even if it’s a slow-build, it shows you’re relevant and you’ll get the hang of it soon.
  • Consider what other Social Media Platforms might work for you.  Business page on Facebook? SnapChat? Periscope? Pinterest? YouTube Channel? Some may work while others may be not.  Don’t kill yourself. But be aware.

2.  Establish a blog and post regularly. Multi-purpose your blog as articles on Linked In or submit to other influential blogs in your field.  Try submitting your article to Business Insider or a trade pub.

3. Establish yourself as an expert with the press. Write a great bio (see my previous article on how to write a powerful bio) and submit it to local news producers and business editors.  Tweak your introduction email to each individual. This may take a bit time and esearch, but that’s what “Google” is for and it’s worth it for you to become a “go-to” source!

BONUS:  At the very least, Sign on to HARO – “Help a Reporter.com”  –  a free service where reporters from all over seek out interview subjects.  It’s easy!  I have placed clients and been featured myself more than a dozen times.

Why do this now?  If you’re with a company, it’s good for them, while it’s good for you. And you never know….

Just last week, I was talking to a friend from college.

She had been with her company for 18 years – most recently as an executive in charge of a large department within her organization.

Over the past year, there was a revolving door of senior management types. Changes were announced and never implemented before a new person arrived with a new announcement.  When the spinning finally stopped, one of the newest announcements was that my friend’s position was eliminated.

Without warning, and sequestered from her own direct staff, my friend was given 15 minutes to pack up her office and leave the company she had worked for for nearly two decades.

That’s it.  Job over.

We were talking because she is now positioning herself as a consultant.  Certainly she has plenty of experience and knowledge to offer.

The question is how to establish an identify that is all her own.  One that isn’t merely supported and enhanced by the name of the company that she is no longer connected with.

In short, she must quickly establish her own brand.

For you, like her, it’s not too late.

And it’s not too soon.

I know you may be busy with your “real” job, but remember,  while you’re employed with someone else, establishing your point of distinction makes you more valuable for them – and for you.

Copyright 2015 Gina London. All Rights Reserved. 

How to be funny in a presentation when you’re not a comedian!

I will be giving the closing keynote at a tech conference in London next week.

And I only know one joke.  Which goes like this:

“So these Wild West cowboys are sitting huddled around their campfire out on the prairie late one night when off in the distance they hear the distinct ‘Bum-bum-BUM-bum, bum-bum-BUM-bum’ of tribal drums.

‘Oh no!,’ says one of the cowboys to the group, ‘I don’t like the sound of them drums.’

‘Sorry!’ yells a voice way off in the distance, ‘It’s not our regular drummer!’ “


Okay.  That’s it.  Maybe because I have this image of Animal, or it reminds me of some sort of thing the guys from Spinal Tap might say, or because of my own frustrated air-guitar rocker tendencies, but I love it.

And I’m smart enough to know that practically no one else does.  Which is why I have never tried to shoe-horn it in during a keynote, presentation or speech.

However, the notion of humor is one that always comes up when I consult with executives on their presentations and communications styles.  “How do I be funny?” they ask.

As humans, we’re social animals. We like to share a laugh.

That’s especially true during a speech or presentation.   We may have to sit there because it’s part of our job or the conference we’re attending, but we’re hoping that the presenter will exhibit some sort of human connection.

If it were only about the information, then why not simply write it and hit the ‘send’ button?

There are as many different types of humor as there are of personality types. Here are a few of my tips:

1. Know yourself.  If you don’t tell jokes well during your personal life, don’t try to deliver a joke during a presentation (and you know this from the kind of eye rolls or deafening silence you normally get). What makes your friends laugh? Are you the dry observer?  Ironic?  Silly? Go with that.  A bit. Remember, a little goes a long way in the presenting context.

2. A personal story is usually better than a joke.  Think of something that relates back to your point. Maybe something from your childhood. Telling an anecdote that comes from the heart and really happened to you is likely going to resonate better than some contrived joke.

3. React in the moment.  Ad-lib on the meeting so far, the curtains, the weather, the food.  As long as you’re not being too critical or mean-spirited, a quick humorous aside can bring a nice “real” moment to the room.

4. Self-deprecation.  People like successful people who can still poke fun at themselves. But not false modesty. That’s bending backward too hard.

Any time you speak before an audience – be it a smallish regular meeting or a more formal event – the information you’re about to present should take a back seat to the human connection you should endeavor to make.

And, if you’re going to be presenting at a drummers convention, do I have the perfect joke for you!  Or maybe not.

Don’t try too hard.  You’re a human. You’re a natural.

Copyright 2015 Gina London. All Rights Reserved. 

How BODY language can influence others – and YOU!


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There was only one Mae West, but she makes a good point!

There was only one Mae West, but she makes a good point!

Not only do we need to focus on what we say, we need to focus on how we say it.

As a communications consultant, I work with executives and organizations on improving all facets of communications. Body language is a key component of that equation!

Most of us don’t have the first clue how to get our message across. And the reason for that is that we usually don’t even bother to try.

People all take communication too much for granted.”

We generally only turn our ‘communication-conscious brains’ on for what we consider to be the big communication events.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming you naturally communicate well in casual situations. If you don’t believe this have someone record you speaking at your next meeting.  Then watch it — with and without sound. You’ll learn a lot about yourself because we generally don’t acknowledge how much of our communication is done through eyes, gesture and posture.

So what are we doing wrong?

  1. WE ROCK

Many people in pressure situations will rock on one foot or shift their weight from side to side. One strategy is to simply consciously plant your feet solidly and be comfortable standing.

This is challenging for many people, as many people will either stand like a statue and then uncomfortably begin to rock or they will go from side to side — so stand solidly, putting weight on both feet evenly. Be aware of your posture.


Don’t. People will think you’re feeling nervous or defensive and if you’re speaking to someone in authority you’re sending out a negative message. You might simply find this position comfortable — but don’t do it if you’re in a situation that calls for you to appear supportive, interested or positive.

Instead, lean in slightly to indicate interest, and nod or gesture in agreement with what the person is saying.


In an initial meeting situation, make eye contact, but don’t stare. Look at the person, shake their hand and remember their name.

All too often, peoples’ eyes are darting around the room looking either for someone they know or for someone more interesting. Be conscious of this and don’t do it. We smile — but forget to engage our eyes. Don’t forget!

People notice.

It all takes practise, but it can be learned.

“Remember, your body is not just a vehicle to move your head from room to room!”

Communication is a three-legged stool — you must be conscious, firstly, of the words you use; secondly, of the para-language (pacing, pitch, volume and tone) in which you deliver them and thirdly, of the body language which accompanies them (gestures, posture and facial expression).

All too often we forget about numbers two and three.

You cannot single out one factor when you are reading someone’s body language. Look at the whole bundle of information,

If a person is nodding but giving terse answers and has their arms crossed, then you look at two and three and understand that this person is blowing you off a bit. How do you deal with this? You ask them if they have something on their mind, or whether they are in agreement with you, or understand what you are saying.  Put the issue in a gentle way, into the open. Then be “nimble enough” to correct your course mid-stream.

It’s all about gauging the feelings of another person. The only indicator we have of what is going on inside a person is what they are doing on the outside.”

Some of the things we should be doing include nodding and smiling — we tend to mirror each other, and if you have a pleasant expression while you are speaking, your audience will tend to mirror you.

Finally, one thing you definitely should do:

Broaden your smile— your endorphins kick in so smiling relaxes you and makes you feel more at ease.

Start practising now and in inconsequential situations — and then you’ll be geared up for the next big communications crunch.

Remember, “Every skill we learn starts out in a deliberate part of our brain and with practise moves into the intuitive part of our brain.”

(Next week, Wednesday, October 7, Network Cork is hosting me as I present a workshop at FOTA Island Resort at 7pm in Cork Harbour, Ireland. This is excerpted from my profile in this week’s IRISH EXAMINER.  Please contact Network Cork at www.networkcork.com if you would like to attend!)

What sets you off? And! What can you do about it?!


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Are you actively aware of the environmental happenings around you that prompt you to become internally frustrated or worse, to outwardly act out?  “Triggers” is how author Marshall Goldsmith describes them in his recent book of the same name.

Whatever you call them, they are those moments that bring out the worst in you.  The more you understand what causes them, the more you can begin to self-talk your way into preparing a better reaction to help you calm down and not over react.

One of my triggers is when I encounter a “no-can-do person.”  You know them.  Those people that robotically cite a nonsensical policy or refuse to exert a tad bit more energy finding a solution to a small problem. Yes, it’s the small things that sometimes get us the most, isn’t it?

Take the true time I was at a small café in Romania, (I am not blaming the whole country for this incident, of course, merely setting the scene).  The café’s window advertised a “soup and sandwich” special.

“I’ll take the special, please,” I said.

“No, it’s not possible,” the waiter flatly replied. “We’re out of the soup.”

Hungry and eager to get anything, I suggested, “Okay, then I’ll just take a sandwich.”

“As I said, that is not possible. We’re out of soup,” was the incredible retort.

“But can’t you just make me a sandwich on its own?” I prompted (starting to feel that trigger blood pressure rise).

“No. We cannot make sandwiches until we first make more soup to go with it,” was the honest-to-trigger-happy final response I received.  I say final, because immediately after that I turned on my heels and left.

The café chose to let a potential customer leave, rather than make a sale.

Here in Nigeria, where I am spending the week touring the country leading training sessions on Leadership and Communications, I encountered a similar “no-can-do” person at the Port Harcourt airport.

Last year in Port Harcourt - looked a lot like this year - except for one thing!

Last year in Port Harcourt – looked a lot like this year – except for one thing!

We had just snapped a photo of our team upon arrival when a non-smiling young man approached us.

“You cannot take photos here. Delete that,” he said.

“Why not?” I asked, trying to engage him.  “We took them right here last year.”

“But can you please tell me the reason?” I pressed. “Is there a manager I could speak to?”

A nearby older man came over and completely agreed with the younger man.

“Delete that and I need to watch you.”

I was about to persist, when from my right came a voice of reason.

Gina, let it go. It’s not worth it. Remember our mission.”

My co-trainer, colleague, and friend  – better known as the acclaimed Nigerian executive, leadership coach and keynote speaker that he is, Richmond Dayo Johnson – reminded me of what was important.

Don’t try to reason with the unreasonable.  Get on with the important things in your life. For me, having that photo was not one.

So, now, I am happily posting our team photo from Port Harcourt from last year! And I am also thanking, RDJ, and Marshall Goldsmith and others who remind us to remember to stay focused on the important things and not get distracted by the chaos around us.

Just another day in Naija

Just another day in Naija

Life can be chaotic.  As I look outside my window on the Nigerian street scene passing by, I see Hawkers squeezing between the jammed traffic, trying to sell figs or biscuit or bottles of water. I see crowded market stalls teeming with people.  It’s a bit chaotic, but believe it or not, it is largely calm.

People are going about their day.

In the past year, our team coordinators, Omon and Ibukun, have each been robbed in their cars; Omon was robbed by gunpoint.  And yet, they go on.  They are here. Committed to helping us bring leadership and communications training to hundreds of college leaders around their country.

How dare I get deterred by an unjustly deleted photo?

But you know it happens to you too, doesn’t it? The car that cuts you off when you’ve politely signalled your intention to change lanes.  The clerk at the DMV who turns you away for whatever miniscule reason without any emotion at all.  The work associate who has still not read your email.

We all have our triggers.  But, honestly, unless you’re a Syrian refugee, battling a life-threatening illness, or grappling with a small handful of extreme life-impacting events, you’re probably doing okay.

  1. Catalog your triggers.  
  2. Take note and consider alternative ways to react. 
  3. And count your blessings it’s not worse.

Always learning and growing! Here’s to making it a great week.

Greetings from Nigeria,

At Saturday's Port Harcourt Training session - where cameras WERE allowed.

At Saturday’s Port Harcourt Training session – where cameras WERE allowed.



Copyright 2015 Gina London. All Rights Reserved. 

How to Power UP your bio!


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If you don’t have a powerful bio, it’s time you do.

Power up!

Power up!

Yesterday, one of my executive clients was a bit overwhelmed upon reading the new “powered-up” bio I had drafted for him.

“It’s the first time someone has written about me like that,” he said.  “I don’t know if I’m ready to view myself that way.”

But after serving nearly 20-years as a professional educator, my client had acquired more than simple experience.

He had demonstrated real strategic success – by launching new curriculum programs which other institutions modelled, by being appointed to top leadership on school boards, by guiding national conferences which expand impact with each year.

So, among other the descriptors I deployed in his new bio, is the word “expert.”  It’s a word not to be taken lightly, but it is a powerful word that you may consider using too.

Take a quick read of your current bio.  How does it read? Is it a boring list of places you worked? Or is there a real story of your accomplishments using active and colourful verbs and descriptions.  Have a friend read your bio and get their opinions, too.

If you have a Linked In or Twitter profile you already have a micro-bio.   How do they reflect upon your professional brand?  Now, aim for two more:  one at about 100 words and then another that’s a one-pager.  Ready?

Here are my quick tips:

  1. Grab the audience right away. Think of this as the “lede” in a news story.  What is your professional point of distinction?  Make this sentence sing and your reader will be inclined to read further. Make this sentence the boring same-old-same old, and your reader will drift off mentally if not physically.
  2. Use Superlatives.  What are you great at? Then tell us. Words like “premier” “best” “recognized” or “number 1” may seem over the top to you at first, but they do get attention.  Yes, I know we’re taught not to brag, but if you’re not lying, your bio is the time to show pride!
  3. Tell a short story to illustrate an achievement. If you’re listing that you’re on the board of an organization, try to add a quick sentence or two in your longer bio that describes something innovative or extra cool that you did while in that role.
  4. Add some fun. Did you once win a national spelling bee? Place second in a science fair? Were you a blue ribbon flower arranger at the county fair?  (that one is me) Do you play a mean harmonica?  Adding something unusually interesting or fun helps bring you to life as a person and that helps people remember you.

Remember, like a good novel, a good bio should be a compelling, rich story: of you.

Creating a dynamic professional bio is an exercise in developing self confidence.  And self confidence  is a skill that can be learned.  One of the first steps, is learning to be comfortable talking (and writing) about yourself in a powerful way.

Just as it’s time for my client to become comfortable writing and thinking of himself as an “expert,” it’s time for you to consider owning your achievements too.

Be accurate. But don’t shy from tooting your own horn. If you don’t, who will?

 Copyright 2015 Gina London. All Rights Reserved. 

How to be Determinedly Optimistic!


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Lulu's first day back to school and yes, she needed a scarf! We're in Ireland!

Lulu’s first day back to school and yes, she needed a scarf! We’re in Ireland!

“How was your summer?” The friendly barista at my gym here in Ireland asked me.

“Good really, I certainly can’t complain,” I replied.

“No one would listen anyway,” he added chuckling.

I thought about that.  It’s true. We really don’t want to listen to people who complain.  Yet, why do so many of us continue to keep up the constant drum-beat of negativity.

You know the types.  Every business project is overwhelming. Every boss doesn’t understand them.  Their aches and pains. The traffic. The weather.

Ah, the weather.  That’s an especially good subject being the transplanted American living here in Ireland now.   Just over a week ago, I was wrapping up a wonderful month in the US – speaking and training at conferences and then spending time with family and friends in the hot and humid Midwest.   We wore sleeveless shirts and sandals.

Now, I’m back in Cork, Ireland where the clouds are almost always moving.  I wake up and there’s sun and by the time I make the bed, the wind and rain have swept in.  Then five more minutes and the sun breaks out again –complete with rainbow.  Last week, I saw three rainbows in one day. No kidding.

The Irish are what I like to describe as “determinedly optimistic” about weather.  They make up funny sayings about it like,

We have four seasons in one day.


 What are an Irish person’s two favorite days? Christmas and summer.

When our plane landed, my daughter, Lulu, and I quickly put on the sweaters we had brought with us for our walk across the brisk and breezy tarmac to the customs and baggage claim terminals.

Yesterday was her first day back to school.  She wore her school’s “summer uniform” which, naturally, comes complete with matching cardigan.  Lulu also reached for a white scarf with dragonflies on it. She wrapped three times around her neck.  She was ready to go and she was happy – no matter what the weather.

After I dropped her off, I zipped over to the shopping center for a few items before getting to work. I noticed other ladies at the shops were also wearing brightly colored scarves.  And sleeveless shirts. And sandals.

It was if they were proclaiming, “The calendar still says it’s summer, no matter what the weather may feel like.”

This week Time magazine is listing 13 ways to be a better human being.  It starts from within. From our attitude to our work, our family, even the weather.

What are we proclaiming every day?  Are we being determinedly optimistic or are we constantly complaining?

Who is listening to us?  What opinions are they forming?

It’s up to you, isn’t it? I say,

Grab a proverbial scarf and keep going!

Copyright 2015 Gina London. All Rights Reserved.

The Human Touch


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Covering the latest trends in Mobility, Cloud, Security and Open Source, I just wrapped three Tech Conferences in three weeks.

There were rows and rows of vendor booths, days filled with sessions and workshops – I led a session on “Negotiations,” for example – from which participants could learn and get information.

Learning doesn’t have to be boring.  Any topic can be made interesting and engaging.  As someone confided in me after my particularly boisterous and lively – by design – session ended,

“People come to conferences hoping to have fun!”

And that’s what stood out to me the most.  In spite of all the high-tech talk, the real value sprang from gathering people together with other like-minded people.

One evening, I attended a dinner with a variety of interesting people including some top IT educators from CompTIA, Skillsoft and Netcom.  The dinner organizer, Teresa, put together lists of fun and funny questions to move our conversations away from strictly business, to the more human side of life.  It was a blast.

At one of the other conferences, the organizers rented out Wrigley Field, the historic home of the Chicago Cubs as well as the long-clinging hopes since 1908 for another World Series win.

We met Hall of Famer Billy Williams, had our picture taken with Cubs mascot, Clark, walked around on the actual outfield, and even could have a turn at bat.  I took advantage of each of these opportunities, laughing and joking with my fellow conference goers as we stood in line.  When it was my turn, I promise I really connected with the ball.  Okay, it was a foul fly, but for me that counted!

My ball-bat connection wasn’t the only one that counted.  I connected with some very terrific people doing some great work.  Great conversations forge friendships that can lead to business opportunities.  Look for me to begin to roll-out some communications training courses on-line soon through a partnership with a tech-educator I met.

As I always say,

“Great communications equals great relationships.”

People connecting with other people.  As my three conferences demonstrated, face to face still trumps Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, you name your social media tool of choice.  They may start virtually, but at some point, most communications, like relationships, will need to be solidified in person.

Be it at a meeting or a conference or whatever.  We still like the human touch.  Thank goodness!

Copyright 2015 Gina London.  All Rights Reserved. 

5 Tips to Help You Remember Names


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“Oh, I’m terrible with names.”

How many times have you heard that? Perhaps you’ve even said it yourself.

There's enormous value in a name!

There’s enormous value in a name!

As self-fulfilling prophesies go, this may be one of the easiest.  If you tell yourself and others that you’re not good at remembering names, you probably won’t be.

I, on the other hand, am great at names.  I’m not bragging here. I really am.

Recently, I was the featured speaker at the Enterprise Start-up Awards in Limerick.  I was introduced to dozens of people in rapid succession.   I met contestants, academics, and some very high-profile people, including one with a famous family name of perhaps the most influential entrepreneur in Ireland, but all people matter, so all names are important.

I remembered them all. Especially, Jerry, the technician, to whom I was introduced during the set-up, long before the event began.  Later, during the program when my mic wasn’t working properly, I looked up to the control booth and asked for him by name, “Jerry, is there another microphone?”  Smiling, Jerry zipped down with a new mic in hand.  I, then, introduced him to the audience and asked everyone to give him and the other stage hands a well-deserved round of applause.  An opportunity to recognize the efforts of someone, made stronger due to the fact that I remembered his name.

I don’t deploy “memory palaces” or other fancy mental gymnastics to partner a person’s name with a rhyme or anything.  Think “Fancy – Nancy” or “Burt in the Red Shirt.”  No way.  I am not that clever or quickly creative.

But, simply, here is what I do.  I find it really works.

1. Slow down and really focus on the person’s name. Chances are, when you’re introduced to someone, you may have other things on your mind.  Turn that off for a moment. Make the moment matter.  Genuinely look at the person’s face and let the name sink in.

 2. Repeat the name over and over in your head while you’re looking at them. I’m not talking a mindless repetitive mantra here,  say it to yourself in a thoughtful way.  Find meaning in the name. Is it a name of someone you’ve met before, perhaps a relative or a dear friend?  Jerry happens to not only be the name of the technician, it’s also the name of my step-dad for whom I have enormous love and admiration.  That helped the memory stick.

3. Say the name back to the person.  Don’t let yourself off easy, with a simple, “Nice to meet you.”  Add “Nice to meet you, fill-in-the-person’s-name-here.”  Obviously, you don’t want to over-use the person’s name as an obvious measure to remember, but here is a great opportunity.

 4. If it’s an unfamiliar name, take time to try to learn it properly; don’t simply nod and gloss over the introduction. In today’s global marketplace, this is especially important.  Here in Ireland, I am learning that names written in Irish, “Caoimhe” for instance, are said differently than I may first   (“Quiva” is how that name is pronounced.) I also do a lot of work in Africa and am learning a range of great new names there as well.  My business partner’s wife’s name is Olaseyi.  It is pronounced “Oh-lah-SHAY-ee” and it also has a lovely lowering  in pitch on the final syllable.

The point here is not to create a fuss, but to demonstrate your sincere interest in expanding your horizons – embracing the new  – and getting it right.  This can build rapport along with improving your memory of the name. 

 5. Take a moment to ask a question to the new person. Try to learn something about them.  Repeat their story along with their name. Now you have something to remember along with the name. Rather than overloading your memory, this gives the name something to stick to which makes it easier for you to recall the name when you need it.

After the awards ceremony, the head of the Limerick Institute of Technology Foundation, Kieran MacSweeney,  wrote to me:

It was an absolute pleasure meeting you yesterday. The inspiration of your talk was only surpassed by the warmth of the sincere friendship you extended to everyone.

Thanks, Kieran, I credit that, in part, to taking time to remember names.  It’s a good place to start.

So, don’t tell yourself or others that you’re just no good at remembering names. It’s a blow-off comment that won’t really get you off the hot seat.  Take a breath and discipline yourself. Try.

Like anything worthwhile, it will take practice.

Copyright 2015 Gina London.  All Rights  Reserved. 

You CAN Go Back.


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After a year of living in Ireland, we have returned to our beloved former home of Arezzo, Italy.

Bentornati ad Arezzo!

Bentornati ad Arezzo!

Don’t get me wrong, we are LOVING life in Ireland.  The people and adventures there are more than terrific.  But we longed to walk the cobbled streets of Arezzo’s medieval “Centro Storico” again.

In the historic center of Arezzo

A piazzetta in the historic center of Arezzo.

How would it feel to be back for just a two-week vacation? The town and its wonderful residents would have spent a full year working, playing, dining and simply going on. Without us.

Lulu and Vincent and La Chiesa di San Domenico.

Lulu and Vincent and La Chiesa di San Domenico.

So, with fingers crossed, we called out to our former neighbors, schoolmates and pals. Would they make a little time for us? —- Guess what!?

We went to this marvelous

We went to this marvelous “Cena di Colcitrone” dinner with our old friends in Arezzo! Evviva!

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Lulu together again with her girl friends from her former primary school in Arezzo, Aliotti.


Eating “pici con cinghiale’ at one of our favorite restaurants – where they remembered us and gave us our “usual” table!

It tasted as good as I had remembered. Che buona!

It tasted as good as I had remembered. Che buona!

Lulu has gone to camp with a former buddy. She has played with her old girlfriends. We have had our nails done at our former salon. We have visited with Lulu’s Italian “nonno” Mario. We attended a great big feast in our old “quartiere.”  In short, we are happily being reunited with our favorite people and places!

Yes, life does go on.  Some shops have closed while a couple new ones have opened their doors.  Kids have grown taller. One dear friend, sadly, has passed away.  Yes, the seasons continue to change and the rain does fall – even on our Tuscan retreat.

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But no matter if you change towns, jobs or in our case, countries, you can and should stay in contact with your former friends and colleagues as best you can.

Lulu and Arezzo's Duomo bell tower in the background.

Lulu and Arezzo’s Duomo bell tower in the background.

Reunited with my dear friend Carla Veneri.

Reunited with my dear friend Carla Veneri.

Social media is terrific for doing just that.

In fact, last summer, I went to Ghana through the US State Department to train the country’s 60 spokespeople.  My co-trainer was Jeff Eller, a wonderful inspiration to me when I was fresh from college and worked under him at the Democratic Party in Washington, DC – some, er, twenty years ago.  We were friends on Facebook. And there we were together again last August in Accra!

Jeff and I together again in Accra last August.

Jeff and I together again in Accra last August.

So, keep in touch.  You never know what fun you’ll have in the future.

Looking forward to our next adventure...

Looking forward to our next adventure…

As the saying goes: Make new friends, but keep the old.

Baci, Gina

Copyright 2015 Gina London. All Rights Reserved. 


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